Bruins slip past Phantoms

DAVID W. UNKLE -- Special to SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 12:09 AM ET


PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Philadelphia Phantoms head coach, John Stevens wanted to make sure that his team, losers of Game Three in each of their previous series with the Norfolk Admirals and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, would not fall once again to the dictum of George Santayana.

En route to 3-0 series lead, the Phantoms gift-wrapped a Providence victory with a sloppy second period of play and a costly bench-minor in overtime.

Just five seconds after the time expired for too-many-men on the ice, Brad Boyes, snake-bitten all night long, found a way to solve Phantoms goaltender Antero Niittymaki.

Boyes' banged home Andy Hilbert's rebound at 14:08 of the first overtime period was difference in a 2-1 Bruins win in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Games Four and Five are scheduled for Wednesday and Friday nights, respectively, in Providence.

Following the team's morning skate, Stevens wanted the team to "come out and dictate, be simple early, and be the more aggressive team."

And that's exactly what he got.

For about 50 minutes.

The prophetic Stevens was concerned about the team's tendency of having a "wait and see attitude" in the third game of each series.

His concerns were valid.

After spotting the Phantoms a 1-0 lead on defenceman Joni Pitkanen's third goal of the playoffs, the Bruins came out full-throttle in the third period.

After a defensive second period in which the two teams combined for nine shots, Providence fired 17 shots on Antero Niittymaki, forcing overtime when Keith Aucoin scored at 13:06.

Friction between the two teams palpable during the pre-game skate turned to an all-out line brawl following Boye's game-winning tally.

Sixty-eight minutes were handed out as game officials were reviewing tape forty-five minutes after the game.

David W. Unkle is a freelance sports writer and frequent contributor to SLAM! Sports. His work appears on several news outlets along with hosting The Topcat Sports Show in the Philadelphia market. David can be contacted via the Show's website at http://www.topcatsports.org or topcatsports@canoemail.com.

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