Providence Bruins

Apr 23, 2018


Providence, RI – Games one and two of the Atlantic Division Semifinals took place over the weekend at the Dunkin Donuts Center between the Providence Bruins and Lehigh Valley Phantoms. While the teams split the pair of games 1-1, the P-Bruins were the more impressive team for four of the six periods of play and have to feel as good as they can be heading to Allentown for the conclusion of this series.

The P-Bruins started off game one strong, with Ryan Fitzgerald scoring the game’s first goal on the power play late in the opening period. They entered the intermission tied after a quick response from Lehigh Valley, but Fitzgerald struck again to give Providence a 2-1 lead early in the second. However, the Phantoms struck twice during a 5-on-3 power play to take the lead with five minutes left in the middle frame. The P-Bruins outshot Lehigh Valley 15-2 in the final period and were the better team for two of the three periods in the contest, but the Phantoms still walked away with a 3-2 game one win.

Like they did in game one, Providence got off to strong first period start in game two. Anton Blidh and Peter Cehlarik scored in the opening 5:08 to put the team in the driver’s seat. However, the Phantoms scored twice in 1:11 midway through the second period to knot things up at 2-2. The game changed 19 seconds into the third, when the P-Bruins stole Lehigh Valley’s momentum with a Jordan Szwarz shorthanded goal to take a 3-2 lead. They took a two-goal lead again on Cehlarik’s second goal of the night and eventually went on to a 5-3 win to tie the series 1-1.

Austin Czarnik leads the team with four points, all coming via assists. He is tied for the Calder Cup Playoff lead with his four helpers and is tied for second in overall scoring. Cehlarik and Fitzgerald are tied for the team lead with two goals each while Jordan Binnington had the best performance in net by stopping 23 of 26 shots in game two.

This best-of-five series now heads to Allentown for at least two more games Friday and Saturday night at 7:05pm. Lehigh Valley has been tough to beat at the PPL Center this season, but the P-Bruins have experience in hostile postseason environments. Last season, the team faced off against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton after splitting the first two games of the series. The Penguins took game three, but Providence took the next two on the road to win the series against the top team in the conference. With many players on that team still on the current roster, the P-Bruins will not be afraid heading on the road looking to extend their season.

Special teams are going to be key for Providence if they want to advance. The Phantoms power play has been the best unit on the ice so far with three goals in just eight chances so far this postseason. The P-Bruins do have two goals in 10 chances on the man advantage this series along with a shorthanded goal, so the team with the best penalty kill for the next three games likely will end up victorious.

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