PROVIDENCE, RI –Left wing Pascal Pelletier gave the Providence Bruins game one of the 2008 Calder Cup Atlantic Division Semifinals with his first goal of the post-season for a 3-2 overtime win to top the Manchester Monarchs in front of 3,260 fans at the Dunkin' Donuts Center on Wednesday night. The Monarchs and Bruins face-off in game two in Providence on Friday, April 18 at 7:05 p.m.
Pelletier collected the puck at the top of the left face-off circle and ripped a wrist shot over goaltender Jonathan Bernier at 9:01 of overtime to give the Bruins the first game in the best of seven series. Right wing Martins Karsums dug the puck out from behind the net and fed it to the slot to right wing Byron Bitz. The forward pivoted away from the net and found Pelletier open at the top of the face-off circle for the game-winning goal.
Left wing Petr Kanko put the puck between goaltender Tuukka Rask's pads for the first goal of the 2008 Calder Cup playoffs for Manchester at 12:40 of the opening period. Kanko was sprung with a pass from rookie defenseman Davis Drewiske. The left wing carried the puck into the Bruins zone with nobody between him and the goaltender. Just inside the left face-off circle, Kanko snapped a wrist shot that bounced between Rask's pads and into the right corner of the net for his first playoff goal. Right wing John Zeiler earned an assist on the first goal of the series.
The Bruins tied up the game with a shorthanded tally at 9:48 of the second period. Right wing Jeff Hoggan sat in the penalty box for cross-checking Monarchs defenseman Drew Bagnall. A turnover in the neutral zone put the puck on the stick of center Wacey Rabbit who carried it into the Monarchs zone along the left wing with two teammates joining the rush. Defenseman Peter Harrold was the only Manchester player back and he went down to block the shot as Rabbit skated through the left face-off circle. With Harrold down, the center flipped the puck over the defenseman's stick and through the legs of Bernier for his first tally of the post-season. Karsums picked up the lone assist.
Providence took the lead at 6:16 of the final period with a goal from Hoggan, his first of the playoffs. Left wing Chris Collins carried the puck behind the Monarchs net and found Hoggan inching in from the center point. The left wing picked up the pass, skated to the top corner of the left face-off circle and wristed a shot over Bernier to give the Bruins a 2-1 advantage. Center Nate Thompson also earned an assist on the play.
Left wing Matt Moulson brought the scorecard back to even with a power play tally at 9:30 of the third period. With center Matt Hendricks in the penalty box for slashing, the No. 1 power play during the regular season went to work. Center David Meckler picked up the puck at the right point as Moulson went streaking to the net. Meckler unleashed a shot on net that Moulson redirected up and over Rask for his first tally of the post-season. Right wing Teddy Purcell earned his first professional playoff point by assisting on the tying goal.
Bernier took the loss with 34 saves on 37 shots. Rask earned his first playoff victory with 25 saves.
Manchester went 1-for-5 on the power play. Providence was also 0-for-5 on the man advantage.