By: Mark Allred | Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277
The American Hockey Leagues Atlantic Division is tight with five teams in the eight-team division within 4-5 points of each other as they’ll be jockeying their way back and forth toward Calder Cup Playoff Hopes. In that mix is the Providence Bruins who’ve been red hot to start the 2019 calendar year but have come back to earth a little losing two of three during this weekends action. The last time the team from the State of Rhode Island lost consecutive games was a 3-0 shutout to host Hartford Wolf Pack on Wednesday, December 19th, 2018 and a 6-3 beatdown the Binghamton Devils gave the Providence club on Friday, December 21st, 2018 once again on the road.
With a season record of 27-19-6-1 and sitting in the fourth position in the division and seventh in the Eastern Conference, the playoffs aren’t out of the realm, but it’s not going to be easy and dropping the last two of three in their home barn, and local fan support certainly didn’t help matters. With proper rest and practice schedule, set up by head coach Jay Leach, the B’s should snap out of this small slide in the wrong direction before they face second-place Bridgeport Sound Tigers to start next weekends three-game set on Friday, February 22nd, 2019.
Anyways, below are the ups and downs of the weekend that was for the Providence Bruins and a little better detail of the game’s action highlighted by the B’s offensive numbers. Hope you all enjoy!
Friday, February 15th, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. The Toronto Marlies (Home)
The Bruins kicked off the weekend’s festivities hosting the Toronto Marlies, and red hot B’s goaltender got the start in goal looking for his 12th consecutive victory. After being down 1-0 to the visiting Marlies team through the first 20 minutes, the B’s got on the board in the second period with a shorthanded goal for recently demoted NHL Bruins defenseman Steven Kampher assisted by another newcomer Lee Stempniak. The veteran Stempniak was signed to a professional tryout last week after spending a majority of the 2018-19 season practicing with the Boston Bruins when the team was in the Boston area as a non-roster player.
Stempniak would get his second point of the evening later in the second period with his first of the year assisted by Gemel Smith to get the B’s first lead of the night. The Providence club would seal the deal with a third-period goal from Anton Blidh who scored his eighth of the season assisted by defensemen Chris Breen and Kampher. The three stars of the night were selected from the players that produced offensively with Kampher with the first, Stempniak with the second, and finishing off the honorable mentions, Blidh with the third star.
Bruins goaltender McIntyre stopped 25 of 26 shots and extended his winning streak to 12 games in the 3-1 victory. He’s honestly been sensational in goal since the start of 2019, and with a season record of 20-8-3 and in his last 17 games dating back to December 15th the former 2010 sixth-round draft pick of the NHL Bruins has gone 14-3-0 with a goals-against-average of 2.06, and .909 save percentage in that timeframe.
Saturday, February 16th,2019, Providence Bruins vs. The Charlotte Checkers (Home)
This particular game was the start of the weekend troubles for the Bruins team being down 3-0 to the visiting Checkers team going into the third period. The B’s did try and create a spark in the last frame but forward Paul Carey’s 11th of the season assisted by Breen and Ryan Fitzgerald and Jakub Zboril’s fourth of the season a minute later weren’t enough as the Checkers shut down the B’s effort earning the 3-2 victory.
Goaltender Dan Vladar was in goal on this night taking the unfortunate loss. The rookie netminder is 7-10-4 with a 2.70 goals-against-average, and .903 save percentage in 22 games played. The 21-year-old Czech Republic native has only two wins in his last ten games.
Sunday, February 17th, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. The Springfield Falcons (Home)
To finish the weekend’s action and the final game of week 17, the Providence club looked to get back on track after losing to the Charlotte club the night before, but that just didn’t happen. For the second game in a row, the Bruins were fighting an uphill battle and again being down three goals going into the third period certainly didn’t help matters at all. B’s captain Jordan Szwarz tried to create a spark offensively in the last frame, but the Springfield Falcons were just too much punching in two more goals to end the B’s effort and second consecutive loss.
Bruins netminder McIntyre got the start in goal on this night looking for his 13th consecutive victory, but it just wasn’t in the cards on this night as he took the 5-1 loss. The 26-year-old McIntyre didn’t exactly have the full support of his teammates in front of him in the loss to the Thunderbirds and will look to get on track this weekend as he’ll presumably get two of the three starts at the end of the week’s action. He and Vladar have been on a consistent schedule of McIntyre on Friday and Sunday games while the AHL rookie Vladar gets the call on Saturday’s contests.