After losing their second game in a row last Wednesday, the Providence Bruins got back on track by sweeping the Springfield Thunderbirds over the weekend.
The P-Bruins looked tired in a 4-1 home loss to Syracuse to start the week, beat Springfield in overtime, 5-4, on the road Saturday, and followed that with a 5-0 victory over the Thunderbirds at home on Sunday.
“We addressed some things this week and the guys took it upon themselves to own their game and the way we want to play,” said coach Jay Leach.
“We’re just trying to find our identity. This week we tried to do that. We were cleaner on our breakouts. We want to establish the defensive zone structure that we’ve traditionally had here. We want to exploit what makes us good, which is our speed through the neutral zone, our defensive zone play and our forecheck.
“We did a nice job of that this weekend. Getting points and getting ahead of teams in this division is a luxury. Every night is going to be a battle. We’ll take as many points as we can get,’’ he said.
Here’s the good, bad and ugly.
— Providence finished the weekend in second place in the Atlantic Division with a .650 win percentage. They are fourth in the Eastern Conference and seventh in the league.
— Jack Studnicka continues to thrive in his first pro season. He scored his AHL-leading fifth shorthanded goal on Saturday and added an assist. He scored a goal on a nice move on Sunday. Studnicka is tied for the team lead in scoring with 12-12-24 in 28 games. He is second in rookie scoring in the league.
— Paul Carey undressed a defender and went bar down for the OT winner on Saturday and scored a power play goal on Sunday.
— Moving Trent Frederic back to center from the wing has revived his offensive game. He has two goals and three assists in his last three games. His linemates had productive weekends, too. Peter Cehlarik had 1-1-2 on Saturday and two assists on Sunday. Robert Lantosi had a goal and an assist in Springfield and made a slick pass to Paul Carey for a goal on Sunday.
— Max Lagace moved across the crease to make a brilliant stop on Tommy Cross 7:15 into the third period on Saturday. He is second in the AHL in wins with 12.
— Jeremy Lauzon scored his first goal of the season on Sunday.
— The P-Bruins fired 50 shots on the Thunderbirds net on Saturday.
— Providence is tied for the AHL lead in goals with 103.
— Dan Vladar made 42 saves in shutting out Springfield on Sunday. He is 3-1 with two shutouts and a .968 save percentage since missing six weeks with a high ankle sprain.
— Cameron Hughes was injured on a crushing hit by Springfield’s Tommy Cross on Sunday afternoon. Cross was assessed a match penalty for a hit to the head. “Tommy was coming with a full head of steam and Hughsie, unfortunately, didn’t see him,’’ said Jay Leach.
— Springfield’s Aleksi Saarela danced Urho Vaakanainen to score the game-tying goal midway through the third period on Saturday.
— Announced attendance for Wednesday’s 6 p.m. start was 4,768, but there couldn’t have been more than 1,500 fans in the building.
— The P-Bruins are heading into a tough stretch of five straight road games against good opponents. They will face Wilkes-Barre Scranton and Hartford twice and Springfield once before their next home game on Jan. 3.
— Injured: Cameron Hughes, Jakub Lauko, Chris Breen, Anton Blidh