Note: The photo accompanying this article is courtesy of hockey photographer Blake Gumprecht on Flickr.
The Providence Bruins went 3-0 this weekend, scoring 19 goals in three games spanning from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. Malcolm Subban got his first professional win Saturday night and added his second on Sunday, along with a goalie fight in the third period when an all-out brawl erupted. It was the second win over the Hartford Wolf Pack this weekend, having trounced them 8-5 on Friday. They were able to keep Ryan Spooner off the score sheet tonight, but Providence still scored six goals in the win*.
*Spooner spent the majority of the third period on the bench. Coach Bruce Cassidy's official explanation: "He's had a good weekend, I decided to put some other guys in the mix. You get ahead a little bit...silly stuff happens...other guys have played hard for the team" and don't normally get to play in these situations. (Shout out to my niece for messing with her mom's phone and accidentally face-timing me at this moment, cutting off the end of the interview.)
I think we can easily read between the lines here: the game was getting out of hand, and Hartford players were making some dirty plays down 5-0, then 6-0 in the third period after losing 8-5 on Friday. Ryan Spooner is precious cargo, and if they're gonna try to injure one of the P-Bruins stars, Spooner is the most desirable target.
Now, I'm not saying the Wolf Pack would have definitely done this, but I'm glad he took the precautions. And I do believe that Cassidy genuinely felt other players deserved some time on the power play late in the game. It was actually great to see guys like Matt Lindblad and Justin Florek get rewarded with extra ice time in power plays, and great to see Alexander Khokhlachev and Jared Knight get even more ice time.
Recap: Providence Bruins 6, Hartford Wolf Pack 0
The starting goaltender for Hartford tonight was Jason Missiaen, who was pulled midway through the game on Friday after allowing six goals on 22 shots. Although he made some great saves during the game, he once again let in six goals while his defense in front of him looked as helpless as the P-Bruins defense looked last weekend.
Malcom Subban got the start in net for the second game in a row. Last weekend after two tough losses to Manchester, Cassidy stated that Niklas Svedberg is their go-to guy going forward and that they would look to get him back on track this weekend. He had a shaky game Friday, letting in five goals but still getting the win. Subban was slated to play Saturday no matter what because of the triple-header, but it seems they decided to stick with Subban after he played well on Saturday night and he got the start against Hartford on Sunday afternoon.
Chris Casto, who took a rough hit behind the net on Saturday night but returned to finish the game, did not play Sunday either. He was scratched in favor of Ben Youds. Seth Griffith also was healthy scratched, allowing Alexander Fallstrom to get back into the lineup.
First Period: P-Bruins 1, Wolf Pack 0
Jared Knight opened the scoring just 3:42 into the game as Providence dominated much of the first period. Perhaps the tone was set earlier in the first period when Kevan Miller and Michael Haley dropped the gloves just 2:32 into the game. They were both gentlemanly and removed their own helmets, receiving the extra minors for doing so.
The first period saw a lot of penalties and special teams, but to no avail. Providence out-shot Hartford 12-5 and was ahead 1-0. They were also down to 11 forwards after Anthony Camara crashed into the net. He left the game and didn't return, and also took a goaltender interference penalty on the play. He was down for quite a while behind the net, but skated off under his own power.
Second Period: P-Bruins 5, Wolf Pack 0
To fill the void left by Camara, Lindblad was playing the wing on two lines (filling in for Camara on the Koko-Knight line as well as his own assignment with Camper and Johnson. Oh, and he was great on the penalty kill today. Maybe I see what all the Behind the B buzz was about.
The second period was a four goal explosion by the P-Bruins. Just 21 seconds in, Matt Fraser scored his 11th of the year when he was parked in front of the net and deflected a Joe Morrow shot from the point. Morrow and Miller got the assists.
Providence struck again at 9:43 of the second with Tommy Cross' first goal of the season. His wrist shot from the point beat Missiaen as Lindblad provided a screen. Lindblad and Camper got the assists. Less than a minute later, Koko got his first of the night and third of the season with assists from Knight and Morrow (this goal was originally attributed to Knight, but changed later.)
P-Bruins went up 5-0 at 16:32 of the second when Justin Florek scored his third of the season, assisted by Knight and Koko. In the second, Providence out-shot Hartford 16-7, for a total of 28-12 through two periods.
Third Period: P-Bruins 6, Wolf Pack 0
To start the third period, Missiaen was on the bench and Scott Stajcer was in net.
Down 5-0 to a team they had a frustrating loss to on Friday night as well, the third period had some crazy shit in store. It started when Brendon Nash went off for elbowing 5:49 into the final period. Coach Cassidy put Tyler Randell out on the power play. Let's just say that of all the forwards to see on the power play, Randell is the last one you'd expect.
When the puck dropped for a faceoff at 6:26 of the third, Randell and Conor Allen dropped the gloves. They were assessed fighting majors and Providence returned to power play duties. 12 seconds later, however, shit hit the fan.
It started when Stu Bickel basically jumped Justin Florek on the faceoff. I didn't see a lot of what happened because it was such a shit show, but the line brawl escalated quickly. Among all this, a goalie fight was brewing.
Subban and Stajcer watched the line brawl for a bit, which was occurring at center ice by the penalty boxes, and then decided to skate to center ice to meet up. They removed their helmets, dropped their gloves, and started swinging. Again, you can see the video here. Thankfully they didn't hurt themselves, and ended the fight on their own accord like good fighting goalies should do. (Looking at you, Ray Emery.)
