Providence, RI – The Providence Bruins apparently thought eight was enough for the Portland Pirates as Peter Schaefer scored the lone goal in the shootout, giving the Bruins a 3-2 SO win over the Pirates before 6,279 at the Dunkin Donuts Center on Friday night.
The loss snapped the Pirates win-streak at eight games, but they can manage to take solace in the fact, they’ve earned 22 of 24 points in their last 12 games.
Despite being outshot 11-1 in the first 15 minutes of the first period, the Pirates — or more appropriately, Jhonas Enroth — kept the Bruins off the scoreboard.
“There is no doubting that out goaltending has been very good this year,” said Pirates head coach Kevin Dineen. “That’s been a real difference maker for us. Making those kinds of saves has been a big difference.”
Enroth stood on his head several times in the game including a breakaway by Martins Karsums in the second period.
After two scoreless periods, both teams went on a minor scoring spree starting with the Pirates who opened the scoring at 2:33 of the third period when Felix Schutz sent a wrist shot over the top of Bruins’ netminder Kevin Regan. Jimmy Bonneau and Derek Whitmore were credited with assists on the play.
At 5:20, Vladimir Sobotka finally put a puck past Enroth to tie the game at 1-1. Picking the pass from Martins Karsums, he broke in alone, sliding the puck underneath Enroth for the goal.
Derek Whitmore put the Pirates back out front, 2-1, at 7:50 of the period, getting the rebound at his feet, sending the one-timer past Regan.
With 5:43 left in the game, Wacey Rabbit carried the puck into the Pirates zone, throwing the puck on net. Enroth made the initial save, but the rebound came to Byron Bitz, who streaking into the zone. He lifted the puck over the shoulder of Enroth to the tie the game at 2-2.
“You know what you’re going to get every time you play (Providence),” said Pirates captain Tyler Bouck. “They play extremely hard, but it comes down to us putting pucks in the right areas.”
“For the most part we did a good job of that, but in the end we had a goal lead twice in the game and we didn’t protect it… It cost us in the end.”
After a scoreless OT, the game went to a shootout where Regan stopped all five shooters for the Pirates. Former NHL’er Peter Schaefer scored the only goal for the Bruins, putting a fake on Enroth, slipping the puck around right leg.
The Pirates weathered the storm only to come up short, but the run the Pirates have been on as of late, it was hard to find fault with the team for at least 45 minutes.
“It was a well-played game,” said Dineen. It was a typical Providence start; they come at you hard, but no complaints about the overall effort.”
NOTES – The Pirates skated without Mark Mancari, who was recalled to the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday. It forced Dineen to shake up his lines moving Colton Fretter to the top line with Kennedy and Darche. Gerbe was moved to the third line with Matt Ellis and Colin Murphy. Dineen was very happy for Mancari and wasn’t sure if he’d be back in a Pirates uniform anytime soon.
“It’s a worthy call up,” he said. “With Buffalo not on a hot streak it’s a well-deserved (call up) and I don’t know if we’ll see him again, but we wish him well.”
At 16:17 of the first period, little 5-6 Nathan Gerbe had his first fight in his career, collegiate or otherwise, against Vladimir Sobotka.
Tim Kennedy had a rough night on the ice. He was held off the scoresheet for only the second time this season, but he also was checked from behind into the boards by Adam McQuaid and was hit with a high-stick by Kevin Schaeffer.
Tyler Bouck responded to the hit with a fight against McQuaid and then in the third period, they battled again after Bouck checked Sobotka hard into the boards.
“Both fights were in response to hits… that’s hockey,” said Bouck.
The Pirates are back on the ice tomorrow when they take on the Hartford Wolf Pack at the CCCC. Game time is 7:00pm.