Tag Archives: Providence Bruins

Tables Turned

by EDDIE PANNONE

PROVIDENCE — They looked like a team that couldn’t be stopped. After falling behind 2-0 in their first best of five series with the Hershey Bears, the Providence Bruins stormed back winning 3 straight games to take the series. The number one team in the AHL then took on the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins in round 2, going up 3 games to none versus them. As in any series where a team goes up 3-0, they looked like a team that was clicking on all cylinders. The first line of Ryan Spooner, Chris Bourque, and Jamie Tardif was producing as well as they ever had before, and Carter Camper was playing his best hockey of the season.

The want and desire of the Bruins could be felt by all in attendance as they dominated the Penguins not only on the scoreboard but physically as well. Bobby Robins started every game for the Bruins, and seemingly the first shift of every game featured a big hit that would energize the team and set the tone for the game. The goaltending of MVP Niklas Svedberg looked to be getting back to his all-star level after looking shaky at times in the playoffs. Literally everything that could go right was going right for Providence.

Then things went really, really, really, REALLY, wrong.

After letting up 8 goals then 4 goals, Brad Thiessen was called upon to replace Jeff Zatkoff in net. Despite losing in overtime in his first start, Thiessen played great allowing just 2 goals on 22 shots. The biggest factor that changed the series though was something out of the P-Bruins’ control: injuries. However they were not necessarily injuries to their own players. The Boston Bruins had injuries to defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden, forcing them to call up Providence’s best two defensemen Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski. They have produced well in the Stanley Cup playoffs, but at the same time made the P-Bruins run in the Calder Cup playoffs much more difficult.

The Penguins defeated Providence in their final two home games of the series, allowing just 1 goal in the two games. They played well with their backs against the wall, capitalizing on many of their chances and scoring a combined 7 goals. Once the series returned to the Dunk, Thiessen took control of the series. The Bruins were getting good looks in game 6, but none could find the back of the net. The third period saw Providence out-shoot the Penguins 20-2, yet no goals went past Thiessen. The Pens would score in OT to force a game 7.

Game 7 started out well again for the Bruins, getting good scoring chances and playing well. However, the first period was scoreless on both sides. The second period is where the Bruins fatally collapsed. The Penguins scored 4 goals in the period while the Bruins had no offensive rhythm. The Penguins capitalized on power plays and turnovers, while that want and desire for the Bruins seemed to disappear. Svedberg gave up weak goals, and the team looked tired and overmatched. There was a point down 2-0 that the Bruins hit the goal post multiple times, and that looked to demoralize them even more.

In the end it was a 5-0 win for WBS as a 3-0 series lead crumpled away for the Bruins. Boston fans have seen this before with the Red Sox comeback and Bruins collapse. The loss of Krug and Bartkowski proved to be too much to overcome, as the defense lacked after they left. Svedberg looked like he was gassed letting some easy goals go by, but he can’t be blamed entirely when his top two defensemen weren’t there. The team, who was at a size disadvantage to begin with, looked mentally and physically fatigued. It is a long season, for some the longest of their careers. That is a big factor down the stretch, and while it is no excuse for blowing a 3-0 lead it was something that was thought to happen eventually.

It isn’t the way anyone wants to end a season, but don’t let the end take away from the entire journey. It was a great season in Providence that saw some young talent rise up with veteran leadership. It will be interesting to see who returns next season, as this same group with a year under their belt could make a serious run at the Cup. Unfortunately, that most likely won’t be the case.

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P-Bruins come all the way back

by EDDIE PANNONE

PROVIDENCE — A one seed should have no problem beating the number eight seed, right? As we have seen many times in hockey, the seeding doesn’t matter as much as in other sports. With nothing to lose, the Hershey Bears came into Providence facing a deep Bruins team with an MVP goaltender. Someone who didn’t know the seeds would have guessed it was Hershey that was the one seed. Outplaying the Bruins in almost every aspect, the Bears took a 2-0 lead in a best of five series, shocking the Bruins and their fans.

