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WBS Weekly: Split Weekend

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A second straight weekend of three games in 48 hours results in WBS getting half of the potential points, concluding with a 5-2 dud of a loss in Providence.

Photo by WBS Penguins

WBS came into this weekend’s New England trip without two of its better offensive performers, as both Zach Aston-Reese and captain Garrett Wilson were promoted to Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh returned Derek Grant in their place.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9: WBS 1 @ Providence 2 (OT)

Providence came into this game eager to climb out of the Eastern Conference basement, starting the weekend with only seven points to their name through 11 contests. They started well, as Martin Bakos scored his second of the season at 11:26 of the first on a power play.

Providence held that lead through the rest of the first period, the entire second period, and through 15 minutes of the third period until Sam Lafferty found the key to unlocking goaltender Dan Vladar.

Lafferty’s fourth of the season was enough to get the game to overtime, but an ill-advised cross-checking penalty by Tobias Lindberg in overtime proved to be WBS’s undoing, as Ryan Fitzgerald converted the power play at 3:43 of overtime to give Providence the extra point.

Providence’s special teams proved to be the difference in this game, as its power play went 2-for-5 on the evening and its penalty kill, entering the weekend second-best in the entire AHL, snuffed out all five WBS attempts. The Bruins swept all the stars; Vladar took third star with 27 saves on 28 shots, Bakos took second with his goal, and Fitzgerald took lead honors with his game-winner and an assist on Bakos’s goal.

For the Penguins, starting goaltender Tristan Jarry took the loss to drop to 3-3-2 for WBS on the season, stopping 36 of 38 Providence shots.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10: WBS 4 @ Hartford 1

Whereas WBS started out slowly against Providence on Friday, Saturday against Hartford they absolutely blew the gates down to start the game.

Sandwiched between those, at 3:23 of the first, was Derek Grant’s second of the season for WBS. All told, three goals in the first 4:31 of the game off starting Hartford goaltender Dustin Tokarski.

Tokarski settled down extremely well over the last 55 minutes of the game, conceding only Jimmy Hayes’s second of the year at 13:03 of the second, but the damage was done.

Tokarski finished with 28 saves on 32 WBS shots.

Starting WBS goaltender Anthony Peters allowed only one shot to beat him, from Tim Gettinger at 11:54 of the second, as WBS cruised along from its roaring start to win 4-1. Peters stopped all 31 other shots he faced for the win, his fourth of the season.

WBS swept the stars on this evening, with Hayes taking third honors, Blueger adding an assist to his goal for second honors, and DiPauli tacking two assists onto his goal for the top honors on the evening.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11: WBS 2 @ Providence 5

To be completely blunt, Sunday’s game against Providence was very hard to watch, as were large portions of the two other games this weekend. Providence demonstrated early and often that they were more physically prepared for a third game in 48 hours, scoring four goals in the first two periods and outshooting WBS 31-15 over the first 40 minutes. In fact, at one point in the second period Providence was outshooting WBS 27-6.

The Bruins met a slight speed bump in the third period, as Derek Grant and Anthony Angello scored goals a minute apart to draw WBS back to 4-2.

Whatever minimal hopes might have been sparked by Angello’s goal were quickly snuffed out by Ryan Donato, who scored his second of the game and third of the season at 14:36 of the third to close out the weekend 5-2. As with Friday, Providence posted two power play goals in six chances, while their penalty kill denied all three WBS power plays.

With Friday’s goaltender Dan Vladar promoted to Boston in the interim, scary goalie name from the past Zane McIntyre took the cage and stopped 20 of 22 WBS shots for his third win of the season. WBS goaltender Jarry finished with 34 saves on 39 shots for the loss, and I would be hard-pressed to think that Peters could have done much better had he had the net.

As with Friday, the Bruins swept the stars; Ryan Donato’s two goals surprisingly only earned him third star, Zach Senyshyn scored a goal and an assist for second honors, and Colby Cave registered two assists for top honors.

When the dust settled, WBS found itself outside the playoff cut line in the Atlantic Division in fifth place at week’s end, with a 7-5-2 record and a .571 points percentage. Their power play conversion percentage of 15.9 percent (10 goals in 63 attempts) is last in the division, while their penalty kill percentage of 76.9 percent (15 goals allowed in 65 attempts) is third-worst in the division ahead of only Springfield and Bridgeport.

