Save for a subsequent Craig Cunningham goal on enemy grounds and an empty-netter on the cusp of the buzzer in their zone Saturday night, it was like Groundhog Day in October for the Providence Bruins after their game Friday.
For the second straight night, the offensive unit of Max Sauvé, Ryan Spooner and Jamie Tardif collaborated to spot the Bruins a 1-0 edge. Once again, Providence proceeded to spill that lead on an opposing short-handed goal and then fall behind, 2-1, via an opposing power-play goal before the second intermission.
Bridgeport’s Jon Landry and Matt Watkins sandwiched Cunningham’s comeback strike, which was assisted by Carter Camper and Jordan Caron, with goals to finalize Bridgeport’s 4-2 triumph.
As Providence dips to 0-2 in the young 2012-13 AHL campaign, here is a deeper look at the most jutting highlights and lowlights from Saturday’s scoresheet.
Points on the year for winger Chris Bourque, the reigning AHL scoring champion brought into the Bruins organization this past offseason. While it is barely the time to even start simulating the panic-button push, Bourque has not so much as been on the ice for a Providence strike through two games.
Only twice in his 93-point campaign last year did Bourque go through consecutive games without chipping in a goal or an assist. Only once did he go dry for three or more.
Other pointless Providence forwards after two games played apiece include Christian Hanson, Jared Knight, Lane MacDermid and captain Trent Whitfield.
Sophomore defenseman Kevan Miller’s rating on the plus side for the weekend.
Unlike Bourque, Miller is wasting no time composing a season akin to his 2011-12 campaign. Last year’s runaway plus/minus leader for Providence at a plus-20, Miller already has a plus-two rating on the season, having been on the ice for two of the three Bruins goals and only one opposing power-play goal.
None of Bridgeport’s four tallies on Saturday―which came in a variety pack of one short-handed, power-play, even-strength and empty-net strike―occurred on Miller’s watch.
Among his teammates, Tardif was Miller’s only company in the plus/minus black on Saturday, retaining an identical plus-one.
Michael Hutchinson’s goals-against average on the night, coupled with a .857 save percentage and credit for his second straight loss.
Since holding the Monarchs scoreless through nearly the first 40 minutes on Friday, Hutchinson has allowed six goals on 38 shots faced in roughly 80 minutes of action.
Again, this trend is not worth significant consternation, nor is it anything four-plus days of mental retooling and practice and maybe a switch in the rotation could not remedy. At the same time, it is especially not the ideal start, considering slow stumbles early last season and the year prior preceded a non-playoff campaign.
Providence power plays, which again eclipsed its cumulative short-handed but was, again, utterly squandered.
The first two man-up segments, in particular, proved to be an embarrassment of wasted momentum. Landry went to the sin bin for hooking only 38 seconds after Sauvé had drawn first blood.
Despite shaking that off, the Sound Tigers went on the kill again, courtesy of a too-many-men hiccup, a mere seven seconds after Landry’s jailbreak. Yet, the Bruins remained barren on the man advantage and could not enhance their advantage on the scoreboard.
On their third advantage of the opening stanza, they only took 16 seconds to surrender the equalizer through Brandon DeFazio’s shortie.
Shots on goal from the Sauvé-Spooner-Tardif line, half of them off the goal scorer Sauvé’s stick, constituting almost exactly one-third of the tests administered to Bridgeport backstop Kevin Poulin.
The other nine Providence forwards combined for 14 registered bids and an identical solitary goal. Other than Sauvé and Tardif, Knight and blueliner Colby Cohen were the only other individuals to pelt Poulin at least three times.
With a little more aggression from the other offensive troikas a la Sauvé and his wingers, the P-Bruins very well could have at least mustered points on Saturday. Maybe then, it would have been easier to absolve Sauvé’s overcommitment early in the second period that warranted a goalie-interference penalty and opened the door to Nino Niederreiter’s go-ahead goal.
Shots on Poulin and saves by Poulin in the second period. Not unlike Friday’s opening stanza, Saturday’s second segment was the P-Bruins’ busiest on opposing property but yielded a famine of finish.
In the interim, Niederreiter drew his team’s first lead on one of its eight stabs at Hutchinson in the period.
As it happened, just as Providence would do from the second to the third, Bridgeport went from taking 15 shots on net in the first to eight in the second. The crucial difference was that the Sound Tigers hatched all of Hutchinson’s 20-minute goose eggs.
Indeed, despite the blizzard of biscuits issued by the visitors, the only “zero” in Saturday's period-to-period box score is in the Bruins’ half of the second-period column.
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