Providence, RI: The Providence Bruins headed in to Charlotte with high hopes and dreams of getting out of the Atlantic Division basement, but were carried off the ice and thrown on to the street by the red hot Charlotte Checkers.
Game 10: PVD Bruins (3-5-1) @ CHA Checkers (8-1-0)
Nuts and Bolts:
Stats via theAHL.com
Scoring Early Doesn’t mean the Providence Bruins win:
Providence got off to a hot start with a goal less then 5 minutes in off of John Kovar’s stick. Providence appeared to have Charlotte on their heels early, forcing them to defend against strong puck movement. Charlotte answered with a goal of their own at 4:02 in the first period off the stick of Patrick Brown. The Providence Bruins penalty kill started strong, coming into the game with the best kill percentage in the league. However, a tic-tac-toe goal from McKegg to Kuokkanen and finally, Morgan Geekie all around Providence’s Dan Vladar spelled doom for the Baby B’s, and they lost their early lead. Providence had multiple breakaways in the later half of the first but couldn’t get anything past Alex Nedeljkovic in the Charlotte goal and ended the first stanza down 2-1.
Hanging On By A Thread:
Providence started the second period slow. Most of Providence’s time with the puck was spent in their own zone, leaving Dan Vladar to shoulder much of the work. Providence had a chance with a penalty on Charlotte’s Janni Kuokkanen for hooking. Charlotte turned the table on the Bruins, and capitalized on a shorthanded chance by Saku Maenalanen to grow their lead. Cameron Hughes was called for hooking at 13:50, leaving Providence’s PK to mop up the mess. Unfortunately, Providence surrendered another. Trevor Carrick added on to Charlotte’s lead to close out the second frame. The Bruins headed to the locker room down 3-1.
Too Little, Too Late:
Charlotte held the Providence Bruins off the score sheet until late in the third, with a goal by Trent Fredric at 13:29 putting the Bruins within striking distance of the Checkers. Providence played aggressively, surging late in the period. With the goalie pulled and under two minutes left, a goal by the captain Jordan Szwarz at 18:37 put Providence back in prime position and a minute left to tie it up. Charlotte would hold on to their lead, however, and the game would end in regulation.
Providence relied too heavily on their third period play to come back from a 3-goal deficit. The game was reminiscent of the October 13 contest vs. Hartford where Providence had a late third period comeback but fell short 4-3. Providence wasted many breakaways in the second period, spent most time in their own zoned, and their penalty kill failed them with 2 PP goals allowed.
To their credit, the Providence Bruins forced the Checkers to earn every inch of ice. They took time and space away, meaning only the best Charlotte chances squeaked by. In conclusion, if they keep tightening their defensive game, they should suffocate Charlotte in tomorrow’s rematch.
Game 11: PVD Bruins (3-6-1) @ CHA Checkers (9-1-0)
Nuts and Bolts:
Letting their Guard Down:
Providence and Charlotte spent much of their time in the first period taking out bad blood from the previous night. A scrum in front of Mclntyre sent Bildh to the box for roughing, putting Providence back on the penalty kill–a concern for the Providence Bruins as they gave up two power play goals to Charlotte the night before. Charlotte struck again, and put the puck in the net off of Trevor Carrick’s stick. Providence had a chance to get back at Charlotte with a power play opportunity, but Charlotte’s special teams would continue to frustrate the baby B’s with another short-handed goal, this time by Michal Cajkovsky. At the end of the first, Providence headed in to the locker room down two goals.
Less then a minute into the second period, Connor Clifton and Phil De Giuseppe dropped the gloves and worked out a disagreement. Multiple penalties were handed out after the fight to both teams, and Providence capitalized on a chance at 7:12 of the second. A goal from Peter Cehlarik and assists from Jakub Zboril and remarkably, Zane Mclntyre, would get the Bruins back in the game. The second period remained quiet until the horn rang for the intermission, and Providence went to the lockers down 2-1.
Failing To Deliver:
The Providence Bruins began the third period with their greatest opportunity of the game–a 5-3 power play. Providence couldn’t convert the man-advantage however, as Andrew Poturalski was the hero for Charlotte. Potuealaki stole a Providence pass, took it to the net and put it past Mclntyre to put Charlotte up by 2 with 12:09 left in the third. The Providence Bruins later caught the Checkers off guard when Cody Goloubef set up a wide open Ryan Fitzgerald in the slot to make it a one goal game once again. The B’s spent much of their time in Charlotte’s zone, but thanks to Alex Nedeljkovic’s exceptional play and a spectacular save, found themselves unable to convert on their chances. The Providence Bruins tried once again to send the game to overtime, but couldn’t pull it off and found themselves swept off the ice by the Checkers.
The Bruins once again wasted a third period comeback, but it was special teams breakdowns that would sink the Bruins chances. Shorthanded goals and weak penalty killing gave Charlotte too many opportunities to score, and would secure the win both nights for the Checkers.
+ Ryan Donato got plenty of ice time in the series against Charlotte
+ Providence showed life in the third period in both games
+ Providence was outscored in the series by only a narrow 7-5 margin and kept it close with the best team in their conference. A few more fortuitous bounces and the Bruins would have pulled out a point or two.
-Providence failed to gain ground and get out of the basement by getting zero points against Charlotte
-Before the series, Providence had only given up two power play goals and had the best penalty kill rate in the game. They leave Charlotte giving up 3 power play goals in 2 games.
-The Bruins wasted momentum after the stomping the Sound Tigers 6-1 a week ago.
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