The Providence Bruins fell to the Portland Pirates Saturday night 3-2 in a shootout. Craig Cunningham and Justin Florek scored for the P-Bruins, while Niklas Svedberg recorded 37 saves.
Both teams started the game with high intensity, fast paced hockey. Both teams had scoring chances early, but Svedberg and Pirates net minder Mark Visentin fought off shots. The P-Bruins cashed in on the power play for the opening goal of the game, as Cunningham scored his tenth of the season as he slammed home a loose puck in the crease, at the 8:37 mark. Florek and Carter Camper picked up the assists on the play. The P-Bruins continued to put on pressure, but Visentin stopped the other 22 shots he faced as Providence took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
In the second period, the Pirates fired the puck from all directions. Portland’s effort and pressure was rewarded as James Melindy ripped a slap shot past a screened Svedberg at the 7:52 mark for his first goal of the season. Mathieu Brodeur and Andy Miele had the assists. The P-Bruins did not trail for long as a littler over a minute later, Florek got his seventh goal of the season, blasting a slap shot into the net. Florek skated down the left wing and beat the goalie with a perfect shot glove side. Joe Morrow and Kevan Miller recorded the assists. Both teams settled down following the two quick goals, and following the second period, the P-Bruins led 2-1.
The Pirates were determined to tie this game up as they converted on the power play as Miele put the puck top shelf on Svedberg from a tough angle, at the 6:55 mark of the third period. It was his 11th goal of the season as Tobias Rieder and Brandon Gormley had the assists to send the game into overtime.
In overtime, Portland continued to put on pressure, but could not capitalize as the game headed to a shootout. In the shootout, Daine Todd scored in the first round to take the lead. The Pirates made it 2-0 in round three on a goal from Brandon McMillan, but Jared Knight answered back with a goal in the same round. In the fourth round Cunningham tied the shootout, but in the fifth round Brandon Yip scored to give the Pirates a 3-2 shootout victory.
Svedberg stopped 37 of 39 shots in regulation and two of five shots in the shootout for the P-Bruins, while Visentin made 45 saves in regulation and three saves in the shootout for the Pirates. Providence went 1-for-2 on the power play and was 7-for-8 on the penalty kill.
The P-Bruins return to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center Friday, January 3 at 7:05pm against the Worcester Sharks. The first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a poster courtesy of J & R Marketing. For tickets to this game or any other P-Bruins home games visit www.providencebruins.com.