Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

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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.

GOOD

*** 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.

BAD

*** 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.

UGLY

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

 

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

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The Providence Bruins finished the first weekend of March on a high note with a 5-2 win over Springfield at home on Sunday. That gave the P-Bruins three out of six points for the weekend.

The P-Bruins started the weekend with a 2-1 loss in a shootout at home against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday, then lost at Springfield, 4-2, on Saturday.

Coach Jay Leach after Sunday’s win: “I really didn’t mind our team for the most part throughout the weekend. We’ve been struggling a little bit, obviously we’ve had some injuries that have put some strain on some of our guys. It was a huge win. Clearly we had some energy and desperation in our game today and it was nice to see a lot of response from a lot of guys.’’

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

*** Connor Clifton was a standout in Sunday’s win with 1-1-2 and eight shots.

*** Urho Vaakanainen had his best game in the last few weekends on Sunday. He finished with 2-1-3 and was on the ice for all five Providence goals.

*** Paul Carey had a strong weekend with 1-1-2 on Saturday and two goals on Sunday.

*** Included in Zane McIntyre’s 27 saves on Sunday were a handful of 10-bell stops that kept the P-Bruins in the lead. He had a terrific game on Friday, too, with 39 saves.

*** Anton Blidh was a standout on the penalty kill late in Sunday’s game. Chris Breen, Clifton, Jordan Szwarz and McIntyre did a great job killing a penalty in overtime on Friday night.

*** Providence finished the weekend in fourth place in the Atlantic Division, one point behind Hershey. They are five points up on Lehigh Valley and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

*** All three of Providence’s games next weekend are at home.

BAD

*** The P-Bruins are zero for their last 24 power plays.

*** Department of Bad Officiating: Referee Troy Paterson fell for Tristan Jarry’s flop in the crease after Jordan Szwarz barely bumped him in the third period on Friday.  He called Szwarz for goaltender interference.

*** The P-Bruins were called for seven penalties on Sunday, compared to just one against Springfield.

*** Tanner Pond took an ill-advised roughing penalty that led to a Springfield power play goal in the first period on Sunday.

*** Zach Senyshyn is in an 11-game goal-less streak. Since scoring five goals in four games in December, he has three goals in his last 25 games.

UGLY

*** Injured: Jacob Forsbacka Karlsson, Ryan Fitzgerald, Chris Breen, Jeremy Lauzon, Kyle Cumiskey, Cameron Hughes, Austin Fyten, Joona Koppanen, Anders Bjork

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

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The Providence Bruins kept their heads above water by earning three of six points over the weekend.

They lost in overtime to Bridgeport, 5-4, at home on Friday; beat Hartford in overtime, 3-2, on the road on Saturday; and lost to the Wolf Pack, 4-1, at home on Sunday.

Coach Jay Leach didn’t sugarcoat Sunday’s game, which was his team’s worst of the season on home ice.

“It wasn’t good. We were terrible. Power play was obviously terrible. Our execution was terrible. Even when we made some plays, the boards were terrible. It was not a good game for us. It was frustrating and disappointing,’’ he said.

Despite that bad game, the P-Bruins finished the weekend in playoff position. They are in fourth place, four points ahead of Lehigh Valley and a point behind Hershey.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

*** Gemel Smith continues to be a standout. He had 1-1-2 on Friday and goals on Saturday and Sunday. His goal in Hartford was a beauty. He danced a defender and then picked a corner from the faceoff dot. Smith has 27 points in 28 games for the P-Bruins.

*** Connor Clifton had a strong weekend. On Saturday, he made a nice play to set up the winning goal in OT and was on the ice for all three Providence goals. On Sunday, he had an assist and six shots.

*** Jordan Szwarz scored in overtime for the win in Hartford. With a team-leading 18 goals, he is closing in on his third straight 20-goal season.

*** Ryan Fitzgerald made a gorgeous pass to Lee Stempniak for a breakaway goal on Saturday.

*** Paul Carey scored twice against Bridgeport.

*** Michael Doherty decisioned Hartford’s Ryan Lindgren in a fight on Saturday.

BAD

*** Providence had only eight shots halfway through Sunday’s game.

*** From the Department of Bad Officiating: Referees Jason Faist and Michael Markovic had a tough night on Friday. Lee Stempniak was victimized twice. He was sent to the box in the first minute for goalie interference after a Bridgeport defenseman knocked over goalie Christopher Gibson. If you are rating bad calls on a scale of 1-10, this one was an 11. In the second period, he received four minutes for checking to the head after a collision with Connor Jones. It’s debatable whether it merited even a two-minute penalty, never mind four minutes.

