P-Bruins news conference...
Providence, RI – The Providence Bruins improved their record to (48-21-0-5) and clinched first place in the Eastern Conference after defeating the Springfield Falcons 5-3. Craig Cunningham, Carter Camper, Trent Whitfield, Chris Bourque, and Jordan Caron each tallied a goal in the win. Niklas Svedberg recorded 37 saves in the victory.
With the win, the rookie goaltender tied the Providence Bruins franchise record of 37 wins in a season that was previously set by John Grahame during the 1998-99 Calder Cup year.
The first period was packed with action and the game became physical quite quickly. The Bruins had their first opportunity less than a minute into the period when Justin Florek blocked a clearing pass and took the first shot of the game.
Curtis McElhinney made the save, but a scuffle after the whistle gave Providence their first power play of the game. The tenth top power play unit in the league had several opportunities, but Providence's first goal of the night came just seven seconds after the penalty elapsed when Cunningham put home the rebound off of Zach Trotman's booming slapshot from the point.
Jared Knight was also awarded an assist on the play. Shortly after the Bruins took a 1-0 lead, the Falcons got their first opportunity when Michael Chaput skated down the near-side boards and took a wrist shot from the faceoff dot.
Svedberg made the easy save. 11:22 into the period, Springfield's Nick Drazenovic was given a misconduct penalty and the Bruins had their second power play of the night.
Just eight seconds into the power play, Torey Krug made a pass from the point to Bourque on the half-boards, who in turn made a pass across the slot to Camper.
Camper buried the puck before McElhinney had the chance to stop it. Fourteen seconds later, the Falcons answered when a slapshot from Matthew Ford went over Svedberg's shoulder. 29 seconds later, Springfield tied it up at two when Jonathan Audy-Marchessault snuck a wrist shot past Svedberg.
The Providence penalty kill unit prevailed in their first test of the night after Jared Knight went to the box for tripping. The sixth top unit allowed only two shots on net. The Bruins ended the period with a power play, but weren't able to pull ahead. Springfield outshot Providence 14-10 in the first frame.
Despite starting the second period with a power play, Providence could not connect. They quickly found themselves in a five-on-three situation when Bobby Robins and Garnet Exelby were sent to the penalty box.
Although the penalty kill unit killed off the five-on-three flawlessly, Blake Parlett gave Springfield their first lead of the game when he scored on the man-advantage with a slapper from the point. Just as soon as play was back to even, Bourque was called for hooking and the Bruins went back onto the penalty kill.
Providence had an opportunity to score a shorthanded goal when Christian Hanson and Kyle MacKinnon connected on a two-on-one.
Despite a great drive, the pair couldn't make it work. Just as Bourque's penalty ended, Camper sent Colby Cohen on a breakaway, but McElhinney made the save to keep the Falcons ahead 3-2.
With just over six-and-a-half minutes remaining in the middle frame, Cohen sent Whitfield on a breakaway. Whitfield blasted a wrister over McElhinney's left shoulder to tie the game up at three.
As tensions between the two teams increased as they battled for first place in the Eastern Conference, a brawl broke out with 1:14 remaining in the period.
Hanson received five minutes for fighting and two minutes for roughing in addition to a bench minor penalty for Providence for too many men. Springfield's Bass received five minutes for fighting while Parlett received two for slashing. Springfield once again outshot Providence 15-13 in the frame.
The Bruins came into the third period with determination. Despite starting the final frame with a man-disadvantage, Whitfield won the opening faceoff and took off on a breakaway.
McElhinney, who had 34 saves during the evening, made the save. About thirty seconds later, Camper and Krug made a great play only to be stopped. Tensions continued to run high and less than five minutes into the period, Cohen and Cody Goloubef sparred.
At 7:14, Providence capitalized on a power play when Ryan Spooner fed Bourque the puck. Bourque put the Bruins ahead 4-3 after netting a wrist shot from the point. Knight was awarded the secondary assist.
The Falcons continued to shower Svedberg with shots, but Svedberg remained solid in the net to keep Providence's lead. At 12:52, the Bruins capped off the scoring at five when Caron came up the nearside boards, beat a defensemen, and buried a backhander. Cunningham and Tommy Cross assisted on the play.
Despite outshooting Providence 40-34 in the match and last-minute efforts by the Falcons, who pulled McElhinney with 1:14 remaining in the game, the Bruins held onto the 5-3 win. The victory gave Providence the points they needed to break 100 points in the season.
The Bruins return to The Dunk on Sunday, April 21 versus the Norfolk Admirals. The puck drops at 3:05 p.m. for Team Poster Day.