PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The stat sheet said the Portland Pirates beat the Providence Bruins 4-3 on Gilbert Brule’s power-play goal at 1:43 of overtime.
But if it weren’t for the superb play of rookie goaltender Louis Domingue, who was making his first start of the season and only the second of his AHL career, Providence might have blown Portland away in the first period.
Domingue made 15 of his 43 saves in the first 20 minutes, enabling Portland to head into intermission tied 1-1.
“You know they’re coming in the first period, and they came,” Coach Ray Edwards said of the Bruins, who outshot Portland 16-4 in the first. “For us to weather the storm and get through it was important. We didn’t play well in the first period.
“That’s where your goaltender needs to steal you a period, which he did. That was a key part of the game. We easily could have been down two or three goals.”
Brule also was quick to admit Domingue bailed out the Pirates and, in retrospect, helped them earn five of a possible six points over the weekend.
“It was our third game in three nights and we had to find our legs,” Brule said. “Our goalie played amazingly. They were pouring it on but he weathered the storm. We owe him a lot.”
In OT, Chris Brown screened Malcom Subban (24 saves) and Brule blasted in a slapper with an assist to Brandon Gormley.
The Pirates grabbed the initial lead at 12:00 of the first.
Brandon McMilan’s shot clanged off the crossbar, hit Subban’s back and Brown slid the puck into an open net.
Providence tied it at 18:35 when it capitalized on a Portland turnover and Bobby Robins converted a 2-on-1 break.
Blink and you missed what transpired early in the second.
Portland’s Lucas Lessio sailed in on a breakaway only to be robbed by Subban. Providence then made a quick transition and took a 2-1 lead when Alexander Khokhlachev left a drop pass for ex-Pirate Nick Johnson, who scored at 2:21.
The Bruins upped their lead to 3-1 at 10:48 when Chris Casto one-timed Khokhlachev’s pass after a faceoff.
Portland sliced its deficit to 3-2 at 15:22 when Ethan Werek stole the puck at Providence’s blue line and fed Tobias Rieder, who beat Subban.
The Pirates tied it at 4:41 of the third on a bizarre play.
After Providence’s Kevan Miller broke his stick on a slap shot, Brown skated in on a breakaway. Subban blocked Brown’s first and second shots, but McMilan tapped in the next rebound.
Afterward Edwards discussed an interesting “problem.”
“We’ve got three pretty good goalies and we don’t have enough nets for them,” he said, referring to Mark Visentin, Mike Lee and Domingue.
“We had three games this weekend and three really good performances from three different goalies.”