Providence Bruins


Dec 22, 2018


Springfield, MA – The Providence Bruins defeated the Springfield Thunderbirds Saturday night 5-4 in their final game before the Christmas break. The P-Bruins got goals from Mark McNeill, Karson Kuhlman, Jordan Szwarz, Peter Cehlarik and Connor Clifton while Dan Vladar made his 14th start of the season in net.

Both teams got off to flying starts, but Providence opened the scoring at 14:45 on their first power play of the game. The P-Bruins played tic-tac-toe, with Gemel Smith and Ryan Fitzgerald sending quick passes from the dot to the goal line to McNeill at the right hash. He wristed a one-timer by former Providence goaltender Michael Hutchinson for his fourth goal of the season and gave his team a 1-0 lead. The Thunderbirds tied things up less than a minute later, taking advantage of a power play chance of their own. Harry Zolnierczyk received the puck at the left dot and sent a cross-ice pass through traffic to Thomas Schemitsch. Schemitsch hit the open net for his third goal of the year and Springfield tied things up 1-1 with 4:29 left in the first.

The Providence offense exploded from there, scoring four unanswered goals to take complete control of the game. The first of their barrage came at the end of the first period with 3:21 left, as a turnover in the Springfield end led to the go-ahead goal. Anton Blidh stole the puck in the right wing corner and quickly fed Kuhlman flying into the zone. He snapped in his third goal of the year and Providence led 2-1 after 20 minutes. Szwarz made it 3-1 6:38 into the second period and hit a career milestone in the process. Taking a feed from McNeill on the power play, Szwarz held and fired a shot through the five-hole of Hutchinson for the 100th goal of his AHL career. The T-Birds tried to change the momentum by making a change in net, as Hutchinson was pulled in favor of Samuel Montembeault.

The goaltending change did not slow down the P-Bruins offense, as at 16:26 Cehlarik scored his fifth goal of the season. After a battle for the puck in the neutral zone was won by Providence, the team started a 3-on-1 break. Cehlarik and Szwarz played give-and-go with Cehlarik one-timing a beautiful pass from Szwarz in at the right circle to give the P-Bruins a 4-1 lead. Clifton opened it up to 5-1 with 21 seconds left in the second, sending a wrister from the point by Montembeault for his third goal of the season. The goal was the P-Bruins third on the man-advantage, new season high, and they entered the intermission up 5-1. The Thunderbirds came roaring back in the third, scoring three goals in a span of 1:50. Patrick Bajkov, Dryden Hunt and Paul Thompson all scored even-strength goals to make it a one-goal game with five minutes left, but Providence held on for a 5-4 win.

Vladar stopped 22 of 26 shots in his sixth victory of the year. Hutchinson stopped 12 of 15 shots before getting pulled in the second while Montembeault stopped 8 of 10 shots after entering. Providence was 3-5 on the power play and 6-7 on the penalty kill. The P-Bruins are now off for the holidays and will be back in action Friday at 7:05pm when they travel to Lehigh Valley to take on the Phantoms.

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The Providence Bruins are the American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Boston Bruins, playing their home games at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, RI. Spanning more than 25 years, the Boston/Providence affiliation is one of the longest and most successful player development partnerships in professional hockey history.

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