Providence, R.I. – The Providence Bruins fought back from a 2-0 deficit to force overtime, but it was the Penguins who scored in the overtime period to take game 1 of the divisional semifinals.
The first 10 minutes of play was evenly matched, with both teams coming out with an intensity expected in playoff hockey. It was the Penguins who managed to strike first when Guentzel tipped O’Neill’s shot from the blue line and past Smith 13:13 into the first. The period ended with some post-whistle exchanges, but no gloves were dropped nor any penalties exchanged.
The Penguins struck again, this time just 0:18 into the second period. Jeffrey finished Mouillerat’s pass from behind the net on his backhand to go up 2-0. Providence looked to retaliate with the first power play of the game, but seconds in Vatrano took and interference penalty to make it 4v4 hockey.
Seth Griffith scored his first goal of playoffs 14:50 into the middle frame to cut the Penguins lead to 2-1. Max Talbot set Griffith up from the left side for a nice tap in on the doorstep of DeSmith. Providence’s momentum was short-lived with Acciari issued a delay of game minor, but just like early in the period it turned into 4v4 hockey seconds in.
The Providence Bruins found their stride in the third period, making connections all over the ice that had alluded them earlier. Colby Cave tied the game partway through the period on the penalty kill. Noel Acciari sent the puck to Cave on the breakout, and Cave streaked down the right right wing and fired a long range wrist shot that found twine. Jeremy Smith fought off a blitz of shots towards the end of the period, but stood tall in net to keep it tied. Regulation ended knotted at 2-2, with the P-Bruins outshooting the Penguins 33-24.
But it was ultimately the Penguins who capitalized in the 5v5 overtime period, when Rowney buried one behind Smith. Game 2 of the divisional semifinals is tomorrow in Wilkes-Barre. Puck drops at 7:05pm