P-BRUINS BEGIN BRIEF WEEKEND
Providence Hosts Worcester Tonight, Travels to Manchester Saturday
Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins (4-2-0-0, 8 PTS, 2nd Atlantic) host the Worcester Sharks (3-1-0-1, 7 PTS, 4th Atlantic) this evening at the Dunkin' Donuts Center for the teams' first of 10 regular season meetings in 2009-10. The P-Bruins went 7-2-1-0 against the Sharks during last year's regular season before topping Worcester in six games in the Atlantic Division Finals to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
It's been a remarkably busy week on the transaction wire for Providence since a pair of wins last weekend over the Lowell Devils and Portland Pirates. The P-Bruins out-scored their opponents 11-4 in the two victories before seeing several key contributors from those wins recalled to the Boston Bruins following Sunday's game. Reebok/AHL Player of the Week Vladimir Sobotka, Brad Marchand and Guillaume Lefebvre all earned promotions to the National Hockey League, as did P-Bruins captain Trent Whifield on Wednesday. All four have since seen action for Boston with Marchand earning an assist for his first career NHL point in his first big league game.
The P-Bruins also added a pair of players during the week, veteran Craig Weller via reassignment from the Houston Aeros after Boston traded Chuck Kobasew to the Minnesota Wild, and Ben Gordon on a Professional Tryout Agreement from the ECHL's Reading Royals. Weller spent the last two seasons in the NHL with Minnesota and the Phoenix Coyotes after enjoying parts of five seasons with the Hartford Wolf Pack. Gordon, meanwhile, is a second-year pro who split last season between Reading and the Cincinnati Cyclones.
Providence enters tonight's game a dominant team on home-ice with a record of 4-1-0-0 but Worcester brings in a good deal of road success at 2-0-0-1. The Sharks are a different looking team from last season without the likes of Ryan Vesce, Lukas Kaspar, Riley Armstrong, Patrick Traverse, Corey Larose, Tom Cavanagh and Thomas Greiss, among others, but they welcome back Logan Couture, Derek Joslin, Dan DaSilva, Steven Zalewski, Andrew Desjardins and Mike Moore, as well as new faces Brandon Mashinter, Dwight Helminen and former P-Bruin T.J. Trevelyan.
The P-Bruins (4.33) and Sharks (4.20) are the highest-scoring clubs per game in the AHL to this point, with both clubs enjoying great success on the power play. Providence ranks first in the AHL at 31.1% while Worcester is third at 26.1%. On the penalty kill, the P-Bruins are 23rd at 75.8% and the Sharks are tied for eighth at 87.0%.
On the year, defenseman Andy Wozniewski (4g, 9a) leads Providence and the league in scoring with 13 points. Worcester is paced by rookie Logan Couture's eight points (3g, 5a), tied for second among the AHL's first-year players. Couture has scored in three straight games (3g, 4a). In net, Dany Sabourin is 4-1-0 with a 2.61 goals-against-average and .914 save percentage in his five starts for Providence, including a 4-0-0 home mark, while Alex Stalock (2-0-1, 2.59 GAA) and Tyson Sexsmith (1-1-0, 5.05 GAA) have split time for Worcester.
Providence returns to action with three games next weekend, on the road Friday at the Manchester Monarchs and Saturday at Hartford, before returning home to The Dunk to host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. to wrap up the week. Sunday's game is a Family Game, where fans can purchase one ticket, hot dog and soda for one low price. To purchase 2009-10 season tickets, Flex Tix or individual game tickets, please call the Providence Bruins ticket office at (401) 273-5000 or log on to the team website at www.providencebruins.com.