Goaltender and Bruins MVP Niklas Svedberg looked like a completely different player than in the regular season. He was uncomfortable and didn’t look very confident while in the crease, something that hasn’t happened all season long. While some of the goals were not really his fault, there were plenty of shots that hit the back of the net that he has consistently stopped all season. One had to wonder if the rookie was struggling because of fatigue after a long first season.

The team did not look good in general aside from Svedberg. While in their own end, the team made many turnovers leading to Hershey scoring chances. In a physical two games both teams hit hard and were aggressive, but the P-Bruins aggressive play led to odd man rushes. The penalty kill, which was 5th best in the AHL during the regular season, was awful. The team allowed 5 goals while shorthanded, including a game tying goal with less than 2 minutes left in game two.

The team put a lot of heart into game two, and when they lost it was obvious how much it hurt. Anyone in the Dunkin Donuts Center who thought the Bruins were going to come back was lying to themselves. Despite being down, the P-Bruins proved that they were not out.

Game 3 saw Hershey score first, riding the emotion of their crowd. Former Bear Chris Bourque scored a huge goal less than five minutes later to swing the momentum of the game and the series. From there everything seemed to click for the Bruins, looking like the team that earned the best record in the AHL. Providence took a 2-1 lead when Bobby Robins scored his first goal of the playoffs, followed by converted a power play by Jamie Tardif, Bourque, and Ryan Spooner to make the score 3-1. A penalty kill that looked dreadful returned to form by stopping eight minutes of second period penalties and were a perfect 6-6 on the night. Bourque and Carter Camper scored insurance goals in the third period, giving the team a 5-1 win and new playoff life. Svedberg looked solid making 30 saves for the Bruins, and the team looked ready to come all the way back.

Game four was tightly contested right to the finish. After Providence used goals from Camper and Graham Mink to go up 2-0, the Bears tied the game 2 aside in the third period and if not for a disallowed goal would have taken 3-2 lead. Camper netted his second goal of the day to give Providence the 3-2 instead, but Hershey took a 4-3 lead with less than 5 minutes left in the game. Once again the Bruins looked like they were done, but once again clawed back. Craig Cunningham scored on a late power play to tie the game at 4, once again swinging the momentum in favor of the Bruins. Camper secured the victory and a game 5 by scoring a hat trick goal with 1:04 on the clock, giving the P-Bruins a 5-4 lead.

Game 5 was more of the same: tough, close, physical, and exciting hockey. Hershey scored early to go up 1-0, but Providence caught what might have been the break of the series. A Justin Florek shot deflected off the skate of a Hershey skater into the open net, tying the game at 1. Both teams had power play chances, but the first would end in a 1-1 tie. The two teams went back and forth to start the second period, though Providence had trouble with turnovers and puck clearing. That being said, they were still out shooting the Bears in the period. The P-Bruins finally broke through with five minutes left. Camper and Tardif set up Jordan Caron, who ripped it top shelf to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead after two periods. The third period saw Hershey tie the game at 2 with a chance to take the lead on the power play. The Bruins power play showed why it was top 5, killing it off without much problem. The team used that momentum swing on their own end of the ice. Tardif stood firm in the crease, grabbing a loose puck and slipping it through to give Providence a 3-2 lead they would not relinquish. The final minute saw the Bears pull their goalie while on the power play, but it did not matter. The defense held up, and the Bruins won the series and the game 3-2.

With the win, Providence moves on to Round two of the playoffs against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. This seven game series begins Friday night at the Dunkin Donuts Center at 7:05.

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P-Bruins number one in AHL

by EDDIE PANNONE

PROVIDENCE — It’s taken since 2009, but the Providence Bruins are back in the postseason. The team not only won the Atlantic Division, but were Champions of the Eastern Conference. They are the only AHL team to record more than 100 points on the season, finishing with a record of 50-21-5 for 105 points. This earned them the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy (AHL Regular Season Point Leaders) as well as home ice throughout the playoffs. Their first round opponent will be the Hershey Bears, who they will take on in a best of 5 series.

