The Providence Bruins took on the Portland Pirates in a rematch that gave the Bruins their first win of the season. In that game, the Bruins won 6-4, on the back of Frank Vatrano’s four-goal outburst.
Friday night, Malcolm Subban got his first start of the season after coming back from a lower body injury, and was opposed by Sam Brittain in goal for the Pirates. The game started out like so many other this season, with the Providence Bruins struggling to get any offense who the other time is all over them. The Bruins were able to kill off and early penalty to Tommy Cross, but five minutes later the found themselves in more penalty trouble when Colton Hargrove went off for interference. The Pirates continued to pound the net and eventually put the puck in, but it was waived off because Malcolm Subban was tripped up. With the goal disallowed, it seemed to give the Bruins new life and saved them from a deficit. A few seconds later, Colby Cave got a pass from Brandon DeFazio and took it around the net for a short handed wrap around goal. Shortly after the Cave goal, the AHL’s leading scorer, Frank Vatrano, buried a feed from Max Talbot who was making his Providence Bruins debut. But Portland came storming back with added pressure buzzing around Subban, finally Chase Balisy broke through off a pass from Yann Sauve and Vincent Saponari. Just 13 seconds later Rob Schremp tied the game off of pass from Garrett Wilson. With time winding down before the first intermission Greg McKegg picked off a breakout pass and snuck it by Malcolm Subban to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead. The Bruins went into the break trailing 3-2, with the shots 18 to 10 in favor of the Portland Pirates.
The second period started out with the Providence Bruins trying to find an answer for the Pirates offensive attack. An early penalty to the Pirates put the league’s best power play on the man-advantage, however, the Bruins failed to capitalize on the power-play and were forced back to 5 on 5 hockey still trailing. The Bruins finally capitalized as Alexander Khoklachev finished a Chris Casto shot to tie the game, Tommy Cross also got an assist on the play. A few minutes later, Frank Vantrano scored for the second time in the game assisted by Andrew Cherniwchen and Max Talbot. The Providence Bruins gained the 4-3 lead and looked to hang on at the end of the period. With four seconds to play in the period Jonathan Racine went to the box after covering the puck and earning a delay of game penalty. The period ended with the Providence Bruins leading 4-3, and the shots 28 to 21 still in favor of the Pirates.
The third period started better for the Providence Bruins who were able to trade chances early with the Pirates. Malcolm Subban looked like he had shaken the rust off from his injury and seemed to be settling in nicely in his start. But 3:19 into the period Rob Schremp was left alone in front of the net to burry a pass from Garrett Wilson to tie the game this time for the Pirates. The Pirates put the Providence Bruins back on the power play three minutes later when Vincent Saponari went off for a hook, but did not capitalize. The Providence Bruins kept pounding away at Brittain and finally broke through when Anton Blidh fired a slap shot from the top of the circle assisted Justin Hickman. That shot brought the tie and gave the Bruins the lead for good. Alexander Khoklachev added an empty net goal assisted by Brett Bellemore to seal the win. The final shots were 36 to 36 as the Providence Bruins won their third game of the season 6-4.
The three stars of the game gave each of their teams a boost at the right times to try and help they win the game. Third star Rob Schremp, he had two goals in the game both times tying it for the Pirates. Second star Frank Vatrano, he had two goals in the game and was the first in the AHL to ten goals this season. First star Anton Blidh, who had the game winner for the Providence Bruins and played a very good game overall. The Providence Bruins will travel to Connecticut to face the Hartford Wolf Pack on Saturday night, before returning home to face the Springfield Falcons at the Dunkin Donuts center for a Sunday matinee.
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