By: Ryan Duffy | Follow Me On Twitter @Rduffy26
After snapping their four-game losing streak against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins last weekend, the Providence Bruins scored a late goal to force overtime and eventually won in a shootout over the Rochester Americans on Friday night.
The win came on a very special night as longtime PA announcer David Zibelli has officially retired after 24 years of working with the Providence Bruins. On behalf of Black N’ Gold Productions, we congratulate David on an incredible 24 years of work filled with iconic and unforgettable moments. Once a Bruin, always a Bruin.
Just two minutes into the first period, Providence was off and running as Justin Brazeau tipped in a shot from the point from Victor Berglund and scored his sixth of the year. However, the celebration was short-lived as Cameron Hughes went to the box for cross-checking a minute later. On the ensuing penalty kill, American’s forward Brett Murray would tap in the game-tying goal off some tremendous tic-tac-toe passing from Rochester.
After the two quick strikes to start the game, both teams weren’t willing to give one another time or space, and the physicality began to pick up. This resulted in multiple post-whistle scrums, with both teams looking to show their authority.
Matt Filipe had a golden opportunity to put the Bruins up by one on the doorstep with just under five minutes in the first. The play started with Curtis Hall throwing the puck from the corner to the front of the net. Hall’s shot created a rebound, and Filipe dug away at the loose puck, but Rochester goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stood his ground and made a pad stop.
Providence would start the second period on the powerplay. Still, the Bruins struggled on their zone entries and only collected a single shot on goal due to the American’s aggressive penalty kill. Minutes after Providence’s power play expired, Rochester would get some zone time in the Providence end and outshoot Providence 6-1 through the first eight minutes of the second.
Luckily, Providence goaltender Troy Grosenick was sharp, and his defensemen in front of him played some stifling defense in the second period and kept most shots to the outside. Over halfway through the second period, Zach Senyshyn would be sprung on a breakaway off of a chip pass in the neutral zone from Chris Wagner. Senyshyn looked to go five-hole, but Luukkonen denied him.
The Bruins would continue pressing the American’s zone and outshoot Rochester 8-2 through the final eight minutes of the second period. Luukkonen was forced to be sharp in the second period and made a couple of ten bell saves, including one off the stick of Brazeau, who was robbed of a sure goal by Luukkonen as he lunged out with the pad moving left to right at the top of his crease.
Once again, Providence would start the third period on the power play with American’s defenseman Peter Tischke in the box for tripping. Providence couldn’t generate much on the power play, and Rochester seemed to get a boost from their stringent penalty kill. Seven minutes into the final frame, Rochester would take the lead after another beautiful display of passing on the rush that led to an open net for Ethan Prow.
Ten minutes into the third, Zach Senyshyn would head down the tunnel after a blatant interference from Rochester defenseman Brandon Davidson who was assessed a minor penalty. Senyshyn would return later in the third but only played a single shift. Moments later, Steven Fogarty would be assessed a penalty for interference and offset the Davidson penalty.
Providence began to show some urgency with just under six minutes remaining in the third period. With only a minute and a half remaining in the third period, Chris Wagner would rip a shot in the high slot and go top shelf on Luukkonen to tie the game. The Dunk was electrified after Wagner’s game-tying tally and sent both teams to overtime.
In overtime, both teams rapidly traded chances through the majority of the extra frame. Despite the quality attempts from both teams and power plays for both teams, no one would manage to find the back of the net on either goaltender, and we went to a shootout.
Both Justin Brazeau and Jesper Froden would score on Luukkonen, and Providence would skate away with a 3-2 victory over Rochester in a shootout. Troy Grosenick made two stops in the shootout along with 24 saves in regulation and overtime.
After the victory, Providence head coach Ryan Mougenel touched on the status of Senyshyn, as he only played one shift after sustaining the hit from Davidson. “Those type of injuries usually you kind of pay the price the next day, so we’ll see how he is (then).”
Providence is back in action tonight at the MassMutual Center in Springfield for a matchup against Thunderbirds at 7:05. With the shootout victory over visiting Rochester last night, the top minor-pro affiliate of the NHL’s Boston Bruins has a 2021/22 regular-season record of 19-12-3-3 and 44 points good enough for fourth place in the AHL Atlantic Division.
The Springfield Thunderbirds have certainly had an unreal season thus far, especially at home. The minor-pro affiliate of the St. Louis Blues currently sits in the top position in the Atlantic with a 24-14-5-1 record with 54 points, on a two-game winning streak, and an unreal 15-5-2 home record at the MassMutual in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts.