The Providence Bruins took on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms Friday night at the Dunkin Donuts center starting a home-and-home match-up. Zane McIntyre started his sixth straight game for the baby Bruins, opposed by Jason LaBarbera for Lehigh Valley.
The game started out relatively quite with both teams trading chances in the neutral zone. The Phantoms were able to take advantage of the young Bruins team dominating them in the early part of the period. Zane McIntyre was forced to stand tall in net for Providence as he faced shot after shot with little time in between. It took the Bruins almost eight minutes to register their first shot of the game, but the Phantoms continued to dominate the play. With about seven minutes left in the period the tides started to turn in favor of the Providence Bruins. They started to pick up their game and the scoring chances were coming in bunches for them. Anton Blidh finally broke through LaBarbera on a goal assisted by Tommy Cross and Seth Griffith. The period ended with the momentum swinging in favor of the Providence Bruins, who led 1-0. The shots were 10 to 8 in favor of the Phantoms.
The second period started with Taylor Leier picking off a pass and taking it down to score just 25 second in, tying the game 1-1. The Phantoms used that goal to change the momentum back in their direction, the continued their domination in the Providence end. The Bruins had issues early in the period breaking the puck out of their zone. The Phantoms conceded the first power play of the game when Matt Lashoff, the former Bruin, went off for a slash. It only took a minute for the leagues leading scorer, Frank Vatrano, to capitalize off of a tic-tac-toe play from Khoklachev and Griffith. Chaos ensued after the goal and both teams were handed penalties, for the Bruins it was Vatrano two minutes for roughing and for the Phantoms it was Mark Alt who was given four minutes for roughing. The double minor put the baby Bruins immediately back on the power play, 47 seconds later Colby Cave scored assisted by Alexander Khoklachev and Seth Griffith. The Bruins looked to be in control of the game leading 3-1 with time winding down in the second period. But with seconds left in the period, Petr Straka fired home an Andrew MacDonald rebound, Nick Cousins picked up the secondary assist on the play. The Bruins went into the break up 3 to 2, with Phantoms still leading the shots 24 to 16.
The Bruins started out the third period better then the first two. Both teams continues to trade chances, Alexander Khoklachev got a break away at 14:55 but was stoned by a sprawling LaBarbera. They continued to trade chances back and forth, testing the goalies at both ends. Max Iafrate got the Bruins into penalty trouble with a slashing a Phantoms player after he was hit with an errant stick. The Phantoms were hungry for a goal on their first opportunity in the game. They got just what they were looking for off the stick of Tim Brent to tie the game assisted by Taylor Leier and Nick Cousins. The goal was a painful reminder to many providence fans that they have had a tough time hanging onto their leads in games. The Phantoms got into late trouble when Samuel Morin was tagged for a high stick and given a double minor. One of the newest Providence Bruins Matt Irwin scored on the power play to break the tie assisted by Frank Vatrano and Khoklachev. This put the Providence Bruins in the lead for good, the would add an empty netter late to win the game. The final score was 5-3 Providence, and the final shots were 29 to 28 in favor of the Providence Bruins.
Zane McIntyre after game talked about the first period “I thought our defensemen did a really good job boxing out and limiting the second chance opportunities.”
The message in the locker room after a tough start was “Get back to our game we weren’t playing P Bruins hockey, we were scrambling in our own end and we weren’t getting pucks up cleanly.” McIntyre also talked about what they will for in the second meeting tomorrow “We expect them to come out hard in their home building, so I think it’s really important for us to have a hot start and quick start get to it early thats the biggest thing.”
Tonight three stars all came for the Providence Bruins, who won their second game of the season. Third star Frank Vatrano, the AHL’s leading goal scorer had a goal and an assist in the winning effort. Second star Seth Griffith, after being added to the roster late he ended up with three assists on the game and was a key part in the win. First star Matt Irwin, who has been a great addition to the Providence Bruins and scored the game-winning goal in the game.
The Providence Bruins will end their home and home in Lehigh Valley on Saturday night against the Phantoms.