P-BRUINS OFF TO RED-HOT NOVEMBER START
Providence Hosts Abbotsford, Eye Four-Game Winning Streak
Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins (5-5-1-1, 12 PTS, 5th Atlantic) host the Abbotsford Heat (9-6-0-1, 19 PTS, 1st North) this evening at the Dunkin' Donuts Center for the teams' first of four regular season meetings in 2010-11 after going 3-1-0-0 against the Heat last year. The P-Bruins will host the Heat twice this weekend before traveling to western Canada to conclude the season-series on Feb. 25-26.
Both teams enter play tonight red-hot as each squad comes in with a three-game winning streak. The P-Bruins have rebounded from a rough 2-5-1-1 October, aided by an offensive outburst last weekend that saw Providence out-score its opponents 17-9 after scoring a total of just 18 goals in the first nine games of the season. With their recent run, the P-Bruins have climbed from last in the Atlantic to just one point out of fourth in the crowded seven-team division.
Much of the reason for Providence's recent success has been Jordan Knackstedt, who registered his first career hat trick last Sunday in Albany and added an assist for a four-point game. The third-year pro has four goals and two helpers in his last two games and, thanks to his eye for the net, a team-high seven goals, already half the total he produced last year. The P-Bruins are led overall by rookies Joe Colborne and Steve Kampfer, each with 10 points. Colborne has five goals during his current four-game point-streak, while Kampfer has a club-best eight assists. In the crease, Nolan Schaefer has three wins, a 2.90 goals-against-average and .902 save percentage to pace the team.
On the other side, the Heat, known for their high work ethic, have been comeback kids of late after rallying from down 2-0 in regulation for back-to-back 3-2 shootout victories over Houston on Monday and Tuesday. Goaltender Leland Irving has been in net for all three wins on the team's current run for his first personal three-game winning streak since taking four straight from Oct. 28 to Nov. 6, 2009. On the year, Irving is 8-3-0, tying him for the league-lead in wins, with a 2.36 goals-against-average.
Offensively, Abbotsford is led by a trio of rookie forwards - Carter Bancks, Greg Nemisz and Gaelan Patterson - each with 10 points, while Matt Keith, familiar to Providence from his time in Portland and Bridgeport, is close behind with nine points and a team-best seven goals.
After scoring four times on the power play in its most recent game, Providence is up to 20th in the AHL on the man-advantage at 16.3%, while Abbotsford is 25th at 12.9%. On the penalty kill, the Heat are 27th in the AHL at 76.4%, a few spots ahead of the P-Bruins in 30th at 73.0%.
The P-Bruins are on the road in New Hampshire on Saturday, taking on the Manchester Monarchs at 7 p.m. The weekend wraps up on Sunday as Providence hosts Abbotsford at 4:05 p.m. for Thundersticks Night with thundersticks free to the first 1,000 kids age 12 and under. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the P-Bruins ticket office at (401) 273-5000 or log on to the team website at providencebruins.com.
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