The Providence Bruins will curtain a string of three consecutive home games while the Manchester Monarchs commence their 2011-12 road slate at the Dunkin Donuts Center Friday night.
The Monarchs claimed half the loot in a pair of home dates at Verizon Wireless Arena on opening weekend. After throttling the Springfield Falcons, 5-2, in their opener, they conceded a 1-0 decision to the St. John’s IceCaps, who had seared the P-Bruins with their first of two straight 4-1 losses the previous night.
Between now and a New Year’s Eve clash in Manchester, the Monarchs will be the P-Bruins’ adversary in seven out of their first 35 regular-season games, amounting to a precise 1-in-5 ratio. Their encounters will be far more sporadic when the calendar Zamboni razes 2011, with only three meetings on tap over the last 41 dates on the schedule.
Forward Marc-Andre Cliche, who finished his 2010-11 on a 25-game goal-less skid, scored a natural hat trick on opening night against Springfield last Friday.
Defenseman David Kolomatis, who started his professional career with the P-Bruins at the tail-end of the 2008-09 season, has since scored eight assists and 10 points for the Monarchs in 18 meetings with his former team. Kolomatis led all participants with six shots on goal during the last Providence-Manchester confrontation on April 10 at The Dunk.
Veteran agitator Richard Clune has accumulated 30 penalty minutes in 16 games against Providence, including four fighting majors. On one occasion apiece, he has scuffled with Jeremy Reich, Adam McQuaid, Nathan McIver and Lane MacDermid.
Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones, a second-year pro, recorded his first career assist in last Friday’s 5-2 home victory over Springfield.
Providence stoppers Michael Hutchinson and Anton Khudobin went a combined 5-0-0 against Manchester last season. Hutchinson allowed no more and no fewer than one goal in each of three meetings, stopping 85 out of 88 shots. Khudobin authorized two goals apiece in two winning efforts while repelling 75 out of 79 total stabs.
Zach Hamill has scored 10 assists and 13 points in 30 career games versus Manchester. Last season was a career year against the Monarchs with six helpers and seven points over nine encounters.
Jamie Arniel led all returning P-Bruins with seven assists and nine points in nine meetings with the Monarchs in 2010-11.
P-Bruins captain Trent Whitfield will don a Providence uniform for the 100th time in his career on Friday. Other than Whitfield, only 96 out of 544 players in franchise history have cracked triple digits under the “GP” heading.