The Providence Bruins saw their 2014 season end in similar fashion to 2013. Unfortunately, that is because for the second straight year the team fell to the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins in game seven of their second round series. Granted this year’s loss was not nearly as painful, (last year’s squad blew a 3-0 series lead as the one seed) their loss still hurt in a different way than last year.
After Niklas Svedberg played a tremendous game six to force the decisive game seven, he was pulled after giving up four second period goals. Down 5-0 late in the second period the P-Bruins looked all but done. However, the team continued to fight. David Warsofsky scored a shorthanded goal in the final minute to make things 5-1 and that sparked a furious third period comeback. Ryan Spooner netted a goal just 23 seconds into the period, followed by two Alexander Khokhlachev goals to cut the score to 5-4 with ten minutes left. Despite having some good chances in front of the net, the Bruin’s comeback would not be enough.
In addition to a tough loss, the Bruins were without several key players due to injury. Joe Morrow, Justin Florek, Zach Trotman, Matt Fraser and Anthony Camara all missed time in the series, leaving holes both in the top lines and top defensive pairings. Bobby Robins also missed three games due to a suspension for leaving the penalty box during and on ice altercation.
Despite the loss, the Bruins pulled off an unbelievable comeback in game four of the series. Down 2-1 with a pulled goalie, Spooner one-timed a pass from Seth Griffith for a goal with 0.6 seconds left on the clock. Cory Kane scored the game winner 6:31 into overtime and at the time tied the series 2-2.
While it will be the Penguins that move on to face St. Johns, the young players on the P-Bruin’s roster gained valuable backs-to-the-wall playoff experience. With six of their top seven playoff scorers younger than age 23 or younger, (Spooner, Khokhlachev, Griffith, Craig Cunningham, Morrow, and Warsofsky) it is good for Boston that players they regard highly have played in that kind of environment and have had success doing so.
This team no doubt helped its parent club in Boston this year while being competitive. Their roster was full of talent that can help either the Bruins or some other NHL team in the future. While all of this talent won’t be around next year, several will be back while others may get their chance to help out in Boston.