It was fun while it lasted, but the season is over for the Providence Bruins. They lost both games of their best-of-five Calder Cup series at Lehigh Valley over the weekend – a 4-1 defeat on Friday and a 4-3 overtime heartbreaker on Saturday. The P-Bruins were without injured top 6 forwards Ryan Fitzgerald and Peter Cehlarik in the final game. The Phantoms took the series, 3 games to 1.
For the last time until October, here’s the good, bad and ugly.
*** Austin Czarnik was the best player (goalies not included) on either team in the series. Dangerous nearly every time he touched the puck in the offensive zone, he scored a goal in each game and had a total of 9 shots.
*** The P-Bruins did a nice job clawing back from three goals down to force overtime on Saturday. A team with less character might have thrown in the towel, but that’s not who they are. They showed a lot of heart.
*** Tommy Cross was a rock at both ends. He assisted on the only goal on Friday, then scored late in the second period on Saturday, starting Providence’s comeback. He had a total of 11 shots in the two games.
*** I liked the way Cross and Jordan Szwarz got involved in the big scrum midway through the first period on Saturday night, even though they both had to sit for 10 minutes with misconducts. It started when 5-foot-9 Czarnik knocked down 6-foot-5 Phil Myers of the Phantoms.
*** Anton Blidh scored a goal on Saturday and never stopped working in both games.
*** Providence outshot Lehigh Valley, 46-14, over the final 58 minutes on Saturday.
*** In only his third pro game, Karson Kuhlman played well on Saturday, with an assist and four shots.
*** The P-Bruins didn’t get much from youngsters Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Zach Senyshyn. JFK had no shots on Friday and 1 shot on Saturday. Senyshyn did not have a shot in either game.
*** Paul Postma, Trent Frederic and Adam Payerl were on the ice for 3 goals against in Friday’s 4-1 loss.
*** Lehigh Valley’s second goal on Friday might have been kicked in, but that’s not a call that the road team can expect to get, especially in the playoffs.
*** The power play scored 1 time in 8 chances and gave up a shorthanded goal.
*** Slow starts proved to be fatal. The P-Bruins were outshot 19-6 in the first period on Friday and 14-6 in the first period on Saturday.
*** Providence’s overall save percentage for the series was a hideous .875 percent, with Zane McIntyre at .895 and Jordan Binnington at .865.
*** The overtime winner by the Phantoms’ Max Lamarche on Saturday was a bad goal, plain and simple.
*** Injured: Ryan Fitzgerald (upper body); Peter Cehlarik (lower body).