The Providence Bruins have had to make do this season, as a lot of their players (especially defensemen) have been sent to Boston to fill holes as needed in their blueline. In spite of that, the Providence Bruins came into tonight’s matchup with the Worcester Sharks in fair position for a run at the post season. They’re still in third in the Atlantic Division with seventy points, which puts them sixth overall in the Eastern Conference.
Both teams played a spirited and extremely physical game, and neither regulation or overtime could resolve the score. In the end, two Worcester players got their pucks through Malcolm Subban(who earned Third Star of the Game honors) to give the Sharks the shootout win 5-4.
Before the game started, the Providence Bruins awarded the Player of the Month Award to Alexander Khokhlachev. Khokhlachev had thirty seven points going into tonight’s game against the Sharks. The young Russian added a few more points to his total in tonight’s game as well, earning himself Second Star of the Game honors.
The Sharks got on the board early, when Freddie Hamilton(who earned First Star of the Game honors for his three points in regulation and the game winner in the shootout) whipped one past Malcolm Subban (in what should have been a relatively easy save for him) just 5:41 into the game. The entire game was spirited with a dozen hits that sent players from both teams sprawling to the ice and slowly getting back to their benches. The only fight of the night (though there were at least five bouts of pushing and shoving that the linesmen quickly intervened in) was between Tyler Randell and Taylor Doherty. Randell practically scooped slammed his rival to the ice, and both received the obligatory five for fighting at 7:06 in the first.
The Bruins got on the board three seconds after the fight when Mike Moore powered one through Troy Grosenick to tie the game at one. Yanni Gourde put the Sharks up ahead with three minutes left in the first. Worcester only had nine shots on goal that first period, but Subban had a rough go of it early. Ryan Spooner broke a thirty three game cold snap with a goal from Providence after a delayed penalty gave the Bruins a sixth attacker. Khokhlachev added a power play goal six minutes later with a series of dekes and moves that looked more like a Patrick Kane skill showcase than an AHL game.
In the third period, the Bruins let their discipline slip and the penalties began to accumulate. Those penalties hurt the Bruins dearly as the Sharks earned a four-on-four goal (Marek Viedensky), and a power play goal (Danill Tarasov) within the first half of the third period to put the Sharks back out in front 4-3. Rob Flick was the main culprit getting two minutes for cross-checking and then another two for unsportsmanlike conduct after the power play goal. Malcolm Subban snapped his stick clean in half in frustration after that play. The Sharks kept up the pressure throughout the period, putting eighteen shots on goal as opposed to the Bruins three.
All was not lost though. One of those shots came from a breakaway from Seth Griffith who earned an unassisted goal on Worcester with just over eight minutes left to play. Subban got better as the period went on, and Subban earned his star honors by having to stand on his head as the Sharks circled the net as if they really were their predatory namesake. When the regulation bell sounded, the Sharks had outshot the Bruins thirty six to twenty two.
The Bruins had a chance to win it with a power play in overtime, but Grosenick stopped the best attempt by Khokhlachev forcing the shootout. Dan DaSilva and Freddie Hamilton got shots past Subban, and Grosenick stopped four shots from the Bruins. The Bruins record is now 31-20-8, and they’re still safely sixteen points ahead of the Sharks as the season starts to pick up towards the end of the season.