PROVIDENCE TO MAKE HISTORY TODAY
P-Bruins and Marlies Match-Up for First-Ever Meeting Today at The Dunk at 1 p.m.
Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins (16-11-1-1, 34 PTS, 1st Atlantic) host the Toronto Marlies (13-12-0-2, 28 PTS, 5th North) this afternoon at the Dunkin' Donuts Center for the first meeting all-time between the two clubs and also the first of two battles scheduled for the 2008-09 regular season. The teams will match-up again on March 4 at the Ricoh Coliseum.
The Marlies are in their fourth season in the AHL and their third under head coach Greg Gilbert. The coach guided Toronto from a sixth-place finish in 2006-07 with 34 wins and 75 points to a third-place finish in the entire league last year at 50 victories and 109 points. The Marlies lost in the Western Conference Finals, falling to the eventual Calder Cup champion Chicago Wolves.
To the present, Providence enters today's game riding a three-game slide after a road shootout loss last Saturday night versus the Manchester Monarchs and back-to-back regulation defeats since to the Monarchs and Hartford Wolf Pack. The P-Bruins and Wolf Pack faced off Wednesday night in Connecticut, a 3-2 Hartford win in a game that involved five special teams goals. Providence received power play goals from rookie Jeff Penner and veteran Peter Schaefer while Hartford's David Urquhart added a man-advantage goal. Patrick Rissmiller and Greg Moore each scored with the Wolf Pack short-handed. Despite its recent struggles, Providence continues to be the top team on home-ice in the Atlantic at 11-4-0-0.
Toronto last played on Wednesday as well, a 5-4 shootout win at home over the Lake Erie Monsters. National Hockey League veteran Bates Battaglia registered two goals and an assist in the win while highly-touted Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Jiri Tlusty added three assists and the game-winning shootout goal. Today's game begins a four-game road trip for Toronto, taking the team through New England over the weekend and concluding in Lake Erie next Friday.
The P-Bruins are led offensively by Martin St. Pierre's 33 points, a total tied for second in the AHL with Mike Iggulden of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. St. Pierre's 24 assists rank third in the league. Martins Karsums, meanwhile, leads Providence with 11 goals. Between the pipes, Tuukka Rask is 11-9-0 with two shutouts, a 2.31 goals-against-average and a .919 save percentage.
The Marlies' Tim Stapleton is first on Toronto with 25 points, including a team-high 21 assists. Jeremy Williams, currently in the NHL with the Maple Leafs, has 11 goals to lead the Marlies. Ben Ondrus' seven goals is first among active Marlies. In net, Justin Pogge is 10-9-2 with a 2.87 GAA after 26 wins a year ago.
On special teams, Providence and Toronto both rank in the top 10 in the league on the power play. The Marlies are third in the AHL, converting 20.4% of the time while the P-Bruins sit eighth at 19.6%. The penalty kill has Providence fourth in the AHL at 86.5% to Toronto's 14th-place rating at 83.3%.
The P-Bruins are back in action tomorrow evening as Providence travels to Maine to face the Portland Pirates at 7 p.m. Providence then closes out the weekend Sunday afternoon by welcoming the Springfield Falcons into town at 4:05 p.m. Tonight and Sunday are both Family Games where fans can purchase one ticket, one hot dog and one soda for one low price.
To purchase tickets or for more information, call the Providence Bruins ticket office at (401) 273-5000 or log on to the team website at providencebruins.com. Tickets may be purchased in person by visiting the Dunkin' Donuts Center Box Office or all TicketMaster outlets.