Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

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Even if the Providence Bruins had their full lineup, earning three out of four points in road games at Lehigh Valley and Wilkes-Barre Scranton would have been a fine weekend.

The P-Bruins did it with a lineup depleted by callups and injuries, especially on defense, where they were forced to go with three rookies and two second-year pros.

On Friday, Providence jumped all over the Phantoms, scoring twice in the first 93 seconds on the way to a 5-3 win. On Saturday, they lost in overtime, 2-1, against a Penguins team that didn’t play on Friday. “Other than seven minutes in the second, I thought we were the better team. They capitalized and (Tristan) Jarry was good,’’ said coach Jay Leach.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

*** When the weekend ended, Providence continued to hold onto the fourth and last playoff spot in the Atlantic Division. With 74 points, they are five up on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and six ahead of  Lehigh Valley. With 12 games left, their magic number to clinch a playoff spot in 22.

*** Down from Boston, Peter Cehlarik was productive right off the bat, setting up a goal in the first minute and scoring one against the Phantoms.

*** Lee Stempniak scored twice  against Lehigh Valley. Anton Blidh made a beautiful pass to set up Stempniak’s first goal on Friday. On the second goal, Karson Kuhlman made a nifty play to set up Stempniak for a shorthanded goal.

*** Ryan Fitzgerald scored his first goal in 28 games against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

*** Zach Senyshyn broke a 14-game goalless streak just 47 seconds into the game on Friday.

*** Dan Vladar backstopped the win in Allentown with 19 saves, one of them an incredible stop on Mike Vecchione on a first period power play. “Ludicous’’ is how Phantoms play by play guy Bob Rotruck described it.

*** Providence outshot Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the third period, 21-7.

BAD

*** The P-Bruins have to bus all the way to Laval, Quebec, for just one game on Wednesday.

*** No assist for Gemell Smith on  Cehlarik’s empty net goal in Allentown? He won a defensive zone draw, allowing Providence to gain possession.

UGLY

*** Injured: Chris Breen, Jeremy Lauzon, Cameron Hughes, Kyle Cumiskey, Anders Bjork.

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

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All things considered, it was a good weekend at home for the Providence Bruins.

They came away with four out of six points and they earned those points by beating one of the AHL’s hottest teams, the Hershey Bears, in a pair of very entertaining back-to-back games.

Friday’s contest went to a shootout before the P-Bruins won, 3-2. On Saturday, they came away with a 4-3 victory in overtime. On Sunday, they lost to Springfield, 3-1.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

*** Playing with all kinds of swagger, Connor Clifton was the star of the weekend. He set up two goals on Friday and two more on Saturday. “Connor Clifton just put on a magic show,’’ said Hershey play-by-play man Zack Fisch after Clifton dangled his way into the offensive zone then found Paul Carey with a perfect pass for a goal on Friday night. Clifton had another terrific zone entry on Saturday night before finding Carey for the winner 12 seconds into overtime.

*** Carey had 1-1-2 on Friday and two goals on Saturday. He had six goals in four games before being blanked on Sunday. He has 14-6-20 in 21 games since he was traded to Providence.

*** Anton Blidh scored the shootout winner and Zane McIntyre stopped all six Hershey shooters in Friday night’s win.

*** Urho Vaakanainen’s offensive game continues to improve. He had goals on Saturday and Sunday.

*** Trent Frederic had fights on Friday and Saturday and made a picture-perfect pass to Vaakanainen for a goal on Sunday.

*** Great diving effort by Jordan Szwarz to score his 19th goal of the year on Friday.

*** Providence finished the weekend five points up on Lehigh Valley in the race for the final Atlantic Division playoff slot.

BAD

*** Department of Poor Officiating: The refereeing tag team of Mike Dietrich and Jason Williams made a couple of head-scratching calls on Sunday. In the first period, Springfield’s Jacob MacDonald clearly instigated a fight with Mike Doherty after a hard hit but wasn’t given a penalty for it. In the second period, Dietrich watched as Providence’s Joel Messner crosschecked Cliff Pu and Pu responded with three crosschecks. When Dietrich finally raised his arm it was to call a penalty only on Messner.

*** Vaakanainen lost a puck battle behind the net leading to Hershey’s first goal on Saturday.

*** Zach Senyshyn’s goal drought has hit 14 games.

*** A challenging weekend awaits as Providence visits Lehigh Valley and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

UGLY

*** Injured: Chris Breen, Jeremy Lauzon, Kyle Cumiskey, Cameron Hughes, Anders Bjork

 

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

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The Providence Bruins finished the first weekend of March on a high note with a 5-2 win over Springfield at home on Sunday. That gave the P-Bruins three out of six points for the weekend.

The P-Bruins started the weekend with a 2-1 loss in a shootout at home against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday, then lost at Springfield, 4-2, on Saturday.

Coach Jay Leach after Sunday’s win: “I really didn’t mind our team for the most part throughout the weekend. We’ve been struggling a little bit, obviously we’ve had some injuries that have put some strain on some of our guys. It was a huge win. Clearly we had some energy and desperation in our game today and it was nice to see a lot of response from a lot of guys.’’

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

*** Connor Clifton was a standout in Sunday’s win with 1-1-2 and eight shots.

*** Urho Vaakanainen had his best game in the last few weekends on Sunday. He finished with 2-1-3 and was on the ice for all five Providence goals.

*** Paul Carey had a strong weekend with 1-1-2 on Saturday and two goals on Sunday.

*** Included in Zane McIntyre’s 27 saves on Sunday were a handful of 10-bell stops that kept the P-Bruins in the lead. He had a terrific game on Friday, too, with 39 saves.

*** Anton Blidh was a standout on the penalty kill late in Sunday’s game. Chris Breen, Clifton, Jordan Szwarz and McIntyre did a great job killing a penalty in overtime on Friday night.

*** Providence finished the weekend in fourth place in the Atlantic Division, one point behind Hershey. They are five points up on Lehigh Valley and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

*** All three of Providence’s games next weekend are at home.

BAD

*** The P-Bruins are zero for their last 24 power plays.

*** Department of Bad Officiating: Referee Troy Paterson fell for Tristan Jarry’s flop in the crease after Jordan Szwarz barely bumped him in the third period on Friday.  He called Szwarz for goaltender interference.

*** The P-Bruins were called for seven penalties on Sunday, compared to just one against Springfield.

*** Tanner Pond took an ill-advised roughing penalty that led to a Springfield power play goal in the first period on Sunday.

*** Zach Senyshyn is in an 11-game goal-less streak. Since scoring five goals in four games in December, he has three goals in his last 25 games.

UGLY

*** Injured: Jacob Forsbacka Karlsson, Ryan Fitzgerald, Chris Breen, Jeremy Lauzon, Kyle Cumiskey, Cameron Hughes, Austin Fyten, Joona Koppanen, Anders Bjork