NEW LOOK P-BRUINS RETURN FROM SUCCESSFUL TRIP
Providence Hosts Abbotsford to Continue Five-Game Week
Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins (31-28-3-0, 65 PTS, 5th Atlantic) host the Manchester Monarchs (33-22-2-5, 73 PTS, 3rd Atlantic) this evening at the Dunkin' Donuts Center for the teams' eighth of 10 regular season meetings in 2009-10. The P-Bruins have struggled against the Monarchs this season at 1-6-0-0, including a 1-2-0-0 record in Rhode Island.
Providence is in the midst of its busiest stretch of the season, featuring five games in six days in two countries, two time zones and two states in the U.S. The P-Bruins began the week with a two-game trip to British Columbia against the Abbotsford Heat and swept the two games with a pair of shootout wins on Tuesday and Wednesday. Kevin Regan was in net for both games and he has continued his hot play with a 5-1-0 record, 1.77 goals-against-average and .928 save percentage over his last eight appearances since January 22. Jordan Knackstedt was among the offensive stars in western Canada with three regulation goals and a shootout goal. With Providence's run of success, a 3-1-0-0 road trip and a 10-5-0-0 record over its last 15 games, the club has jumped to fifth-place in the Atlantic Division and a tie with the East's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for the Eastern Conference's last playoff spot. The P-Bruins still have 18 games remaining in the regular season to the Penguins' 19 contests.
The P-Bruins line-up will look a bit different since the squad last took the Dunkin' Donuts Center ice. The Boston Bruins have recalled goaltender Dany Sabourin and forward Brad Marchand, while rookie goalie Matt Dalton has returned to Providence. The National Hockey League trade deadline also shook the Providence dressing room as Craig Weller was traded to the Florida Panthers and Matt Marquardt was dealt to the Edmonton Oilers. The P-Bruins have obtained one new player, North Providence native Cody Wild. The defenseman had split this season between the Springfield Falcons and the ECHL's Stockton Thunder.
Providence is led by PlanetUSA All-Star Mikko Lehtonen's 22 goals and 47 points, while fellow PlanetUSA All-Star Andy Wozniewski has a team-high 29 assists. Adam McQuaid and Andrew Bodnarchuk lead all active P-Bruins with plus-12 ratings each. In net, Regan is 8-7-0 on the year with a 2.29 GAA and .923 save percentage.
Manchester is set to begin March after going just 4-8-0-0 in February. The Monarchs remain just six games out of first in the Atlantic behind the Worcester Sharks. Geoff Walker (g, 2a) and rookie Dwight King (3a) each have points in three straight games while former P-Bruins defenseman David Kolomatis (g, 3a) has found the scoresheet in four of his last five contests. The real success for Manchester against Providence this season, though, has come in net. The Monarchs have shutout the P-Bruins in four straight meetings and five of seven on the year. Providence has not lit the lamp at the expense of a Manchester goalie in the clubs' last 240:48 of action. Goalie Jonathan Bernier is 25-16-5 on the season and leads the AHL in save percentage (.939) and shutouts (8), while ranking third in the league with a 2.03 GAA.
The Monarchs are paced by Bud Holloway's 40 points and 24 assists. Rookie Corey Elkins is first with 18 goals and Drew Bagnall shows a club-best plus-12 rating.
On special teams, Providence sits 23rd (15.5%) in the league on the power play and 25th (79.9%) on the penalty kill. Manchester, meanwhile, is sixth (19.7%) with the man-advantage and third (86.1%) when short-handed.
On Saturday, Providence travels to face the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 7 p.m. The P-Bruins wrap up the week by hosting the Lowell Devils on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. for Amica Lip Balm Night. 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 providencebruins.com.