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Not so fast for Bruins

Providence drops broom in Game 4
By Kevin Paul Dupont, Globe Staff, 06/12/99

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Put a cap on that Cup and hold the parade - at least for now. The Providence Bruins, only a victory away from winning the Calder Cup, saw their dream of a sweep dashed here last night in a 4-2 loss to the Rochester Americans.

Craig Fisher, with help from NHL veteran Randy Cunneyworth, snapped a 2-2 deadlock with 9:58 remaining in the third period, cutting Providence's series lead to 3-1 in the best-of-seven series for the American Hockey League championship.

Matt Davidson added an empty-netter for the Americans in the final minute.

The series resumes tomorrow night at the Providence Civic Center.

A crowd of 8,802 at Blue Cross Arena watched the Amerks lose leads of 1-0 and 2-1 before Fisher, who also snapped a 1-1 tie, potted his ninth of the playoffs for the victory.

Jeremy Brown and Peter Ferraro had the goals for the Baby B's.

The worst team in the AHL last season, Providence finished with the league's best regular-season record with 120 points in 1998-'99. If the Baby B's can capture the Cup, it will be the first AHL championship in
Providence since the Reds captured the title in 1956. The last Providence team to play in the title series also was the Reds, who lost to the Hershey Bears in 1972.

The Bruins carried the play in the first period, doing nearly everything right - everything but scoring. And when they did make a mistake, it hurt them badly.

With 37 seconds to go in the period, NHL veteran Randy Cunneyworth finished off a 2-on-1 shorthanded break with his third goal of the postseason, handing the Amerks a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

Providence was handed the power play only 18 seconds before the Cunneyworth goal when Denis Hamel was whistled off for high-sticking. A costly mistake by Jason McBain at the Providence offensive blue line then led to the Cunneyworth-Domenic Pittis breakaway, with Bruins netminder John Grahame left with little chance of turning back Cunneyworth's short-range rip from the slot.

The Baby B's needed only 3:20 of the second period to pull even, 1-1, Jeremy Brown connecting for the equalizer with help from Marquis Mathieu and Antti Laaksonen.

But the Amerks came back to regain the lead, 2-1, only seconds after Providence winger Joel Prpic was stoned on a break in. Martin Biron turned back Prpic's shovel from the slot and, after a short stall on the
left-wing board in their own end, the Amerks raced up with the tie-breaker. Craig Fisher potted the go-ahead strike, with help from Pittis, at 8:24.

Peter Ferraro, at times impressive during his stay in Boston earlier this season, came back with the equalizer at 12:33. Crossing the blue line on left wing, with the clubs skating four men apiece, Ferraro struck for his eighth of the postseason with a 30-foot slapper. Biron dropped to his knee and appeared to have the shot blocked, but the puck trickled ever so slowly through his pads.

Providence had a golden opportunity to break the tie with 4:04 to go when Laaksonen broke out alone on right wing, from deep back in the neutral zone, but failed to connect with a doorstep backhander. The play began when Brian Campbell stumbled at fell near the left point and Laaksonen went racing up ice for his attempt at Biron.

The Bruins were without key defenseman Terry Virtue, who wrenched his left knee in Wednesday's triple-OT winner here. Initial testing indicated that he may have a torn ligament and could require extensive
rehabilitation ... In Virtue's absence Wednesday, which included the whole third period and all the OT, coach Peter Laviolette was forced to roll four defensemen (he dressed only five).

This story ran on page G3 of the Boston Globe on 06/12/99.
Copyright 1999 Globe Newspaper Company.

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