P-Bruins Week in Review
The Providence Bruins faced a difficult challenge last weekend, going on the road for a pair of games with the AHL's top team. The P-Bruins and Charlotte Checkers came back from the All-Star break and met for two games in an Atlantic Division battle. It took overtime in each tilt, but Providence swept Charlotte to jump into third place in the division. It is the highest rank of the season for the P-Bruins, who are now 24-16-6-1 with 55 points.
Providence headed to the Bojangles' Coliseum Friday night for what turned into a goaltender's duel. After scoreless first period, Ryan Donato's sixth goal of the season put the P-Bruins on the board with 15 seconds left in the second. Donato, who was playing his first game with Providence since returning from Boston, looked like his goal would hold up for the entire game, but the Checkers scored a 6-on-4 goal with 27 seconds left to force overtime. A shootout seemed inevitable, but a goal from Cameron Hughes with 10 seconds left secured a 2-1 overtime win for Providence.
The rematch between the teams Saturday night featured more of the same, as the game headed to overtime without either side finding the back of the net. After the first 65 shots of the night were stopped by the goaltenders, Gemel Smith finally broke through for Providence 1:36 into overtime. Flying in for a 2-on-1 break with Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Smith potted his ninth goal of the season to give Providence a 1-0 victory and a weekend sweep over the Checkers.
Zane McIntyre and Dan Vladar were nothing short of brilliant during the weekend, stopping 65-66 shots against the high scoring Checkers attack. McIntyre took center stage Friday, pushing his personal winning-streak up to nine games. He has allowed three or fewer goals in each of those victories and is now third in the AHL with 17 wins on the season. Vladar followed up that performance Saturday with arguably the best game of his career. He stopped all 37 shots Charlotte threw at him, posting his second shutout of the season. The team has recently managed the rookie's minutes closely, but when called upon he has thrived. Among all first-year goaltenders, he is fourth in GAA and in save percentage.
The P-Bruins now have an 11-game point streak, the longest current run in the AHL, and are 9-0-1-1 over that time. Their goaltending and defense has been on display throughout, as the team has allowed three or fewer goals in 14 of the last 16 games. At home they have been even better, posting points in 13 straight. They are 10-0-3 during that time and are now 14-3-3 at the Dunk. That is the best record in the league on home ice, a place where they play 18 of their final 29 games of the season.
Special Teams Stepping Up
Providence's special teams have been a force all season and continue to rank among the AHL's best. The team's power play is second in the division and fifth in the Eastern Conference with a 20.1% success rate. Their penalty kill has been even better, stopping 86.6% of opponent power plays to rank second overall in the league. At home they have been even more dominant, ranking number one in the league with kill percentage of 89.6%.
The P-Bruins will look to extend their point streak up to 12 games when they welcome the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to the Dunk Friday at 7:05pm. The team travels to Bridgeport Saturday at 7pm for a rematch with the Sound Tigers before returning home Sunday at 3:05pm for their first game of the season against the Syracuse Crunch.
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