Tl;Dr Recap for those who just want the stats:
12/8/17 Providence (13-6-3) vs. Hartford (8-12-4) 7:05 PM
Goalies: Zane McIntyre, 33 of 36 shots, .916 SV%; Alexandar Georgiev, 35 of 38 shots.921 SV%
|Providence:||1st: 1 goal for||2nd: 1 goal for||3rd: 1 goal for||OT: Shootout (2)|
|Hartford:||1st: 0 goals for||2nd: 2 goals for||3rd: 1 goal for||OT: Shootout (1)|
Scoring Summary: HFD, R. Graves, Assist: A. DeAngelo, D. Leedahl; PVD, C. Cave, Assist: Z. Senyshyn, K. Agostino; PVD, J. Forsbacka Karlsson, Assist: A. Blidh, B. Marshall; HFD: C. Schneider, Assist: D. Catenacci, V. Pedrie; HFD, C. Schneider(PPG), Assist: P. Holland, A. DeAngelo; PVD, J. Szwarz, Assist: C. Cave, J. Forsbacka Karlsson.
PVD 4 – 3 Shootout W, Improve to (14-6-3); HFD drops to (8-12-5)
12/9/17 Providence (14-6-3) vs. Utica (10-10-2) 7:05 PM
Goalies: Jordan Binnington, 34 of 36 shots, .944 SV%; Thatcher Demko, 32 of 35 shots, .914 SV%
|Providence:||1st: 0 goals for||2nd: 1 goals for||3rd: 1 goal for||OT: 0 goals for|
|Utica:||1st: 0 goals for||2nd: 1 goals for||3rd: 1 goal for||OT: 1 goal for|
Scoring Summary: PVD, J. Forsbacka-Karlsson, Assist: R. O’Gara, J. Zboril; UTI, C. Darcy (PPG), Assist: G. Brisebois, Z. MacEwen; UTI, M. Carcone, Unassisted. PVD, C. Clifton, Assist: A. Czarnik; PVD, J. Szwarz (PPG), Assist: A. Czarnik, K. Agostino.
PVD 3-2 OTW, Improves to (15-6-3), Utica drops to (10-10-3)
12/10/17 Providence (15-6-3) vs. Utica (10-10-3) 3:05 PM
Goalies: Zane McIntyre, 20 of 23 shots, .896 SV%; Richard Bachman, 27 of 31 shots, 0.870 SV%
|Providence:||1st: 1 goal for||2nd: 0 goals for||3rd: 2 goals for||OT: 1 goal for|
|Utica:||1st: 1 goal for||2nd: 1 goal for||3rd: 1 goal for||OT: 0 goals for|
Scoring Summary: UTI, A. D’Aoust, Aisst: B. Woods, G. Brisebois; PVD, J. Gabrielle, Assist: C. Porter; UTI, R. Boucher, Assist: J. Megna; UTI, R. Boucher(PPG), Assist: P. Wiercioch, C. Darcy; PVD, J. Hennessy, Assist: C. Porter, T. Cross; PVD, R. O’Gara, Assist: A. Czarnik, J. Zboril; PVD, K. Agostino, Assist: T. Cross.
PVD 4-3 OTW, Improves to (16-6-3), Utica drops to (10-10-4).
X’s and O’s:
PVD vs. Hartford 12/8/17
Providence came out of the gate with a strong effort for the first ten minutes, not allowing a Hartford shot on goal for the first five minutes. Through strong forecheck, and smothering defense, they managed to get a lot of rubber on Hartford goaltender Alexandar Georgiev. Hartford grabbed the lead and the momentum with seven minutes remaining in the first as Anthony DeAngelo passed out to Alex Graves at the point who loaded up a slap shot that blew by McIntyre. Providence took almost thirty minutes to finally crack the wall that was Georgiev up till that point. Agostino head manned the puck up the ice, passing off to his linemate Zach Senyshyn, who dropped the puck behind him to the late man Colby Cave. The latter wired the puck into the back of the net to tie the score from the left slot. Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson quickly gave Providence the lead 38 seconds later, as he tucked a nifty backhand five hole after collecting the rebound from Anton Blidh’s slapshot. However, Hartford refused to end the period quietly: After killing off a penalty to Graves, Cole Schneider came on the ice for the former. Dan Catenacci fed a long, air-mail pass out to Schneider already in motion, who walked past the Providence defenders for a breakaway and game-tying score. Schneider potted his second of the night during a powerplay, and the score would stand for most of the third period. Providence called a timeout, and subsequently pulled McIntyre with a minute and change remaining in the third, and their top line plus the extra attacker went to work. Colby Cave wrapped around the net from left to right post, and hit Jordan Szwarz who was charging into the slot. Szwarz tapped the equalizer home, and both teams played the rest of the third conservatively, looking to solve the game in OT or a shootout. Providence and Hartford traded quality scoring chances in the 5 minute 3-on-3 OT, however the game would remain knotted at three goals apiece through sixty-five minutes. Adam Tambellini skated first in the shootout and buried a nifty shot on McIntyre. Providence’s Jordan Szwarz and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson could not respond, though JFK came within inches as he rang the iron. Kenny Agostino shot third for Providence in a do-or-die situation and scored, allowing the shootout to proceed into sudden death. Hartford failed to convert on their fourth shot, while Austin Czarnik scored for Providence, giving the club it’s season high 5th win in a row.
