Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pre-game Puckbag: P-Bruins vs. Norfolk Admirals

Opening draw
Reeling off their third road win out of four opportunities, the Providence Bruins will again try to remedy a mediocre 3-5-1 home record by hosting the Norfolk Admirals Sunday afternoon.

In an ironic twist, the 6-6-1 P-Bruins are also trying to hop back over the .500 fence for the first time in four outings. None other than the Admirals are liable for bringing them back down to .500 when they reaped a 4-2 decision at The Dunk nine days ago, which docked Providence to 4-4-1.

In their four ventures since, the Baby Bs have alternated between regulation losses and overtime/shootout wins. They most recently topped the Manchester Monarchs, 3-2, in one-on-ones at Verizon Wireless Arena on Saturday.

Norfolk, on the other hand, will vie to restore first place in the East Division, which it spilled with a 3-2 loss at Bridgeport combined with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s shootout win at Binghamton.

Notable names
Winger Carter Ashton, who opened the scoring in the Admirals’ previous encounter with the P-Bruins, has scored a goal in nine and a point in 10 out of 12 games. His strike in Syracuse last Saturday was already the fifth time he had inserted a game’s first goal.

Based on the 50-50 rotation between himself and Jaroslav Janus, Dustin Tokarski should get the nod in net for his second bout with Providence. Tokarski has started only once since his victory at The Dunk, losing a 1-0 decision at Albany this past Friday.

Since brooking six goals in a loss to Hershey on Oct. 14, Tokarski has authorized an identical number of six opposing tallies over the course of four full-length appearances.

Center Mattias Ritola was reassigned to Norfolk by the parent Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday after going pointless and retaining a minus-2 rating over five games-played in The Show. Ritola, a former teammate of the P-Bruins’ Jamie Tardif in Grand Rapids, logged a 9-18-27 transcript in 17 games for Norfolk last year.

The P-Bruins are the last stop in a string of seven consecutive road games for the Admirals, who will play four more on the road immediately after a home date with Albany this Wednesday. Norfolk will subsequently settle down for a six-game homestand that will include a two-night visit from the Bruins post-Thanksgiving.

The P-Bruins are now one of only six AHL teams who have yet to be involved in a shutout, either as the victor or the victim. Bridgeport, Charlotte, Milwaukee, Rochester and Worcester are the others.