On the strength of Niklas Svedberg’s first shutout in a Providence Bruins’ uniform, the Denizens of the Dunk defeated St. John’s IceCaps and took their first victory of the season on home ice.
Facing off in their eighth contest of the young season, the Baby-Bruins sought to halt their frustrating three-game losing streak. Hosting Atlantic Division rival, the IceCaps, the P-Bruins looked to salvage at least a split in their first weekend homestand of the year.
A relieved Cassidy joked in the post-game: “This is what it looks like to smile!”
Providence got out to a fast start with the energy line trio of Robins, Lane MacDermid and Hanson combining on a goal 22 seconds into the opening frame.
Said Robins: “We started the game – the objective was just to get in there on the forecheck: To get some big hits and come out hard and set the tone early in our rink… we came out flying… Hanson took a nice shot, MacDermid forced the turnover. I looked (the puck was right there), I ripped it and it went in.”
Beating IceCap ‘tender Eddie Pasquale shortside from in-close, the home squad earned the early advantage. The P-Bruins’ fourth line remained strong throughout the period, producing turnovers and chances with effort and physicality.
“It was our most complete game of the year,” said Providence Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy. “I thought the Hanson line… dominated from start to finish… good to see them get rewarded around the net – two goals going to the net, and could’ve had a couple more. [They] set the tempo.”
Despite significantly out-shooting their opponents [again], Providence needed Svedberg to come-up big on several occasions. Midway through the game, he turned aside Maxime Macenauer on a 4-on-4 breakaway chance with a massive kick-save with his right pad to keep their fragile lead intact. “Those are the ones you need,” said Cassidy.
Discussing the save post-game, Svedberg said, “It was kinda tough for me to keep focused because we didn’t have so many shots [against], we were playing so good. It was obviously a nice save to make there to bring something from my side.”
The P-Bruins once again dominated the possession-game, out-shooting the IceCaps by twenty SOG’s (38 to 18). After eight games they’ve averaged six more shots per game than their opponents (31.6 to 25.6).
During the middle stanza, Providence added to their advantage with Carter Camper’s second 5-on-3 goal in as many games. St John’s Dean Arsene joined Spencer Machacek in the box, giving the P-B’s an extended two-man advantage. Less than ten seconds later, Ryan Spooner found Camper with a cross-crease feed and last season’s leading scorer finished the no-doubter to extend the lead. Chris Bourque added an assist on the play.
In the third, the energy line’s workmanlike performance was again rewarded on the score-sheet early in the third. Hanson got the puck to a stationed-in-front Robins, whose shot was denied by Pasquale. The puck lay near the gaping net-mouth and MacDermid lunged to push it past the St. John’s goaltender to ice the game.
All that was left was for Svedberg to complete his first North American pro shutout. The netminder denied several late flurries with solid positioning and quick pads. Physical efforts in the net-front from his teammates combined with a smidge of luck secured the victory with 18 saves on 18 shots.
“It was a great feeling,” Svedberg said after the game. “We’ve had a tough start here – it’s real nice for us to get a win here – our first home win.”
The Providence Bruins take to the ice again next Friday, hosting Albany.
Follow Bob Mand on Twitter at @HockeyMand
Bob is a Boston Bruins Correspondent for The Hockey Writers. He lives in the Boston Metro Area with his wife, Amanda and their five-year-old son, Cormac.