PORTLAND – Goalie Niklas Svedberg did everything but stand on his head to lead the Providence Bruins to a 2-1 win against the Portland Pirates Saturday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
Svedberg, in his first AHL season, made 36 saves to earn his sixth win in eight starts. He made 15 of those saves during the second period to help kill off five Portland power plays.
Undrafted by an NHL team, Svedberg, 23, was signed by the Boston Bruins last May as a free agent.
“He was a late bloomer,” said Don Sweeney, the Boston Bruins assistant general manager who was at the game. “Last year was his first year in the top league in Sweden. He was always in the lower leagues before that.”
It was an impressive performance by Svedberg, who has compiled a 1.75 goals-against average to rank fifth in the 30-team league.
“I was really impressed with him,” Portland Coach Ray Edwards said. “He made some really big saves, especially in the third period.”
Edwards could find little fault in the way the Pirates played.
“We’re defending well,” he said. “We’re working. We’ve just got to find a way to create another goal or two every game.”
The Bruins (6-6-0-1) opened the scoring two minutes into the game when Bobby Robins poked a rebound into the right side. The goal came after rookie goalie Mark Visentin, making his fifth start for the Pirates, slid across the crease and used his left pad to keep a shot from rookie defenseman Torey Krug out of the left side.
Providence took advantage of a lucky bounce to take a 2-0 lead 12 minutes into the second period. When Visentin tried to clear the puck away from the right side of the goal, it ricocheted off a stanchion supporting the glass and shot into the slot where rookie Ryan Spooner buried it for his third goal.
“It was a bad break, off the stanchion and right to the guy,” Edwards said.
Svedberg stopped 30 shots before the Pirates were able to get puck past him. With 10 minutes left in the game, Phil Lane finished off a rush by putting in a wide-angled shot from the bottom of the right circle for his first pro goal to end the young Swedish goalie’s bid for his first AHL shutout.
“What they’ve got is a good balance of skill and grit,” Edwards said. “They have two lines which have really good skill, and they have two lines which are really gritty and tough to play against.”
NOTES: A hip injury kept veteran center Trent Whitfield out of the Providence lineup for the eighth consecutive game. He spent parts of seven seasons with the Pirates when the AHL club was affiliated with the Washington Capitals Providence forwards Carter Camper and Alden Hirschfield, who was a healthy scratch, were teammates of Pirates center Andy Miele at the University of Miami (Ohio) AHL President Dave Andrews attended Saturday night’s game.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: