Warfield’s Craig Cunningham and the Providence Bruins bowed out of the American Hockey League playoffs after suffering a tough Game-7 loss to Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins in the Eastern Conference semifinal on Wednesday.
Down 5-1, Providence made a furious third-period comeback but came up just short in a 5-4 loss to the Penguins at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes/Barre.
After a scoreless first period, the Pens scored five times on six shots to jump out to 5-0 lead. Bruins goalie Niklas Svedberg was replaced by Malcolm Subban after allowing four goals on 15 shots.
Providence’s comeback started shortly after with a shorthanded goal by David Warsofsky with 54 seconds left in the second period.
Then Ryan Spooner floated a wrist shot past Pens’ goalie Peter Mannino 23 seconds into the third period.
The Bruins leading scorer Alex Khokhlachev cut the Pens lead to 5-3 with a goal at 6:43, silencing the crowd of 3,613.
Then, with Philip Samuelsson in the box for slashing, Khokhlachev took a pass from Ryan Spooner and brought the P-Bruins to within a goal at 9:55.
With Mannino looking unsteady and the Pens on the run, Providence had a pair of glittering chances to tie the game with five minutes left. Alex Fallstrom had the puck on his stick and lots of net to shoot at, but shanked his shot. Then Nick Johnson was stopped by Mannino from close range.
P-Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy pulled goalie Subban (11 saves) in the closing minute, but the Bruins failed to register a shot on goal as the Penguins shut them down.
The 23-year-old Cunningham netted three goals and four assists in 12 games in the Calder Cup playoffs.
The Penguins will play the St. John’s IceCaps in the Eastern final starting on Saturday.
Another Trail native, Landon Ferraro’s Grand Rapids Griffins were ousted in the Western Conference semifinal in six games courtesy of the Texas Stars. The Stars will face the third seed Toronto Marlies in the Western Conference final beginning today.