Providence has been led by team MVP Niklas Svedberg. Svedberg has taken the goalie position from a liability in past years to a huge strength. The rookie has been named to the All-Rookie Team and AHL First All-Star Team, as well as winning the Baz Bastien award for best AHL goaltender. His numbers stand at 37-8-2-4 with a GAA of 2.17 and a save percentage of 92.5%. All of these marks are top 3 in the AHL, and as Boston fans saw in the Stanley Cup, a goalie can carry you far into the playoffs. If Svedberg continues to play at this level, pencil in a long playoff run for Providence.

Offensively, the team has many weapons that can beat you any given night. Ryan Spooner is atop that list, as he led the team in scoring with 57 points (17G 40A). He finished off the regular season about as good as you can, registering a hat trick as well as the game winning goal in the final seconds in the season finale. The rookie has spent time in Boston this season, and will look to keep up his good play in the playoffs. Carter Camper was second on the team in scoring with 47 points, scoring 10 goals with 37 assists. He too has NHL experience and can not only score but sets up teammates well. Jamie Tardif brings veteran leadership as well as scoring touch to this young group, leading the team with 30 goals on the year. Torey Krug, Craig Cunningham, Chris Bourque, Jordan Caron, and Captain Trent Whitfield also bring balanced scoring to the offense.

The great thing about this team is that they don’t rely on one player, and come playoff time that is good. They can count on production from several players in big situations, so one guy struggling is not as big a deal. The chemistry built amongst this team on the ice is apparent and is much greater than years past. Aside from Svedberg, this is the biggest reason why they are where they are. Several talented players have passed through Providence recently, yet this is the first playoff berth since 2009. With fewer roster moves this year, a comfort level has been built that is so important to success. This is evident in their special teams, another area greatly improved. Providence is top 10 in both the Power Play and the penalty kill this year, obviously two good stats.

The 2013 playoffs will start on Friday, April 26th at the Dunkin Donuts Center with game two set for Sunday. If a game five is necessary, it will be held May 8th at the Dunk

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P-Bruins Continue to Play Well

by Eddie Pannone

The New Year is upon us, and with the midway point of the American Hockey League season looming, the Providence Bruins remain in good shape. Their record stands at 16-12-0-2 with 34 points, good for third in the Atlantic Division. Recently, they have continued their good play, going 6-4 over the last ten games. December was especially good for the P-Bruins, recording a record 8-3-1, the best winning percentage in a month under Coach Cassidy. The team continues to play strong on offense and defense, many nights out-shooting their opponents. They have shown that the early season difficulties are behind them and their hot stretch is not a fluke.

Offensively, the team has been led by their two veterans, Chris Bourque and Jamie Tardif. Bourque is the team’s leading scorer with 25 points, 18 of them coming on assists. He turned around any early season struggles to become the offense weapon Providence thought they would be getting. Bourque, who led the AHL in scoring last year, is tied for 16th in the league this year, but his playmaking skills and his ability to make everyone around him better are big reasons why this team is succeeding. Tardif is leading the team in goals, and his 15 goals are tied for 6th in the AHL. His rating of plus 3 is also tied for 5th on the team.

In net, both goalies continue to be strong. Niklas Svedberg has been the man the team is relying on, playing in 20 of the team’s 30 games. Overall, he is 12-6-1-1 with a strong 2.48 GAA and a save percentage of 92%. All of his numbers are good for at least top 20 in the league, and has cemented himself as the number one goaltender for the Bruins. Backup Michael Hutchinson has been solid as well, allowing Svedberg games to rest. His record is only 4-6-1, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t played well. His save percentage is close to 90% and his GAA sits at 2.72. As we have seen in Providence over the past few years, a team cannot go anywhere without strong play from their goalies, and the team should continue to compete so long as these two keep up their current pace.

