Andrew Bodnarchuk was one of only two participating skaters without a single shot on goal after 60 minutes. What’s more, the veteran of 216 Providence Bruins games―second among active players only to Zach Hamill―had only one game-winning goal in his protracted tenure, that one coming Nov. 22, 2009 against Manchester.
But in Sunday’s bite-sized bonus round, the popular stay-at-home defenseman defied nearly all of the norms. He went out of his way to approach the porch of the St. John’s IceCaps net, where he and Carter Camper’s pass converged and his shot tuned the mesh for a 4-3 sudden-death victory before 3,939 at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
Within the final two minutes of a scoreless opening frame, the P-Bruins went on a five-shot sugar rush and drew a carry-over power play with a tripping penalty to St. John’s blueliner Paul Postma with 5.2 seconds to spare. On that advantage, their third unanswered, Colby Cohen set up Lane MacDermid on a neutral zone regroup and MacDermid found Camper for a top-shelf conversion at 1:25 of the second period.
The IceCaps retorted with their own power-play strike at 10:49 when Spencer Machacek, who had whiffed on a previous try seconds earlier, poked in Jason Jaffray’s rebound. Two face-offs later, Garth Murray won an offensive-zone draw pack to point patroller Mark Flood, whose shot brushed a screening Kevin Clark’s stick and past Anton Khudobin’s trapper, usurping the lead for St. John’s.
But amidst killing their own third straight infraction, the P-Bruins made a no-nonsense shorthanded threat in the depths of the IceCaps zone with Calle Ridderwall and Stefan Chaput leading the charge. Two seconds after Hamill’s jailbreak, the grind culminated with Chaput drawing a 2-2 knot at the 14:07 mark.
Providence pressed for four unanswered shots to commence the third period. The last two of those were off the twig of Kyle MacKinnon, who tucked in his own rebound to renew the lead at 4:10.
But in the 12th minute, the Caps crashed the cage to draw a 3-3 knot. Former P-Bruin Marco Rosa’s shot found the twig of Carl Klingberg, who in turn found Aaron Gagnon churning in to polish off another equalizer.
With the primary assist on MacKinnon’s goal to go with his own firsthand strike, Chaput had his first multipoint outing as a P-Bruin.
After his stick quieted for only one registered stab in his previous three appearances, Lane MacDermid already had a season-high four SOG by the second intermission. He also had his second assist in as many nights with his set-up on Camper’s strike.
Craig Cunningham was the author of two stimulating second-period scoring chances, challenging IceCaps’ stopper David Aebischer in both the sixth and tenth minute.
Defenseman Matt Bartkowski was on the ice for both of St. John’s even-strength goals and was in the penalty box for the visitors’ power-play strike.
Twice in regulation, a heavily leaned-upon P-Bruin cost his team two shorthanded minutes when he took a tripping penalty on a spontaneous IceCaps rush after a swarm was broken up in the offensive zone. The culprits in question were Hamill and Jamie Arniel, at 12:05 of the second and 6:31 of the third period, respectively.
Speaking of Arniel, his team-leading shot total is now up to 33. Yet the team’s reigning top gun award winner has still put only one of those in the net.
All three of St. John’s scorers―Machacek, Clark and Gagnon―hatched a goose-egg in their goal column.
Postma racked up six penalty minutes, the first four for a high-sticking double-minor at 5:42 of the first period. That matched Kirk MacDonald’s own infraction and sentence at the 3:06 mark, ultimately amounting to 84 seconds of 4-on-4.
Rosa led all participants with six registered stabs.
Cohen, whom the IceCaps held shotless in their opening night encounter, has since landed at least one shot on goal in each of 10 games. He finished the day with two helpers.
Bodnarchuk, Chaput, Hamill and Kevan Miller all finished the day with a plus-2 rating.
Khudobin’s 40 saves matched an overall season-high set against Worcester last weekend and exceeded a 60-minute season-high set against Norfolk this past Friday.
Providence defenseman David Warsofsky was the only skater with no shots on goal by the end of Sunday’s contest.