*** Urho Vaakanainen had a rough day on Sunday.

UGLY

*** Providence was outscored, 3-1, on the power play, which went 1 for 16 in the three games. It’s 22nd in the AHL at 17.2 percent. The P-Bruins gave up a shorthanded goal on Saturday and two more on Sunday.  Their total for the season is 13. Only Stockton with 15 has given up more.

*** Injured: Jeremy Lauzon, Cameron Hughes, Kyle Cumiskey, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Austin Fyten, Anders Bjork.

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

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It’s been a while since the Providence Bruins had a weekend like this one, losing two out of three. They beat Toronto, 3-1, on Friday, then lost to Charlotte, 3-2, on Saturday, and to Springfield, 5-1, on Sunday. All the games were at home. It was the first time they’ve lost back-to-back games in regulation time since Dec. 19 and 21. The P-Bruins finished the weekend in fourth place in the Atlantic Division.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

*** Lee Stempniak made an impact in his first game with the P-Bruins as he scored the game-winner and set up Steve Kampfer’s shorthanded goal against Toronto.

*** Down by three, the P-Bruins showed good resiliency with two goals in 43 seconds in the third period to make a game of it on Saturday.

*** Paul Carey scored a goal and had five shots in his first game back from injury on Friday.

*** Zane McIntyre had a fine save on Colin Greening’s shorthanded bid in the second period on Friday.

BAD

*** No doubt it qualified as a bad goal, but I’m not about to criticize McIntyre for the crazy bounce that got past him on Chris Wideman’s score on Sunday. No goalie could have been prepared for that.

*** The P-Bruins power play went 0 for 8 for the weekend.

*** Providence has the best penalty kill in the AHL at 86.3 percent, but gave up three power play goals to Springfield on Sunday.

*** Providence gave up its 10th shorthanded goal of the season on Sunday after a Jakub Zboril misplay in the neutral zone. Only Stockton and Utica have allowed more.

*** The P-Bruins were whistled for too many men on the ice while on a power play in the first period.

*** With the P-Bruins breaking through center ice on a two on one on Sunday, Connor Clifton took a cross-checking penalty way behind the play.

*** They didn’t mount much of an attack against Charlotte on Saturday with only 13 shots in the first two periods before coming on strong in the third.

*** Referee Brandon Schrader seemed a bit sensitive late in Sunday’s game. After making a marginal elbowing call on Clifton, he slapped captain Jordan Szwarz with a minor for unsportsmanlike conduct and a misconduct.

UGLY

*** Injured: Jeremy Lauzon, Kyle Cumiskey, Cameron Hughes, Austin Fyten, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Anders Bjork.

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

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It was another strong weekend for the Providence Bruins as they earned four out of six points.

On Friday, the P-Bruins ground out a 2-1 home win against Bridgeport. Their six-game winning streak and 12-game point streak was snapped at Bridgeport on Saturday when they dropped a 4-2 decision. At home on Sunday against a rested Syracuse team that is one of the best in the AHL, the injury-riddled P-Bruins won, 4-0.

“Our guys showed a lot of courage to go out there and play that way. They had some excuses they could have leaned on, but they didn’t. They were pros,’’ said Leach after Sunday’s game.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

***  Zane McIntyre stopped 52 of 53 shots in his two starts. He has won 11 games in a row and is tied for second in the league with 19 wins. He posted his 10th career shutout with the P-Bruins on Sunday and now is one behind Tim Thomas and Hannu Toivanen, who hold the franchise record with 11.

*** Providence finished the weekend in third place in the Atlantic Division. With a .590 win percentage, the P-Bruins are just behind second-place Bridgeport (.595).

*** The P-Bruins are 16-3-3 at home. Their .795 win percentage is the best in the AHL.

*** Karson Kuhlman scored twice against Syracuse.  His plus-22 is tied for fifth in the league.

*** Zach Senyshyn made a nice play to set up Kuhlman for a shorthanded goal with 25 seconds left in the second period against Syracuse.