For a while, it has been known that the P-Bruins would be hosting the 2013 Dunkin’ Donuts AHL All-Star Classic on January 27-28. Now, we know who the captains for the game will be. Quintin Laing of the Abbotsford Heat will captain the Western All-Stars, and Providence captain Trent Whitfield will assume the role for the Eastern All-Stars. Both captains have had many years of AHL experience while making appearances at the NHL level. Whitfield has only suited up for six games this season, dealing with injuries since October.

The P-Bruins have 11 more games to go before the All-Star break, two coming over the weekend. On Friday night, the team will take on Portland at 7:05. After a day off Saturday, they will hit the ice again at 3:05 against Springfield. Both games will be home at the Dunkin Donuts Center.

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Providence Bruins on a Roll

The Providence Bruins are finally gelling the way they thought they could. After a disappointing first few weeks, the team is on a roll. They are on a six game unbeaten streak (5-0-1), and have climbed to second place in the Atlantic Division. Their overall record sits at 12-8-0-2, with 26 points. The team is coming off a 3-2 overtime victory against the Phantoms, with the game winner coming off the stick of Kyle MacKinnon.

After several frustrating seasons for the P-Bruins, it looks they finally have a competitive team, and the NHL lockout has probably sparked that. Boston would likely have moved around many players on this roster to different levels, and none of these players would be able to mesh like they have. To start the year, the talent was there, but it was clear that the chemistry needed to be built. As the season has progressed, it is obvious that the Bruins are starting to come together and play like a team. Offensively, the team is setting up plays and getting good looks at the net. Not as many goals have been scored as the team would like, but it is only a matter of time before more shots hit the back of the net. The power play, which has been dreadful over the past few seasons, looks better. Instead of spending most of the time chasing the puck down the ice, they actually have set up plays and got good looks.

This chemistry has shown up on the stat sheet for many players. After a slow start, Chris Bourque has stepped up his play to a higher level. He leads the team with 18 points and is showing why he was the leading scorer in the AHL last season. He has really helped the offensive attack, serving as a quarterback on the ice. His 16 assists are not only number one on the team, but are fifth in the league. With no big time goal scorer, Bourque will continue to become more of a distributor for the P-Bruins than scorer, but look for his assist numbers to rise as he and his line mates continue to get more comfortable. As for other Bruins doing well, Jamie Tardif leads the team with 10 goals on the season, and his 14 points are third on the team behind Ryan Spooner’s 15.

A group that has really performed better during this hot spell has been the defensemen. Matt Bartkowski has stepped up as the team’s number one defenseman with the injury to Garnet Exelby, and the team has gone 6-2-1 in the games Exelby has missed. Bartkowski has 4 of his 5 total points in the month of December. David Warsofsky in six games did what it took him 2 months to do before, score a goal and record 2 assists. He also has improved his rating to +3. Zach Trotman has tripled his scoring output, going from 2 to 6 points while taking over the team lead in +/- at +6.

In net, Niklas Svedberg has been the go to guy for the Bruins. His record stands at 10-4-1-1, and is top 10 in GAA and save percentage in the AHL. After all off the poor goalies Providence has seen in recent years, it is nice to have a reliable goalie that they can turn to. Michael Hutchinson has been good too, and his strong play has allowed the team to rest Svedberg once per weekend. While it is important that all the other parts of the team come together, teams without goaltenders go nowhere, and that has been a problem that has plagued the Bruins. This good play will need to continue if the Bruins are serious about a playoff run.

As well as the P-Bruins have played, they can still get better. Many of their players have been out for this hot spell, and these are players that were thought to be relied on. Captain Trent Whitfield hasn’t played since the last week of October, Carter Camper hasn’t played since Thanksgiving, Exelby has been out 9 of the last 10 games, Jared Knight has sat out since the opening weekend, and Kevan Miller has missed multiple weeks. All of these players were thought to be big reasons why the Bruins would have success, and yet the team has done without them. Once they come back and can get back into the flow of things, it will make the offense that much better.

