PROVIDENCE DOUBLES UP CONNECTICUT
P-Bruins Stay Alive in Playoff Chase with 4-2 Win
Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins defeated the Connecticut Whale 4-2 in a must-win game on Sunday afternoon at the Dunkin' Donuts Center as they continue to fight for a playoff spot. A total of 8,405 fans watched as the P-Bruins received two goals from Kirk MacDonald, as well as tallies from David Ling and Trent Whitfield.
Despite exchanging some words at the blue line during warm-ups, the Atlantic Division rivals played rather lethargic back-and-forth hockey in the opening minutes of the first frame. However, a couple of quality opportunities from Providence's Whitfield gave the P-Bruins much-needed momentum and they began to test Whale net-minder Dov Grumet-Morris. A shot after the whistle from Jeremy Reich caused a scuffle and eventually led to Kevan Miller dropping the mitts with Jared Nightingale for the first fight of his professional career. Despite some late quality scoring opportunities, Providence and Connecticut went into the first intermission scoreless.
Providence carried its momentum from the first period into the second and Ling put the P-Bruins on the board at 3:49 of the frame, tipping in a Whitfield shot from the blue line. Lane MacDermid also assisted on the goal. Just over three minutes later, Providence capitalized on the man-advantage when David Laliberte tapped a rebound from a Jamie Arniel shot over to Whitfield, who drilled it past Grumet-Morris for his 17th goal of the season. A strong forecheck and a couple of key saves from Anton Khudobin kept Connecticut off the board and the P-Bruins went into the second intermission with a 2-0 lead.
The P-Bruins played the opening minutes of the final frame in the penalty box but, despite being short-handed, Providence was able to find the back of the net. Andrew Bodnarchuk fed a pass to MacDonald, who beat Grumet-Morris at 8:11 to take a 3-0 advantage. Connecticut cut its deficit to two at 15:10 when Derek Couture poked the puck through Khudobin's pads. In a last ditch effort, the Whale pulled Grumet-Morris, to give Connecticut a 6-on-5 advantage, but MacDonald was able to break past the Whale defenders to score on an empty-net with 42 seconds remaining. Colby Cohen and Whitfield assisted on MacDonald's 15th goal of the season and second of the game. However, the Whale wouldn't be sunk without a fight as Couture tallied his second goal of the game as time expired. The late surge wasn't enough as the P-Bruins held on for the 4-2 win.
Khudobin earned the win, blocking 31 attempts, while Grumet-Morris suffered loss, stopping 40 shots. Providence went 1-for-5 on the power play and was perfect on five penalty kill chances.
The P-Bruins are back in action with a two home games next weekend, beginning with Connecticut on Friday at 7:05 p.m. for Visor Night. The club travels to Worcester on Saturday for the first of a home-and-home series between the teams. The P-Bruins return to The Dunk on Sunday to face the Sharks in a 4:05 p.m. tilt for Team Poster Night. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the P-Bruins ticket office at 401-273-5000 or log on to the team website at providencebruins.com.
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