PROVIDENCE, RI – The Providence Bruinsdefeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 8-5 Friday evening at the Dunkin’Donuts Center to take a one game to nothing lead in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Kyle MacKinnon, Craig Cunningham, Chris Bourque, Carter Camper, Ryan Spooner and Jordan Caron each had a goal, while Jamie Tardif scored twice. Game two is back at the Dunkin’Donuts Center Saturday at 7:05pm.
The Penguins scored first on a penalty shot in the opening period. Chad Kolarik snuck a wrister past Niklas Svedbergon the near side. Spooner became the first of two P-Bruins to record his first career playoff goal in the game to tie it at one. Bourque got the first of his four points on the evening with the primary helper, while Tommy Cross had the secondary assist. The game went into the first intermission tied at one.
Caron gave the P-Bruins the team’s first lead of the game with his second goal of the playoffs at the 5:09 mark. Cunningham and Kevan Miller recorded the assists. Less than 90 seconds later, the Penguins tied the game at two. Brian Gibbons, scored his second goal of the playoffs, while Paul Thompson and Chris Collins had the assists. Providence retook the lead at 7:09 of the middle frame, courtesy of MacKinnon’s first playoff goal. He got a feed from Trent Whitfield, who had a one-touch pass from Jared Knight.
The P-Bruins added to their lead at the 8:34 mark with Tardif’s fourth strike of the postseason, while Bourque got his first of two helpers in the frame, along with a Christian Hanson secondary assist. Camper scored the P-Bruins’ power play goal at the 10:24 mark. Bourque and Caron each had assists on the play. Thompson had the first of his two goals while on the man advantage later in the period, with Joey Mormina adding the assist. Providence led 5-3 going into the second intermission.
Cunningham started off the third period scoring at the 5:25 mark, a goal that turned out to be the game winner, as he fell over in the near edge of the slot by Penguins goaltender Jeff Zatkoff. Camper and David Warsofsky picked up the assists. The Penguins pulled within a couple of goals at the 16:31 mark when Bobby Robins was given a double minor. Collins registered the goal with Gibbons getting the lone assist.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton pulled within a goal at the 17:19 mark on Thompson’s second goal of the night, when Svedberg had his pass bounce right out into the slot while he stood in the trapezoid. The P-Bruins retook a two goal advantage at the 18:05 mark when Bourque scored his fourth goal of the post-season. Spooner had the lone assist. Providence finished off the scoring with a power play goal at the 19:24 mark from Tardif, his second of the game and fifth of the post-season. Whitfield and MacKinnon helped out on the play as the P-Bruins went onto the 8-5 victory.
Svedberg made 25 saves on 30 shots for the P-Bruins, while Zatkoff blocked 19 of the 27 shots he faced for the Penguins. The P-Bruins ended the game 2 for 4 on the power play, while the Penguins were 2 for 6.