The Providence Bruins played well enough to win the first two games of their first-round Calder Cup series against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, but had to settle for a split.
Providence opened the series with a 3-2 loss on Friday.
“For the most part, we played the game we wanted to play. Took a bad penalty on their power play,” said coach Jay Leach. “They can make you pay. They’ve got a potent offense. If you give them a five on three, you’re asking for trouble.
“We did get some chances. We can do a better job getting in front of (goalie Alex Lyon) and make it a lot harder for him to make those saves. We can build off it and learn from it at the same time.”
The P-Bruins did that on Saturday, winning a game they absolutely had to have. They wasted a two-goal lead, but thanks to a strong third period, they won, 5-3, and evened the series.
“We were a little bit of a deer in the headlights in the last 10 minutes of that second period,’’ Leach said. “But we did a nice job regrouping and obviously (Jordan Szwarz) made a play, got us up a goal, and then Peter Cehlarik made a play and got us up two. It’s a learning experience for us, for our younger guys and some of the older guys as well.’’
Here’s the good, bad and ugly.
*** Jordan Szwarz scored a big shorthanded goal to give Providence the lead 19 seconds into the third period of Game Two.
*** For my money, Austin Czarnik was the best forward on either team in the first two games. He set up both Providence goals in Game One and his forechecking led to Szwarz’ pivotal shorthanded goal and Jacob Forsbacka Karlsson’s empty-netter in Game Two.
*** Peter Cehlarik had a strong showing in Game Two with two goals.
*** Ryan Fitzgerald scored both Providence goals in Game One.
*** Anton Blidh scored the first goal of the game on Saturday and made his presence felt with some physical forecheckikng.
*** Jeremy Lauzon was plus-3 in Game Two.
*** Providence gave up two goals in 41 seconds in Game One and two goals in 1:11 in Game Two.
*** With the P-Bruins already shorthanded, Connor Clifton took a bad penalty when he cross-checked a Phantoms player midway through Game One. Lehigh Valley tied the game on the 5-on-3 power play.
*** The P-Bruins’ penalty kill is 15th out of 16 playoff teams at 62.5 percent after allowing three goals on eight chances.
*** Referee Olivier Gouin’s kneeing penalty against Tommy Cross in the second period of Game Two was a bad call.
*** The rest of the series will be played on the road at Lehigh Valley, where the Phantoms have won seven in a row and 10 of 11.
*** The P-Bruins were shut out in their last two regular-season visits to Allentown.
*** Sixteen seconds after Providence took the lead in Game One, Danick Martel’s shot from the blueline was one that Zane McIntyre should have had.
*** Injured: Chris Porter (lower body).