The Providence Bruins dropped a stinker to the Springfield Falcons, 3-0 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Curtis McElhinney got the shutout, stopping all thirty-three shots he faced.
The Bruins entered game five of their 2012-13 season riding a two-game winning streak. On a night where the P-Bruins celebrated “Pink the Rink”, with some of ticket sales going benefit the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation, the positive environment couldn’t push them to three.
The first period opened with limited offensive chances for either side. The P-Bruins’ man-advantage spluttered, failing to score on five separate occasions – including an extended five-on-three midway through the frame.
The Falcon’s powerplay experienced no-such dysfunctions. Less than ten seconds into their own two-man-advantage, Nick Drazenovic took a cross-crease pass from Ryan Craig and gave Springfield the lead. David Savard added the secondary assist on the tally.
“They finished their five-on-three backdoor play, we missed two of ‘em,” said Providence’s Head Coach Bruce Cassidy following the game. “We’re soft on the puck – gave up some easy chances and I don’t think we’re hard enough around our net… they were better than us tonight.”
But the true fireworks of the frame came later: When, in (relatively) rapid succession, the squads squared-off in scrums that ended with no majors assessed – but more than a few punches thrown. In the first, a ‘disagreement at the B’s bench-door between Chris Bourque and a Falcon led directly to a tangle between Garnet Exelby and Craig.
Later – Niklas Svedberg engaged in a healthy shoving-match with the Falcons’ Cody Bass, leading to another ‘engagement’ – this time, between Bass and P-Bruins captain Trent Whitfield. During this, Bass threw the more exuberant punches – wild uppercuts and the overmatched P-Bruin. Later in the game, Bass would have to atone for this – as he was hammered mercilessly by Lane MacDermid.
The Falcons quickly extended their lead in the second, with Ryan Russell sliding the puck past Svedberg on a shot from the high-slot. Ryan Johansen and Nick Holden earned assists on the play.
Unfortunately – that was about the long and short of the action in the second period as both teams struggled to maintain consistent possession in the offensive zone. The puck seemed to explode on sticks and bodies were flying. A potential third goal for the Falcons was negated by the officials on a hand-pass ruling.
The Falcons eventually potted a third goal in the final stanza. Cam Atkinson put the nail in the coffin slapping a rebound past Svedberg on the short-side from Matt Calvert and John Moore. That was all the scoring on the evening as McElhinney got the shutout, denying Ryan Spooner an opportunity to extend his four-game point streak.
Niklas Svedberg looked solid despite accruing his first loss of the season. Svedberg stopped just 26 of 29, but considering the five-on-three goal, it was hardly a disappointing effort from the rookie netminder.
Aside from the play of Svedberg and a few of the fourth-liners, the lone bright-spot in the B’s lineup was the play of Jordan Caron. While he didn’t finish any of the chances he created… he created several. One notable series saw him dominate the down-low game, possessing the puck for what seemed like minutes despite several spirited attempts by Falcons to dispossess him.
Said Cassidy, “Well he had a hat-trick a couple games ago, but tonight he could’ve had another one… a little luck around the net, a little more composure when they came across and getting it upstairs. Call it what you want, but the chances were there for him… if a guy’s getting opportunities, that’s a good thing and then it’s just a matter of burying them.”
The Providence Bruins visit the Connecticut Whale for the first time this season with the hope of returning to their winning ways from last weekend.
Follow Bob Mand on Twitter at @HockeyMand