Just when it looked like first place in the Atlantic Division was going to slip from their grasp, the Providence Bruins came to life.
They rallied from two goals down to beat the Hartford Wolf Pack, 6-3, on Thursday and take home the Atlantic Division championship for the second straight season.
Earlier last week, Providence had a chance to wrap up the title but lost in a shootout at Bridgeport, 4-3.
“In a year where we were not really sure which way is up, the one thing we did know was (Thursday) at 1 o’clock we had an opportunity to either win or lose a division title. Those opportunities don’t come around too often and our guys certainly took full advantage of it,” said coach Jay Leach.
For the final time this season, here’s the good, bad and ugly.
— Full credit to players, coaches and support staff for getting through the season without a positive COVID test. Providence finished with a record of 15-6-2-2 and a points percentage of .680.
— Ian McKinnon put the P-Bruins on the board with a goal against the Wolf Pack that sparked his team’s comeback.
— Cameron Hughes got a lucky break in Bridgeport. A pass by a Sound Tigers defenseman hit the skate of one of the referees and bounced onto the stick of Hughes in front of the net. He promptly fired it in the net. Hughes finished as Providence’s leading scorer with 5-16-21 in 25 games.
— Zach Senyshyn had a strong game against the Wolf Pack with 1-1-2 and five shots. Oskar Steen and Sammy Asselin finished with 1-1-2. Jack Studnicka and Pavel Shen both had two assists.
— Curtis Hall scored his first goal as a pro against Hartford.
— Urho Vaakanainen picked a timely moment to score his first goal of the season. His shorthanded tally against the Wolf Pack gave the P-Bruins the lead in the second period.
— Brady Lyle scored his seventh goal against Hartford. He leads all AHL rookie defensemen.
— Dan Vladar made 32 saves against the Wolf Pack and finished the year with a .923 save percentage.
— Robert Lantosi scored a nice end-to-end goal against the Sound Tigers to send the game to overtime. He finished as Providence’s goal leader with nine.
— Sammy Asselin had a strong rookie season, finishing with 8-8-16 in 25 games.
— As of Sunday, the P-Bruins had the AHL’s second-best penalty kill at 84.8 percent.
— The P-Bruins mustered only 11 shots through two periods against the Sound Tigers. “We were as close to terrible as I’ve seen us play this year (for) the first two periods,’’ said Leach. “We held our goalie out to dry for 40 minutes”
— Oskar Steen’s stick snapped on his shootout attempt in Bridgeport.
— The P-Bruins gave up a goal just 91 seconds into the game against the Sound Tigers.
— Injured: Paul Carey, Josiah Didier, Matt Filipe, Brendan Woods