PROVIDENCE — A slammed stick against the glass, a thrown stick across the ice and a pitched empty milk crate on the playing surface to boot.
If you hadn’t witnessed the previous 65 minutes plus a shootout between the Providence Bruins and Albany River Rats at Dunkin’ Donuts Center tonight you still could;ve figured out what transpired just by the way P-Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask reacted.
With the P-Bruins leading the shootout, 1-0, Albany’s Jakub Petruzalek skated in on Rask, lost the puck, recovered and then hesitated before he fired a shot from the bottom of the left circle past a sprawled-out Rask. Much to everyone’s surprise, the goal was counted.
Harrison Reed followed with a goal of his own tucked right under the crossbar for the game-winner to lift the Rats to a 1-0 victory. After the Reed goal, Rask chased referee Frederick L’Ecuyer toward the penalty box and then let his emotions out by slamming and tossing his stick and then chucking the milk crate.
“He went backwards and stopped the play and waited three seconds and then shot it,” the Boston Bruins’ prized prospect said after the game. “I guess the guy didn’t believe it either because he stopped and then took the shot. As long as the ref doesn’t blow the whistle, it’s game on I guess.”
P-Bruins head coach Rob Murray was equally surprised and baffled by the call.
“He said that the puck was always in motion and never stopped. But I can’t find it in the rulebook,” Murray said. “It says that the puck has to keep in continuous motion to the goal line. But it doesn’t say anything about a guy overskating the puck and literally … I have no answer. He said it was because the puck was still in motion.”
“I was celebrating when he lost the puck. I mean, I was off the bench. I couldn’t believe that he counted it.”
Combined with Hartford’s win over Portland, Providence’s loss drops the P-Bruins into second place in the Atlantic Division. They could’ve avoided that fate by cashing in on any of their 47 shots on net. But Albany goaltender Justin Peters was up to the task on every attempt.
“Peters played well. I think we had our chances without bearing down,” said Providence center Wacey Rabbit, who fired five shots on net. “It’d be different if we weren’t getting chances or getting pucks to the net. We are and it’s just a matter of us bearing down.”
Vladimir Sobotka finished with eight shots on net and Johnny Boychuk was credited with seven. Providence’s failings on the offensive end were made up for by the 29-save shutout performance of Rask. Murray was pleased with the puck-stoppers effort between the pipes and not the least bit upset with the tantrum.
“Why not? Show some emotion. He got a 10-minute misconduct; big deal. I don’t mind that. He has a reason to be upset,” said the coach.
Providence’s weekend continues Saturday night at Bridgeport and Sunday afternoon at home against Hartford.