PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Justin Florek, Alexander Khokhlachev and Zach Trotman each tallied a goal and an assist as the Providence Bruins downed the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 5-1, at Dunkin’ Donuts Center. It was the first meeting between the two teams since last year’s Eastern Conference Semifinal where the Penguins rallied from a 0-3 deficit to defeat the Bruins in seven games.
The Bruins hopped onto the power play early in the first period and would go up, 1-0, right after the man-advantage expired. A bad angle shot from the far circle by Khokhlachev was stopped by goaltender Jeff Deslauriers, but the bouncing puck could not be cleared away by the Penguins defense before Florek swept it into the net at 2:29.
Bobby Robins doubled that lead with 7:19 left until the first intermission, finding a loose puck near the right post and quickly cutting toward the front of the crease. Deslauriers stopped the initial shot, but Robins was able to lift the rebound over the Penguins netminder to make it 2-0.
The score stood until the 6:01 mark of the third period when Craig Cunningham stuffed in a power play goal to push Providence further ahead. The Bruins then skated to a 4-0 cushion 2:22 later on a Trotman wrist shot from the right point that sailed past the blocker of Deslauriers.
Harry Zolnierczyk broke up the Bruins’ shutout bid at the 12:25 mark of the same period, digging a puck out of a scrum in the Providence crease and flipping his 13th goal of the season over the shoulder of goaltender Niklas Svedberg.
Khokhlachev re-established Providence’s four-goal margin and completed the scoring on a breakaway goal with 3:20 left in regulation.
Deslauriers dropped to 16-10-2 on the season, stopping 22-of-26 over 47:52 of playing time. Coming into the game in relief midway through the third, Eric Hartzell made four saves on five shots. Svedberg turned aside 26 shots for the Bruins.