Providence will look to continue their winning ways this weekend, starting Friday at home versus Springfield. Game time is 7:05.

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P-Bruins looking Better despite 3-5 Start


If you look at the standings, the Providence Bruins are one of the worst teams in the AHL right now. It’s true; they have not played great through the first eight games of the season. They are 3-5 with 6 points, last in their division. However, they have been an up and down team more than anything. From game to game, and sometimes from period to period, they look like two different teams. That doesn’t translate into winning hockey, but it can eventually translate into success. At times this season, the team looked confused on offense, not making good passes and not looking sharp. The energy you would expect didn’t appear to show. Early in the season, that is not a huge surprise, but something that is concerning nonetheless.

Then, you see how the team played last weekend. Though it was in a losing effort, Providence developed many strong scoring chances. They out shot their opponent 34-21, but just couldn’t seem to find the back of the net on those chances. They played energized, physical, and saw Christian Hanson get into a fight. Taking this performance into Sunday’s game, the P-Bruins showed much of the same intensity. Right from the puck drop, Providence was flying around the ice, and scored 22 seconds into the game. The passes were better, plays, were set up better, and they controlled the puck in the 3-0 victory. They were only a bounce or two away from making it four or five goals in the game, a really good sign. If that kind of play can become a constant, this team will be out of the cellar before too long.

Something that hasn’t been a problem thus far for the team has been their goaltending. While it still could be better, it is much improved from seasons past when it was the biggest reason for failure. Niklas Svedberg has stepped up and become the team’s number one goalie ahead of Michael Hutchinson. In his first four starts, he is 3-1 with a GAA of 2.01 and a save percentage of 92.7%. Hutchinson has struggled to open up, going 0-4 with a save percentage of 83.8%. Both these goalies are still very young, so ups and downs are to be expected. Hutchinson won’t play as poor, and it’s definitely possible that Svedberg’s numbers will show some drop off. If these two can be solid and pick each other up throughout the course of the year, I don’t see goaltending being a big problem.

One of the biggest reasons the Bruins sit in last place is their scoring ability. Currently, they only have 18 goals on the year, fourth fewest in the AHL. However, they are only being outscored by five, another testament to the goaltender play. Like I said earlier, the team has improved their puck control and their offensive play in recent games. This is shown in their weekend power play numbers, as they were 3-8. They stand in fifth in the league now in power play success now at 22.5%, a very good sign of progress. So many times we have seen the team look sloppy with passes and have no idea what to do on the man advantage. Most of the time would be spent chasing the puck down the other end of the ice only to have to do the same thing seconds later. Better puck control has led to better chances and more time actually shooting on the power play for the team, leading to success. Another thing to note is that there is not one player standing out from the rest right now. The team is led in goal by Jordan Caron and Max Sauve, who each have four. Overall point leaders are Sauve, Chris Bourque, and Ryan Spooner, who each have 6 points. No one person has really stood out and taken over games from a scoring standpoint. While it is nice to see that they are not heavily reliant on one person and everyone is contributing, it would also be nice for someone to breakout as that standout, go-to guy.

Consistency will be the big thing for this team the rest of the way. They have shown that they can play and be successful, but now it is time for them to show they can do it for extended stretches. This is something that is fully capable of happening. The team will get Captain Trent Whitfield back from an upper body injury soon, and he will no doubt make them better. They will also have more time to gel together because of the lockout. Players would be moved up and down from Boston constantly had there been an NHL season. With the highest level of hockey being the AHL, these players will have time to learn each other and get better together.

While the team has been playing with more energy of late, one thing to note is that they have yet to play more than two games in a weekend. This will change tonight, as they will face off three consecutive games. This will be the norm for most of the rest of the year, so it will be interesting to see how that affects the Bruins’ play. Game one of the weekend is tonight against the Albany Devils at the Dunkin Donuts Center.

