As far as ways to end a calendar year, the way the Bruins’ Providence (AHL) farm club closed out the 2010 portion of this season’s schedule probably ranks near the bottom of the list.
The P-Bruins dropped their last three games of 2010 by a combined score of 16-8 and dropped five of their last seven prior to the start of 2011. The club’s doldrums continued with a 6-2 loss to Connecticut Jan. 1, but a pair of unexpected sources made sure the slump ended Sunday with a 2-1 win over Bridgeports.
Rugged forward Jeremy Reich snapped a nine-game goal-less drought with the game-winning score at 6:49 of the third period. Goaltender Matt Dalton, back after a few months with Reading of the ECHL, stopped 21 of 22 shots to bounce back from allowing six goals the night before.
Reich now has six goals in 29 games this season and on a team that ranks near the bottom in almost every key team statistic is an impressive plus-2. While the adage goes that the P-Bruins could probably still finish last without him, Reich has obviously continued to be a hard worker and a key influence for Boston’s prospects.
Dalton certainly paid his dues down with the Royals. In 18 games, he was 11-6-1 with a 2.88 goals-against average and .912 save percentage. While those numbers might not smack of a player ready to move up from the ECHL league and salvage a team’s AHL season, keep in mind that veteran Nolan Schaefer and rookie Michael Hutchinson (who was swapped down to Reading) both sport save percentages of less than .900 and GAAs well above 3.00. Dalton might not be able to lift the P-Bruins out of 28th in the league in goals against, but he can’t hurt them much either.
Forward Zach Hamill has a three-game points streak and has registered a point in five of his last six games (1-6-7 in those six games). … Winger Jordan Caron scored his first goal with the P-Bruins Jan. 1 and added an assist in the win Sunday.
Winger Max Sauve is point-less and minus-3 in his last three. … Providence’s power play is last in the AHL and 2-for-24 in its last five games.
In addition to the Hutchinson/Dalton swap with Reading, the P-Bruins also sent Cody Wild down and recalled Ryan Donald, who skated in two games over the weekend. … Colby Cohen remains sidelined with injury.
Friday, Jan. 7 vs. Manchester
Saturday, Jan. 8 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Sunday, Jan. 9 vs. Binghamton