P-BRUINS HOST ATLANTIC LEADERS
Providence Welcomes in Manchester for T-Shirt Night Tonight
Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins (21-22-3-0, 45 PTS, 7th Atlantic) host the Manchester Monarchs (27-14-2-5, 61 PTS, 1st Atlantic) this evening at the Dunkin' Donuts Center for the teams' sixth of 10 regular season meetings in 2009-10. On the year, the P-Bruins are 1-4-0-0 against the Monarchs, including 1-1-0-0 in Rhode Island.
Providence enters tonight's game after a full week of practice following last Sunday's 3-0 shutout of the Springfield Falcons. The blanking was the second of the season for veteran goalie Dany Sabourin as he made 26 saves while the team received goals from Zach Hamill, Jeff LoVecchio and Jamie Arniel. The P-Bruins were involved in several transactions during the week with centers Trent Whitfield and Drew Larman both returning from the Boston Bruins, while Matt Marquardt and Jared Ross were shipped to the ECHL's Reading Royals. Whitfield is back after a seven-game National Hockey League stint, during which he averaged nearly 14 minutes of ice-time per game. Larman enjoyed four games for Boston in his first run with the parent Bruins.
Manchester, meanwhile, finds itself in the midst of a struggle for the first time in a long while. Over the last month, the Monarchs are 4-5-1-3. They have points in two straight games at 1-0-0-1 and are in the thick of a season-high seven-game road swing, which began with a 3-2 shootout loss at the Portland Pirates on Tuesday.
The P-Bruins are led offensively by PlanetUSA All-Star Mikko Lehtonen's 33 points, including 12 goals and 21 assists. Rookie Jeff LoVecchio is tied for the team-lead in goals. In net, Sabourin is 18-15-0 with a 2.50 goals-against-average and .917 save percentage. On the other side, the Monarchs are paced by first-year center Corey Elkins and his 34 points, including a club-best 16 goals. He has points in six straight games with five goals and three helpers. Gabe Gauthier is first with 20 assists. Between the pipes, Jonathan Bernier is 19-11-5 with four shutouts, a 2.01 GAA and a .939 save percentage. The net-minder ranks among the league's top goalies in several categories.
On special teams, Providence is 20th (15.1%) on the power play and 19th (81.6%) on the penalty kill, while Manchester is fourth in the AHL in both categories. The Monarchs are converting 20.9% of the time with the man-advantage and killing penalties at an 86.6% rate.
Providence travels to face Springfield on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. for the first of a home-and-home series as the P-Bruins then host the Falcons on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. for Kids Hat Night. The hats are free to the first 1,000 kids age 12 and under. 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.