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Despite chances, P-Bruins start 2012 season 0-2


The first two games of the 2012-2013 AHL season haven’t gone the way the Providence Bruins intended. The team has a 0-2 record despite having early leads in both games this year. While the wins aren’t there yet, the team has not played poorly. On opening night, the team had a great first period of hockey. They were energetic and aggressive while firing good passes and taking good shots. This led to them having a 1-0 lead going into the first intermission, but the final two periods were not as good. The energy and the crispness of the passes weren’t there, and that showed as the team eventually lost 3-1 to the Manchester Monarchs.

Similar happened in the P-Bruins next game with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The team got on the board first with a 1-0 lead, but surrendered that lead with only a few minutes to play in the period. The Tigers came out much more energetic than the Bruins in the second period, scoring within five minutes to make it 2-1. Providence responded well to this, firing 15 shots on goal and getting many scoring chances. However, none of them found the net, and the second period ended with the score still 2-1. Providence would go on to lose the game 4-2.

Things could look much worse for the P-Bruins, and the fact they are getting many scoring chances is a sign of good things to come offensively. One thing that hasn’t been good is their power play. In both games this year, the P-Bruins have not only gone scoreless on the power play, but they have allowed a shorthanded goal. When you are getting outscored 2-0 on your own power play, things need to change. Overall, they are 0-11 on the power play, which has been a problem for the past few years. Though it is still early, it would be nice to see some results in their next couple of games.

Part of the early offensive problem has been the newly acquired Chris Bourque. Bourque was brought to the Bruins organization this off-season after a season that saw him lead the AHL in scoring with 93 pts. While it is still very early, Bourque has yet to register a point in these two games, something that only happened twice last year. Only one time did he go three straight games without a point, so expect him to get point number one out of the way this weekend. P-Bruins captain Trent Whitfield also has been held scoreless on the year, so once those two get going, this is an offense that can be dangerous.

Through the first two games of the year, no player has more than one goal for Providence. Jamie Tardif scored the lone goal on opening night, and Max Sauve and Craig Cunningham both found the back of the net in game two. In the plus/minus department, last year’s team leader Kevan Miller is picking up right where he left off. He, as well as Tardif, are a plus 2 on the season, and none of the four goals scored on Saturday occurred while Miller was on the ice.

In net, the goaltending hasn’t been terrible. Michael Hutchinson has allowed 3 goals in each of the first two games, but remember that if the Bruins didn’t allow breakaway shorthanded opportunities, that number could be 2 per game easily. He has not been the problem for the Bruins and I expect a good year from him between the pipes.

Providence is back in action tonight as they begin a 2 game weekend road trip. They will face the Monarchs tonight and will then travel to Springfield to take on the Falcons. Both games are at 7:00.

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P-BRUINS STILL ALIVE

By Eddie Pannone

The Providence Bruins are once again at the bottom looking up. They are currently last in the Atlantic Division at 26-28-3-3. They have amassed only 58 points, but still have some hope at making it into the postseason. The two teams tied for second place, Worcester and Manchester, both have 61 points. With 16 games left to play for the P-Bruins, they certainly have a chance to make up the three points they currently trail by. They will face Manchester once before the end of the season and Worcester twice, including a game in the final month of the season. The one aspect not to be overlooked when it comes to catching Worcester is that the Bruins have already played three more games than the Sharks. The task of becoming a playoff team is a challenging one no doubt, and if the Bruins continue their poor play it will soon be impossible.

