Whale swallow up P-Bruins, 6-3

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Whale swallow up P-Bruins, 6-3

HARTFORD, CT The Providence Bruins are dipping into a troubling pattern of all-or-nothing weekends.

After dropping their first two games on opening weekend they swept Manchester and Springfield last weekend, and reverted back to the hockey victims while getting swept again this weekend.

They were blanked by Springfield on Friday night at home, and fell to the Connecticut Whale by a 6-3 score at the XL Center on Saturday night buried under a blizzard of Brass Bonanza clips. The killer was a second period where the P-Bruins were outscored by a 4-1 margin and had to pull goaltender Michael Hutchinson in order to stop the bleeding.

Weve got to get some points out of these weekends, said P-Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. If you cant manage to scrape and grind for some points out of a weekend like this then its going to catch up to you later on in the season.

The P-Bruins actually registered a season-high 40 shots on net and managed to pot a pair of power play goals in six tries in what should have been a good evening for them, but they just couldnt contain the Whale attack. Jamie Tardif tipped a Kyle MacKinnon puck in the first period to open the games scoring, and the youngest Bourque sibling, Ryan, tied things up when he teed off on a nifty Chris Kreider feed.

The roof caved in on Providence in the second period as the Whale scored four unanswered goals from Chad Kolarik, Kreider, Logan Pyett and Tommy Grant and took advantage of some less-than-stellar defensive play from Colby Cohen and Torey Krug.

Providence showed some fight when Chris Bourque found Jordan Caron on the doorstep for a power play goal at the end of the second period, and the Bruins clawed to within two scores when Max Sauve popped in another PP strike three minutes into the third period.

Caron now leads the P-Bruins with four goals on the season and Sauve leads the team with five points.

But the Whale iced it when Niklas Svedberg botched an attempt to fish a puck out of the corner, and instead put it right on Kris Newburys stick for Connecticuts sixth goal of the evening.

GOLD STAR: Chris Bourque had a pair of assists including a sweet cross-ice slap-pass from the right point to a wide open Jordan Caron cutting to the net for a second period goal and shared the team-lead with five shots on net against the Whale. The P-Bruins finished 2-for-6 on the power play for the evening, and much of that was due to Bourques quarterbacking of the Providence power play via quick decision-making with the puck and outstanding on-ice vision while spotting open teammates.

BLACK EYE: Michael Hutchinson allowed four goals on the 13 shots he faced before getting pulled halfway through the first period, and hasnt done much to keep the Providence coaching staff from continuing to call Niklas Svedbergs number. Hutchinson is 0-3 with a 4.03 goals against average and an .833 save percentage in three games to start the year for the P-Bruins, and thats not what the team is looking for. This is a pivotal season for the goalie in the Bs organization, and he needs to turn it around quickly.

TURNING POINT: The second period was a disaster for Providence, their defensemen, their goaltenders and, consequently, the coaching staff that watched Connecticut pot four unanswered goals to blow things open. The final goal saw both Torey Krug and Colby Cohen both fall asleep defensively and allow Tommy Grant to sneak behind them before beating Niklas Svedberg once he was all alone in front with the puck. Krug and Cohen were a combined minus-5 in the loss.

BY THE NUMBERS: -6
The team-worst plusminus rating for young defenseman Torey Krug, who is experiencing some difficulty locking things down in his own end and was a minus-3 in Saturday nights loss.

QUOTE TO NOTE: Theres an opportunity for him going into this year to be the No. 1 goaltender. Its got to be playing on his mind. Only he could tell you if hes putting too much pressure on himself. But its November now and he still doesnt have a win for us at this point. Providence Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy on goalie Michael Hutchinson, who was struggled thus far this season.

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

BOSTON – Prior to Saturday’s game, Terry Rozier talked to CSNNE.com about the importance of staying ready always, because “you never know when your name or number is going to be called.”

Like when trailing by three points in the fourth quarter with less than 10 seconds to play?

Yes, Rozier was on the floor in that scenario and the second-year guard delivered when his team needed it.

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But Rozier’s fourth quarter heroics which forced overtime against Portland, did not provide that much-needed jolt that Boston needed as the Blazers managed to fend off the Celtics in overtime, 127-123.

For Rozier’s part, he had 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

The 15 points scored for Rozier was the most for him since he tallied 16 in a 30-point Celtics win at Orlando on Dec. 7.

But more than the points, the decision by head coach Brad Stevens to draw up a play for him in that moment, a time when most of what Boston does revolves around the shooting of Isaiah Thomas who has been among the top-3 scorers in the fourth quarter most of this season, was surprising to many.

And at that point in the game, Thomas already had 13 fourth-quarter points.

Stevens confirmed after the game that the last shot in the fourth was indeed for Rozier, but Thomas’ presence on the floor was important to its execution.

“He (Thomas) also draws a lot of attention,” Stevens said. “So I think you just weigh kind of … what kind of shot you’re going to get, depending on who it is.”

Rozier had initially screened for Thomas, and Thomas came back and screened for him.

“I was open as soon as I caught … and I let it fly,” Rozier said. “Coach drew up a play for me and it felt good to see the ball go in.”

Being on the floor at that time, win or lose, was a victory of sorts for Rozier.

He has seen first-hand how quickly the tide can change in the NBA for a young player.

After a strong summer league showing and a solid training camp, Rozier had earned himself a firm spot in the team’s regular rotation.

But a series of not-so-great games coupled with Gerald Green’s breakout night on Christmas Day, led to his playing time since then becoming more sporadic.

Rozier, in an interview with CSNNE.com, acknowledged it hasn’t been easy going from playing regular minutes to not being sure how much court time, if any, he would receive.

But he says the veterans on the team have been good about keeping his spirits up, and one in particular – Avery Bradley – has been especially helpful.

Like Rozier, Bradley’s first couple of years saw his playing time go from non-existent to inconsistent. But Bradley stayed the course and listened to the team’s veterans who continued to tell him that his hard work would pay off sooner or later.

Those same words of wisdom Bradley received in his early days, he passes on to Rozier.

“It’s big,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “He (Bradley) tells me things like that. I felt I was ready for this (inconsistent minutes) after all that he told me. It’s big to have a guy like him that has been through it all with a championship team, been around this organization for a while; have him talk to you is big. It’s always good. That’s why I stay positive, and be ready.”

Which is part of the reason why Stevens didn’t hesitate to call up a play for the second-year guard despite him being a 33.3 percent shooter from 3-point range this season – that ranks eighth on this team, mind you.

“He’s a really good shooter,” Stevens said of Rozier. “I think with more opportunity that will show itself true, but he made some big ones in the fourth quarter. We went to him a few different times out of time-outs, and felt good about him making that one.”

And to know that Stevens will turn to him not just to spell Thomas or one of the team’s other guards, but to actually make a game-altering play in the final seconds … that’s major.

“It helps tremendously,” said Rozier who added that his confidence is through “the roof. It makes me want to do everything. You know defense, all of that. It’s great, especially to have a guy like Brad trust you."