AHL Preview: Portland at Providence


After winter weather forced the AHL to postpone Friday’s game, the Portland Pirates will travel to Providence to face the Bruins tonight in the rescheduled match-up.

Tonight’s match-up sees two of the top five teams in the Eastern Conference face off, as just one point separates the teams. Portland (27-17-1-1) is currently third in the conference with 56 points, while Providence (26-16-0-3) is fifth with 55.

The Bruins look to extend a six-game winning streak, with victories coming over Portland, Worcester (twice), Bridgeport, Albany and Manchester. They haven’t lost since January 23 and have won seven of their last ten games.

Portland had a three-game winning streak going, until they faced off against Springfield on February 10. That game resulted in a 3-0 loss, a defeat that the Pirates will surely look to overcome in Monday’s matchup against Providence.

Tonight’s game is the seventh match-up of the season between the Bruins and Pirates, with Providence taking four of the games thus far. The Bruins took the first three games of the season series by scores of 6-1, 2-1 and 5-2 before Portland came out victorious on January 2. Portland won the most recent meeting, a 3-2 shootout victory on January 18.

Left winger Rob Klinkhammer leads the Pirates with 25 assists and 35 points this season, while center Alexandre Bolduc’s 17 goals are best on the team. Klinkhammer has four assists in five games against Providence this season; Bolduc has one goal in three games in the season series.

Leading the way for Providence are centers Ryan Spooner and Carter Camper, who each have 31 points on the season. Camper leads the team in assists (25), while Craig Cunnigham leads the Bruins with 11 goals. Spooner has been quite the Pirates-killer this season, scoring seven points (4-3) in six games. Camper has one goal and two assists in five games against Portland, while Cunningham has yet to score against the Pirates (but has three assists).

Rookie Mark Visentin has played in four games of the season series for Portland, winning one of the games. On the season, he has a 2.90 GAA and .908 save percentage and has allowed 56 goals on 610 shots faced. Chad Johnson played in the other two games; on the year, he has a 2.81 GAA, .911 save percentage and 14 wins.

Rookie Niklas Svedberg has played in all but one game for Providence. This season with the Bruins, he’s appeared in 30 games and has played over 1,776 minutes, allowing 66 goals on 870 shots faced. Svedberg has a 2.23 GAA and a .804 save percentage as well as two shutouts. Michael Hutchinson played his lone game of the season series on December 1, a 5-2 win for the Bruins. Hutchinson has appeared in 17 games this year for Providence, stopped 378 of 420 shots faced, and won five games.

Tonight’s game is far from the last the two teams will see of each other this season. They’ll face off in Portland on February 26 before meeting again just a few days later in Providence. The final meeting of the season will take place on March 27 in Portland.

The Pirates have lost their last three games on the road, but won the three prior to that. The Bruins, meanwhile, have won their last four straight at home and have lost just five of their last sixteen home games.

Following tonight’s game, the Bruins head to Manchester to face the Monarchs on February 12, while the Pirates visit the Whale on February 15.