The biggest problem the Bruins had last home stand was their goaltending. With Anton Khudobin suffering a wrist injury and Michael Hutchinson being recalled to Boston, the P-Bruins goaltending depth was thin. Goalies Adam Courchaine and Karel St. Laurent both had a dismal weekend. The two let up a combined 14 goals in three games, an average of 4.67 goals per game. It is hard to say who was worse. Courchaine allowed two soft goals in his start Friday and followed up the next day getting pulled in the first period. St. Laurent was pulled in the second period after allowing 5 goals, many of them shots the average goalie would get to. This obviously will not get it done in the regular season or postseason. Luckily for Providence, the Boston Bruins have assigned Hutchinson back to Providence after they signed veteran goalie Marty Turco to be Tim Thomas’ backup. He will take over between the pipes where he has had solid numbers. Though he is only 6-11, he has a 2.62 GAA and a save percentage of .920. He will be relied upon until Khudobin is able to return to action. As long as Providence can remain solid in net, they should have a strong final push based on their recent offensive play.

Though the team got swept over the weekend and played awful in net, they did not play as bad as one might think. Friday night they faced Michael Leighton, former Flyers starting goalie. They moved the puck well and set up plays, but just couldn’t light the lamp more than once. Saturday was once again an example of them moving the puck well but not having much to show for it. Sunday’s game may have been one of the better offensive performances the team had all year. They scored on three power play attempts and their passes looked crisp. They finally have started looking like a team with chemistry and they have done it three games in a row. It is still early to say they have done it consistently, but a strong performance this weekend and that statement may not be so crazy.

The P-Bruins will play three games again this weekend, including one against the Worcester Sharks. Every game and every point is important at this point in the season, and the Bruins need to step up if they are going to steal a playoff spot.

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P-Bruins Defeat Sharks; Rob Gronkowski Visits DCU Center Friday Night

(Photo/Alan Sullivan)

–Courtesy/Eric Lindquist–

WORCESTER — The Worcester Sharks allowed four unanswered third period goals in a 5-3 loss to the Providence Bruins in front of a record crowd of 10,170 at the DCU Center for the GRONK Puck Spike on March of Dime Night in Worcester on Friday night.

New England Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski spiked a ceremonial first puck into pieces at center ice in front of a standing ovation before the game to set the tone. The Sharks barreled out to a 3-1 lead before falling apart in the third period.

WATCH THE VIDEO!

John McCarthy, Nathan Moon, and Brandon Mashinter scored for Worcester and Alex Stalock made 35 saves in his first start at the DCU Center in over a year in the loss.

John McCarthy (13th) gave Worcester an early 1-0 lead on Worcester’s first shot on goal past Michael Hutchinson at 2:44. Maxime Suave (4th) tied the score at 1-1 with a rebound score past Alex Stalock at 7:59 on the power play. Nathan Moon (8th) scored on a 5-on-3 power play at 16:46 to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead on a rebound strike. The Sharks led 2-1 after 20 minutes.

In the second period, Brandon Mashinter (11th) gave the Sharks a 3-1 lead after a steal by Tim Kennedy at 13:58 and a quick shot through the pads by Mashinter in the left circle. The Sharks led 3-1 after 40 minutes of play.

Michael Hutchinson made several great stops early in the third period before the Bruins came barreling back with four unanswered goals. Kirk MacDonald (3rd) scored at 6:30 and Jamie Arniel (6th) at 9:15 to tie the score at 3-3 and hush the sellout crowd. Kyle MacKinnon (8th) deflected home a blast from the point at 13:24 for the eventual game winner and put the Bruins ahead 4-3. Jamie Tardiff (15th) put home an empty netter at 19:41 to seal the deal for Providence.

Worcester’s record falls to 24-19-4-5 (57pts in 52gp) and 12-10-0-2 at the DCU Center.

FIVE GUYS BURGERS Three Stars:
3rd Star — Kyle MacKinnon (GWG)
2nd star — John McCarthy (Goal)
1st star – Jamie Arniel (2-1-3)

NOTES
Final shots were 45-40 in favor of Worcester… Michael Hutchinson made 42 saves on 45 shots in net for Providence; Alex Stalock made 35 saves on 39 shots for Worcester.…Worcester went 1-for-2 on the power play while Providence went 1-for-4…Ben Guite (inj),Tony Lucia (inj), Sena Acolatse (inj), Frazer McLaren (inj), Curt Gogol (Inj), Cam MacIntyre (inj), Ryan Del Monte (scr), and Tyson Sexsmith (scr) did not dress for Worcester… With the three fights, the Sharks continue to lead the AHL with 92 fighting major penalties… Matt Pelech picked up his 11th and 12th fighting majors and Jimmy Bonneau his 19th.

