Hutchinson records first shutout of the season

Providence, RI --
The Providence Bruins improve to (34-18-0-5) with a 2-0 win against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins this evening at the Dunkin Donuts Center. Michael Hutchinson made 20 saves for his first shutout of the season and goals were scored by Craig Cunningham and Graham Mink.

A quiet period, the game started with Providence having the upper hand in play. Brian Gibbons took a hooking penalty just over two minutes in to give Providence their first chance with the extra skater but it was cut short after only 49 seconds when Jamie Tardif took a slashing penalty. The P-Bruins played hard and quick in their 49 seconds on the power play and continued that hard play once it became 4-on-4 but could not get the puck on net. Not getting the puck on net was something for both teams only tallied three shots each in the opening 20 minutes. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goaltender Jeff Zatkoff, the top goalie in the league, stopped all three shots as did Michael Hutchinson, who was a key component on the penalty kill as the P-Bruins killed off all three penalties they took in the period.

Whatever action the opening period lacked, the middle frame certainly made up for it. Right from the faceoff Tyler Randell dropped the gloves with Zach Sill and Randell took him down with an underhand right hook. This would be Randell's third fight in as many games while Sill has had that many all season. The fight shook up both teams and would give the Penguins their best chance of the night from Gibbons. Hutchinson stood tall to make the save on Gibbons just as Gibbons went flying through the air. Soon after former Hockey East foes Colby Cohen and Paul Thompson dropped the gloves in front of Hutchinson.  His first fight of the season, Cohen landed a few punches on Thompson before both fell to the ice. Soon after David Warsofsky and Bobby Farnham squared off and fell to the ice with fists still flying. That would be Warsofsky's first fight in his three year professional career. The melee kept going with Kevan Miller and Chris Minella going at it next to Hutchinson after high sticking from Minella. Minella got an extra two minutes for high sticking to give Providence their second power play of the game with their best opportunities. Ryan Spooner had a nice shot from the right faceoff circle but was denied and after a pass back to Chris Bourque, Craig Cunningham took a hard shot from Zatkoff's right that he could not get a hold of that almost bounced backward into the net. Before the penalty could expire, Trevor Smith took a cross checking penalty to give the P-Bruins a two man advantage briefly and make the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton penalty box standing room only. Soon after the penalties expired, Bobby Robins hit Philip Samuelsson hard into the boards that the Penguins did not like and went after Robins but he would not go. Samuelsson was okay on the hit and got up to take on Robins and Robins took off his full face cage to take on the call. Both received 10-minute misconducts and five for fighting but Robins took an additional five for boarding to give the Penguins a lengthy power play. Despite the length, the P-Bruins penalty kill units were up to the task and held the visitors scoreless. The 0-0 score remained on the board as the clock ticked down and the teams were scoreless as they headed to their dressing rooms.

Both teams came out hard as the third period began. The hard work paid off for Providence when Cunningham finally opened the scoring on the power play. Alex Grant took an interference penalty just shy of five minutes in and only a minute later did Cunningham receive a pass from Tardif just outside the crease and snuck it under Zatkoff's right pad to make it 1-0. Cunningham's 18th of the season would also be his fifth goal and sixth point in only five games. Spooner's assist was his fourth in three games. Justin Florek almost extended the lead when he caught Zatkoff out of position stretched out to make a save but could not quite get the puck. Florek jumped up on the play but could not get the puck when he had the time. The P-Bruins got in penalty trouble when Cohen took a tripping penalty but the team killed it off before a power play of their own. Just as the power play was about to expire, Mink beat Zatkoff with a goal that went right over his left shoulder to make it 2-0. Assists went to Christian Hanson and Colby Cohen. The Penguins had a chance to get on the board with their goaltender pulled in the last minute of play. The Puck got right up at the post and players were trying to jam it in but Hutchinson kept it out. With 20 saves, Hutchinson earned the win and his first shutout of the season.