BRIDGEPORT, C.T. – Following their last contest, resulting in an overtime win for the Bridgeport Islanders, the Providence Bruins rolled into Connecticut, following a similar template from their previous game. Cory Schneider proved to be a roadblock in game one, and he needed to stand tall going into game two at home in the best of three series. He did so once again, leading his team to a 2-1 overtime victory over the Bruins,
Something that wasn’t prevalent in game one was a feeling-out process, which summed up the opening frame. Providence looked like they didn’t want to rock the boat given the series score, and the Islanders played to that pace.
The second period featured a few more experiments but remained scoreless.
Seemingly, the Bruins had the Islanders’ exam answers in the middle of that period. Great shot attempts through the back half, a passing scheme that just simply worked, and a concrete zone entry each time. There was one glaring problem: Schneider was playing in God mode again. Throughout the period, his play was exceptional.
On the other side, a late second-period Islanders power play gained a boatload of confidence for the club, providing a solid three shots and half a dozen or more in shot attempts. They had the Bruins right where they wanted them.
With a premium power play to cap off the last period, it was no surprise that the game’s opening goal went to the Islanders on the power play. Bridgeport had back-to-back man advantages to start. By the time the four minutes had passed, nine shots had been thrown to the goal, which was higher than they had in any period to that point.
The power-play marker was notched on the rebound from Michael Dal Colle, who scorched the puck on net and past Providence goaltender Troy Grosenick.
— x – Bridgeport Islanders (@AHLIslanders) May 5, 2022
Two critical advantages at the midway point of the game proved unsuccessful for the Bruins, who were unable to counter the previous success of their counterpart. While the squad had some hustle to get something going, it simply wasn’t that good of a power play. They spent a chunk of time fishing the puck out of their end during their four minutes on the man advantage and didn’t register a shot through that time.
While their power play would be unuseful, they knew their season was in jeopardy following that point. As a result, it wouldn’t be much further before Nick Wolff found a wide-open pass from Joona Koppanen to tie the game at 13:14 of the third period.
A quick look at Nick Wolff's game-tying score 🚨 pic.twitter.com/QasLYb95tr
— Providence Bruins (@AHLBruins) May 5, 2022
Now, it’s overtime—everything is on the line. For Providence, it’s their season hanging on the brink. For Bridgeport, the opportunity to advance to the Atlantic Division Semifinals.
The extra session was a back and forth fought affair; while the Islanders had a few good zone entries, they couldn’t generate any offense. On the other hand, the Bruins had quality chances to start as well: good puck possession and solid passing on the outside.
But sometimes, it’s the shot that you never expect that could change it all.
THE GOLDEN GOAL. Isles move on. Aatu Raty. His first goal in the AHL.
— Zack Power (@FPHMarlies) May 5, 2022
The scorer? A player who, at 19 years of age, hasn’t scored in the AHL, only played two regular-season games with the club, and spent most of the season in Finland. Aatu Raty floated the puck from just past the circles to end the series.
A shot that Grosenick would love to have back. It was hard to measure some of the key saves he has had to make in the series. It was play dominated by the goaltender in the orange trim.
Providence ran into a hot goaltender in a best of three series for the Bruins, only being off the margin by one extra time marker. For the Islanders, they were a team that capitalized on mediocre overtime play, very deserving of the right to move to play Charlotte.
The goal sent Islanders to the finals for the first time since 2003. Those playoffs started 146 days after the game-winning goal scorer was born.
After being swept in the first round of the 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs, Providence’s season comes to a close. Bridgeport moves on to face the top team in the Atlantic Division, Charlotte Checkers. The series drops at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 10, at Total Mortgage Arena.
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