PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Scott Laughton scored the game-winner and Rob Zepp was 33-for-34 as the Providence Bruins dropped their first contest at home in two months, falling to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms 2-1 Friday night at the Dunkin Donuts Center. The previous home defeat came on January 11, a 5-2 loss against the Portland Pirates.
In the opening period, the Bruins had the first power play, first five shots, and the first goal. Both Colin Stuart and Paul Carey had chances in front that were blocked, but Stuart eventually put the home team on top. At 17:06, Stuart re-directed a Steve Eminger wrister that came from the blue line, beating Zepp on the man advantage.
The Phantoms retaliated with almost literally a last-second goal. With 1.1 seconds left on the clock, the visiting team answered on the power play as Adam Comrie snuck a wrister past Jeremy Smith from the right point.
Neither team scored in the second, and the P-Bruins limited the Phantoms to only four shots. Providence had more bids in the second period (10) than Lehigh Valley had in the first two combined (9).
Neither team scored in the third either, as Providence and Lehigh Valley each had seven bids on the opposing goaltender. Stuart had a big shot block, taking one off of the leg in the slot on a point-blank shot during the Flyers affiliate’s power play. Later in the period, Jason Akeson hit the left post. The Bruins had a few good chances of their own, including hitting the post a minute later.
In Overtime, Smith made a save at the near post, going into a split to stop a Mark Alt breakaway with 2:37 left. Eminger nearly had a one-timer on the near doorstep as time expired, but the puck hopped over his stick.
In the shootout, the first four shooters were held off of the board. Scott Laughton scored the game-winner with a triple fake on the right side of the crease. As the Bruins’ last hope, Khokhlachev maneuvered the puck past Zepp, but his shot hit the post as he approached the goal line.
It was the first loss in a shootout (or overtime) for the Bruins at home all season, and it snapped the 11-game home win streak. The team has registered points in seven games in a row, the previous six all victories.
The Bruins hit the road for a Saturday evening contest against the Springfield Falcons at 7:00pm.
#49 Colin Stuart (#44 Steve Eminger, #17 Seth Griffith)
#30 Jeremy Smith (20 saves on 21 shots)
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The Providence Bruins are an American Hockey League franchise and the top affiliate of the NHL’s Boston Bruins. Since moving to Providence in 1992 the P-Bruins have been among the league leaders in regular season attendance. On the ice the team has enjoyed similar success, having won five division titles, three regular season titles and the Calder Cup in 1999.