Dalton dealing well with daunting task for Providence

Dalton

Over the weekend, Providence (AHL) head coach Rob Murray mentioned to the P-Bruins’ radio network that the No. 1 goaltender job was Matt Dalton’s to lose.

The 24-year-old has certainly responded to his new role.

Boston’s Providence farm club has tied Springfield for sixth place in the seven-team Atlantic Division on the strength of a three-game winning streak that has featured Dalton between the pipes for each victory. He capped his strong run with a 3-2 shootout victory Tuesday night at Bridgeport, where he made 15 saves in regulation and overtime and then won the shootout, 2-1.

For the week, Dalton stopped 94 of 98 shots (.959 save percentage), including a 45-save shutout for his second blanking of the season.

The young P-Bruins have needed the safety and security that comes with reliable goaltending since the start of the season. They haven’t gotten it from veteran Nolan Schafer, nor did they get it from Michael Hutchinson before he was assigned to Reading (ECHL) to make room for Dalton’s recall from there at the start of this calendar year.

Murray told the P-Bruins radio network he really like Dalton’s positional play and rebound control over the last few games. With five more points still to make up to crack the playoff picture, Providence will need several more great weekends from Dalton.

Who’s hot

Forward Zach Hamill is now just one off the team scoring lead with 25 points with at least one point in eight of his last 10 games (2-9-11 in that span). … Winger Jordan Caron scored the game-tying goal with 59 seconds left at Bridgeport. He has four goals this month. … Defenseman Jeff Penner has one goal, one assist and a plus-4 rating in his last three games.

Who’s not

Center Joe Colborne has gone six games without a goal. … Defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk is point-less in his last six with a minus-2 rating.

Roster report

After Boston returned defenseman Matt Bartkowski to Providence, the P-Bruins re-assigned Ryan Donald to Reading. … Forward Brian McGrattan returned from an upper-body injury Friday.

Upcoming games

Friday, Jan. 21 vs. Manchester

Saturday, Jan. 22 at Portland

Sunday, Jan. 23 vs. Manchester

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