*** Cameron Hughes scored goals on Saturday and Sunday.

*** Gemel Smith continues to play well. He had four assists on the weekend.

*** In his first game with the P-Bruins since 2012, Steven Kampfer blew up Syracuse’s Taylor Raddysh with a clean check on Sunday. It was one of the hardest hits seen at The Dunk this season.

BAD

*** The P-Bruins blew a 2-0 lead on Saturday night.

*** Providence went 0 for 8 on the power play in Bridgeport. For the weekend, the PP was 0 for 15.

*** The holding call on Chris Breen in the second period on Sunday by referee Reid Anderson was weak.

*** The schedule will be a challenge, with five straight three-in-three weekends coming up.

UGLY

Injured: Ryan Fitzgerald, Jeremy Lauzon, Jakub Zboril, Kyle Cumiskey, JFK, Austin Fyten, Paul Carey, Anders Bjork.

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

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It was a great weekend for the sizzling Providence Bruins as they won both games in Charlotte against the top team in the American Hockey League.

On Friday, the P-Bruins earned a 2-1 victory on a goal by Cameron Hughes with eight seconds left in overtime. On Saturday, Gemel Smith scored in overtime for a 1-0 win.

Goalies Zane McIntyre and Dan Vladar were outstanding. “We needed timely saves multiple times on both nights,” said coach Jay Leach.

“Our kids are better after playing those two games against a team that’s that skilled, that makes plays. No matter what your approach is or what you say, like, put pucks deep, if the game dictates making plays, organically, it’s going to happen. Coaches can shut their mouths and just watch as the guys adjust.”

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

*** Since losing in Hartford on Dec. 19, the P-Bruins have gone 14-2-1-1 for 30 out of 36 points. They have an 11-game point streak and haven’t lost a game in regulation time since Jan. 5.

*** They finished the weekend one point behind second-place Bridgeport in the Atlantic Division.

*** Providence hung tough after Charlotte tied the game in the final minute on Friday, then won when Hughes nudged puck over the line in OT.

*** Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson made a perfect pass to Smith on a two-on-one and Smith fired kome the winning goal on Saturday.

*** In hist first start since Jan. 19, Dan Vladar stopped all 37 Charlotte shots, including one on a clean breakaway in overtime, in Saturday’s win.

*** Zane McIntyre was superb in making 28 saves on Friday. He has won nine starts in a row and 11 of 13. He is third in the AHL with 17 wins.

*** Ryan Donato had a goal, an assist and six shots on Friday.

*** The P-Bruins are giving up an average of 25.96 shots per game. That the second-lowest in the league.

*** Seven of Providence next nine games in February are at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, where they are 14-3-3.

*** The P-Bruins are 4-2-1-0 vs. Charlotte, the top team in the AHL.

BAD

*** After Smith took a tripping penalty 185 feet from the Providence net, Charlotte tied Friday’s game with 27 seconds left in regulation time.

UGLY

*** Injured: Ryan Fitzgerald, Jeremy Lauzon, Zach Senyshyn, Emil Johansson.

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

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Since a 1-5-1 stretch in mid-December, the Providence Bruins have been one of the hottest teams in the American Hockey League. They’ve gone 10-3-1-1 since then. They were a smoking 8-1-1-1 in January and haven’t lost a game in regulation time since Jan. 5.

Over the weekend, the P-Bruins won their final two games before the AHL All-Star break, coming from two goals down to beat Charlotte, 5-3, on Friday, and erasing a one-goal deficit in the third period to defeat Springfield, 3-2, on Saturday.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

*** The win over Springfield lifted Providence into fourth place, the last playoff slot in the Atlantic Division.

*** With two more victories over the weekend, Zane McIntyre has won eight straight starts and 10 of his last 12.

*** Trent Frederic scored twice and added an assist against Charlotte.

*** Paul Carey undressed Charlotte defenders and the goalie on his pretty shorthanded goal on Friday.

*** Zach Senyshyn scored the game-winner and set up another goal against Springfield.

*** Gemel Smith has been a key addition with 16 points in 17 games. He scored a goal on Friday and had 1-2-3 on Saturday.

*** The P-Bruins outshot Springfield, 23-3, in the second period. At one point in the second period, they worked the puck around the Thunderbirds’ zone for two straight minutes without giving up possession.

