Regardless of the outcome of Saturday’s visit to Worcester, the worst the P-Bruins can finish this month is 8-3-1. That would amount to a winning percentage of .708, a few ice chips above the .700 mark they attained via a 6-2-2 finish to January 2012 in the middle of Cassidy’s first season as head coach.
A regulation tie with the Sharks would mean finishing December at 8-2-2 for a .750 success rate, while a win would equal a .791 winning percentage.
In relatively recent memory, the only months that will rival or exceed December 2012 for the Baby Bs are February 2009, when they went 9-2-2 (.769), and December 2007, when a 13-2-0 transcript translated to an .867 winning percentage.
April of 2011, when they went 5-1-0 for a .833 percentage, need not be counted as it was not a full-length month of activity and they had already been zapped out of playoff contention.
While still approaching the halfway mark of the 2012-13 regular season, Providence continues to embolden its contender’s persona at and below the surface. With leaned-on rookie forward Ryan Spooner still missing from the lineup, all three of Friday’s goals scored against Phantoms netminder Cal Heeter splashed an individual production drought.
With his icebreaker at 4:43 of the first period, Justin Florek tuned the mesh for the first time since Dec. 2 and thus logged his fourth point in 12 games after managing just one in his first 13.
Lane MacDermid’s strike at 6:15 of the middle frame augmented the P-Bruins’ lead to 2-0 and constituted his second goal in his last six games and his fourth point of December.
A mere 23 seconds after Adirondack’s Brayden Schenn sawed that deficit in half, fellow locked-out NHL youngster, Jordan Caron, nabbed his first point since Dec. 1. Caron converted Carter Camper’s setup with 9:46 gone in the second period and ultimately garnered credit for the clincher.
Camper’s helper on that strike was his second assist of the evening and fifth in his last three outings. Christian Hanson joined Camper in the multi-point club with his own pair of assists, giving him a tangible contribution in each game to sandwich the holiday respite after previously brooking a season-worst seven-game pointless skid.
In the final minute of regulation, Hanson fed Chris Bourque, who deposited an empty netter to put a wrap on the 4-2 upshot, sweetening his father Ray’s birthday and rewarding netminder Niklas Svedberg’s season-high 43-save effort.
Stingrays Win in Gwinn
Bolstered by two power-play conversions and a 26-save shutout by Ryan Zapolski, the South Carolina Stingrays halted a winless streak at six games with a 4-0 win over the Gladiators. The win ensured a split of their two-night stay at Gwinnett and pulled them virtually even at 3-3-1 in their season series against the ECHL’s South Division leaders.
Forward Matthew Pistilli, a P-Bruins’ training camp attendee this past autumn, was one of South Carolina’s eight point-getters on the night, assisting on the first of three insurance goals.
All but three of the Stingrays skaters registered at least one shot on goal, despite a slim team total of 21 hacks at Gladiators goaltender Mike Lee.
College, Junior Notes
Ferlin drew a 1-1 knot with 1.4 seconds left in the opening stanza, converted a power play for a 3-1 lead at 2:59 of the third period and helped to set up Greg Miller’s eventual winner three minutes and five seconds later.
Elsewhere in the NCAA, freshman Yale defenseman and recent Bruins draft pick Rob O’Gara joined in on a laugher at Ingalls Rink, namely a 10-2 exhibition romp over the Russian Red Stars. With 47 seconds to spare in the second period, O’Gara set up winger Antoine Laganiere for a goal that completed Laganiere’s hat trick and raised the upper hand to 7-0.
Another budding Bruins blueliner, Matthew Benning, had his own share of input in a one-sided victory for the USHL's Dubuque Fighting Saints. Benning had the secondary helper on each of back-to-back goals that swelled a 4-0 lead over the Muskegon Lumberjacks to 6-0 in the second period of an eventual 6-3 decision.