By: Ryan Duffy | Follow Me On Twitter @Rduffy26
After coming off a 2-1 overtime loss to the Hartford Wolf Pack on Saturday, the Providence Bruins (6-4-2-1) skated off with a tremendous 2-1 overtime victory at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in back-to-back games against the Wolf Pack (10-3-2-0) last night. Providence’s special teams were key in this one as they killed all five penalties taken. Although the Bruins had a couple of defensive breakdowns in their own zone, they were constantly protecting the front of the goal and allowed minimal chances for Hartford to capitalize on their opportunities.
Two minutes into the first period, John Moore was assessed a double minor for high-sticking and forced Providence to wake up early in this game. Providence’s special teams looked sharp to start the game as they forced most of Hartford’s chances to the outside and only allowed one shot on goal during the double minor. After the kill, the Bruins had some noticeable momentum and started to produce some chances.
Providence would break the ice just under halfway into the first with Jesper Froden getting on the board. The play started with an intelligent transition from John Moore, who dished the puck, to Steven Fogarty in the neutral zone. Fogarty would make a quick touch pass to his left to Aaron Ness flying down the left wing. With plenty of space, Ness threw a purposeful shot on goal to create a rebound. Froden collected the rebound and went top-shelf on Hartford goaltender Adam Huska to put the Bruins on top.
The goal was followed by a couple of solid shifts from the Bruins, but things would begin to turn the other direction with five minutes left in the first. The Bruins looked a little sloppy in their zone and made a couple of unforced turnovers. The defensive turnovers led to a couple of solid saves from Troy Grosenick, who looked sharp all night. In the final seconds of the first, the Bruins would go short-handed again with Steven Fogarty in the box for hooking.
The Bruins would be short-handed to start the second period, and once again, Providence’s penalty kill looked impeccable. Hartford collected a single shot on the power play and failed to generate much offensive zone time on the man advantage. With just under ten minutes left in the second, Providence began to pressure the Hartford zone. Providence outshot Hartford 8-1 in the final nine minutes of the second period, including multiple shots generated on the power play along with great chances from the second line of Lauko, Studnicka, and Wagner. Despite outshooting Hartford 19-15 after 40 minutes of action, Providence’s score remained 1-0.
To start the third period, Hartford began to show more desperation and played with a physical edge. Their desperate play would end up paying off as Hartford would tie the game five minutes into the third after a loose puck in front of the goal is jammed in by Ty Ronning. With under three minutes remaining, Grosenick would come up huge with a couple of game-saving stops and force overtime for the second game in a row.
In three-on-three overtime, almost every team emphasizes the importance of keeping possession. This was clearly the message sent in the Bruins’ locker room as they possessed the puck for nearly the entirety of the overtime. Aaron Ness would enter the zone with possession and skate through two Hartford defenders twenty seconds into the overtime. Ness would hit Fogarty in the high slot, flying into the offensive zone, and make a quick pass to Oskar Steen. With plenty of room, Steen out-waited Huska and roofed a wrist shot to win the game for the Bruins. Steen’s game-winner was his team-leading sixth goal of the year for Providence.
“I thought the guys played really well. I thought Grosenick was outstanding, so that was encouraging.” Providence head coach Ryan Mougenel said following the overtime victory. Providence was led by goaltender Troy Grosenick, who made 23 stops on 24 shots from Hartford in this matchup. My colleague, Mark Allred, discussed Grosenick’s stellar performance after coming off a lower-body injury in his most recent article.
The Providence Bruins are back at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center again on Saturday, November 20, against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at 7:05 PM EST. It will be the second out of six times the Bruins and Penguins meet this season.
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