PROVIDENCE, R.I. All good things must come to an end, and an eight-game point streak for the Providence Bruins fell to a crashing thud Sunday afternoon. The P-Bruins fell behind early and never truly got it together in a 4-0 loss to the St. Johns IceCaps on Sunday afternoon at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
The Black and Gold skaters probably knew it wasnt going to be their night when IceCaps forward Aaron Gagnon tipped a puck past P-Bruins goalie Michael Hutchinson just 45 seconds into the game.
Things didnt get better from there.
We had two goals that went in off us right out of the gate and were not a team that really fills up the net, so those are going to be tough games for us, said Providence head coach Bruce Cassidy. We had our chances to come back, but that was the story of our day. We didnt finish all that well around the net. It wasnt the first time this year, and it wont be the last.
But Providence also had its chances.
Craig Cunningham had a breakaway in the first period that was turned away by St. Johns goaltender Mark Dekanich. Chris Bourque had his own golden scoring opportunity mere moments into the second period off a faceoff play, but he missed high with a shot targeted for the top corner. Those were the best among 40 shots amassed by Providence in the shutout loss, but it was to no avail.
Paul Postma finished off the first period with a power-play strike from the high point that pinballed off bodies in front before catching the back of the net. The power play came courtesy of Jordan Carons second minor penalty of the first period, and the second of three overall the Bs forward would take in the game.
With Christian Hanson off for a kneeing penalty in the middle 20 minutes, Kael Mouillierat jumped on a loose puck to make it 3-0 when Hutchinson couldnt cleanly glove a point shot through traffic in front of the net. A third period David Warsofsky turnover in his own end led to an unassisted Jason Gregoire goal for the IceCaps, and finished off an uninspiring shutout loss for the P-Bruins that dropped their record to 14-9-0-2 on the season.
Cunningham and Jamie Tardif led the P-Bruins with five shots on net apiece in defeat.
GOLD STAR: Defenseman Paul Postma had a solid day for St.Johns: he helped set up the IceCaps goal 45 seconds into the game and thenhelped St. Johns build a 2-0 lead on a rocket from the high slot during apower play that put Providence down by a decisive two scores. Postma finishedthe day with two shots on net and a plus-1 and was part of a St. Johns crewthat had a solid day top-to-bottom against the P-Bruins. Mark Dekanich getshonorable mention for a 40-save effort against Providence, but many of theshots were from the outside perimeter area. BLACK EYE: Jordan Caron finished with zero points and hasbeen stuck on five goals scored for quite some time, and took a hat trick ofthree minor penalties during the game. The IceCaps scored their second goal ofthe game after Caron took a high-sticking penalty in the first period, andthings never got better for the Bruins forward. It wasnt very shocking thatCaron was slapped with several penalties as his skating appeared sluggish andlabored for much of the game. It just wasnt a good night for a player thatsexpected to have an NHL spot waiting for him in Boston.
INJURY UPDATE: Ryan Spooner was out with an upper-bodyinjury suffered on Saturday night, and P-Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said theseverity or lack thereof hadnt been determined. Torey Krug still out witha lower body injury that might keep him out until the Christmas break. JaredKnight is skating while recovering from a hamstring injury, but also might beout until after the Christmas break. Bruce Cassidy said that defenseman GarnetExelby might be ready to return to action next weekend.
TURNING POINT: A nifty play off the face-off freed ChrisBourque for a shot all alone in front of the St. Johns net during the openingseconds of the second period, but Bourque missed high with a top corner bid. Awell-executed shot could have brought Providence to within a goal with nearly40 minutes left to play in the hockey game, but the P-Bruins couldnt get shotsto fall on Sunday afternoon. Craig Cunningham and Max Sauve had their own GradeA scoring chances, but Dekanich stopped both of those cold during his firstcareer shutout with St. Johns.
BY THE NUMBERS: 7. That's the number of games since Jordan Caronhas scored a goal for Providence. Caron has one goal in his last 18 games forthe P-Bruins after a solid start to the season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: I think Hutchinson has really come around.All four were funny goals tonight. His game has been better. He hasnt playedback-to-back games in a long time, so starting him Sunday was kind of a gutfeeling. He played really well last night in Albany. I dont think today evengives a fair assessment of how hes been playing. P-Bruins coach BruceCassidy on goaltender Michael Hutchinson, who played in his first back-to-backgames since October.