Providence Nearly Blows 5-Goal Lead, Beats Bridgeport 5-4

Craig Cunningham was the 1st star with 2 goals tonight. He and linemates Carter Camper and Max Sauve stepped up to fill in scoring that was badly needed with the absence of the teams leaders. (Photo Credit: Steph Vail/Flickr)

The Providence Bruins hosted the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Dunkin Donuts Center on Friday night and jumped out to an unexpected 5-0 lead only to come close to blowing it before coming away with a 5-4 win. Craig Cunningham had 2 goals and Tommy Cross  had what would be the game winner. Christian Hanson and Torey Krug also had goals for the P-Bruins, who came away with their 1st win over Bridgeport in 3 games this season, and will face the Sound Tigers 5 more times before the seasons end.

Although the Providence Bruins were without their top scorers and at least 2 top defensemen who await Boston Bruins training camp – as well as a top forward in Jordan Caron and defensemen Garnet Exelby and Colby Cohen all to injury – Christian Hanson opened the scoring at 11:43 of the 1st period with his 5th goal of the season, assisted by Tyler McNeely (a former Sound Tiger) in his 1st game for Providence.

The Bruins would score 3 goals in 3 minutes in the 1st as Torey Krug scored his 2nd of the season at 14:17 of the 1st, assisted by Carter Camper. Cunningham then scored the 1st of his 2 goals on the night at 15:12 of the 1st from Max Sauve and Camper.

Bobby Robins dropped the gloves with former P-Bruin and fellow heavyweight Nathan McIver towards the end of the 1st period. Robins by far leads the AHL in penalty minutes and major penalties.

At 12:08 of the 2nd, Cunningham scored his 2nd goal of the night and 6th of the season (with assists from Sauve and Camper again) to make the score 4-0 for Providence. A 5th goal made it past Sound Tigers goaltender Anders Nilsson at 12:26 of the 2nd when the only power play goal of the night was scored by Tommy Cross. Cross’s 1st of the season was assisted by Kevan Miller and Captain Trent Whitfield.

With a 5 goal lead going into the 3rd period, the P-Bruins should have been set to walk away with a win tonight, but the Sound Tigers did not give up. Travis Hamonic got his 4th of the season at 5:42 of the 3rd; followed by Aaron Ness with is 1st of the season at 9:33 of the 3rd. David Ullstrom made it 5-3 with his 5th of the season, beating Niklas Svedberg at 11:11. Johan Sundstrom made it a 1-goal game at 17:39  of the 3rd and the Sound Tigers were poised to tie the game until Hamonic took a penalty with about a minute to go in regulation. The P-Bruins were able to hold on to the 5-4 lead until the buzzer sounded to end the game.

The 3 stars of the game were:

3. David Ullstrom (1 goal, 1 assist, 4 shots, +2)

2. Carter Camper (3 assists, 4 shots, +2)

1. Craig Cunningham (2 goals, 4 shots, +1)

Jared Knight was a ghost on the score sheet with no points or registered shots on net.

In the end, the shots were 30-28 in favor of Bridgeport, with Nilsson making 23 saves and Svedberg making 26 saves. The P-Bruins troubling penalty kill was successful in killing of Bridgeport’s 2 power plays. Although they came dangerously close to blowing a huge lead, the Bruins came out with 2 much-needed points in the standings tonight. Hopefully they can carry the winning momentum into Springfield as they face the Northeast division-leading Falcons tomorrow night in Springfield.


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