*** Jakub Zboril had two assists on Saturday, including a very nice cross-seam pass to Smith for a power–play goal.

*** Jordan Szwarz, Providence’s representative in the All-Star Classic, made a gorgeous pass to Kuhlman for a goal on Friday. He won a couple important defensive zone draws while the P-Bruins were protecting a one-goal lead in the final minutes on Saturday.

*** Jay Leach used his timeout after the P-Bruins fell behind by two early against Charlotte. As Leach noted afterward, the team played two awful shifts coming out of the timeout. But then the tide turned  and Providence rallied to beat the AHL’s top team.

*** Special teams shone. The power play went 3 for 6. The penalty kill went 7 for 7, including 4 for 4 against Springfield’s best-in-the-league PP.

BAD

*** The P-Bruins took two more delay of game penalties for shooting the puck over the glass, one on Friday and another on Saturday.

*** Providence is in for a test next weekend: Two road games against Charlotte.

UGLY

*** Injured: Jeremy Lauzon, Ryan Fitzgerald, Anders Bjork.

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

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The Providence Bruins continue to play well as January winds down. They won twice on the weekend, sandwiched around a shootout loss.  They beat Springfield, 2-1, in a shootout at home on Friday; lost in a shootout in Bridgeport, 4-3, on Saturday; and won 5-2 over Hartford at home on Monday.

“Anytime we get five out of six points with the way the schedule works out in our division is terrific. Obviously we’re a desperate team trying to climb the standings,’’ said coach Jay Leach.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

*** Zane McIntyre was brilliant in the shootout  win against Springfield on Friday, shutting down all six Thunderbirds shooters. He made one of his better saves of the season on Monday, sliding across to stop Hartford’s Ville Meskanen. McIntyre has won his last six starts and eight of his last 10. “The last month he’s given us a chance to win every night, which is all we can ask for,’’ said Leach.

*** Paul Carey had a strong weekend, finishing with a hat trick on four shots on Monday. He had six shots on both Friday and Saturday. Carey made a good pass to Mark McNeill for a power-play goal in Bridgeport.

*** Karson Kuhlman scored a goal on Friday, an assist on Saturday and had 1-1-2 on Monday. He has 13 points in his last 13 games. He had seven shots in Bridgeport.

*** The P-Bruins finished the weekend in fifth place in the Atlantic Division with a winning percentage of .547. They are only a few percentage points behind fourth-place Springfield (.558) and third-place Lehigh Valley (.583). Second-place Bridgeport (.591) is within reach, too. The top four teams in the division make the playoffs.

*** Connor Clifton made a perfect pass to Carey for a goal on Monday, and added an empty-net goal with 1:40 to go.

*** Trent Frederic scored the winner on Friday in Providence’s first shootout of the season.

*** Kyle Cumiskey sent a gorgeous, long-distance breakaway pass to Zach Senyshyn, who finished with a nifty snipe in Bridgeport.

*** With a team-high 14 goals, Jordan Szwarz is on pace for the third straight season of at least 20 goals with the P-Bruins. He played his 400th AHL game on Monday.

*** It’s been a strong January for the P-Bruins. They are 6-1-1-1 for 14 out of 18 points, with two games left.

BAD

*** Up 3-1, the P-Bruins gave up two goals in 2:45 in the opening minutes of the third period and went on to lose in the shootout in Bridgeport. Providence outshot the Sound Tigers, 32-16.

*** They piled up eight shots during a power play in overtime but couldn’t score.

*** Even though Hartford’s John Gilmour lost an edge and fell down on his own while rushing the puck in the third period on Monday, Referee Beaudry Halkidis sent Chris Breen to the box for tripping.

*** Dan Vladar has won just one of his last eight starts.

*** Tanner Pond took a five-minute major for checking from behind and a game misconduct on Friday night.

*** On Friday, Providence took yet another delay of game penalty for shooting the puck over the glass.

UGLY 

*** Injured: Ryan Fitzgerald, Jeremy Lauzon. And Anders Bjork is finished for the season after undergoing another shoulder surgery last week. It’s a tough break for the young winger.

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

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It was a very productive weekend for the Providence Bruins as they earned five of six points. They came from two goals down to beat Hartford, 6-3, at home on Friday.  On a late goal, they beat Springfield, 4-3, on the road on Saturday. They grabbed a point in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Thunderbirds on Sunday.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

*** Peter Cehlarik is on a hot streak with 5-2-7 in his last four games. He had a goal on Friday, two goals and an assist on Saturday and an assist on Sunday.  His pass to Paul Carey for the winning goal in Springfield was a beauty.

