The Wolf Pack built a 4-0 lead Saturday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center Providence, and then hung on for a 4-3 win over the Providence Bruins, in the second half of a home-and-home set between the two teams.
The Bruins had defeated the Wolf Pack 4-3 in overtime Friday night in the front end of the home-and-home, at the XL Center.
Lias Andersson had a goal and an assist for the Wolf Pack, and Ryan Gropp, Michael Lindqvist and John Gilmour also scored. Marek Mazanec, who had a shutout through better than 57 minutes, before the Bruins awoke for three goals in the final 2:37, finished with 26 saves.
“I thought we did a really good job of correcting some of the mistakes that took place in our game [Friday] night,” Wolf Pack head coach Keith McCambridge said. “We did a better job of managing the puck, our forecheck was in place, and I thought the support was in areas that we needed to have success. Feeling really good about the game, and then the last couple of minutes, we were not aware of where the puck is, and we give them momentum.”
The Wolf Pack went up 2-0 in the first period, on an even-strength goal by Gropp and a shorthander by Andersson.
Gropp opened the scoring at 14:17, on a rebound of a Bobby Butler shot. Peter Holland intercepted a Peter Cehlarik pass in neutral ice and sent a pass to Butler on right wing. Bruin goaltender Dan Vladar (26 saves) stopped Butler’s drive, but the rebound went off of Vladar’s pads into the slot, and Gropp jumped on it for a forehand finish.
Then, at 17:52, with Chris Bigras in the penalty box for cross-checking, Andersson scored the Wolf Pack’s second shorthander of the season. Gabriel Fontaine broke up a pass in the defensive zone and carried all the way into the Bruin end on left wing, before feeding across at the last second to Andersson, who easily beat Vladar.
The Wolf Pack controlled much of the second period and added to their lead at 14:47, on Lindqvist’s second goal of the season. Libor Hajek moved the puck down the right boards in the Providence zone to the back of the net, and then was foiled on a wraparound try. The puck stayed loose, though, and Lindqvist was able to knock it in from amidst multiple players in front of the goal.
Gilmour notched his second of the season 4:25 into the third, picking up the puck just outside the Bruin blue line and carrying to within 25 feet of the Providence net, before firing a shot past Vladar’s stick side.
That extended the Wolf Pack lead to 4-0, and the Wolf Pack protected it easily until they were called for too many men on the ice at 15:41. They were nearly able to kill that penalty, but Zach Senyshyn buried a shot from the slot at 17:23, putting Providence on the board.
Just 15 seconds after that, at 17:38, Colby Cave made it a 4-2 game, knocking the rebound of an Anton Blidh shot into the net from Mazanec’s right.
The Bruins then got Vladar to the bench for an extra attacker, and Blidh would pull Providence to within one with 15.9 seconds left, set up in front of the goal by Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Cave.
That would be as close as Providence could get, though, and the Wolf Pack would improve to 3-1-1-0 on the young season.
“I’m disappointed for [Mazanec] in net because he played such a strong game,” said McCambridge, “but at the end of the day, we’ll take the points out of this game and make sure that we learn from that momentum shift.”
Saturday’s game started a stretch of four straight and nine out of 11 on the road for the Wolf Pack, who are next in action this Wednesday night, October 17 at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec against the Laval Rocket. Faceoff is 7:30 PM, and all of the action can be heard live on News Radio 1410 WPOP, and on-line at www.newsradio1410.com and iHeartRadio. Video streaming is available at theahl.com/AHLTV.
The next Wolf Pack home game is Wednesday, October 24, a 7:00 PM contest vs. the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. That is another opportunity to take advantage of the Wolf Pack’s “Click It or Ticket Family Value Pack”, which includes two tickets, two sodas and two hot dogs, all for just $40.
Tickets for all 2018-19 Wolf Pack home games are on sale now at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center by phone at (877) 522-8499. Tickets purchased in advance for kids 12 or younger start at just $13 each, and all tickets will have a $3 day-of-game increase.
To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack’s many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451, or click here to request more info.