The Providence Bruins took on the Utica Comets in Utica on Saturday night. The Bruins were without the AHL’s leading scorer, Frank Vatrano. Malcolm Subban started in net for the Providence Bruins and was opposed by Jacob Markstrom for Utica. The game started out slow with both teams trading chances early in the period. But it was the Providence Bruins who struck first when Colton Hargrove finished the Ben Youds pass, Rob Bordson also got an assist on the play. But that goal only woke up the sleeping Utica offense. Hunter Shinkaruk tied the game for Utica from Brendan Gaunce and Linden Vey. Three minutes later a sloppy turn over in the Providence end led to Hunter Shinkaruk getting his second goal of the period. The issues at the end of the period for the Providence Bruins continued, they were under pressure in their own end and a miss defensive assignment led to the goal. Gaunce picked off a sloppy break out and fired it right past Subban to take a three to one lead. The nightmare period finally ended as they went into the break trailing 3-1 with the shots 10 to 7 in favor of the Comets.
The Bruins came out on a mission in the second period looking to make up some ground and cut down the lead. But they couldn’t get anything going against the Comets, Jacob Markstrom stood on his head at points during the second period. Just as the Providence Bruins seemed to be picking up momentum, the tides turned again for the Comets. Mike Zalewski found the back of the net from a Brendan Gaunce pass to give the comets a 4-1 lead. The Providence Bruins power play issues continued again to tonight as they went 0 for 3 which puts them to 0 for 14 in the last four games. The Bruins went back into the locker room trailing 4-1, with the shots 17-16 in favors of the Bruins.
The third period started the same as so many period for the Bruins this season, they failed to follow a great second with a sloppy start to the third. The Bruins barley got an offense in the early going not test Markstrom at all. A Frankie Simonelli delay of game penalty put the Comets back on the power play giving them a shot to extend the lead. Hunter Shinkaruk scored on the power play to complete the hat trick, he was assisted by Alexandre Grenier and Linden Vey. That goal would seal the deal for the Utica Comets as they would hang on for the 5-1 victory. The final shots were 23-21 in favor of the Comets.
All three stars were Utica representatives. Third star Mike Zalewski, he had a goal for the Comets that helped put a little distance between them and the Bruins. Second star Jacob Markstrom, Markstrom stopped 20 of 21 in the victory. First star Hunter Shinkaruk, he had a hat trick in the victory for the Utica Comets. The Providence Bruins will be in Bridgeport to take on the Sound Tigers.