WORCESTER - It's always interesting to see who comes forward when playoff time rolls around. This year's surprise for Worcester is Tyson Nash.
Nash had three points last night in the IceCats' 5-3 victory over Providence and is Worcester's leading playoff scorer with three goals and one assist.
Actually, it's a continuation of the way he played down the stretch, when he was one of Worcester's most effective forwards.
"I hate to say this," Nash said, "but it's really a different feeling this time of year. The weather is warm, the sun is shining, and you just know it's the playoffs.
"It's do or die, and I just love those situations. It's really hard to explain."
Coach Greg Gilbert had no problem explaining Nash's play.
"His work ethic is second to none," Gilbert said, "and it's good to see him capitalizing on the opportunities he creates for himself.
"The greatest thing is that he's not sacrificing defense for offense."
Rookie Ladislav Nagy led the Quebec Junior League in scoring this season before joining Worcester. He's has shown why in two games so far.
"There's no doubt he's a good player," Gilbert said. "He's smart with the puck and he knows what he has to do with it."
Last night, Nagy became the first IceCat ever to score his first pro goal in a playoff game.
Attendance was 4,433. That's typically light for a first-round game, but quite a bit better than the league average.
Cincinnati, for instance, drew 1,118 for its lone playoff game, and Adirondack had 1,732 for its only Calder Cup game.
IceCats executive vice president Peter Ricciardi said there is no way to know exactly how many Providence fans came up for last night's game, but they were a noisy bunch.
The Providence Bruins, or Boston Bruins, factor in last night's crowd may have been in the 20 percent range, according to Ricciardi.
Brent Johnson made his 10th straight start in the Worcester net, the streak dating back into the regular season. He's started 12 of the last 13 games overall. Johnson has been in goal to start the IceCats' last eight playoff games.
IceCats coach Greg Gilbert went with the same lineup that played Game 2 in Providence. It included rookies Nagy and Jeremiah McCarthy in the forward lines. McCarthy also saw some action at the point when Worcester had a power play.
Both rookies got assists on Nash's first-period goal that gave Worcester a 2-1 lead. Nagy had a goal and an assist while McCarthy had two assists. Both finished plus-2.
Bruins coach Peter Laviolette did not dress Dan Ceman. Instead, center John Spoltore made his first playoff appearance.
Spoltore led the East Coast Hockey League in scoring this past season. He had an assist on the Bruins' first goal.
The last time Providence and Worcester met in the playoffs was 1996-97, only two seasons ago, but only five players who skated in that series are playing in this one - and three of those players have switched teams.
For Worcester, Stephane Roy and Rory Fitzpatrick remain from '96-97. Kevin Sawyer played, but for Providence. The only Bruins who skated in the 1996-97 series are Terry Virtue and Marquis Mathieu. Both of them wore IceCats uniforms then.
ICECATS ESCAPADES - Ricciardi said there are no new developments concerning broadcaster Greg Madden, who remains on a personal leave of absence. ... Worcester has a 7-4-0 record in 11 playoff games at the Centrum, and has not lost at home since March 12 ... IceCats general manager John Ferguson Jr. and Blues scouts Bill Dinneen and Rick Meagher were in attendace. Jean Ratelle, a Bruins scout, was also on hand.