Tl;Dr Recap for those who just want the stats:
12/27/17 Providence (19-8-2) @ Utica (13-12-5) 7:05 PM
Goalies: Zane McIntyre, 26 of 30 shots, 0.866 SV%; Thatcher Demko, 37 of 41 shots, 0.906 SV%
Box Score w/ Scoring Summary:
|1st||UTI||A. Sautner||Z. MacEwen, T. Cameranesi|
|2nd||PRO||J. Forsbacka Karlsson||A. Czarnik, K. Agostino|
|2nd||UTI||M. Carcone||D. Blujus|
|3rd||PRO||A. Payerl||C. Cave, C. Hargrove|
|3rd||UTI||J. Labate||P. Wiercioch, M. Carcone|
|3rd||UTI||D. Blujus||A. D’Aoust, C. Cassels|
|3rd||PRO||J. Hickman||C. Porter, A. Payerl|
Shootout: Kenny Agostino, No goals scored for Utica.
PVD 5-4 Shootout Win, Improves to (18-8-2); HFD improves to (13-12-6)
12/29/17 Providence (20-8-2) @ Utica (13-12-6) 7:05 PM
Goalies: Jordan Binnington, 21 of 22 shots, 0.954 SV%; Richard Bachman, 26 of 28 shots, 0.928 SV%
Box Score w/ Scoring Summary:
|1st||PRO||C. Clifton||Z. Senyshyn, K. Agostino|
|2nd||PRO||A. Czarnik||J. Szwarz, K. Agostino|
|3rd||UTI||Z. MacEwen||C. Cassels, P. Holm|
|3rd||PRO||A. Blidh (ENG)||Unassisted|
PVD 3-1 Regulation Win, Improves to (21-8-2); Utica drops to (13-13-6)
12/30/17 Providence (21-8-2) @ Belleville (12-17-3) 7:00 PM
Goalies: Zane McIntyre, 29 of 32 shots, .906 SV%; Marcus Hogberg, 27 of 29 shots, 0.931 SV%
Box Score w/ Scoring Summary:
|1st||BEL||M. Blunden||J. O’Brien, M. McCormick|
|2nd||BEL||E. Werek (PPG)||C. Jaros, J. Murray|
|2nd||PRO||C. Breen||K. Agostino, J. Szwarz|
|3rd||PRO||A. Blidh||C. Breen, C. Cave|
|OT||BEL||E. Burgdorfer||C. DiDomenico, M. McCormick|
PVD OT Loss, drops to (21-8-3), Belleville improves to (12-17-3)
X’s and O’s:
Providence Bruins @ Utica Comets pt. I 12/27/17
The Providence Bruins skated in their 6th of their season-longest 8 game road trip on Wednesday. In a familiar theme, Providence overcame a third period deficit against the Utica Comets. 53 seconds in, the Comets struck first with a hard slap shot from the point that beat Zane McIntyre clean for Zane’s second game in a row in which he gave up a goal within the first two minutes. Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson executed on a pristine passing play with Austin Czarnik and Kenny Agostino to tie the score 5 minutes into the 2nd period, tying the score up. Utica would return with a goal of their own to reclaim the lead b,7jefore the second period expired. A couple minutes into the 3rd and final period, Tony Cameranasi thrashed Zach Senyshyn into the Comets’ end boards, dropping the rookie skater. Senyshyn was dinged up on the play and had to be helped off the ice. Cameranasi received a 5 minute major penalty, and 10 minute game misconduct for the hit on Senyshyn and the Bruins Powerplay enjoyed 5 minutes, accomplishing nothing on the long man advantage. However, a few seconds after the penalty expired, Adam Payerl tipped a dribbling puck by Thatcher Demko to even the score up. Midway through the third period, Utica scored back to back goals for a seemingly comfortable 2 goal lead, before Providence answered, cutting that lead to one goal going into the final minutes of the third period. With the goalie pulled, Providence turned up the pressure, and Matt Beleskey on a great individual effort tied the game with under a minute. Providence was gifted a second chance in this game as before Beleskey’s goal, Utica scored to make it 5-3, however the goal was ruled off its moorings and therefore was disallowed, allowing Matt to score the game-tying goal. Overtime was not enough to solve it, so for the 2nd time in the season series between the teams, the game was decided by a shootout. Kenny Agostino solved Thatcher Demko while Zane McIntyre silenced all three Utica shooters for the win.
