That tepid trend lived on Friday night when the P-Bruins brooked a fall-from-ahead, 3-1 defeat against the Manchester Monarchs. An initial 1-0 edge in the opening frame devolved into a 1-1 deadlock in the second, before Manchester tacked on the decider and the insurance.
The six most protruding numbers from this game are as follows.
Special teams’ goals in the Providence net, which conspired to usurp the one-goal lead for the visiting Monarchs and ultimately decide the game. Furthermore, the timing of each tally was the definition of deflating for the host club.
Providence safeguarded a 1-0 advantage, courtesy of Jamie Tardif, for what amounted to 24 minutes and five seconds worth of game action. That lead evaporated with 16.8 ticks remaining in the second period when Andrei Loktionov buried a shorthanded bid.
In turn, when the Bruins could have augmented their lead on their third power play of the night and let the Monarchs carry that shell shock into the dressing room, they instead self-inflicted a psychological wound.
On the other side of the intermission, Colby Cohen took a hooking penalty within the first minute of the closing stanza and Manchester capitalized―via Andy Andreoff―to cut open a fresh wound on fresh ice. The momentum had thus completed its slow, agonizing transition for the home faithful at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
Consecutive season opening losses, all on home ice and all with merely one goal to speak of. The P-Bruins previously set the wrong tone for the 2010-11 season with a 5-1 submission to Springfield and a 4-1 falter versus St. John’s last year.
In all three cases, one jutting flaw was the team’s empty power play (must run in the family), despite drawing more opposing penalties on the night.
On that note…
Blown advantages. Providence could not reap rewards from superior discipline, spilling each of five power-play opportunities, while letting Manchester go 1-for-3 on its power play.
In all, the Bruins spent nine minutes and 12 seconds on the man advantage, including 48 seconds of five-on-three early in the third, when a 2-2 equalizer was still possible. Nothing doing, as Providence was all but a case study against procrastination and cramming.
The new uniform digit for Andrew Bodnarchuk, who previously sported the No. 2 for the P-Bruins and made his debut as a Monarch on Friday. Chiefly a stay-at-home defenseman, Bodnarchuk garnered a secondary assist on Loktionov’s shortie, driving home the dagger into his lingering love affair with Bruins buffs.
AHL career points for Ryan Spooner, who played in his ninth game with the Baby Bs Friday and the first in his first full professional season. Spooner’s assist on Tardif’s goal proved one of the few bright spots in the opener, as it suggests he has retained the rhythm he brewed up in his late-season stints from both 2010-11 and 2011-12.
As it happens, the only two games in which Spooner has not registered a point were both last season against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, who are Saturday’s opponent in the P-Bruins’ first road tilt of the new campaign.
Registered stabs at Manchester stopper Martin Jones within the first 20 minutes, as well as within the last 40. The P-Bruins outshot the Monarchs, 15-9, in the opening frame, going on a 6-0 run within the first five minutes to set a mixed tone of unfinished chances for the night.
Although Tardif tuned the mesh at the 15:38 mark, one goal on 15 shots on net within a single stanza is never going to cut it.
As it happened, a lack of a firmer cushion returned to bite the Bruins when they mustered merely five shots in the middle frame and 10 in the third, all coming after they had mounted a 2-1 deficit.