PROVIDENCE, R.I.- After holding on for dear life last night, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms looked to bring a commanding 2-0 series lead back to Allentown. The Providence Bruins outshot the Phantoms less than 24 hours ago 41-24 – something Scott Gordon’s squad can’t let happen again. The 41 Providence shots last night was the first time the Phantoms have given up at least 40 shots a game since March 10th against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Alex Lyon got the start again between the pipes for Lehigh Valley after his stellar outing in game one. Lyon’s third period was highlighted when he made 15 key saves which kept Providence from tying the game late. As for the Bruins, head coach Jay Leach decided to go with Jordan Binnigton. The Bruins wanted to come out of the gate and make an early statement to get the fans inside the Dunkin’ Donuts Center behind him, and they wasted no one doing that as less than three minutes into the game, Anton Blidh buried one in from the left to give Providence an early lead. The Bruins weren’t done as a little over three minutes later, Peter Cehlarik was all alone and rocketed the puck over the glove of Alex Lyon to double the Bruins lead.
Unlike in the series’ opening game, the Phantoms wouldn’t respond immediately after trailing by two after one. With the game nearing the midway point, Lehigh Valley would get on the scoreboard as Mark Friedman would skate past the Bruins defenders on the power play to cut the Phantoms deficit in half. It was only the third time this season the rookie defencemen Friedman has found the back of the net and all three goals have come on the road. Less than a minute and a half later the Phantoms would tie the game as the Massachusetts native Mike Vecchione would bank in a Chris Conner rebound stunning the Bruins crowd.
The game would remain tied at two after two, but it didn’t last long as it only took 19 seconds into the third period for the Bruins to retake the lead as Jordan Swarz would score the eventually game-winning goal shorthanded off a careless Phantoms turnover in their defensive zone. The Bruins would get their second special teams goal of the period as Peter Cehlarik on the power play would give Providence their second two-goal lead of the night. The Phantoms wouldn’t go down quietly as Greg Carey would net his second goal of the series off a beautiful pass from the AHL MVP Phil Varone. With his team down one with two and a half minutes to go, Scott Gordon decided to pull Alex Lyon for the extra attacker. It turned out to be the wrong decision as Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson would deliver the dagger.
When the final horn sounded the Providence Bruins evened up this series at one game each with a 5-3 victory. For the second straight game, the Phantoms fail to record at least 30 shots in the game which could be a thorn in their side the rest of this series. The Phantoms stayed out of the penalty box only committing three minor penalties after having seven last night. However, like the previous game, their penalty kill couldn’t keep Providence off the scorecard. Entering the playoffs, the Bruins were ranked 20th in the league on the power play at 16.7%. The series will now shift to the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania with game three Friday night. Puck drop will take place a little after 7:05 EDT.