The Providence Bruins took on the Connecticut Whale yesterday afternoon in Providence. Bruins fans thought they might be destined to go home unhappy when rookie forward and World Junior Championship gold medalist JT Miller from Connecticut capitalized on the first shot of the game for the Whale. However, that would be the only goal Niklas Svedberg of the Bruins allowed past him. The team did their part to help their goalie, only allowing fifteen shots.
After the first goal by the Whale, the Bruins had a number of good chances on 6’8 goaltender Jason Missiaen. Jamie Tardiff put the Providence Bruins on the scoreboard registering his 18th on the season after one-timing a pass from Ryan Spooner. Justin Florek had the secondary assist.
Less than a minute and a half later, the Bruins added another goal and held onto a 2-1 lead going into the first intermission. David Warsofsky, who had just been reassigned to Providence after participating in Boston Bruins training camp, took a shot from the blue line that got past Missiaen. Matt Bartkowski and Ryan Spooner had the assists.
“We know Connecticut likes to block a lot of shots, so I just tried to move my feet and find a lane,” Warsofsky said of his goal. “We had good traffic and I was able to find the back of the net.”
With Providence leading 2-1, tensions got a little higher during the second and finally boiled over when a fight broke out. Tyler Randell of Providence and Jason Wilson of Connecticut exchanged a few punches before Wilson fell to the ice. The referees separated the skaters, but it would not be the only case of tensions boiling over.
Later in the second, the Bruins finally capitalized on a powerplay, notching the only powerplay goal of the game. It was a slow start as the Bruins were having trouble getting set up and the Whale had a shorthanded chance. But the Bruins came charging back down the ice and Warsofsky passed the puck right across the front of the net and Carter Camper shot it in, making it look easy. It was Camper’s 4th on the season and he is now stepping up to fill a bigger role with the NHL season back underway.
“Losing Chris Bourque has really gotten Carter Camper going. He’s the center piece of the powerplay,” Head Coach, Bruce Cassidy, said. “It’s something he does really well and takes a lot of pride in. Carter has been great.”
About half way through the second, another fight broke out, this time between Bobby Robins of Providence and Dylan McIlrath of Connecticut. There was a flurry of punches exchanged between the two skaters as they moved around the ice. The punches continued for a while in a long fight between the two that the officials eventually stepped in to break up. It was a relatively even fight.
However, it was in the third that it became clear that the game had gotten a little rougher. Just under three minutes into the third a more serious scrum broke out, triggered by Justin Florek of Providence running into the Connecticut goaltender. Two sets of players squared off and threw punches before all falling to the ice. The officials handed out fighting majors to Ryan Bourque and Sam Klassen of Connecticut as well as Ryan Button and Tommy Cross of Providence in addition to a pair of roughing penalties and the initial goaltender interference on Florek. The result was a powerplay for Connecticut.
The Bruins sealed their win with just over five minutes left to go in the game. Veteran forward Graham Mink had the puck behind the net and shot it out to Kyle MacKinnon who had no trouble burying it. Although Connecticut continued to try to create pressure, they were just not able to get anything set up. The result was that Providence topped Connecticut 4-1.
Although Connecticut only registered 15 shots, scoring on the very first one, it comes off as slightly deceptive. Svedberg did come up with some good saves to keep his team on top and help to deliver the win. The Bruins defense also played well in front of him, controlling the area right around the net. After the first half of the first period, the Bruins were definitely the better team and played that way.