DIVISION-RIVALS CLASH IN RHODE ISLAND
Providence Hosts Streaking Manchester Tonight at The Dunk
Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins (30-21-2-1, 63 PTS, 1st Atlantic) host the Manchester Monarchs (25-24-0-5, 55 PTS, 6th Atlantic) this evening at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in the teams' fifth of eight regular season meetings in 2008-09. The Monarchs have won all four previous match-ups with two of the games extending beyond regulation.
Providence enters tonight's game ranked second in the AHL with 19 home wins, best in the Atlantic, while Manchester has been on fire of late, winning its last four games overall and six of seven. The two clubs last battled on January 7, a 3-2 overtime win for the Monarchs at the Verizon Wireless Arena. Three of Manchester's wins in the season-series have come in New Hampshire with the only Rhode Island meeting, a 3-1 P-Bruins loss, coming back in mid-December. The Monarchs have struggled on the road this year at 12-15-0-2.
The P-Bruins were involved in three moves during the week as goaltender Kevin Regan was reassigned to Providence from the ECHL's Alaska Aces. The rookie returns to the Ocean State after going 2-2-0 with a 2.47 goals-against-average and .924 save percentage in four starts for Alaska since being reassigned to Anchorage on February 2. Regan was joined on his flight east by sixth-year pro Colin Hemingway. The National Hockey League experienced right wing joins the P-Bruins on a Professional Tryout Agreement, leaving Anchorage with a team-high 54 points (18g, 36a) in 49 games. Hemingway has enjoyed AHL time with the Peoria Rivermen and the old Worcester IceCats. He also appeared in three games in 2005-06 with the NHL's St. Louis Blues. Rounding out the moves, Providence today loaned goalie Kevin Nastiuk to Alaska after going 0-1-0 in two outings over his month-long stint with the P-Bruins. Nastiuk is 6-8-1 with a 2.95 GAA at the ECHL level this year, all with the Gwinnett Gladiators.
Providence is led offensively by Martin St. Pierre's 44 points. The All-Star ranks tied with fellow All-Star Johnny Boychuk with 32 assists. Rookie Mikko Lehtonen, meanwhile, paces the club with 19 goals. In the crease, Tuukka Rask is 22-17-0 with three shutouts and a 2.54 GAA in 39 games. On the other side, Manchester's Marty Murray leads his squad with 37 points, including a team-high 28 assists. Teddy Purcell has 36 points in only 35 games, besting the Monarchs with 16 goals. The second-year All-Star has four game winning goals in Manchester's last six games and points in eight straight contests (7g, 9a). Between the pipes, Jonathan Bernier is 12-16-3 in 32 outings, including two shutouts and a 2.72 GAA.
In the season-series, Manchester's Trevor Lewis leads all players with three goals, seven assists and 10 points. Lehtonen has two goals and two helpers to lead Providence. In net, Bernier is 2-0-0 with a 2.88 GAA while Rask is 0-3-0 with a 2.97 GAA.
On special teams, Providence sits seventh in the AHL on the power play, converting 18.6% of the time, and 14th on the penalty kill at 82.6%. Manchester is 15th with the man-advantage at 17.3% and seventh when short-handed at 84.8%.
Tonight is a Winter Hat Night giveaway as Providence Bruins Promotional Nights continue. The P-Bruins are on the road on Saturday, traveling north to Massachusetts to face the Worcester Sharks at 7:05 p.m. Providence wraps up the weekend on Sunday for Adam McQuaid Poster Night, battling the Springfield Falcons at 4:05 p.m.
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 www.providencebruins.com. Tickets may be purchased in person by visiting the Dunkin' Donuts Center Box Office or all TicketMaster outlets.