The Providence Bruins hit a wall in yet another second- and third-period cramming session en route to a 3-0 loss to the Norfolk Admirals Sunday afternoon.
Not unlike their previous home outing, a 2-1 Friday falter to Manchester, this one was ultimately lose in the opening frame as the Admirals sculpted a 2-0 lead. In the subsequent 40 minutes, Providence pelted opposing stopper Dustin Tokarski with 31 shortcoming shots.
After the Bruins charged up an initial 4-2 edge in the shooting gallery, the Admirals went on a 9-2 run for the remaining 14 minutes of the opening frame. They hopped on the board by way of a swift end-to-end invasion at the 8:19 mark. Pierre-Cedric Labrie beat both Max Sauve and Jamie Tardif to Sauve’s rebound, hustled it out of his own zone and was ultimately there to one-time Carter Ashton’s feed home at the other end of the rush.
Just a little less than 10 minutes later, Mike Angelidis augmented the Norfolk lead to 2-0 on an ice-kisser from the slot that eluded goaltender Michael Hutchinson’s left boot.
The Providence strike force induced a more substantial sweat for Tokarski, running up a 17-6 shooting edge within the middle frame. But the 2-0 deficit didn’t morph at any point in that tempest.
Ashton finalized the 3-0 upshot with 5:36 to spare in the third when absorbed Labrie’s feed and turned a 360-degree spin as he lashed the biscuit behind Hutchinson.
Save for a failure to convert on any of three power plays, the P-Bruins were altogether irreproachable on special teams. They gave Norfolk’s league-leading power play few, if any quality looks in its three penalty kills and tested Tokarski during man-up and shorthanded segments alike.
As if the scoreboard weren’t a reliable witness, first periods were hardly a happy hour for Bruins buffs all weekend. For the third night in a row, Providence authorized the first goal and failed to tune the opposing mesh within the first 20 minutes.
Of the six shots they mustered against Norfolk in the opening frame, one came from each constituent of the Josh Hennessy-Sauve-Tardif line while the other three came from the point.
Translation: Nine of the P-Bruins’ 12 forwards did not get around to testing Tokarski until the middle frame. And while they were, in the words of Paramore, the only exception, the fact that the Hennessy line was on the ice for each of the Admirals’ first two strikes can’t look good on anyone’s resume, either. Sauve and Tardif were both on the ice for Ashton’s goal as well, giving them each an acrid minus-3 apiece.
While Carter Camper was about as kinetic as any of his teammates amidst the 17-shot second period, he was liable for multiple infractions that potentially hindered the cause. He was blatantly caught in the middle of two offside calls and then took a holding-the-stick penalty after he was stripped of the puck by Admirals’ defenseman Mike Vernace. All but 13 seconds of Camper’s ensuing two-minute sentence carried over to a fresh sheet in the third.
Lane MacDermid had only one shot on net Sunday and finished the weekend pointless and with a minor penalty in all three outings.
Tokarski tallied 37 saves en route to the shutout and first-star accolades. Ashton and Labrie, having traded goals and assists with one another, claimed the No. 2 and No. 3 stars, respectively.
Ashton led all participating skaters with six shots.
Defenseman Jeff Dimmen finished with an assist, a plus-2 rating and three shots on goal. Partner Mark Barberio was on the ice for all three goals, though he did not have a hand in any of them.
The announced attendance of 6,660 was the third-largest congregation out of 10 P-Bruins home games so far. Only the opening night game versus St. John’s (10,339) and the Oct. 21 bout with Worcester (6,869) saw a more populous turnout.
Sunday was the P-Bruins’ first shutout loss of the season and the first time they have been blanked at The Dunk since Jan. 14 of last season against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.