P-Bruins Week in Review
The Providence Bruins remain one of the hottest teams in the Atlantic Division and continue to slowly rise in the standings with their recent success. Taking on the top two teams in their division for a total of three games over the weekend, Providence earned five of a possible six points in the standings while extending their point streak to seven games. The P-Bruins sit sixth in the Atlantic at 10-8-4, though they are just three points shy of jumping into the top four of the division.
The P-Bruins welcomed the first-place Charlotte Checkers to town Friday night, and, despite a roster depleted due to injuries at the NHL and AHL level, delivered a comeback victory. Down 1-0 early in the second period, Jordan Szwarz lit the lamp 1:27 into the frame to tie things up. The score remained 1-1 until just 4:33 was left on the clock, but Peter Cehlarik made sure the fans went home happy as he potted the game-winner and gave Providence a 2-1 win. Traveling to Bridgeport on Saturday night, the team had another exciting finish as the Bruins and Sound Tigers needed overtime to break a 1-1 tie. Ryan Fitzgerald was awarded a penalty shot in the extra frame and did not disappoint, as he buried his seventh goal of the season to give Providence another 2-1 win. Taking on Charlotte again Sunday afternoon, Providence held a 2-0 lead midway through the third but could not hold off the Checkers attack. Charlotte tied things 2-2 and eventually won in overtime with 16 seconds left.
McIntyre on the verge of history
With his win on Friday, Zane McIntyre tied John Grahame's franchise regular season record of 67 wins in net. With his next victory, McIntyre will break the mark that has stood since 2001 and become the winningest goaltender in team history. McIntyre is in his fourth season with the P-Bruins and has established himself as one of the top goalies to ever wear to spoked "P." In 122 games with Providence he is 67-33-16-9 with a 2.50 GAA and a save percentage of 91.1%
Bjork back with P-Bruins
Anders Bjork was assigned to Providence November 29 after starting the season with 20 NHL games in Boston. With just one goal and three points in those games, Boston sent Bjork to the AHL to find his confidence and work on his game without pressure. He played all three games at right wing on the top line with Fitzgerald and Szwarz and saw plenty of action on the team's power play. He posted two assists at even strength over the weekend and there is potential for his scoring to grow with how he performed. Bjork recorded 10 shots on net, including six on Sunday, and showed off blazing speed that created chances. A trip to minors has done wonders for Ryan Donato, who is back in the NHL, so Bjork will look to do the same and show Boston he is ready to contribute.
Notable weekend performers
Fitzgerald is easily the hottest Bruin as he is riding a six-game point streak that was extended over the weekend. With a goal and two assists, Fitzgerald not only led the team with three weekend points, but also overtook Colby Cave for the team lead in season scoring at 19 points. Szwarz has bounced back nicely from an early season injury and has points in six of his last seven games. This includes two goals over the weekend to lead the club. Trent Frederic returned Sunday from an upper body injury that sidelined him almost a month and immediately got back on the score sheet. The rookie first-rounder tallied his sixth goal of the season early in the third period and is tied for third on the team in goal scoring despite missing eight games. McIntyre was the tough-luck loser on Sunday, but made critical stops throughout the game to keep it as close as it was. He faced a season-high 47 shots, stopping a regular season career-high 44 of them.
While Providence received a prolific talent in Bjork, the team has also lost some of their premier scorers to the NHL. Donato was recalled by Boston November 28 and immediately stepped into their lineup, scoring the game-winning shootout goal for the team. Donato was a force in the P-Bruins lineup scoring five goals and nine points with five of them coming on the power play. The team also lost Jan Kovar, who was released from his PTO to join Boston on a PTO. Kovar was another playmaker on the man-advantage and overall posted four goals and six assists for 10 points in 12 games. Providence did receive Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson from Boston prior to Sunday's game, but he was recalled shortly after and will rejoin the NHL club. Tanner Pond, who has been a center on the Providence fourth line, was assigned to the ECHL on Monday and will join the Atlanta Gladiators to get more consistent playing time.
The P-Bruins hit the road for three games this week, starting with a match-up against the Calder Cup Champion Toronto Marlies tomorrow night at 7pm. After a day off Thursday, the team visits Rochester at 7:05pm Friday for their final match-up of the year with the Amerks. The team concludes their weekend of play Saturday night at 7pm when they travel to Belleville for their first tilt of the season with the Devils.
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