PROVIDENCE, RI – Jamie Tardif scored two goals for the second straight night and Niklas Svedberg made 38 saves as the Providence Bruins defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 4-2 Saturday at the Dunkin Donuts Center. Ryan Spooner and Chris Bourque scored the other two Providence goals as the P-Bruins take a two-games-to-none series lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
For the sixth time in seven playoff games, the P-Bruins allowed the first goal. A hustle play for Warren Peters gave him an unassisted shorthanded goal, with the puck wobbling just over Svedberg after he slowed it down considerably. The goal came at 4:40 of the first. Providence tied the game at one at the 5:48 mark. During the same penalty that led to the Penguins shorthanded goal, Tardif and the P-Bruins scored their eighth power play strike of the postseason. Tardif’s shot from a juicy rebound on the far edge of the crease gave him his sixth goal of the post-season. Carter Camper and Bourque recorded the assists.
One night after registering his first pro playoff goal, Spooner added another at the 11:24 mark, which gave the home team a 2-1 advantage. Spooner skated through the zone down low after waiting for a pass from Bourque. Tardif registered the second assist. Tardif notched his second goal of the contest and fourth of the series later in the frame at the 17:25 mark, taking a couple of shots and burying his own rebound just past the near post. Torey Krug and Craig Cunningham each had helpers on the play.
Bourque finished off the first period scoring at the 19:31 mark with a point-blank redirection in front of Penguins goalie Jeff Zatkoff which stretched the lead to three. Tommy Cross and Tardif each picked up assists on the goal. Providence led 4-1 going into the first intermission.
The Penguins made it a 4-2 score after Jordan Caron’s penalty for interference. With only three seconds left on the man advantage, Brian Gibbons notched his third goal of the postseason on a deflection from the far side of the crease at 14:17. Paul Thompson and Joey Mormina grabbed the assists. The P-Bruins led 4-2 going into the second intermission.
Neither team scored in the third period, though the Penguins had a game-high 19 shots during the frame. Svedberg’s performance was exemplified by a save he made outside the crease, falling backward onto a completely stopped puck in the crease. Despite a six-on-five in the game’s final minutes, the Penguins were unable to score again, losing its second game in a row as the P-Bruins went onto the 4-2 victory.
Svedberg stopped 38 of 40 shots for the P-Bruins, while Zatkoff made nine saves and Brad Thiessen made 16 saves for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The P-Bruins ended the game 2 for 6 on the power play, while the Penguins were 1 for 3.
The Providence Bruins will play games three and four in Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday and Friday. Providence Bruins playoffs are presented by Dunkin’ Donuts.