PROVIDENCE BRUINS (2-2-0) 3, SPRINGFIELD FALCONS (3-1-0) 1
MassMutual Center | Springfield, Mass.
Saturday night's script began to unfold in a very familiar fashion for the Springfield Falcons, but the rest of the plot was something they had yet to encounter this season.
The Providence Bruins came in playing solid hockey and made the most of their chances in a 3-1 win over the Falcons at MassMutual Center tonight. Springfield fell for the first time in regulation at home since Feb. 19, 2012 and saw its season-opening three-game winning streak come to an end.
Nick Drazenovic got things going early for Springfield with a power-play goal just 2:26 into the first period. The Bruins were whistled for hooking just 35 seconds into the game, and in the latter stages of the man advantage, John Moore fired a puck through traffic and it created a rebound in front of Providence netminder Niklas Svedberg.
Drazenovic was on the spot to collect the puck and get Springfield on the board with his first goal of the season, but that was the extent of the offensive from the home side.
All of three minutes elapsed before the Bruins were able to draw even. Craig Cunningham walked off the end line and was able to beat Curtis McElhinney under the crossbar to tie the game at 1-1, giving the Bruins bench an immediate boost after falling behind early.
From that point on, it never seemed like the Falcons could create any sustained pressure in the Bruins zone. Their counterattacks were short and their zone time limited, making it even more difficult to put pressure on Svedberg.
Providence forged ahead at 6:31 of the second period when veteran defenseman Garnet Exelby fired a shot from the right point which eluded McElhinney's glove. In scoring that goal, the Bruins put Springfield behind the eight ball for the first time all season and forced them to chase the game.
Did it get the Falcons off their puck pressuring style? Quite possibly, and there were signs of that as the game progressed. The second period was controlled by Providence and it wasn't until midway through the third period that Springfield really started to bring the house.
Twelve third-period shots were turned away by Svedberg to thwart the Falcons' spirited push in the final minutes, securing the win for Providence.
Locked in a 1-1 tie, the Falcons had plenty of hockey left in the game but gave up the lead goal at the wrong time. Exelby's blast from the right point changed the complexion of the game, lifting the Providence bench and tilting the ice toward the visitors.
Despite a strong third period and the better of the play in the closing half, the Falcons couldn't get the equalizer.
1. Niklas Svedberg (PRO) - 33 saves
2. Max Sauve (PRO) - goal, assist
3. Nick Drazenovic (SPR) - goal
at Providence Bruins
Oct. 26, 7:05 p.m.
Dunkin Donuts Center | Providence, RI
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