The Providence Bruins picked up a point to move closer to clinching first-place in the Atlantic Division, but dropped a 2-1 shootout decision to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Thursday.
The shootout went eight rounds and Providence shooters couldn’t catch a break, hitting the post or crossbar three times before Bode Wilde scored on Dan Vladar and Oskar Steen was stopped by Ken Appleby in the Bridgeport net on the final shot.
Here are three quick hits from Marlboro.
Like Jordan Szwarz and Colby Cave before him, Hughes continues to be a dependable, all-situations center for Providence.
Hughes, who leads the team in scoring with 4-14-18 in 22 games, had another strong all-around game on Thursday. He won an offensive draw on the power play and earned an assist on Paul Carey’s goal, and put three shots on the Bridgeport net. As usual, he did a lot of the dirty work in all three zones.
Coach Jay Leach said when he sends Hughes over the boards, he knows that the fourth-year pro will try to do the right thing.
“Really he’s done that since he’s been here. As you said, those two former players – Szwarzy and Caver – were very similar, playing significant minutes in important roles throughout the game. Hughesy does that equally as well.
“Those guys are the glue guys. They keep everything together. When things go awry, like they always do in a game, they’re the first guy you look for. He’s been outstanding.’’
Studnicka’s in a dry spell when it comes to points – he has no goals and three assists in eight games with the P-Bruins – but he showed some signs of life against Bridgeport.
“I thought today he was very good. He’ll be the first to say it, he’s been in and out with the way he wants to play the game. I think the last couple of games he’s been a little frustrated, but today as the game went along especially, it was Jack Studnicka wanting to make a difference every time he’s over the boards,’’ Leach said.
“He took pucks to the net. Great net-front, had a couple of tips that almost went in. They’re going to come if he plays like that. He was really, really good today. That’s really the only thing I’m watching is the last game. We’ve talked a lot before, with these younger players, going up and down (to Boston) and all that, it’s a difficult time. He’s battling through it and I thought today was a good performance for him, one to build off of.’’
Moving up in the lineup to play on a line with Hughes and Zach Senyshyn, the rookie free agent from Maine had his feet moving and was hard on pucks all day.
“He plays that straight-line game. He’s got powerful strides to get to things and win pucks. He plays inside and certainly is willing to shoot pucks, dog them and get them back. I thought he complemented that line well,’’ said Leach.
“It was a good opportunity for him to play up in the lineup and play with some pretty good players. I thought he was just fine. We’re excited to have him in the mix for the next year, as well. I thought he did a nice job.’’