The Providence Bruins have extended their winning streak to 4 games with a 3-1 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Friday night. Craig Cunningham has 2 goals and Justin Florek had the empty netter to insure the victory. Michael Hutchinson made 26 saves in net in helping the Bruins improve to 39-19-0-5 this season.
Penalties were aplenty in this game and although both teams had a power play goal, the scoring didn’t begin until halfway through the game. About midway into the 2nd period, Cunningham scored his 21st goal of the season with assists to Graham Mink and David Warsofsky. Mink now has 4 points in his last 4 games.
Bridgeport tied the game up at 8:44 of the 3rd period. With Colby Cohen – a last minute addition in lieu of Matt Bartkowski‘s Boston recall – in the penalty box for slashing, Sean Wiles got his 1st goal of the season. The power play goal was assisted by Jon Landry and Matt Donovan.
2 minutes later, at 10:49 of the 3rd, Cunningham would strike again. With Bridgeport’s Ty Wishart in the box for a delay of game call, Cunningham put Providence ahead for the 2nd time that night with his 22nd goal of the season and 2nd goal of the game. Zach Trotman got the primary assist, and Warsofsky also picked up an assist for his 2nd of the game.
In the final minute of the game, the Sound Tigers – already on a power play thanks to a cross-checking penalty to Trotman – pulled goaltender Kenny Reiter for a 6-on-4 advantage to push for the tying goal. Florek picked up the shorthanded empty netter to ensure the 3-1 victory for the P-Bruins, notching his 10th goal of the season at 19:51 of the 3rd period with assists from Garnet Exelby and Colby Cohen.
Alex Khokhlachev made his debut tonight, but his name only showed up on the score sheet under the penalty column. He was whistled for tripping 30 seconds into the 2nd period. He recorded 1 shot on net. His wingers had a handful of shots – 2 for Kyle MacKinnon and 3 for Jamie Tardif – but Providence spent the majority of the night killing penalties or (with the exception of Cunningham’s goal) trying to convert on their own power plays with futility.
The goaltenders were both strong – Hutchinson earned the 2nd star and Reiter, who made 27 saves, was 3rd star. Cunningham was the 1st star. Cunningham has scored 7 of his 22 goals this season against Bridgeport.
Florek has been making a big impact in the month of March. His goal tonight was his 5th this month, meaning he has scored 50% of his goals this season since his 2-goal game on March 3rd.
Providence travels to Worcester tomorrow to face the Sharks in their final game of the weekend.