WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Providence Bruins went to overtime for the second consecutive game, and once again, the Penguins came out on top.
Daniel Sprong scored twice, including the OT game-winner, leading the Penguins to a 4-3 victory and a 2-0 series lead.
Providence was the first team to get on the scoreboard when Noel Acciari buried a shorthanded breakaway chance 2:51 into the game.
Colby Cave took advantage of a Penguins’ broken stick in the neutral zone and subsequently broke free for his second goal of the postseason, putting the Bruins up 2-0 at 16:52 of the first period.
Shortly after killing off a five-on-three power play for Providence, the Penguins charged down the ice and Tim Erixon wired one past Jeremy Smith 2:46 into the middle frame, making it 2-1.
Sprong, playing in just his second AHL game, forced a turnover in the Bruins’ zone and quickly got open for a shot that tied the contest, 2-2, at 6:49 of the second period.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton took a 3-2 lead thanks to a tic-tac-toe passing play from behind the net to Tom Kostopoulos perched in the low slot at 10:40 of the second.
Providence pulled back into a tie, 3-3, when the AHL’s leading goal scorer during the regular season, Frank Vatrano, found the back of the net for the first time in these playoffs 58 seconds into the third period.
The Penguins looked to have clinched the overtime winner quickly into the extra frame yet again, but a shorthanded goal was called back due to incidental contact with the Bruins’ netminder, Smith.
There was no-doubting the game was over the next time the puck went into Providence’s net, as Sprong tipped in a pass from Kael Mouillierat at 5:13 of the overtime period.
Once again, the league’s top power play during the regular season was held off the scoresheet as the Penguins killed off all five of the Bruins’ man advantage opportunities, including one in OT. The Penguins themselves were unable to score on three power plays of their own.
Casey DeSmith had his second 30-plus save performance of these playoffs, making 30 stops on 33 shots. Smith held off 29 of the 33 pucks thrown his way in the game.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton carries its 2-0 series lead to Providence for Game 3 taking place on Saturday, Apr. 23 at Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Puck drop between the Penguins and Bruins is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.