Monday, November 8, 2010

Has Providence Turned The Corner?

Providence Turnaround
by Thomas Chace Jr.
November 8, 2010

Before the Providence Bruins stepped on home ice Friday night to play the Bridgeport Sound Tigers they were the owners of some very telling statistics. The Bruins were last in the league in goals scored with just 18 in 9 games. They also had given up 34goals which placed them 28th in the league. Their power play was dismal at 28th and their penalty killing was also at the bottom of the AHL. Their penalty minutes were 26th in the league leading one to believe that they lacked a presence on the ice, especially at home. Suffice to say, the coaching staff was glad to see October end.

Head Coach Rob Murray explained the October skid and the team’s poor start and the new approach the team is undertaking, “We’ve had our chances to score and we didn’t, and whether it was a soft goal, a power play goal against, or an ill advised penalty, we found ourselves down 1-0 and wondering how this was happening game after game.” After a long run of playoff appearances the team really scuffled last season. It was imperative that Providence get off to a positive start, and optimism was all around. Murray stated that poor decision making has been part of the young team’s early problem, “Mistakes on our part and our decision making with the puck has been horrid.” Asked what he can do about the poor decision making, Murray said, “It’s up to the guys in the room; I can’t make decisions out on the ice for them. We’ve got to find a way.”

The coaching staff approached the problems with a renewed emphasis heading into the Bridgeport game. Murray says, “We’ve accepted the fact that we are not necessarily an overly dynamic skilled offensive team but we can skate, so we can hopefully win the battles to the puck, gain possession of the puck and can grind it out in the offensive zone.” Physical play is also on the agenda Murray says, “We can be a harder team to play against, especially at home.”

Providence’s response on Friday began in the second period after hitting two posts in the first period. After scoring two goals in twenty seconds in the second period, it seemed to inspire the whole team. They were able to begin their weekend with their first home win of the year, a resounding 6-1 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. They scored, they skated, and they fought, playing their best game of the year at The Dunkin Donuts Center.

The Bruins then headed north for a Saturday meeting with league leading rival, the Portland Pirates. Jamie Arniel’s second overtime game winning goal of the season gave Providence another emotional 5-4 victory. A long bus trip to Albany followed and Providence won again 6-4 behind a hat trick by Jordan Knackstedt on Sunday. The anemic power play even scored five goals over the weekend. Three victories and six points will heal all wounds inflicted in October.

The October statistics that were so poor heading into November were nearly wiped out in one weekend. Providence jumped two spots in the Atlantic Division standings leapfrogging Hartford and Bridgeport, and the team is feeling a lot better about themselves now. The young Providence team may have turned the corner and by making better decisions with the puck are being rewarded with victories.

No comments:

Post a Comment