Providence Bruins @ Utica Comets pt. II 12/29/17
In their final matchup of the season, Providence skated hard against the Utica Comets, looking to earn a win in all four meetings between the clubs. After taking a dirty hit on Wednesday, Zach Senyshyn was in the lineup, as well as Ryan Fitzgerald who had been on IR since early December. Journeyman Jordan Szwarz also returned to the lineup after a day-to-day injury kept him out a couple games. Rookie defenseman Connor Clifton surprised everyone by scoring an early goal with a heavy, hard slap shot from the point that surprised everyone including the Utica goalie Richard Bachman. The 1-0 lead would be carried into the first intermission along with a clean penalty sheet; the first penalty waited until halfway through the game, where Utica took successive minor penalties in which Providence had efficient puck movement and decent scoring chances, but again failed to capitalize on the man advantage. Austin Czarnik scored a controversial goal with under a minute left; the same post from Wednesday night’s tilt was supposedly knocked off again, this time by Utica. However, in another fortunate series of events for Providence, the goal was confirmed by the referees, much to the displeasure of the crowd in Utica. The Comets elected to pull their goaltender at 4 minutes and change for the extra attacker, and almost immediately after, Ryan Fitzgerald was whistled for slashing. This gifted Utica a 6-on-4 situation, which Providence held off spectacularly. Binnington’s shutout would not last, however; with a minute and change, Utica’s Zach MacEwen twirled and fired a wrist shot up over the shoulder of Jordan Binnington to bring the Comets within a single goal. Again, Utica pulled the goalie, but Anton Blidh sent a long clear down the ice that found the open net to ice the win for Providence. The Bruins successfully swept their season series with Utica for 2017-2018.
Providence Bruins @ Belleville Senators 12/30/17
In Providence’s final game of 2017, and the last of the long road trip beginning in early December, the Bruins fell in overtime to the Belleville Senators. Midway through the first, Belleville created a scoring chance off a blocked shot, as Jim O’Brien who made the initial block raced down toward the Providence goal, setting up in Gretzky’s office behind the net. He sent a centering feed to Mike Blundin, who caught McIntyre going cross-crease for the game’s initial score. In the second, Belleville struck again, this time on the power play. After an initial stop on a Christian Jaros one-timer, former P-Bruin Ethan Werek jammed the rebound five-hole on McIntyre for the 2-0 lead. Providence responded however, as defenseman Chris Breen notched his first of the season off a missile from the right point. Kenny Agostino made the smart play along the boards to feed Breen for an assist. Providence continued to push, and was rewarded as off a Colby Cave faceoff win, Chris Breen blasted another shot from the point, beating Belleville netminder Marcus Hogberg. It was later discovered Anton Blidh tipped the puck slightly before it crossed the goal line and the goal was awarded to Blidh. In overtime, a juicy rebound would seal the fate of Providence: Chris DiDomenico raced up the ice, getting a shot on McIntyre who made the initial save, however Erik Burgdorfer capitalized on Providence’s inability to clear the front of the net to hand the Bruins an overtime loss.
Plus / Minus
+ Providence has gone 5-2-1 on a long road trip, earning a respectable 11 out of 16 points. During this time they leapfrogged several teams in the standings for 1st place in the Atlantic Division.
+ Jakub Zboril has begun to emerge as a mentally-engaged, skilled defenseman after having a questionable start to the season. @BruinsNetwork on twitter has a great example of this, where Zboril is QB’ing a powerplay, and a nice sequence of his transition game.
+ Boston Prospects: Czarnik, Fitzgerald, Senyshyn, Blidh, Forsbacka-Karlsson, Cave, and Hickman all recorded points this weekend.
+ Jordan Binnington, despite being in the “backup” role, has won 9 straight games for the club.
+ Ryan Fitzgerald (injured in Bridgeport Dec. 3rd) returned to the lineup Dec. 29th vs. Utica
+ Providence only gave up one PPG on 8 PK’s; further, they only committed 3 minor penalties total in the 2 games against Utica.
+ Matt Beleskey had a positive impact on the weekend, scoring the game tying goal against Utica on the 27th with the goalie pulled
+ The remainder of the season includes only day trips to other cities, and the Bruins will no longer be away from home ice for long stretches.
– In 2 out of 3 games this week, Providence got behind on the scoresheet, forcing them to play catchup hockey. Credit to them for getting it done in Utica, however they weren’t able to pull it off again in Belleville.
– Providence’s powerplay continues to be anemic, going scoreless on 11 tries this week(end).
– Zane McIntyre had another in a series of games where he let a goal in the first 2 minutes of the game Wednesday.
– Jeremy Lauzon continues to be out with an injury; has not played since Nov. 22nd. I’ve been questioning his durability lately.
– Not a minus in the conventional sense, but after taking a big, dirty hit from Tony Cameranasi Wednesday night in Utica, Zach Senyshyn took a while to get up and did not return for the rest of the game. Credit to him, though, as he was back in the following game. Hopefully this will not affect him in the back half of the season.