Providence, RI – The Providence Bruins defeated the Syracuse Crunch Sunday night 2-1 in overtime to even the Eastern Conference Finals 1-1. The P-Bruins got both goals from Jordan Szwarz while Zane McIntyre made his 14th straight playoff start in net.
The Crunch wasted little time jumping out to a 1-0 lead as they scored just 1:26 into the opening period. Mathieu Brodeur ripped a slap shot from right blue line and the rebound went to Ben Thomas alone in the left slot. He buried his second goal of the playoffs to give Syracuse to early lead. The Crunch dominated play throughout the period and took a 1-0 lead into the intermission.
Following an early penalty kill, the Providence offense finally came to life and created chances in front of the net. It didn’t translate into scoring right away, but the P-Bruins took advantage of a power play with three minutes left in the period to tie the score. Danton Heinen skated to the left goal line and sent a beautiful centering pass to Szwarz in the crease. He notched his fourth goal of the playoffs to send the teams to the locker room tied 2-2 after two.
The goalies stole the show in the third, each making big-time saves on great scoring chances. Most notably, McIntyre bailed out his defense after a turnover to stone a breakaway while McKenna’s glove hand robbed several Providence chances as the teams headed to overtime knotted 1-1. It took until 8:28 of the overtime to decide a winner, but Szwarz made sure his team would stand victorious. Wayne Simpson fed Szwarz from the right wing corner and he took the puck at the top of the circle. A wrister sailed by McKenna for his second goal of the night as the P-Bruins won 2-1.
McIntyre stopped 29 of 30 shots while McKenna stopped 34 of 36. Providence was 1-4 on the power play and 2-2 on the penalty kill. The P-Bruins will look to take a 2-1 lead in this best-of-seven series on Wednesday, May 24 when they travel to Syracuse for game three at 7:05pm.