*** After being acquired in a trade on Friday, Carey had a goal and an assist in his first game on Saturday, including the game-winner with 61 seconds left.

*** Gemel Smith had a five-point weekend, including three assists on Saturday, one of them a nifty setup for a goal by Trent Frederic on the power play. He has 6-6-12 in 12 games.

*** Zane McIntyre is playing his best hockey of the season. He is 4-0 in his last four starts.

*** Cameron Hughes snapped a 12-game goal-less streak on Sunday.

*** Chris Breen’s shorthanded empty-netter on Friday was his first goal of the season.

*** Karson Kuhlman had a goal and an assist on Saturday. Frederic  had 1-1-2 on Saturday.

*** The P-Bruins roared back from a two-goal deficit on Friday with four straight goals.

*** Zach Senyshyn made a nice play off the rush to set up Anton Blidh’s goal against Hartford.

*** Urho Vaakanainen made a slick pass to set up a Cehlarik power-play goal in Springfield.

*** Dan Vladar’s 38 saves on Sunday was a career high.

*** With 42 points, Providence is one point behind Lehigh Valley, which holds the last playoff spot in the Atlantic Division. They are in much better position than they were a few weeks ago.

BAD

*** The P-Bruins let a 3-0 lead slip away on Saturday before pulling out the win.

*** They gave up another shorthanded goal on Friday. They’s allowed nine goals while on the power play, third-most in the AHL.

*** Springfield’s winning goal on Sunday came with one second left in overtime.

*** Providence took another delay-of-game penalty for shooting the puck over the glass on Sunday.

*** Very tough bounce over Chris Breen’s stick off a faceoff led to Springfield’s second goal on Saturday.

*** The P-Bruins gave up four power-play goals on 14 penalties in three games.

UGLY 

*** Injured: Ryan Fitzgerald, Anders Bjork, Jakub Zboril.

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

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There was more good than bad for the Providence Bruins over the weekend as they earned four out of six points. They started with a very solid 4-2 win over Lehigh Valley at home on Friday. They lost at Springfield, 5-3, on Saturday. On Sunday, they dominated Hartford, 5-1, at home.

“We played really well (Sunday). We played pretty well on Friday. We had a good start (Saturday), then we didn’t manage pucks well. That’s really tough, especially in that building. If you don’t manage pucks, you’re screwed. Overall, it was a good weekend for us,’’ said coach Jay Leach.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

*** Gemel Smith had a fine weekend with two goals on Friday and single goals on Saturday and Sunday.

*** After coming up empty on eight shots in Springfield, Peter Cehlarik scored twice on Sunday.

*** With Providence up by two goals and only a couple of seconds left on the clock on Friday, Anton Blidh could have gotten out of the way of Lehigh Valley’s final shot. Instead, he sprawled out and blocked it.

*** Emil Johansson’s first goal of the season came while the P-Bruins were shorthanded on Sunday.

*** Kyle Cumiskey made a pretty pass on Peter Cehlarik’s first goal on Sunday.

*** Jordan Szwarz had a goal on Saturday and a goal and an assist on Sunday. He leads the team in goals with 12.

*** Trent Frederic had a goal and an assist on Friday. The Karson Kuhlman to Cameron Hughes to Frederic goal was a beauty. On his assist, Frederic won a draw clean to Smith, who hit the water bottle for a score.

*** Jeremy Lauzon got the better of T.J. Brennan of the Phantoms in a fight on Friday night.

*** Wiley Sherman stepped in and traded punches with Hartford’s Matt Beleskey after the ex-Bruins elbowed Connor Clifton on Sunday. Leach: “Great job by Sherm.”

BAD

*** The P-Bruins started the weekend with a too-many-men penalty 1:53 into Friday’s game.

*** Lehigh Valley scored two goals on its only two shots in the second period. Neither was Zane McIntyre’s fault.

*** It appeared that Hughes had put the P-Bruins ahead by two goals in the first period against Springfield, but the score was washed out because of goalie interference. It was a head-scratcher of a call as there didn’t appear to be any contact with the goalie.

*** Providence gave up 39 shots overall and four goals in the second period in Springfield.

UGLY

*** Injured: Anders Bjork, Ryan Fitzgerald.