In poised and opportunistic response, staring contest dance partner Alex Stalock nullified the P-Bruins’ advantages in the shooting gallery and the disciplinary department. Despite running up an NFL-esque 34-20 edge in the way of shots and doubling up the visiting Worcester Sharks, 6-3, in power plays, Providence never led in an eventual 3-2 falter Friday night at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
Each club converted two man-advantages apiece, including a five-on-three strike from Carter Camper that deleted an initial 1-0 deficit at 15:45 of the first period. In turn, Sharks’ pivot Tim Kennedy’s preceding icebreaker―the evening’s only tally at full strength―spoke to one of the critical differences in the game.
Some more testaments to the Hutchinson-Stalock discrepancy, which the scoreboard alone obscured, and the general bruise-fest between the Atlantic Division adversaries are as follows.
Opposing goals or more against Hutchinson in each of his first four starts this season, all of them losing decisions.
The Sharks required merely 30 minutes, 41 seconds and 14 registered stabs to bring Hutchinson’s tab to that unsavory digit.
Granted, the home skaters were not doing everything to make their backstop’s life hassle-free. After all, Worcester’s Bracken Kearns single-handedly turned a 1-1 knot into a 3-1 advantage with two unanswered power-play conversions.
At the same time, Hutchinson could not plead fatigue and make the most impeccable case to back that claim. Dating back to last Saturday’s 6-3 meltdown in Connecticut, the P-Bruins have held their opponents to single-digit shots on goal in each of five straight periods.
Worcester shots on goal while leaned-on veteran defenseman Garnet Exelby was serving a 10-minute misconduct incurred at 6:11 of the second period after a dustup with Nick Petrecki. The Sharks had only one other registered stab in the middle frame before Exelby’s time-consuming misdeed and none in the second half of the stanza.
Unanswered shots by the Bruins on Stalock in the final 9:19 of the middle frame after Kearns’ second goal spawned the first multi-goal difference of the evening.
They had mustered only two in the first 10-plus minutes, helping the Sharks subsist on their 2-1 edge before Kearns tacked on the insurance. Once they perked back up for another reckonable threat, Stalock stood firm with no sign of frostbite.
Shots by Providence on Stalock within the final six minutes of the third period, at which time Worcester mustered only one bid at the other end.
Max Sauve put the first of those 10 hacks home to convert the period’s only power play and whittle the deficit down to 3-2 with 5:03 to spare. Apart from that, Stalock stymied the Bruins’ sugar rush to retain the lead, warding off both even-strength and six-on-five flurries in the climactic phases.
Aggregate penalty minutes, a new season high for the P-Bruins and their opponents on a given night.
With matching unsportsmanlike conduct calls against Chris Bourque and James Livingston, the cumulative PIM count reached 44 with only 5:59 gone in the second period. That total surpassed the 42 minutes (21 for each team) logged by the Bruins and Springfield Falcons last Friday and was inflated, in part, by three fights occurring within the first 23 minutes and 25 seconds of action.
The contesting teams were up to 68 minutes in the box from 21 infractions by the second intermission.
Consecutive minutes played (minus six seconds) without an even-strength goal for the P-Bruins. They last tuned the mesh during five-on-five play via Jamie Tardif at the 2:06 mark of their eventual crumble in Connecticut and have since subsisted solely on the power play, converting four of their last 10 chances.
On the one hand, the prolific man-up brigade is a refreshing splash of encouragement for Bruce Cassidy’s pupils and possibly the Boston organization in general. Yet, it has not been sufficient to cultivate a single point in the AHL standings these last two outings.
If you discount the last 74 seconds, when Hutchinson was pulled in favor of the extra skater, Providence and Worcester had an even distribution of players for a total of 43 minutes and 55 seconds.
The Bruins’ failure to solve Stalock in that time combined with Kennedy’s five-on-five icebreaker would plainly prove to the difference between an empty excursion and nabbing at least one point by virtue of forcing overtime.