P-BRUINS START NEW WEEKEND WITH SHARKS
Providence Hosts Worcester Tonight for First Home Meeting
Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins (7-4-1-0, 15 PTS, T-2nd Atlantic) play host to the Worcester Sharks (5-7-0-0, 10 PTS, 6th Atlantic) this evening at the Dunkin' Donuts Center for their first home match-up of the 2008-09 campaign. Through two meetings at the DCU Center, the P-Bruins are 1-1-0-0 on the year against the Sharks.
Providence is coming off of difficult weekend in which the club out-shot its opponents a combined 141-70 over three games but mustered only one win, a come-from-behind 4-3 overtime victory last Saturday night on the road versus the Albany River Rats. Since starting the season 5-0-1-0, the P-Bruins are 2-4-0-0 but the stretch included a challenging road swing through Illinois and Texas.
Worcester, meanwhile, enters tonight's contest having put forth plenty of opportunities to score as well, out-shooting the Binghamton Senators and Springfield Falcons 98-36 over the last two games. The Sharks lost both games, however, by a combined 7-4 score. The league's shots for and against categories, both led by Providence in 2007-08, have been dominated by Worcester early this year with the Sharks averaging 38 shots per game while allowing only 22.1 attempts per contest.
The P-Bruins are led offensively by defenseman Johnny Boychuk's 15 points, including 13 assists which rank second in the American Hockey League. Forwards Martins Karsums and Jeremy Reich are pacing the squad with four goals apiece. In net, Tuukka Rask is 5-4-0 with a 2.48 goals-against-average and .915 save percentage in his nine games. Back-up Kevin Regan is 2-1-0 through four contests.
For the Sharks, Warwick native Tom Cavanagh has 11 points, helped by a team-high six goals. Fellow forward Ryan Vesce leads Worcester with nine assists. Between the pipes, Gerald Coleman is 0-1-0 with a 0.76 GAA and .950 save percentage in a pair of games while Kyle Jones is 1-1-0 with a 4.80 GAA in two games of his own. Thomas Greiss, recalled to the National Hockey League one week ago by the San Jose Sharks, began the year with a 4-5-0 mark for Worcester.
Head-to-head through two meetings, Boychuk leads Providence with three points (g, 2a) versus Worcester while Wacey Rabbit has two goals. The Sharks' Vesce (g, a) and seven-year Boston Bruins blue-liner Kyle McLaren (2a) each have two points in the series. Rask has appeared in net for both games, going 1-1-0 with a 1.93 GAA. Neither Coleman nor Jones have faced the P-Bruins this season.
On special teams, the P-Bruins rank tied for fifth in the AHL on the power play at 20.3% and tied for fourth on the penalty kill at 89.7%. Of late, Providence has killed 30 of 32 penalties, good for 93.8%. Worcester has had its troubles on special teams thus far, sitting 17th in the league with the man-advantage at 16.3% and tied for 24th while short-handed at 79.7%.
Tonight and Sunday afternoon versus the Norfolk Admirals are Family Games. Fans can purchase one ticket, one hot dog and one soda for one low price. Providence will be on the road at the Cumberland County Civic Center Saturday night, visiting the Atlantic-leading Portland Pirates at 7 p.m. Sunday's game begins at 4:05 p.m.
To purchase tickets or for more information, call the Providence Bruins 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.