The Providence Bruins and Manchester Monarchs exchanged similar sugar rushes of equal value within the first 32-plus minutes of Friday night’s action in the Dunkin Donuts Center. The critical difference in complex carbs broke the surface in the 34th minute of action.
Only 63 seconds after the visiting Monarchs had finished deleting an initial 2-0 Bruins lead, Jamie Tardif polished off a rush with linemates Chris Bourque and Ryan Spooner to renew the advantage to 3-2. That new edge held up for the remaining 26 minutes and 35 seconds of action to give Providence its third triumph in its last five games.
Bourque and Carter Camper had buried each of the evening’s first two registered shots within the first 2:42 of game time. From there, Providence sculpted a 16-5 edge in the shooting gallery over the first 15 minutes.
The Monarchs retorted in the middle frame with an 11-2 run on the shot clock within the first 13 minutes. Brian O’Neill and Marc-Andre Cliche successively beat goaltender Niklas Svedberg to morph a 2-0 Bruins lead into a 2-2 knot in a matter of 38 seconds.
But Tardif’s line promptly and proactively halted and reversed the momentum, after which the winds were less one-sided either way. The rest of the night was defined mostly by fleeting and futile rushes, such as the Tyler Toffoli breakaway that Svedberg stoned in the seventh minute of the third period.
Each team would muster 10 shots, and each goaltender 10 shots apiece between Tardif’s eventual decider and the final horn that made his strike a winner.
A deeper dip into the data from the Dunk reveals the following sample.
Power-play conversion at either end, that being Camper’s strike that terminated the first special teams’ segment of the night at the age of 20 seconds. Providence went 1-for-3 with the man-advantage while nullifying each of three Manchester power plays, continuing a steady improvement on each end of the spectrum.
The Bruins had a 70.4 percent success rate on the penalty kill through their first seven games, but have since improved to 81.2 through 12 total contests. Their power play had converted exactly 12 percent of its opportunities through the first five games and has since upped that rate to a precise 20 percent.
Assists logged by former P-Bruin Andrew Bodnarchuk over two visits to his old domain in a Manchester uniform. Adding to his two helpers on opening night, Bodnarchuk single-handedly set up Cliche’s equalizer Friday.
Career points in four career games against the Monarchs for Spooner, who happened to be out of the lineup with flu-like symptoms last Saturday when the Bruins brooked a 3-0 shutout at Verizon Wireless Arena.
Spooner’s two assists gave him his second multi-point performance in as many outings and upped his output to 1-5-6 in five games this calendar month.
Fighting majors in 11 games played for Bobby Robins this season. Robins tangled with Dwight King at 18:27 of the first period, a little less than 10 minutes after linemate Lane MacDermid scrapped with Justin Johnson.
Extraordinarily, after those two tussles inflated a first-period total of 26 penalty minutes, only three minors were assessed thereafter. There was even a 29-minute, 23-second interlude between infractions.
Individual Providence skaters who tested Manchester netminder Peter Mannino once or twice apiece during their 18-shot, first-period firestorm. Five of the 13 Bruins in question took two stabs in the stanza while another eight issued one apiece, a testament to balanced, consistent droves.
By night’s end, 14 different P-Bruins had pelted Mannino a combined 31 times.
Bruins regulars―that is, those who have suited up for at least half of the season’s schedule―who have tallied at least one point on the year. Third-year defenseman Matt Bartkowski is the latest to join in with his first point of the season being the secondary assist on Bourque’s icebreaker at 1:18 of the first period.
Bartkowski went on to tie Spooner and Tardif’s team-leading output of four shots on the night, matching his total in that category from the P-Bruins’ previous game. His last hack at Mannino was particularly head-turning as it dripped over the Monarch goalie’s shoulder, but floated a little too high to tune the mesh for what might have otherwise been a little third-period insurance.
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