Goaltending the Story On and Off the Ice in P-Bruins 3-0 Loss

Michael Hutchinson got the start in net tonight with a surprise backup. (Photo credit: Steph Vail/Flickr)

Have you ever wondered what happens when your backup goaltender is sick, and your backup’s backup can’t be there to fill in for him on the bench either? Sometimes professional teams resort to pulling guys off the street and dressing them for one game as the backup goaltender, because you always need a backup goaltender – just in case.

Tonight, Providence found itself in quite a predicament when starting goaltender and AHL All-Star Niklas Svedberg could not play due to the flu. Backup goaltender Michael Hutchinson got the start for the P-Bruins as they prepared to take on the Manchester Monarchs in Manchester, but his backup, Dany Sabourin, suddenly became unavailable when his wife went into labor 2 hours before game-time.

Needing a backup for Hutchinson, the P-Bruins staff turned to Adam Geragosian. Geragosian played college hockey at Northeastern and briefly in the ECHL but more recently, spent many days practicing with members of the Boston Bruins who weren’t overseas during the lockout. Even after the lockout ended, he “continued to help out the team while they wait[ed] for Anton Khudobin to return…” But how did he have an immediate connection to the P-Bruins?

When Dany Sabourin’s wife went into labor 2 hours before game, Rob Murray grabbed tender fr. his summer beer league squad to dress as backup (@MarkDivver)

Providence did not need Geragosian to play in the game at all as Hutchinson was fine. Unfortunately, Manchester’s goaltending was also a story of tonight’s game as Martin Jones shutout the Bruins, making 42 saves in the Monarchs 3-0 victory.

The game got off to a quick start when Bobby Robins and newly acquired LA Kings prospect recently sent down to Manchester, Anthony Stewart, dropped the gloves 11 seconds into the game. Robins accumulated his 195th penalty minutes of the season.

Unfortunately he did not provide a spark for his team as Providence continues to struggle with scoring. Although they regularly put an obscene number of shots on net (the most in the league on average), they clearly are low quality shots. If the AHL made the data available, I would try to show this with advanced stats. But advanced stats aren’t really necessary when you look at the numbers: putting 40+ shots on goal every night and barely scoring 1 goal per game = low quality shots. On the upside, this should mean that Providence has a great advantage in terms of puck possession time, but once again, the AHL doesn’t make info like that readily available to lowly fans like me.

Manchester scored twice in the second period and never looked back. Linden Vey notched his 10th goal of the season from Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson at 6:46. Captain Marc-Andre Cliche then made it 2-0 at 7:49 with his 8th of the season from Brian O’Neill and Bryan Rodney. Anthony Stewart added an empty-net goal with :59 left in the game to put it away.

The Monarchs only tallied 24 total shots on net. Providence went 0-for-5 on the power play, but was 3-for-3 on the penalty kill. Torey Krug played excellent and had 7 shots on net. Kyle MacKinnon and Kevan Miller each had 4 shots, the next highest on the P-Bruins. On the flip-side, Justin Florek was a team-worst -3.

Providence now falls to 20-16-0-3, remaining in 3rd place in the Atlantic division. Manchester improves to 21-17-2-2, good for 2nd in the Atlantic. The Bruins and Monarchs are now even with 4 wins apiece in the season series and will meet 4 more times, with the next meeting being Saturday February 9 in Manchester.

The P-Bruins have 2 more games before the All-Star festivities begin. They will host division-leading Portland on Friday, and travel to Worcester to face another division rival on Saturday. On Sunday and Monday, you can catch Svedberg, Trent Whitfield, and newly added to the All-Star roster Jamie Tardif in the AHL All-Star Classic.

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