Recap: P-Bruins 3, Monarchs 2
Despite being down several top players going into last night's game in Manchester, the Providence Bruins came out with a win against the top team in their division.
Mike Moore had the game winning goal and Niklas Svedberg made 31 saves to earn first star of the game honors.
Matt Fraser and Andrew Cherniwchan scored for Providence as well. Fraser left the game after the second intermission after sustaining a hard, but clean, hit from Monarchs defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk in the first period. Fraser scored a power play goal later in the period, played in the second period, but did not return with an "upper body" injury.
The hit that I suspect later caused Fraser to leave the game.
The game got off to a slow start as both teams struggled to establish possession. A few big hits on Anthony Camara in the first period led to Tyler Randell throwing down with Monarchs captain Andrew Campbell about halfway through the first period.
Later on in the first period, Monarchs defenseman Derek Forbort was given a holding the stick penalty. It didn't take long for the P-Bruins first power play unit of Craig Cunningham, Ryan Spooner, Matt Fraser, Tommy Cross, and Ben Youds to score a goal. Ryan Spooner sent a pass to Matt Fraser in the crease and he was able to roof it over Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones.
The goal was Fraser's first since returning to Providence after his stint with Boston - a span of 10 games. He had last scored an AHL goal on December 7th. It was Ryan Spooner's first point since returning to Providence as well - a span of four games.
The Monarchs tied the game at 7:45 of the second period when Nick Deslauriers scored his 15th goal of the season. In the immediate aftermath of his goal, his accidentally high sticked Ben Youds and the face and was assessed a double minor, but the P-Bruins did not score on either power play. Fraser's first period PPG was the only power play goal they would score.
Later in the second period, the line of Rob Flick, Andrew Cherniwchan, and Tyler Randell gave Providence the lead again when Rob Flick made a nifty move that I didn't know he was capable of making right next to the crease. Cherniwchan followed up on the rebound, tipping the puck high past Jones for his fourth goal of the season at 14:25 of the second.
In the third period, the Monarchs played much better and nearly tied the game at one point when Linden Vey beat Niklas Svedberg. The goal was overturned because the net was knocked off the moorings before the puck went in. This is not the first time that Svedberg has accidentally-on-purpose knocked the net off when going side to side to make a save, but it almost always works in getting the goals disallowed.
Did he do it on purpose? You be the judge.
Providence took a 3-1 lead at 4:21 of the third period when Alexander Khokhlachev, one of the Bruins better players last night, took a hit along the boards, got back up and skated away with the puck. He passed to Camara, who found Mike Moore streaking to the net. Moore was able to fake Jones out and beat him at an angle for his second goal of the season and the eventual game winner.
The Monarchs cut the lead back to one goal after Rob Flick took an ill-advised roughing penalty just a few minutes after Moore's goal. On the ensuring power play for the Monarchs, they scored a rarely seen power play goal. This time, it was Vey, again, and this time, the net became dislodged, again. But this one counted, because the attempt to dislodge the net came after the puck was already in on a great one-timer.
Providence then held on for dear life for the remainder of the third period, killing off another penalty and withstanding the final two minutes with the goaltender pulled. The final 20 seconds were dramatic as Moore was assessed a delay of game penalty for clearing the puck over the glass, but Providence was able to kill off the two-man advantage until the clock struck zero.
Both teams went 1-for-4 on the power play, and Providence was out-shot 33-21 overall, including 16-7 in the third period.
Preview: Falcons @ P-Bruins, 3:05pm EST
In the last game before the AHL All-Star Break, the P-Bruins face an even tougher team in the Springfield Falcons. Matt Fraser will be a game time decision and if he can't play, they will have to dress seven defensemen (thank goodness David Warsofsky is back) and 11 forwards because that is the entirety of their healthy roster.
The P-Bruins are 2-4-0-1 against the Falcons this season, having lost twice to them in January: 5-3 on the 18th and 2-1 on the 4th.
|Division Rank||1st in Northeast||3rd in Atlantic|
|Conference Rank||1st in Eastern||8th in Eastern|
|Home/Away||Away: 14-6-1-2||Home: 10-9-1-2|
|Leading After 1||17-0-1-1||13-2-0-2|
|Trailing After 1||2-8-0-1||4-12-0-0|
|Tied After 1||12-4-0-2||8-4-1-4|
|Leading After 2||21-1-1-1||17-1-1-3|
|Trailing After 2||2-10-0-2||1-13-0-2|
|Tied After 2||8-1-0-1||7-4-0-1|
|PP%||16.1% (36/223)||21.2% (39/184)|
|PP Home/Away||Away: 18.3%||Home: 17.9%|
|PK Home/Away||Away: 89.8%||Home: 78.4%|
Svedberg will get the start again. He is 2-3 against Springfield this season with a 0.901 save percentage and 3.38 GAA.
On the season, he is 17-11-3 with two shutouts, 0.910 save %, and 2.78 GAA.
He will face Mike McKenna or Jeremy Smith. McKenna is 13-5-0 this season with three shutouts, 0.932 save %, and 1.95 GAA. Smith is 17-8-3 with a 0.900 save % and 2.69 GAA.
McKenna is 1-0 against Providence this season, having allowed only one goal for a 0.963 save percentage. Smith is 4-1-1 with a 0.904 save % and 2.77 GAA.
Alexander Khokhlachev continues to be among the top rookie scorers in the AHL. With 30 points, he is tied for 11th overall. Koko is also on a three game point streak with one goal and three assists over that span.
Anthony Camara's five game winning goals are tied for the most among AHL rookies as well. It's also no wonder Camara and Koko play on a very effective line together along with Bobby Robins.
Among defensemen leading in scoring, Joe Morrow's loss is a huge one for the Bruins, but David Warsofsky is actually tied with Morrow in points with 26, which puts him in a tie for 12th most among AHL defensemen.
Newly acquired Blake Parlett will face his former team, but Carter Camper won't face the Bruins in a Falcons uniform today because he is still injured.
If Fraser can't go, the seven defensemen Providence will dress include Parlett, Warsofsky, Youds, Moore, Cross, Steve Spinell, and Chris Casto.
The healthy forwards as of now, not including Fraser, are: Craig Cunningham, Khokhlachev, Justin Florek, Seth Griffith, Ryan Spooner, Matt Lindblad, Camara, Robins, Flick, Randell, and Cherniwchan.
Along with Fraser, Nick Johnson, Alexander Fallstrom, Jared Knight, Zach Trotman, and Joe Morrow all remain out with injuries.
Line combinations will obviously be hard to judge and mixed and matched if they have to go with 11 forwards. I'm personally holding out for one defenseman playing forward.