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King ready for Cup crown
PROVIDENCE -- Steve King can't believe his good fortune.
Last fall, the East Greenwich native who played his high school hockey at Bishop Hendricken and college hockey at Brown, thought his professional career was over. A pair of ailing shoulders forced him to leave the P-Bruins preseason training camp. The pain was too great.
But a terrific therapist worked with him and the pain subsided. Very late in the regular season, King returned to the P-Bruins and began to skate again. He signed a short-term contract on April 10 and has been a huge bonus to the P-Bruins, especially in the playoffs and especially last night when he scored two goals and was voted the star-of-the-game.
His third-period goal proved to be the game-winner as it snapped a 2-2 tie and helped give Providence a 1-0 lead in its Calder Cup final series against Rochester.
As a team, the P-Bruins didn't play well, but King's two goals helped bail them out of trouble. He now has scored five goals in the playoffs, two of them game-winners.
``It's nice to be back. I feel real fortunate to be given the opportunity to come back and play,'' King said. ``It was a hard decision earlier in the year (to quit the game). It wasn't something I wanted to do, but I knew I had to do it if I was going to continue playing. It's nice to be back contributing on a winning team. I've
played eight years and never had a chance to win a championship so this has been a long time coming.''
Veteran Providence defenseman Steve Bancroft said he and the rest of the team knew what had to be done in the final period last night. Up to that point, Rochester had controlled the tempo of the game and had limited the P-Bruins to only 15 shots in 40 minutes.
``Plain and simple we said we had to get some shots on goal,'' Bancroft said. ``In the first two periods we were shooting the puck and giving it right to the goalie. We couldn't get anything going. We started forechecking better and began getting some turnovers. That was the key.''
Providence outshot Rochester, 14-11, in the final period.
Not one to remember
Providence's Eric Nickulas , the team's most consistent player throughout the postseason, did not have a good game last night.
In the second period, he took a double-minor penalty for high sticking that forced his team to kill off a 4-minute power play.
Then in the third period, after Providence had taken a 3-2 lead, Nickulas leveled Rochester's Alexandre Boikov with a wicked check in the right corner. Nickulas was given a five-minute major for boarding
and a game misconduct. Boikov, very woozy, had to be helped to the dressing room. His playing status for tonight is uncertain. Rochester players called the check a dirty hit.
When asked about it, Providence coach Peter Laviolette said: ``I have to look at it on tape but, from what I heard on the bench, Nick was going to get the guy but he then suddenly turned into the boards. If that's what happened, it's not a five-minute penalty. It's unfortunate that it happened. I hope the kid is okay.''
A Ferraro conspiracy
Providence's Peter Ferraro has been enjoying a productive postseason. He went into last night's Calder Cup opener with 15 points (5 goals, 10 assists).
Now Ferraro is hoping that a little inside information about the Amerks from his twin brother Chris will help him be even more productive against Rochester.
Chris Ferraro played for Hamilton this year and had 8 goals and 5 assists for the Bulldogs in the playoffs before Hamilton was eliminated in the conference semifinals by Rochester 4-games-to-2.
``They don't give teams many quality chances,'' said Chris Ferraro when asked about Rochester. ``But Providence has what we didn't have at Hamilton -- plenty of speed and lots of firepower. The way we beat
Rochester was to have lots of energy to pressure and forecheck them. I haven't seen Providence that much this season but going by their last game (against Fredericton) they had that energy, so I think their chances are good. Rochester depends on (goaltender Martin ) Biron to make the big stop for them, and he has. But he hasn't faced the offensive power that Providence has.''
Copyright © 1999 The Providence Journal Company