With Jakub Lauko unavailable because of an injury and no other healthy players to plug into the lineup, the Providence Bruins started Sunday’s game in Hartford with only 17 skaters, instead of 18. By the time the game was over they’d lost Cameron Hughes and Nick Wolff, both of whom took a puck to the face.
Even so, Providence posted a solid 5-2 victory over the Wolf Pack.
“It was a gutsy effort. Obviously (Jeremy) Swayman was terrific in net. Had some huge saves in the right moments and then we had some guys that really competed,’’ said coach Jay Leach.
“I thought Sammy Asselin was really good. Paul Carey really led us down the stretch. (Oskar Steen and Anton Blidh) obviously were good. And then on the back end, it was a young D corps against a pretty aggressive forecheck. It got a little hairy at times, but that’s what happens, especially in this building. It’s great to get the win.’’
Here are three quick hits:
SWAYMAN STANDS OUT
Jeremy Swayman had another strong performance as he stopped 34 of 36 shots. He’s won all three of his starts.
“Any coach that tells you that goaltending is just part of the equation is not being honest with you. If you don’t have goaltending you’re going to have a really tough time winning games,’’ said Leach.
“Sway gives us all that and more and so does (Dan Vladar). We’re very blessed to have two guys that can really give us an opportunity to win every night. Sway tonight was outstanding.
“There were several breakdowns where he just stood tall in there, several that he made almost look routine, just because of his poise and athletic ability. It was a terrific performance by him.’’
LIGHTS OUT LYLE
Rookie defenseman Brady Lyle’s poise with the puck has been noticable since the opening game of the season.
He posted his first points as a pro with a goal and an assist on Sunday. Lyle showed off his sizzling shot when he scored on a wrister through traffic.
“He’s learning, like everyone else. Defensively he’s going to get better and better,’’ said Leach.
“He’s been terrific with the puck. He’s got a great shot. He’s had opportunities before in other games to score and it just didn’t go in for him, so it was nice to see that one go in. I’m sure there will be more.’’
WOLFF PACKS PUNCH
Leach talked on Friday about how Wolff is making strides just three weeks into the season.
On Sunday, the big rookie made his presence known when he took on Mason Geertsen, a good fighter, after the Hartford defenseman rattled the boards with a clean but hard hit on Steen midway through the first period.
“They’re a physical group over there. Geertsen and (Patrick) Sieloff and (Brandon) Cawley. They all play a certain way. I think Wolff certainly is never going to back down from some of those players,’’ said Leach.
“It was terrific for us to get going with Wolfie fighting there, but the biggest thing is he’s just looking to establish some physicality. It’s something he does. Kudos to him for being able to step in there.’’