PVD vs. Utica I 12/9/17
Saturday, December 9th found Providence riding a hot streak, winning 5 of their last games with the debacle in Charlotte fully in the rear view mirror. Despite being outshot 14-8 in the 1st period, Providence scored early in the 2nd. Rob O’Gara made a long stretch pass to Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson out by the Utica blue line. The latter deked Comet’s netminder Thatcher Demko, beating him five hole for JFK’s 8th goal of the season. The Comets responded four minutes later with a nifty rising backhanded snap shot that beat Providence goalie Binnington up over his glove side to even the score while the Comets were on the Powerplay. Five minutes into the third, Michael Carcone toe dragged the puck and flipped it high glove on Binnington for an unassisted goal and the first lead of the night for the Utica Comets. Journeyman blueliner Connor Clifton picked a great day to have his first professional goal, coming at 16:36 of the third period while on the penalty kill. Out by the blue line, Clifton took a feed from Austin Czarnik and fired a heavy slap shot through traffic, beating Demko. With the score evened at 2 apiece, the teams headed to overtime. Utica handcuffed themselves midway through the 5 minute 3-on-3 by taking a minor penalty. The Providence powerplay made short work of the opportunity, as Austin Czarnik and Kenny Agostino assisted with excellent passing play before feeding Jordan Szwarz for his 9th goal of the season.
PVD vs. Utica II 12/10/17
In the final home game of calendar year 2017, Providence came out firing pucks on net, outshooting Utica 12-8. However, most of these shot attempts were one-and-done attempts that never produced valuable rebounds, second chances, or high-percentage plays. Coupled with sloppy play in their own end, Providence found itself in an early deficit. After losing a draw in the neutral zone, Utica forced the puck in deep and Brendan Woods held off the Providence D as Utica changed out. Woods found Alexis D’Aoust at the blue line, who fired a booming slapshot past McIntyre. Providence would not go quietly into the second, however. Late in the first, Chris Porter held in a clearing attempt by Utica, and fed Jessie Gabrielle who was reading the developing play and skated for the slot. Porter’s centering pass found Gabrielle’s stick, and the latter ripped it by the Utica netminder for his first professional tally. The second period would look grim for Providence as Reid Boucher scored a pair of goals, one on the powerplay to give Utica a strong lead into the third. Providence took a rash of penalties, including a 5-on-4 situation and managed to surrender only one goal while on the PK. The Providence powerplay continues to middle, as it went 0/7 on the man advantage, with 4 powerplay opportunities alone in the 2nd period. Midway through the third period, Providence pushed hard and was rewarded with two goals within a few minutes of each other. After a failed clearing attempt by Utica, Brockton native Josh Hennessey fought off several checks, baited Comets goaltender Rich Bachman into sprawling out in the crease and roofed a backhand from the slot to cut the Utica lead in half. Later, Jakub Zboril made a heads-up keep out at the blue line by the player benches, fed Austin Czarnik curling around the near side half-boards, who passed out to Rob O’Gara streaking back into the zone realizing the play redeveloping. O’Gara blasted a quick snapper by Bachman to tie the score at 3 goals apiece. A minute and change into overtime, Tommy Cross fed Kenny Agostino, who fought off all three Utica skaters trying to pick the puck off Kenny’s stick. Capping the play off was a beautiful between the legs deke that dazzled Bachman while Agostino snapped the puck home for the overtime winner, 7th game in an impressive win streak. The Providence Bruins left home ice for the last time in 2017 1st in the Atlantic Division with a modest cushion of points and momentum in their favor.
Plus / Minus
Plus: + After months of hard work, Gabrielle has scored his professional goal (and point).
+ Other prospects finding their way onto the score sheet include JFK, Zboril, Senyshyn, O’Gara, Czarnik, Cave, and Blidh accounting for a significant portion of the points accrued by Providence skaters.
+ The tandem of Binnington and McIntyre continues to heat up, as neither have lost a game since Nov. 25th
+With their second straight weekend sweep, Providence has now won 6 games in a row, and holds a commanding lead of the Atlantic Division.
+ Despite 14 penalty kill situations, opponents only converted on 2 of them. Providence had an 86% kill rate for the weekend.
+ Even without effective prospects Johansson, Lauzon, and Fitzgerald out with injury, Providence continues to win games and bank points in the standings.
+Jakub Zboril overcame some inconsistency over the weekend and had two assists; one of which off a brilliant keep at the blue line to feed Austin Czarnik, who fed Rob O’Gara for the tying goal on Sunday. I’m still critical of Zboril’s play, but he has flashes of brilliance where his high-end skillset really shines.
+Providence overcame a 3-1 deficit on Sunday to tie, and eventually beat Utica for the second game in a row, on the last game of back to back to back nights.
– Providence’s powerplay continues to lack creativity and production, as they only scored one powerplay goal on 16 man-advantage situations this weekend.
– Providence could not finish any games in regulation during this weekend and handed out loser points to Utica and Hartford. Fortunately, Hartford is in the basement of the Atlantic, and Utica is in another division.
– While McIntyre has been winning games, he’s been beat by subpar-quality shots that put Providence in an early hole to climb out of. Still finding his rhythm this season after a red-hot 2016-2017 campaign.
– If it’s not McIntyre letting in soft goals, the team in front of him will play sloppy during the first, playing catchup hockey. On this upcoming road trip, PBs need to figure both out.
– Bruins will be away from the Dunk for the next 8 games, beginning on December 13 in Hershey. This will be their longest road trip of the season and they need to find ways to consistently beat opponents away from Providence.