Providence Win Brings Them Closer To Clinching

Craig Cunningham’s 2-point night moves him into a tie for 2nd on the team in points at 39. His 23 goals are a career high and 2nd on the team. He also has a team-best 164 shots on net in his sophomore season.

The Providence Bruins defeated the Portland Pirates in Portland last night by a score of 3-2, marking the teams 40th win of the season (the 1st team in the AHL to hit 40 wins this year) and positioning them 8 points away from clinching a playoff spot. Craig Cunningham and Ryan Spooner each had a goal and an assist and Graham Mink had the game winning goal while Niklas Svedberg made 30 saves in his 31st win of the season.

With 11 games left in the season, Providence has a record of 40-20-0-5. At 85 points, they are 2nd in the Eastern Conference, which is only 1 point behind the Conference-leading Syracuse Crunch and 2 points behind the AHL-leading Texas Stars.

Last night’s win finished off the season series against the Pirates. In 10 games against the divisional rival, Providence came out on top with a record of 6-3-0-1.

Spooner opened the scoring last night with the lone goal in the first period. The goal came on a power play at 9:20 of the 1st while the Bruins had a 5-on-3 advantage. Portland’s Brendan Shinnimin and Alexandre Bolduc were both in the penalty box when Spooner netted his 13th goal of the season from Carter Camper and Cunningham.

Providence took a 2-0 lead at 6:20 of the 2nd period on Cunningham’s 23rd goal of the season with assists to Kevan Miller and Spooner.

Portland cut the lead in half at 12:02 of the 2nd period on a goal from Jordan Martinook. Bolduc and Nick Johnson got the assists on Martinook’s 8th goal of the year. As has been a problem all season, the P-Bruins collapsed and let in a swarm of goals in a short period of time. Only 9 seconds later, Portland’s Ethan Werek got his 10th goal of the season to tie the game. Chris Brown and Shinnimin notched assists on Werek’s goal.

With just under 2 minutes to go in the 2nd period, Providence regained the lead on a goal from Mink. At 18:02 of the middle frame, Mink beat Portland goaltender Mike Lee for his 8th goal of the season with assists to Kyle MacKinnon and Trent Whitfield.

Providence held on to that lead for the remainder of the game, withstanding a power play late in the 3rd, and Svedberg turning aside 9 shots in the last period. Lee was equally perfect in the final period, shutting the door on 12 Providence shots. At the end of the night, Providence had outshot the Pirates 39-32.

The Bruins hopped on the bus after the game to travel to Pennsylvania where they will face off against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday night.

Game Notes

  • Alex Khokhlachev was a healthy scratch as he was to be traded along with Matt Bartkowski, who is on recall in Boston, to Calgary for Jarome Iginla. As we all know now, that trade fell through because everything is the worst. Koko traveled with the team to Pennsylvania and will presumably play on Friday.
  • Due to Bartkowski’s impending trade, Torey Krug was called up to Boston yesterday as well. It is unclear if he will remain in Boston on call-up, when or if he will return to Providence.
  • Spooner, who is returning from a Boston call-up of his own, led all skaters with 7 shots on net last night.
  • Providence went 1-for-4 on the power play last night and a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill.
  • Christian Hanson, who was questionable before the game due to a hand injury, did not play.
  • The 3 stars were: (3) Jamie Tardif; (2) Craig Cunningham; (1) Ryan Spooner.
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