P-BRUINS PUT TO TEST AGAINST ATLANTIC LEADERS
Providence Hosts Portland with Both Clubs Riding Hot Play
Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins (21-20-3-1, 46 PTS, 5th Atlantic) host the Portland Pirates (28-13-4-1, 61PTS, 1st Atlantic) this evening at the Dunkin' Donuts Center for the teams' sixth of 12 regular season meetings in 2010-11. On the year, the P-Bruins are just 1-4-0-0 against the Pirates, including an 0-2-0-0 mark in Rhode Island.
Both Providence and Portalnd have been riding high of late as the P-Bruins have taken six of their last seven contests, while the Pirates have won seven of eight, including their last four. Providence last played on Tuesday, a come from behind 4-2 road win at Connecticut, thanks to another solid showing in net from Nolan Schaefer and two man-advantage goals by rookie Max Sauve. The win was the 100th of head coach Rob Murray's career but, more importantly, it lifted his club to just two points out of fourth place in the crowded Atlantic. To Providence's advantage, the squad still holds games in-hand on every division foe it is chasing.
The P-Bruins are led by All-Star Jamie Arniel's 14 goals and 29 points, while Zach Hamill has chipped in 24 assist to pace the team. Between the pipes, Schaefer is now 8-12-1 after a slow start, adding a 3.06 goals-against-average and .903 save percentage.
Meanwhile, Portland is coming off of a 2-1 win over Norfolk on Tuesday as the Pirates were led again by Mark Mancari. The All-Star caliber forward has scored nine goals in his last five games and leads the league with 27 strikes this season. Overall, he has points in 12 straight games dating back to Jan. 5, including 13 goals and seven assists. Portland has one of the most potent offenses in the league, featuring nine players with 20 or more points, and the club is a mere nine points behind Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for first-place overall. Mancari has 52 points to sit third in the league as he also leads Portland with 25 assists. In the crease, Jhonas Enroth is 16-12-1 with a 2.84 GAA, while David Leggio is 12-4-0 with a 2.72 GAA in a back-up role.
In the season-series, Mancari leads all players with seven goals and eight points, followed closely by teammate Drew Schiestel's six points and four assists. Joe Colborne is first for Providence with four points, splitting goals and assists. In net, Schaefer is 1-1-0 with a 4.90 GAA to Enroth's perfect 4-0-0 mark, 1.75 GAA and .945 save percentage.
On special teams, Providence is 30th (11.3%) in the AHL on the power play and 28th (77.5%) on the penalty kill, while Portland is 17th (16.7%) on the man-advantage and 13th (83.6%) when short-handed.
Providence returns to action on Saturday at Worcester for a 7 p.m. tilt with the Sharks. The P-Bruins are next home next Friday at 7:05 p.m. for Tote Bag Night, with tote bags free to the first 3,000 fans in attendance courtesy of Uncle Bob's Self Storage. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the Providence Bruins' ticket office at (401) 273-5000 or log on to the team website at providencebruins.com.
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