Cunningham scores twice, extending goal streak to six goals in three games

Worcester, MA --
The Providence Bruins improve to (35-18-0-5) with a 4-3 shootout win against the Worcester Sharks this evening at the DCU Center. Niklas Svedberg made 45 saves for his sixth shootout win of the season, an AHL high. Craig Cunningham scored his fifth and sixth goals in his past three games, Christian Hanson added his ninth goal of the season and Trent Whitfield scored the shootout winner.

The struggling Worcester Sharks, who sat in fourth place in the Atlantic going into tonight's contest, struck early in the frame. Stalberg connected on a rebound in front of Svedberg to put the Sharks up 1-0 7:40 into the first period. Worcester got another chance at 13:33 when James Livingston was awarded a penalty shot. Despite the 1-on-0 opportunity, Svedberg denied Livingston high glove side. The Bruins went into the first intermission trailing the Sharks 1-0 and 15-13 in shots.

Providence took control of the action in the second, scoring two power play goals. The Sharks power play, which was ranked 14th in the AHL (83.5%) going into tonight's contest, was no match for the Bruins power play. Quarterbacked by Chris Bourque, Cunningham scored twice on two separate power plays. The goals at 0:21 and 11:39 marked Cunningham's fifth and sixth goals in his last three games. The Bruins couldn't hold the lead however. Just 23 seconds after the Bruins go-ahead goal, the Sharks' Freddy Hamilton struck to tie the game 2-2.

Play went back and forth throughout the frame with both teams trading opportunities, however both teams got their best scoring opportunities in the lat eight minutes. The Sharks had a surge of a few quality scoring chances with seven minutes to play, but Svedberg came up with a couple of huge saves to keep the Sharks off the scoreboard. The Bruins took control in the last five minutes and their efforts paid off at 16:36 when Hanson ripped a one-timer top shelf and past Harri Sateri to give the Bruins a 3-2 lead. In a last ditch effort, the Sharks pulled Sateri for the extra skater. They were able to get a bouncing puck past Svedberg with under a minute left to tie the game and force overtime.

After a scoreless overtime, the teams were forced to a shootout for the fifth time this season. Providence's first four skaters went scoreless. Going into the fifth round down 1-0, Cunningham saved the game by getting past Sateri for the third time in the game. After Graham Mink's shot hit the cross bar, it was up to Trent Whitfield. The captain's shot sent Sateri back into his own net. Initially, ruling no goal, the officials reviewed the play and ruled the attempt a goal, giving the Bruins their third shootout win versus the Sharks.