One more outing remotely like this, even if it’s a genuinely valiant losing effort, and the 2011-12 Providence Bruins will have their equivalent of the 2011 Boston Red Sox’ 0-6 and 2-10 starts.
For the second time in as many ventures, the P-Bruins absorbed a vinegary 4-1 drawback at the hands of a visiting divisional rival, this one being conceded to the Worcester Sharks before 3,579 congregants at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
Although the reality held true for only one participating club, namely the Sharks, both squads initially appeared to be breaking in their new CCMs, Bauers and RBKs. Before long, though, Worcester was outclassing its hosts in the way of battles, races, shots, face-offs and discipline.
After an ongoing sequence of predominantly air hockey-paced action through the first five minutes, including an efficient Providence penalty kill, the P-Bruins landed the first shot on goal at the 5:12 mark. But afterwards, the Sharks perked up and ran away with the shooting gallery, taking a 14-3 edge in that category with six unanswered stabs in a span of four minutes before intermission.
Rookie Curt Gogol’s low-riding bid from within the far face-off circle at 14:35 was the only one of those 14 to elude Bruins goaltender Anton Khudobin.
In the middle frame, the Providence defense found some way to filter at least some of Worcester’s ammo. But the Sharks ultimately made more out of less, augmenting their lead by two goals on 10 second-period shots.
By the 15:37 mark, Brandon Mashinter had given Worcester its first power-play conversion on five tries as well as a 3-0 edge.
Lane MacDermid whittled the deficit back down to two goals with 66 ticks to spare and 10 seconds after their second 5-on-4 segment had expired. But that was all Providence could muster, even upon owning the third-period shot clock, 10-7.
Worcester’s Benn Ferriero finalized the 4-1 outcome at 1:31 of the closing stanza.
The P-Bruins’ first power play, awarded on the cusp of the halfway mark of the opening frame, amounted to nothing even in the way of a legitimate threat. But defenseman David Warsofsky conspicuously wanted to get something going when the getting was good. During that 5-on-4 segment, the rookie point-patroller thwarted two Worcester clearing attempts and thrust them back behind the goal line.
Rookie winger Calle Ridderwall took four of his team’s 20 shots, including a valiant shorthanded bid late in the game.
The Baby Bs have been outshot in four out of six periods played in the young season. Their worst drought so far was when they mustered only one shot on net within the latter half of Sunday’s first, including none within the last 8:05.
Before Gogol’s cross-checking infraction with 3:16 to spare in the second, Providence had taken five unaccompanied trips to the penalty box while drawing only one power play for itself.
Linemates Zach Hamill and Jamie Tardif each finished with no points and a minus-2 rating, hardly the expectation from a pair of veterans of three-plus AHL seasons. Hamill also took two of Bruins’ six minor penalties.
Blueliner Sean Sullivan had a hand in both of Worcester’s second-period goals, directly granting his team a 2-0 edge at 4:10 and claiming the secondary assist on Mashinter’s power-play strike. In addition, Sullivan landed a game-high six shots on goal and claimed the distinction of the game’s No. 1 star.
Fellow defensemen Taylor Doherty and Nick Petrecki each posted a plus-2 rating.
Despite having to deal with a mere 20 shots on goal, goaltender Tyson Sexsmith garnered second-star accolades for the day.
MacDermid, ever a prime suspect in the fight club, waged the P-Bruins first skirmish of the 2011-12 season, wrestling down Jimmy Bonneau at 6:36 of the second period. Almost a full stanza later, Tyler Randell engaged Gogol at with 13:55 left on the clock.
MacDermid was the only Providence skater to come away with a positive rating on the day and was also chosen as the game’s No. 3 star.
Hamill suited up for his 217th game with Providence, surpassing Nate Thompson for the No. 10 slot on the franchise’s all-time appearance leaderboard. As early as Saturday’s visit to Springfield, Hamill will next surpass the ninth-seeded Joel Prpic, who saw action in 218 games with the P-Bruins.