P-Bruins Top Penguins 2-0; Face Worcester Tonight

Christian Hanson has 24 points this season and is currently on a 5 game point streak (1 goal, 4 assists).

Recap: Providence 2, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 0

Michael Hutchinson got his 1st shutout of the season, making 20 saves to blank the Wilkes-Barres/Scranton Penguins in the P-Bruins 2-0 win on Friday night. Craig Cunningham scored his 4th goal in 2 games and Graham Mink notched his 8th goal of the season. The Penguins, who have the top-ranked penalty kill in the AHL, gave up 2 power play goals to Providence on 5 P-Bruins PP opportunities.

The scoring didn’t start until the 3rd period, and action didn’t pick up until the 2nd period after a slow 1st period that saw each team put just 3 shots on net apiece. 2 seconds into the middle frame, however, the intensity picked up when the Penguins Zach Sill and P-Bruins Tyler Randell dropped the gloves. Colby Cohen picked up a fighting major 5 minutes later, and soon after a 3rd fight broke out between Bobby Farnham and David Warsofsky. Chris Minella and Kevan Miller dropped the gloves just another minute later – all before the halfway mark of the game.

Bobby Robins, despite wearing a full cage due to a broken nose sustained last week, didn’t hesitate to mix it up himself. He went with Philip Samuelsson at 12:35 of the 2nd period, and each player was assessed an additional 10 minute misconduct for “continuing altercation.” Robins was also given a 5 minute major boarding call on the play leading up to the fight.

By the time the 3rd period rolled around, shots were 12-10 in favor of the Penguins with W-B/S goaltender Jeff Zatkoff stopped all 10 shots faced. That changed when Alex Grant was assessed an interference penalty at 4:58 of the 3rd period and red-hot Cunningham converted on the ensuing power play. Cunningham’s 18th goal of the season – 2nd on the team only behind Jamie Tardif – was assisted by Tardif and Ryan Spooner at 5:58 of the 3rd.

After Providence successfully killed off a penalty to Cohen mid-way through the 3rd, they were put on the power play again at 13:53 of the 3rd when Trevor Smith was sent to the box for roughing. Providence, who went 2-for-5 on the PP last night, scored their 2nd goal and 2nd power play goal of the night when Mink converted on his 6th of the season from Christian Hanson and Cohen.

Although he didn’t pick up any points, Torey Krug led all skaters with 5 shots on net. Chris Bourque, in his first game back in the AHL since early January before the NHL lockout ended, registered 1 shot on net and picked up 1 minor penalty.

Preview: Providence @ Worcester, 7

Niklas Svedberg will get the start in net tonight against divisional rival Worcester Sharks. Defenseman Garnet Exelby, who sat out last night’s game due to suspension, will return to the lineup in place of Tommy Cross.

Providence continues to lead the Atlantic division with 73 points in 57 games (34-18-0-5). They are 3 points ahead of 2nd place Portland Pirates. Worcester is 4th in the division with a record of 26-23-1-5 (58 points in 55 games). Worcester is fighting for a playoff spot, as they currently sit 11th in the Eastern conference, while Providence sits comfortably in 3rd.

This will be the 11th of 12 meetings this season between the 2 teams. Providence currently leads the season series 5-3-0-2. 4 of the previous games have been decided in the shootout, with each team winning 2 of those shootouts. Providence has picked up points in 4 straight games and are 14-4 in the last 18 games.

Team Numbers:

  • Last 10: Providence is 7-1-0-2; Worcester 5-5-0-0
  • On the road, Providence is 15-10-0-2; at home, Worcester is 10-10-1-3.
  • Providence has a goal differential of +16 (161 goals for, 145 goals against); Worcester’s goal differential is -18 (135 GF, 153 GA)
  • PP: Providence ranks 13th in the league with 17.6%; Worcester is 19th with 15.5%
  • PK: Providence is 12th with 84.3%; Worcester is 14th at 83.5%

After tonight’s game in Worcester, the P-Bruins will host the Connecticut Whale in Providence at 3pm.

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