As a result of leaving the crease to fight, both Subban and Stajcer were assessed game misconducts for "secondary altercations". Subban was pitching a shutout, but oh well. Niklas Svedberg came in and stopped all three shots he faced for the duration of the game.
Back to the line brawl - it started with Bickel attacking Florek. Moore came to his aid, but was wrestled away by either Haley or McIlrath. Youds also engaged with someone. Everyone else stood around holding each other and being angry, I think. It took a solid ten minutes to get it all figured out. But the penalty sheet shows the following, all assessed at 6:38 of the third:
- Stu Bickel: 2 for instigating, 5 for fighting, 10 minute misconduct for instigating
- Florek: 2 for roughing
- Mike Moore: 2 for roughing, game misconduct for third man in
- Haley: 2 for roughing
- Dylan McIlrath: 4 for roughing, 10 minute unsportsmanlike misconduct
- Ben Youds: 4 for roughing
- Subban and Stajcer each: 2 for leaving the crease, 5 for fighting, game misconducts for secondary altercations
Providence ended up with a two-man advantage after all was said and done, and Koko cashed in for his second goal of the night to make it 6-0 at 7:12 of the third. Poor Missiaen, who had been pulled to start the third, was forced back into the net with Stajcer's misconduct.
The Wolf Pack were still looking to be jerks. Shawn O'Donnell tripped Craig Cunningham and then, while Cunningham was on his knees, O'Donnell punched him right in the face. Kevan Miller stepped in right away and fought O'Donnell. Both received game misconducts along with the fighting majors, presumably to keep things under control with six minutes left in the game.
In the end, Providence out-shot Hartford 36-17 and out-scored then 6-0. They were 1-for-11 on the power play, but killed off all seven Hartford power plays as well.
- The offense: it's happening everywhere. Even when Spooner isn't getting points, everyone else is finding ways to.
- Four P-Bruins had multi-point games on Sunday: Jared Knight had a goal and two assists, Koko had a goal two goals and an assist, Carter Camper had two assists, and Joe Morrow had two assists.
- 11 different P-Bruins had at least one point tonight: Along with Knight, Koko, Camper, Morrow, one goal was scored each by Matt Fraser, Tommy Cross, and Justin Florek and one assist each was earned by David Warsofsky, Anthony Camara, Kevan Miller, and Matt Lindblad.
- Peter Chiarelli was in attendance for tonight's game, and I'm sure he liked what he saw from Lindblad, among other players.
- The defense is contributing offensively! Cassidy cited it as one of the problems, along with scoring at even strength, last weekend. Sunday saw Providence score five even strength goals and had five different defensemen notch points.
- Providence killed off seven penalties on Sunday, including a vital 5-on-3 in the first period when the game was still close. This is just the third game this season that the opposing team hasn't had a power play goal.
- This is the first shutout of the season for the team, although neither goalie gets credit since Subban didn't finish the game.
- Subban fight was enjoyable, and he didn't get hurt.
- Overall, the team has looked better in just about every aspect of the game that was causing them problems. After wanting to pull their hair out last weekend (thanks Monarchs), Cassidy said they feel pretty good after the three wins this weekend. "They're not all gonna go in like they did this weekend - we know that, but at the end of the day, we're cutting down on our chances against. That has a lot to do with our faceoffs," which the team vastly improved upon this week in practice.
- Mike Moore took another third man in misconduct when the third period line brawl broke out. He justifiably came to Florek's defense this time, but that's two games in a row that the captain has been kicked out for such a penalty.
- Anthony Camara injured himself after crashing into the net at high speed trying to get in on a breakaway. He didn't return to the game and Coach Cassidy had no updates on his status after the game.
- Nick Johnson, who led Providence in scoring through last weekend, had a total of one assist in three games this weekend.
- Before the game, Johnson was ironically awarded the Providence Bruins Player of the Month for October
- Knight (3) (Warsofsky, Camara)
- Fraser (11) (Morrow, Miller)
- Cross (1) (Lindblad, Camper)
- Koko (3) (Knight, Morrow)
- Florek (3) (Knight, Koko)
- Koko (4) (Camper) [PPG]
- 3) Tommy Cross (1 G, 3 shots, +4)
- 2) Jared Knight (1 G, 2 A, 4 shots, +3)
- 1) Alexander Khokhalchev (2 G, 1 A, 4 shots, +3)
- Despite having no points tonight, Spooner still finished the weekend with the most points of any P-Bruin with 7 total (all assists)
- Fraser (5 goals, 1 assist) and Camper (2 goals, 4 assists) each finished with six points; with five points, Cunningham (4 goals, 1 assist) and Koko (3 goals, 2 assists)
- Players with four points included Knight (1 goal, 3 assists), Joe Morrow (4 assists); Lindblad (1 goal, 2 assists) and Florek (1 goal, 2 assists) each had three points; and players with two points: Warsofsky (2 assists), Miller (2 assists). Five other players had one point.
- Fraser had a total of 16 freakin shots this weekend. Next highest totals: eight by Cunningham, Camper, and Koko, seven by Knight and Lindblad.
- Zach Trotman's hand is still in a cast, and not sure when he is expected to have it taken off.
- Weekend PP totals: 6-for-24 (25%); PP totals for opponents: 2-for-13 (84.6% success rate on the PK)