The ending could have been better, but on balance the Providence Bruins had a good weekend, earning four out of six points in three home games.
They blitzed the Binghamton Devils, 6-2, on Friday and edged the Utica Comets, 3-2, in a shootout on Saturday, before losing, 4-1, to the Hartford Wolf Pack on Sunday.
“We’ve had a good run the last couple of weeks,’’ said coach Jay Leach. “I’m not by any means going to get down on it, but (Sunday’s outcome is) certainly a bit of a reset button for us. ‘’
Here’s the good, bad and ugly.
— Providence finished the weekend in second place in the Atlantic Division.
— Dan Vladar shut down Reid Boucher, the AHL’s leading goal scorer, in the shootout on Saturday, wrapping up the win.
— It was a strong weekend for Robert Lantosi. He scored the winner in the shootout against Utica and had two assists on both Friday and Saturday.
— It was good to hear that Jakub Lauko was feeling better on Sunday after being knocked out of the game when he apparently ran into the elbow of Utica’s Justin Bailey on Saturday.
— Max Lagace made a terrific save on Ben Street’s bid for a shorthanded goal halfway through the first period against Binghamton. Lagace is tied for second in the league with 11 wins.
— Josiah Didier is plus-16 in 26 games. That’s third in the AHL.
— Peter Cehlarik snapped a streak of 11 games without a goal when he scored on Friday.
— Paul Carey scored twice against Binghamton, then had a goal and an assist the next night against Utica. On his Saturday night goal, he made two very crafty plays. First, he went cross-corner with a long dump-in, knowing Robert Lantosi would beat the Utica defense and negate the icing. Lantosi did just that and fired the puck on the Comets’ net. Carey then caught up to the rebound near the boards on the left wing and, seeing that goalie Richard Bachman hadn’t recovered after the Lantosi shot, Carey quickly fired the puck into the net from a sharp angle for a goal. Later on, Carey had his stick in the passing lane and disrupted Utica’s breakout, leading to a goal by Brendan Gaunce. It’s fun to watch a player with Carey’s smarts.
— The P-Bruins were 3 for 11 on the power play in the three games.
— Joona Koppanen scored twice against Binghamton. With six goals in 17 games, he is much-improved from last season.
— Ryan Fitzgerald did a nice job on the forecheck, setting the stage for Providence’s first goal on Friday.
— The P-Bruins made two good skill plays within a minute against Binghamton, both resulting in goals. First, Jakub Lauko made a nice pass through a seam in front to Peter Ceharlik for a goal, then Jakub Zboril made a nifty one-touch feed to Joona Koppanen for a score.
— After a stretch of games where it looked like his confidence was fading, Cooper Zech has his swagger back. He had a goal and three assists against Binghamton and an assist against Hartford.
— That was some shoddy refereeing by Mike Dietrich late in regulation time against Utica. First, he made a very soft interference call against Oskar Steen of the P-Bruins for bumping Comets’ goalie Richard Bachman. Then, a minute later, he evened things up, whistling Utica’s Justin Bailey for a phantom hooking call.
— Trent Frederic is on pace for a six-goal season. He’d gone three straight games without a shot before recording two on Sunday.
— A failed clear by Peter Cehlarik led to Utica’s tying goal late in the third period.
— Cooper Zech had a strong weekend overall, as noted, but he had a tough turnover right in front of his own net on Sunday that handed Hartford its fourth goal.
— It’s hard to watch a player being wheeled off on a stretcher, as Jakub Lauko was on Saturday.
— Injured: Chris Breen, Anton Blidh, Jakub Lauko