The Providence Bruins took another step toward clinching a playoff berth Sunday, while the Portland Pirates continued to limp toward the end of the season.

Providence jumped out to a three-goal lead, nearly gave it away, and then pulled away in the third period to score a 7-2 win over Portland in front of 9.247 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence.

Lucas Lessio and Brandon Yip scored for the Pirates (24-35-3-8), who are now alone in the basement of the Eastern Conference. The Bruins improved to 38-23-2-8, and are solidly in sixth position in the Eastern Conference with a handful of games remaining.

The Bruins opened the first period with three straight goals. Justin Florek got the first Bruins’ tally at 2:10 of the first to give Providence a 1-0 lead. Only 2:12 later, Ryan Spooner doubled the Bruins’ lead, beating Chris Rawlings on the glove side. Matt Fraser then tipped Craig Cunningham’s shot past Rawlings with 10:11 left in the first and Providence led 3-0.

Rawlings settled down after Fraser’s goal, stopping his next nine shots, including a penalty shot attempt by Alexander Khokhlachev to keep the deficit at three. The Bruins outshot the Pirates 16-9 in the first.

Lessio started the scoring for the Pirates in the second. Lessio’s shot beat Niklas Svedberg just 1:22 into the frame for his 27th goal of the year (and fourth in two games) to get Portland on the board. Joel Hanley and Kevin Raine picked up assists, with Raine’s assist accounting for his first professional point. Lessio’s goal tied him with Tobias Rieder and Andy Miele for the team lead.

Brandon Yip then brought the Pirates closer with his 12th of the year on the power play with just 6:32 left in the second, making the score 3-2. Rieder and Greg Carey picked up assists. The Bruins responded with a goal of their own, as Joe Morrow picked up the tally with just 3.2 seconds left in the second to reestablish Providence’s two-goal edge.

The Bruins pulled away in the third, with Florek, Seth Griffith and Jared Knight all scoring to run the score to 7-2.

Miele and Jordan Martinook each saw point streaks come to an end in the defeat.

The Pirates return to the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Wednesday to face the Manchester Monarchs at 7 p.m. in a game that was originally scheduled for April 20.


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