providence_hershey_generic2And so the Providence Bruins are now up against the wall, down three games to one to Hershey with Game 5 scheduled for tomorrow. Twice in a row Providence squandered two-goal leads here at Dunkin’ Donuts Center, and this time the P-Bruins lost in overtime, 3-2. So the P-Bruins are going to have to dig deep to keep this series alive. I’ll be live blogging the action again 4:05 tomorrow for Game 5. So be sure to log on to

15:10: Mink does the P-Bruins in again. He goes to the net and bangs home Aucoin’s pass from below the goal line.

Marchand’s spinning pass in front misses Knackstedt. That would’ve been something for Providence to win after the Bears dominated play for about the last four minutes.

A break there for Providence as Beagle made the steal and broke into the attack zone, but the Bears were just offsides.

The P-Bruins survive a long shift after an icing. They only got a partial change when they cleared the zone, but the Bears finally shot it out of play.

Why do I feel like there’s a Bourque game-winner in this game somewhere?

Providence continues to do a pretty good job keeping Giroux and his linemates to the outside.

Rask hangs onto the bouncing shot by John Carlson.

A lot of action in front of Rask, who made at least one save with teh paddle down.

Penner with a nice steal in the neutral zone and he wrists on that Neuvirth catches.

Marchand has been dropped to Hamill’s line with Lukacevic.

P-Bruins start overtime with St. Pierre between Schaefer and Lehtonen.


Overtime intermission stats update: Providence won its only previous overtime game in these playoffs, while the Bears lost their lone venture to an extra session. Reich scored the overtime winner in Game 1 vs. Worcester in the Atlantic Division finals.

For the first time in this series, we’ll go to an extra session. Heading to overtime, Providence and Hershey are tied at 2.

Reich rattles the post on a 3-on-2. What a heartbreaker.

Providence kind of looks content to get to overtime here.

If Hershey had scored there, Bourque would’ve got an assist for batting it ahead from his own zone with his hand after he lost his stick. Coming to a handball court near you, it’s Chris Bourque.

Solid bounce-back save by Rask on a point-blank shot by Osala.

Here we go again. Rask can’t hang onto Aucoin’s shot and it just trickles in while a bunch of guys hack away at it. That’s a bad break for a goaltender who up until now had a great game. But now we see what the young P-Bruins are made of. Providence 2, Hershey 2.

Icing on Providence followed by icing from Hershey. Not exactly a lot of flow here.

The P-Bruins survive about 90 seconds of time in their own end, as the Hamill line could not clear the puck.

This looks like Peter Schaefer from the ’08 playoffs against Montreal. He’s revitalized while playing on the top line.

Sobotka’s absence means Ned Lukacevic is playing more minutes and that costs Providence, as the tough guy shoots on high when he had a lot of open space between him and the mesh.

Great play by Penner to hip check Giroux and then block the sniper’s shot. I think Providence learned its lesson Friday night, as the P-Bruins are playing this period as though there isn’t much pressure on them.

Peter Schaefer starts the third period in Sobotka’s left-wing spot. I wonder what that’s about. I’ll pass any info on if I get it. There are only 12 guys on the P-Bruins bench.

Third period

Second intermission stats update: Boychuk leads all skaters with four shots on net.

Second intermission observation:
This is where the P-Bruins let Game 3 slip away. They scored an early goal to go up two and then stopped making plays out of their own zone. They’ve protected plenty of leads this season, but obviously Friday night is the freshest outing in their minds. It’ll be interesting to see how they respond.

It’s another “Groundhog Day” situation, as Providence takes a one-goal lead to the third period. Providence 2, Hershey one after two sessions.

19:55: David Kolomatis
nearly brought this building to its feet, but Neuvirth just did fall on the shot that had trickled behind him.

There’s some of the physical play Providence lacked when it had the lead in Game 3, as Jeremy Reich levels Dean Arsene on the forecheck.

A solid kill by the P-Bruins, and then a couple strong shifts to follow.

That blocked shot by McQuaid hurt so much, I can feel it. But it was a huge play after Marchand failed to clear the puck.

I guess one boneheaded play deserves another. After Providence fails on its power play, Peter Schaefer roughs up Bourque near the Hershey blue line and heads to the box.

As far as boneheaded plays, they don’t get much dumber than this. Sloan crosschecks St. Pierre on his way to the Hershey bench as St. Pierre was trying to get into the action. Power play here for Providence.

Kevin Schaeffer blows a tire behind his own net, but Rask is up to the task against Osala’s one-timer right in front.

If you leave Helmer that wide open at the blue line, you’re begging him to score. And the blueliner obliges with a rocket of a one-timer off a feed by Chris Bourque. The P-Bruins were in trouble as soon as Boychuk’s stick broke in the offensive zone moments after his bid on a 3-on-2 was denied by Neuvirth. Providence 2, Hershey 1.

It was inevitable that Providence was going to take a penalty with all the scrambling the P-Bruins are doing. And McQuaid goes to the box for hooking.

And Rask stops Aucoin’s breakaway. The P-Bruins better tighten up or they’re going to be victims of a comeback … again.

Rask just had to make a couple diving saves. The Bears have awoke.

Providence actually had the best scoring chance on that Hershey power play, but MacDonald shot high on a partial breakaway after a great steal and chip ahead by Sobotka.

