PROVIDENCE, RI – On Friday evening the Providence Bruins were looking to build upon the momentum of last weekend’s 2-0-1 showing when they played host to their Eastern Conference rivals, the Manchester Monarchs. Martin Jones (MCH) and Niklas Svedberg (PRO) would each get the start in goal for their squads. Fortunately for the Providence fans that packed into the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Friday, the home team was able to hold on for a 3-2 victory.
Things got off to a bit of a feisty start as Providence enforcer Bobby Robins attempted to start a fight off the opening face-off, but was immediately whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct and the two players were quickly separated. The physicality would continue all night long and has become a common theme for games between the Bruins and Monarchs, as after nearly every face-off, there’d be some sort of scrum around one of the two nets.
Manchester would get on the board first at the midway point of the first period when defenseman Bryan Rodney’s slapshot from the center of the blue-line trickled past Svedberg and into the goal. The tally would come on Rodney’s first shot as a member of the Monarchs in his debut contest and was assisted by two of the highest-rated prospects in the entire Los Angeles Kings’ organization; Tyler Toffoli (2nd Round/2010) and Tanner Pearson (1st Round/2012).
With just 0:42 seconds left in the period, the P-Bruins would strike back as fourth-line forward Kyle MacKinnon would shovel home a loose puck that was sent in front of the goal by former fifth round draft choice of the Boston Bruins, Justin Florek. It was the first goal of the year for Providence’s hard-working centerman.
Amidst an extended period of 4-on-4 play at the midpoint of the second frame, the Monarchs would go ahead, 2-1, on Rodney’s second goal of the evening. He took a pass from top-line forward Andrei Loktionov and fired a wrist shot over the glove of Svedberg and into the net. Just a couple of minutes before the goal, Bobby Robins would finally get his chance to drop the gloves when Manchester captain Marc-Andre Cliché became a willing opponent after a boarding incident just outside the Providence blue-line. However, the Providence fan favorite would be assigned an extra ten minutes in penalties and an ejection from the game after his jersey began to come off during the fight, resulting in an unsportsmanlike conduct infraction.
After turning the puck over in the neutral zone, first-year P-Bruin Chris Bourque would be able to recover and make a marvelous pass to a streaking MacKinnon who had snuck behind the Manchester defense. MacKinnon took the puck straight down the middle and beat Monarchs’ goaltender Martin Jones for his second tally of the night.
At the 6:02 mark of the third and final period, defenseman Torey Krug would make a beeline down the left side of the Manchester zone and fire a wrist-shot past Jones to give Providence its first lead of the evening. It was the first goal of the former Michigan State captain’s young AHL career.
“He played a heck of a third period. He really (Torey Krug) deserved to get that goal.” – Tommy Cross
Both Providence goal scorers on Friday were players who you wouldn’t typically expect much offensive production from, as neither MacKinnon or Krug had tallied yet this season. On a night when the top-line struggles, all contributions from defensemen and role-players are welcomed by head coach Bruce Cassidy.
“Sometimes you need that… guys who we rely on to bring offense, I don’t think they had their A-games tonight, they weren’t generating a lot and that showed, especially on the power-play.” – Bruce Cassidy
Despite a late-period flurry from Manchester, the P-Bruins were able to hold on for a 3-2 home-ice victory. Providence is beginning to get on a bit of a roll here in December as they have now won three of their past four games and taken at least one point in every one of those contests.
“Friday night at home, it’s a huge way to start off the weekend, especially building off last weekend. It’s a really positive win for us.” – Tommy Cross
Ben’s Three Stars:
1) Kyle MacKinnon (2 Goals)
2) Torey Krug (1 Goal)
3) Bryan Rodney (2 Goals)
– The P-Bruins will be right back at it on Saturday night as they visit the Worcester Sharks, you guessed it, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks.
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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Contributor to the New England Hockey Journal. Have written for The Hockey Guys and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com.