With the game knotted at 1-1 with less than three minutes left in regulation in Friday night’s match up between divisional rival Worcester Sharks and Providence Bruins at the Dunkin Donuts center in Providence, P-Bruins forward Alden Hirschfeld was in on the forecheck in the offensive zone against two Worcester Sharks defenders. His aggressive pursuit of the puck caused a turnover, and he made no mistake when he rushed in on Worcester goaltender Alex Stalock, netting his 3rd goal of the season and the eventual game-winner at 17:33 of the 3rd period to give the P-Bruins their first lead of the game. Trent Whitfield added an empty-net goal 90 seconds later to secure the 3-1 victory, halting the P-Bruins 2-game losing streak and giving them a proper start to the month of March.
The victory also carried on the impressive streak of rookie goaltender Niklas Svedberg, who had a 10-game winning streak come to an end on Tuesday against Portland: Svedberg has not lost 2 games in a row in regulation this season, at all. Svedberg made 18 saves on 19 shots and picked up his 26th win of the season as Providence improved to 32-18-0-4 in 54 games this season – and 17-8-0-3 at home. Although they now sit in first place in the Atlantic division with 68 points, they have played one more game than the Portland Pirates, who sit in 2nd place with 66 points in 53 games.
The game remained scoreless until the final minute of the 2nd period, when Worcester’s Marek Viedensky beat Svedberg on a shorthanded opportunity with his 2nd goal of the season (unassisted, at 19:15 of the 2nd).
Providence’s power play seemed to be suffering heavily, and even failed at a 5-on-3 earlier in the game, but were given yet another 5-on-3 in the 3rd period when Nick Petrecki joined Brodie Reid in the penalty box about halfway through the final period. Reid’s cross-checking minor expired, but Providence kept pressure on with the remaining time in the man-advantage. Craig Cunningham sent a pass to Jamie Tardif, who in turn gave a beautiful set up to Kyle MacKinnon. MacKinnon’s 10th goal of the season, a power play goal, came at 12:53 of the 3rd period and tied the game at 1-1.
After Hirschfeld’s brilliant goal that gave Providence the go-ahead goal late in the game was assisted by Garnet Exelby, who picked up another assist on Whitfield’s empty net goal. Whitfield’s goal may involved a great individual spin-around effort to hit the open net and earn his 5th of the season at 19:02 of the 3rd period, with the secondary assist to Exelby and the primary assist to Christian Hanson.
- The games three stars were: (3) Alex Stalock; (2) Craig Cunningham; (1) Alden Hirschfeld.
- Providence out-shot Worcester 23-19.
- Providence was successful in killing off all 4 of Worcester’s power play opportunities, and although they were 1-for-6 on the power play, they also gave up a shorthanded goal.
- Bobby Robins picked up his AHL-leading 31st major penalty of the season.
- Jordan Caron had 2 clear breakaway opportunities, and was stopped by Stalock on both. He was a -1 on the night.
- This was the 10th of 12 meetings this season between Worcester and Providence. Providence now leads the season series 5-3-0-2, including the last 4 wins in a row.
- Tardif returned tonight for the first time since February 17th, when he suffered a back injury.
- The P-Bruins are plagued by injury. They are currently without forwards Ryan Spooner (lower body), Carter Camper (upper body), Max Sauve (knee), and Jared Knight (still; hamstring, again/still); and defensemen Zach Trotman (recurrent concussion symptoms), David Warsofsky (knee), and Ryan Button, (lower body). Camper and Trotman are hopeful to return next week.
- Torey Krug was named CCM/AHLRookie of the Month for February!!
- Providence faces off against the Springfield Falcons tomorrow night at 7pm in Springfield.