Beagle’s bid on a rebound is denied by Rask, who has looked spry tonight. McQuaid and Beagle then go to their respective boxes after the ensuing scrum. McQuaid gets the extra two minutes, so now we’ll see what Hershey can do on the power play.

Both teams are at full strength, but the P-Bruins put on some pressure as if they were on a power play. Neuvirth held onto Boychuk’s shot though.

Second period

First intermission stats update: Giroux didn’t manage a shot on net through the first 20 minutes. I wonder how long that can last.

First intermission observation:
It’s good to see Peter Schaefer put up four points in this series and goals in two straight games. He hasn’t hung his head despite being buried in the AHL by the collective bargaining agreement (and his NHL failures) all season. I wonder if he’ll make it to Boston’s camp in the fall or if he’ll be bought up before getting a chance to win a job on a third or fourth line. His $2.2 million cap hit is probably too rich for the up-against-it Bruins.

If you’re think this is déjà vu, you’re right. Providence led by the same score at the first intermission in Game 3. At the end of the first here in Game 4, Providence leads Hershey, 2-0.

Solid pressure by the P-Bruins on that fruitless power play, and McQuaid did a great job of recovering when Osala tried to go on a breakaway after escaping the box.

17:17: Oskar Osala
torpedoes himself into Kevin Schaeffer behind the Providence net and goes off for boarding. A chance now for Providence to keep momentum going their way heading toward the intermission.

Marchand and Mink go at it a little in the Providence zone and both head to the box, Marchand for a trip and Mink for a slash. So the teams will skate 4-on-4.

10:59: Brad Marchand’s
going to have nightmares about that one. After Johnny Boychuk made an unbelievably agile move to leave a Bears defender in the dust at the Hershey blue line, Marchand shot the puck out of play with nothing but open net in front of him.

Penner now has points in four straight games.

After Rask stops Andrew Joudrey’s shorthanded bid with a kick save, Jeff Penner comes through at the other end with a wrist shot that beat Neuvirth to double Providence’s lead. Providence 2, Hershey 0.

Inexplicably Vladimir Sobotka passed up a wide-open shot on a 3-on-2, but the P-Bruins still draw a tripping penalty on Tyler Sloan and go on the power play.

The Bears nearly answered right away, but Andrew Gordon missed Kyle Wilson’s pass back on a 2-on-1.

The P-Bruins get on the board first, as veteran Peter Schaefer turns a broken play into a goal on a shot from the left-wing circle past Neuvirth’s glove side. Adam McQuaid led the rush but his pass was broken up at the blue line. Mikko Lehtonen picked up the loose puck and fed it to an open Schaefer. Providence 1, Hershey 0.

Doesn’t look like Providence coach Rob Murray is going to match up the Rabbit line against the Aucoin line, as he’s letting the No. 1 line centered by Martin St. Pierre handle those duties.

You would think Hershey veteran defenseman Bryan Helmer would know which team he’s on by now, but his pass goes right on Rabbit’s tape and the center fires a shot into Neuvirth’s glove.

P-Bruins look confident at the start. Of course, they did in the opening period of Game 3 too.

First period

7:00 p.m.: As expected, Rabbit is listed as active on the official game sheet.

From here I’ll go with time elapsed in the game.

6:56: p.m.:
This is the first time this postseason that the P-Bruins have trailed in a series. It’ll be interesting to see how they’ll react to the deficit, especially with one of the youngest rosters in the league against a team that’s been through playoff grind in the past.

6:48 p.m.:
Providence limited Giroux to just one goal in the first two games of the series, but the league MVP broke out with two scores in Game 3. Slowing him down is a tough task, but it’ll be made relatively easier if the P-Bruins can just take care of the puck a little better and limit the Bears’ top line’s touches.

6:36 p.m.:
Here is how Providence went through its line drills:

Sobotka-St. Pierre-Marchand


6:27 p.m.:
The starting goaltenders — Tuukka Rask for Providence and Michal Neuvirth for Hershey — lead their teams onto the ice for warm-ups. Rabbit is out there for Providence, and Levi Nelson is not.

6:23 p.m.:
Providence is hoping to have center Wacey Rabbit back tonight. He was injured in Game 1 of this series and has yet to return. The P-Bruins need him to lead their checking line against the Bears’ top line of Alexandre Giroux, Keith Aucoin and Graham Mink — the most potent line in the AHL.

6:05 p.m.:
We’re still about 25 minutes from warm-ups, but I can already tell you that defenseman Ryan Stokes will not be in the lineup because he is attending his mother-in-law’s funeral. Kevin Schaeffer is expected to get the nod in Stokes’ place.

5:58 p.m.:
Providence has been on fire with the man-advantage. The P-Bruins have scored a power-play goal in five straight games and are 8-for-19 (42.1 %) over that span. Against the Bears in this series, the P-Bruins are 6-for-10.

The Providence Bruins are looking to bounce back after they blew leads of 3-0 and 4-2 Friday night and dropped Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals to the Hershey Bears, 6-4. Providence now trails the series, two games to one. Game 4 is scheduled for tonight at 7 p.m. at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. I’ll be live blogging all the action, so be sure to log on to throughout the evening for updates on this crucial contest.