Quick hits on opening night

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HARTFORD — One game down, 75 to go for the Providence Bruins, who opened the season with a 4-2 loss to the Hartford Wolf Pack on Friday night.

Here are three thoughts on the game:

STUMBLING START

Like the big club did in Washington on Wednesday night, the P-Bruins put themselves in an early hole. They were down by three goals before the first period was 13 minutes old, as Zane McIntyre allowed a couple of soft goals before Dan Vladar took over.

“We knew (the Wolf Pack) were going to come out with energy – it’s the home opener, right?” coach Jay Leach said after the game.

“We were not clean. We looked a little bit like a deer in the headlights. We got behind early. Unfortunately, we weren’t really able to recover. We played a lot better the second and third. It wasn’t enough.

“It’s a gauge as to where we’re at. We definitely need to be a lot more clean in our own zone. We needed to get pucks behind their defensemen and we needed to get on the forecheck more because when we did, we were pretty effective.”

The P-Bruins pulled to within one with 4:28 left and were pressing for the tying goal when Hartford’s Peter Holland scored an empty netter.

FOURTH LINE SHINES

The trio of Anton Blidh, Tanner Pond and Austin Fyten was Providence’s best line.

Fyten scored a nifty unassisted shorthanded goal in the third period to give the P-Bruins a spark.

“All they did was go north. They were simple but effective. Our other guys were searching for their games really from the drop of the puck,” Leach said.

SMOOTH DEBUT FOR VAAKANAINEN

Without even one practice under his belt with the P-Bruins, first rounder Urho Vaakanainen jumped into the lineup and played a solid game.

Paired with Connor Clifton, Vaakanainen wasn’t on either of the power play units to start  the game — “We didn’t want to throw everything at him,” Leach said — but he did get some late shifts on the PP. Leach estimated that he played 20-22 minutes.

“For a guy that just got here three hours ago, I thought he was pretty good. The first period, like for most of us, was a little bit of a blitz. We were trying to find our footing. But as it got along he was smooth, as advertised,” Leach said.

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