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