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P-BRUINS REMAIN IN PLAYOFF HUNT

By Eddie Pannone
As unusual as it sounds, the standings may be deceiving. If someone told you that a team was just two games over .500 a few weeks past the all-star break, one would think they are a long shot to make the playoffs. If I told you a team was two points out of second place in their division, you would think they were having a pretty good year. Usually, these two scenarios don’t coincide, but in the case of the Providence Bruins, they do. Following this weekends games, a weekend when they went 2-1, the team is 25-23-3-3 with 56 pts. While they are in fourth place in the division, they are only 2 points behind the second place Manchester Monarchs. Many teams are in this same position, as only a few teams in the AHL have proven themselves to be of dominant level. Four points separate the 2nd place team in the Atlantic division with the last place team. It will still be hard for the Bruins to make their way into the playoffs, but as we have seen any team can get hot in a moments notice.

Providence has had a merry-go-round of key player moves that have tampered with their roster. The most recent move came yesterday when the Boston Bruins recalled Carter Camper for the first time in his career. Camper will try to give the NHL Bruins a much needed spark on offense. While no one thinks he will replace the likes of Nathan Horton or Rich Peverley, both sidelined with injuries, he has shown an ability to make things happen on the offensive end. Camper led the P-Bruins in scoring with 38 points (14 G, 24A), and was the teams only representative at the AHL all star game. The game before his call-up, he led Providence to a 4-3 win over Connecticut with a hat trick. His scoring ability will be even more missed with Josh Hennessy also being recalled to Boston. Hennessy, a veteran of the AHL, has long shown a scoring ability at the AHL level. He has 20 games of NHL experience under his belt, all with Ottawa, scoring one goal. For Providence this year, he has 30 points (15G, 15A), and he too will try to help out a slumping Boston team. Boston was still not done pulling from their minor league club, recalling defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk as well. Bodnarchuk has been one of Providence’s best defenseman this year, recording an even plus/minus, unfortunately one of the best on the team. He has 11 points (4G 7A) on the year, and brings experience in Boston with him on his recall.

It is not all subtraction for the P-Bruins however. The team has received back Zach Hamill, who spent 16 games with the Boston Bruins. Hamill will provide great puck vision and a scoring touch to a team that relies on him to be a leader. His totals in 25 AHL games this year are 7G and & 7A for 14 points. It is essential to have him back in the fold for the P-Bruins. Providence also adds defenseman Steve Kampfer to its roster. He may not be in Providence for too long, as Boston wants him to get consistent ice time while he is here. Kampfer has proved he can play at the NHL level and having someone like him on Providence’s roster only helps everyone.

With the chaos of roster moves everywhere, Providence has been able to count on Callie Ridderwall recently. In his rookie year with the Bruins he has totaled 23 points and an impressive +7 rating. He was named P-Bruins player of the month, and without his play, the team would find themselves way out of playoff contention. Goalie Anton Khudobin has been solid between the pipes all season long, and his statistics don’t do him justice. While he is top ten in save percentage (.919%) and top 20 in goals allowed average (2.59), he has faced 100 more shots than any other goalie in the league and saved 82 more shots than the next closest. The defense playing in front of him has been better of late, but all year long has been pretty bad. The P-Bruins wouldn’t be smelling the postseason if not for his contributions all year long.

The Bruins will continue their playoff push this weekend with three road contests. They will travel to Worcester on Friday, Bridgeport on Saturday, and they will close out the trip Sunday at Manchester. If they can have a good weekend, they may find themselves in second place in the Atlantic Division.

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