January 19, 2008
By Thomas R. Chace
The Providence Bruins lost two games in a row last weekend for the first time all season. Not only did they lose, they were shut out in the back to back losses. Having only lost five games all season to that point, it was somewhat of a head scratcher. At the time, Providence lead the league in goals scored; how do you explain that hiccup? Suffice it to say the team rebounded on Sunday with a 3-1 victory over Springfield. With another three game weekend upon them they found their mojo Friday night against the lowly Lowell Devils. They pumped in seven goals despite their leading goal scorer, Pascal Pelletier, being called up to the show with the parent club in Boston. So what did Providence do? They signed the leading goal scorer in the ECHL to a professional tryout agreement. Left wing, Aaron Slattengren, 26, was leading the ECHL with 28 goals for the Augusta Lynx. Slattengren scored the first two goals of the game against Lowell while on the power play. According to Assistant Coach Rob Murray, when any player is signed to an agreement like Slattengren, they will see considerable ice time to see how they play and how they interact both on and off the ice. The outcome of these tryouts can result in an opportunity that can certainly be worthwhile for both the team and the player. Aaron Slattengren made a very nice first impression.
The power play for Providence has really been struggling at home but they were able to score three times with the man advantage in six tries on this night. Lowell had managed only six shots through two periods and despite being down 6-0 halfway through the third period, they played the P-Bruins even. Benoit Mondeau prevented Tuukka Rask from getting his first shutout with a power play goal with a little over three minutes remaining in the game. Providence scored again with :57 left in the game and are back near the top of the AHL in goals scored.
This game was never in doubt and was dominated by the P-Bruins in every aspect of the game. They out shot them, they outscored them, they killed six out of seven power plays, they out hit them, their goaltending was better, and in the one physical altercation, Lowell’s biggest player was bloodied in a battle with Providence’s Steve MacIntyre. Providence is 5-1 against Lowell this season and has outscored them 35-13. It was the return of the Providence team that has led the league all year, returning to form and focusing on winning all the battles that constitute an AHL game.
* My next article will feature an interview with Providence rookie defenseman, Matt Hunwick. Hunwick has played thirteen games for Boston this year and got his first NHL point (assist) against the Toronto Maple Leafs.