DIVISION-RIVALS CLASH AT THE DUNK
Providence Hosts Portland in First Rhode Island Meeting of the Year
Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins (9-7-2-1, 21 PTS, 5th Atlantic) host the Portland Pirates (13-6-1-0, 27 PTS, 2nd Atlantic) this afternoon at the Dunkin' Donuts Center for the teams' second of 12 regular season meetings in 2010-11. The clubs last matched up on Nov. 6, a 5-4 overtime win for the P-Bruins at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
Both the P-Bruins and Pirates enter play today following losses after Providence saw an end to its five-game point-streak (4-0-1-0) on Friday against Worcester, while Portland has dropped three straight since its identical five-game point-streak, most recently falling 6-1 on Saturday in Manchester. During the difficult stretch, the Pirates have been out-scored 13-3. The teams have been polar opposites in one fashion to start the year as Providence has excelled on the road (7-1-1-0) but struggled at home (2-6-1-1), and Portland has been virtually unbeatable on home-ice (9-1-1-0) but a sub-.500 club on the road (4-5-0-0). Both squads will look to change that trend today in the Ocean State.
One similarity the teams do share, however, is roster depletion. The P-Bruins are without leading-scorer Jamie Arniel's nine goals and 16 points after the second-year pro earned his second recall of the season to Boston on Saturday. He is eligible to make his NHL debut tonight in Atlanta. Meanwhile, the Pirates have seen two of their top three scorers travel to Buffalo as each Luke Adam and Colin Stuart are with the parent Sabres. Adam paces Portland with 11 goals and sits second with 19 points, while Stuart, brother of Boston defenseman Mark Stuart, has four goals and 12 assists to his credit for the Pirates.
Among players on the active roster, the P-Bruins are led by Steve Kampfer's 14 points, and the rookie defenseman shares the team-lead in assists at 11 with Zach Hamill. Jordan Knackstedt is first in goals without Arniel at seven. In net, Michael Hutchinson is 6-3-0 in his 12 outings, featuring a 2.88 goals-against-average and .902 save percentage. Veteran Nolan Schaefer sits at 3-5-1 in nine games with a 3.17 GAA and .900 save percentage.
The Pirates, on the other side, are led by Mark Mancari's eight goals, 13 helpers and 21 points. Between the pipes, goalies David Leggio (8-2-0, 2.84 GAA, .913 SV%) and Jhonas Enroth (5-4-0, 3.24 GAA, .899 SV%) have essentially split time.
On special teams, both teams sit in the lower-third of the league on the power play and the penalty kill. The P-Bruins are 24th (14.1%) with the man-advantage and 27th (78.7%) when short-handed, while the Pirates are 21st (15.5%) on the power play and 23rd (80.9%) on the penalty kill.
The P-Bruins return to normalcy with their schedule next week as they host two home games. Providence welcomes the newly-named Connecticut Whale into town on Friday for a 7:05 p.m. start for Winter Hat Night presented by Amica and Elite Auto, with hats free to the first 2,000 fans. On Saturday, the P-Bruins travel to Bridgeport to take on the Sound Tigers at 8 p.m. Then, on Sunday, Providence hosts Manchester at 4:05 p.m. for Poster Night. 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.
For all the latest Providence Bruins news, updates and special offers, become a fan of the P-Bruins on Facebook at facebook.com/providencebruins or follow the club on Twitter at twitter.com/AHLBruins.