Among players still in WBS at week’s end, Sam Lafferty leads all players with 11 points in 14 games (four goals, seven assists). Teddy Blueger (five goals, four assists) and Ethan Prow (four goals, five assists) sit close behind with nine points each, with rookies Anthony Angello (five goals, three assists) and Sam Miletic (three goals, three assists) next in line. Tristan Jarry ends the week with a 3.20 GAA and a .900 save percentage to add to his 3-4-2 record, while Anthony Peters sits 4-1-0 with a 2.60 GAA and a .919 save percentage.

Going around the Atlantic Division:

  • Charlotte ends the weekend still leading the AHL at 11-3 and .786, despite giving away a 3-1 lead in Binghamton on Friday to lose 4-3, defeating Lehigh Valley 7-4 on Saturday, then losing 4-2 in Bridgeport on Sunday. Janne Kuokkanen continues to lead the Checkers with 16 points in 14 agmes (7 and 9), followed by Andrew Poturalski’s 4 and 11 for 15 points, then three players at 10 points (Nicolas Roy 7 and 3, Saku Maenalanen 4 and 6, Trevor Carrick 3 and 7).
  • Springfield finishes the weekend second at 7-3-2 and .667 with an 8-2 loss at Lehigh Valley on Friday and a 3-2 loss in Hershey on Saturday. Harry Zolnierczyk continues to lead the Thunderbirds with 4 goals and 10 assists for 14 points, followed by three tied at 12 points: rookie Henrik Borgstrom (4 and 8), Joel Lowry (3 and 9), and Jayce Hawryluk (2 and 10).
  • Bridgeport jumps to third place, 9-5-1 and .633, with a sweep of its week: 7-3 home over Binghamton on Wednesday, 5-4 in OT over Providence on Saturday, 4-2 over Charlotte at home on Sunday to finish its five game homestand with a perfect 5-0 record. Josh Ho-Sang’s 14 assists rank second in the AHL and power him to 15 points to lead Bridgeport, followed by Michael Dal Colle (7 and 7) and Devon Toews (4 and 10) tied at 14 points. Steve Bernier, Travis St. Denis, and rookie Kieffer Bellows all have six goals.
  • Lehigh Valley holds the fourth position at 7-4-2 and .615 after beating Springfield at home 8-2 on Friday then losing to Charlotte at home 7-4 on Saturday. T.J. Brennan and Phil Varone continue to lead the Phantoms with 4 goals and 12 assists each, followed by Greg Carey’s 15 points (8 and 7), then Chris Conner and German Rubtsov’s 6 and 4 each.
  • Just behind WBS in fifth place is Hershey in sixth, with a record of 7-8-1 and a percentage of .469 following a 3-2 win over Springfield on Saturday and a 7-2 drubbing in Syracuse on Sunday. Riley Barber has taken over the points lead for the Bears with 5 goals and 6 assists in 13 games, followed by Mike Sgarbossa at 6 and 4, Connor Hobbs at 1 and 8, then the goal leader Liam O’Brien with 7 goals and 1 assist.
  • Providence used a five-point weekend, with an overtime loss to Bridgeport on Saturday sandwiching its two wins over WBS, to climb out of the division cellar into seventh, with a record of 5-7-2 and a percentage of .429. Colby Cave leads the Bruins with 5 goals and 10 assists for 15 points, followed by Jan Kovar and Cameron Hughes at 4 and 5 each, Ryan Fitzgerald at 3 and 6, then Anton Blidh at 3 and 5.
  • Now in the division basement is Hartford after a 4-3 shootout loss in Utica on Friday before losing 4-1 to WBS on Saturday to finish 5-8-3 and .406. Steven Fogarty leads the Pack with 7 goals and 7 assists, followed by Peter Holland’s 1 and 10, Tim Gettinger’s 6 and 3, and Cole Schneider’s 4 and 5. Lias Andersson would be second on Hartford with 4 goals and 8 assists, but he earned promotion to the Rangers on November 5 following an injury.

WBS will contest three games in four days this week, finishing its New England tour with a midweek mid-day contest at Springfield on Wednesday, November 14 at 10:35 a.m. EST (yes, you read that right...10:35 in the morning EST). WBS then returns home to welcome the league’s elite Charlotte to town for two games on Friday, November 16 and Saturday, November 17, both 7:05 p.m. EST starts.