By: Ryan Duffy | Follow Me On Twitter @Rduffy26
Following the Providence Bruins loss to the Laval Rockets (4-0), the Bruins finished the second week of the AHL season with another tough loss to the Springfield Thunderbirds 4-1. Both teams were coming off losses the previous night as the Thunderbirds lost to the Bridgeport Islanders in overtime.
Providence was without Jack Studnika and Oscar Steen as they were both called up to Boston. This led Providence to dress Eduards Tralmaks, Matt Filipe, and defenseman John Moore in the matchup against the Thunderbirds.
The Bruins looked sharp right off puck drop and tested Thunderbird’s goaltender Joel Hofer as Providence was throwing everything they could at him. With just over ten minutes left in the first period, the Bruins drew two penalties leading to a five-on-three power play.
The Bruins struck first during the five-on-three power play, with Jack Ahcan rifling his first of the year off a feed from Jakub Lauko. By the end of the first, the Bruins doubled the Thunderbird’s shots (15-7) and took the play to them.
The second period began with most of the play in the Providence zone as the Thunderbirds were looking to bounce back after a lackadaisical first period. Just over midway through the second, Bruins forwards Matt Filipe (tripping) and Cam Hughes (delay of game) went to the box and led to another five-on-three opportunity. The Thunderbirds had excellent puck possession and movement on the power play, which led to a Matthew Peca sniping a corner on Kyle Keyser to tie the game at one.
Right from the drop of the third period, things began to heat up as both teams played physically against one another. With the physicality from both teams also came multiple penalties. While Providence struggled to solve Joel Hofer and the Thunderbird’s penalty killers, the Thunderbird’s power-play remained strong as Nakita Alexandrov would strike after a Providence defensive breakdown. Alexandrov’s tally with 9:31 left in the third period would prove to be the game-winning goal for the Thunderbirds.
After being down by a goal, Providence failed to stay disciplined as veteran John Moore would be penalized for slashing with 5:41 left in the game. As Moore’s penalty expired, the Thunderbirds would add insurance in the vulnerable seconds with Matthew Peca’s second of the game. The Thunderbirds would add an empty-net goal to make the final score 4-1 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Overall, the Bruins failed to create quality chances during their power plays in the second and third periods. Both teams were assessed eight penalties each in the game, but the Thunderbirds looked sharper on their power play opportunities with two goals along with one that came as Moore’s penalty expired.
With John Moore presumably going to be in the lineup next week, Providence head coach Ryan Mougenel hopes that his veteran presence can boost the Providence production. “He looked like an NHLer. There’s a reason he’s played so long in the NHL. I thought he was exceptional tonight.” Moore finished the night as a minus one and had five shots on goal for Providence.
The storyline thus far for Providence has been their inability to finish their second chance opportunities. Their power play has particularly struggled with a conversion rate of 9.52%, which is ranked 26th in the AHL. The Providence Bruins (1-2-1-1) are back in action next week on Friday, October 29, at home against the Charlotte Checkers (2-1-1-0).
Providence Bruins Head Coach Ryan Mougenel had these quotes below to say about the second loss in a row at the Dunk from an organizational media transcript.
“I think the message is a little bit different than it was last night. Obviously, last night is in the rearview mirror. I can’t fault our guys for their effort today.”
“I thought we did a lot of great things. We just didn’t capitalize. At the end of the day, out chancing teams just doesn’t guarantee you’re going to win the game. We’ve got to find a better way to get ahead, put our foot down, and close teams out.
“We’re finding our identity, and we’re finding it early. That’s something we’ve got to work on as a group. We’ve got to accept the challenge and do a better job of understanding situations in the game that can have a negative impact versus a positive impact. We’ll figure that out as we go along here.