Monday, May 18, 2009

P-Bruins split over the weekend with Hershey in Calder Eastern Finals

Bears dominate in Game Two, tie playoff series with P-Bruins

HERSHEY, Pa. –– The rope-a-dope helped Muhammad Ali beat George Foreman, but all it got the Providence Bruins on Sunday was a bloody nose.

The Hershey Bears outplayed, outshot and, in the end, outscored the Bruins and earned a 2-1 victory before 7,460 fans at the Giant Center, tying the Eastern Conference finals at 1. The series now moves to Providence for Games 3, 4 and 5.
In a game that was as one-sided as a one-goal game can be, the Bruins simply absorbed too many punches, and threw too few in return. With Tuukka Rask again playing superbly in goal, the Bruins might have been able to overcome their defensive shortcomings, except for the fact that they mustered hardly any offensive chances themselves.
Though the Bears had a 21-10 advantage in shots in the second period and a wide edge in territorial play, the game was scoreless heading into the third. Things started falling apart for Providence when defenseman Adam McQuaid was hauled down behind the Bruins net and Hershey’s Oscar Osala grabbed the puck and passed back to Patrick McNeill at the point. McNeill’s slapshot was deflected past Rask by Andrew Joudrey, who was standing in the slot, at 3:21.

Sixty-six seconds later, Providence’s Levi Nelson was assessed a questionable charging penalty by referee Terry Koharski, and the hole the Bruins were digging for themselves got even deeper. On the power play, AHL MVP and leading scorer Alexandre Giroux tried to set up Graham Mink at the top of the crease, but the puck appeared to deflect in off Rask to make it 2-0 at 6:01. Giroux was credited with the goal. Chris Bourque, who has been Hershey’s best player in both games, also received an assist.

The Bears continued to carry the play, and when Providence’s Vladimir Sobotka was whistled for high-sticking at 15:34, the Bruins looked like they were finished. Providence killed the penalty, though, and then went on the power play for the first time in 56 minutes when Darren Reid was given a elbowing penalty at 18:58 for a hit on P-Bruins’ defenseman Jeff Penner. With Rask on the bench for a sixth attacker, Brad Marchand cut the deficit to one on a 15-foot wrist shot from the slot with 36 seconds left. Penner and Sobotka assisted.
The Bruins spent the final half-minute in the Hershey end and managed a couple of chances. Hershey goalie Michal Neuvirth had an easy time with a Sobotka wrist shot, and Brad Marchand fired the puck over the net with five seconds left. It was too little, too late.
NOTES: Hershey started slowly again, not registering a shot in the first 15 minutes. ... The Bears had a 7-2 advantage in power plays and a 39-26 edge in shots. . . .Providence’s Wacey Rabbit, who was injured early in Saturday’s game, did not dress. The team did not disclose the nature of his injury. Mikko Lehtonen, a healthy scratch on Saturday, took Rabbit’s place.

Portions of this story were taken from the Providence Journal &

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