(Photo: Providence Bruins)
To say that the Providence Bruins came out on the attack on Friday night would be a slight exaggeration. At the beginning of the first period of their game against the Worcester Sharks it was pretty much all Sharks, punctuated by a goal on their third shot on net scored by Kinuna, Sweden native Petter Emanuelsson, with assists from James Sheppard and Rylan Schwartz. However, the Bruins did start to find a rhythm of sorts and at 9:41 of the first they tied the score with a goal by Justin Florek assisted by Brian Ferlin. This was Ferlin’s first professional point, having elected in the spring to forego his senior year at Cornell University and signing an entry level contract with the Boston Bruins organization.
Unfortunately, Emanuelsson, again assisted by Schwartz, would notch his second of the period, the game and the season, with just 2:46 remaning in the first. And there the score would remain knotted, though both teams would later have goals disallowed. In the end though, the Providence Bruins lack of identity allowed a faster, and different, Worcester Sharks to prevail. Even Providence Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy commented on the new look and feel of the Sharks.
“They’re a different look this year, Worcester, than what we’re used to,” Cassidy said after the game. “They’re not as heavy and [they’re a] quicker group than what we’re used to seeing.”
And while this may have explained the early tilt of the ice in the Sharks’ favor, it was not used as an excuse by Cassidy or the players after the loss. Cassidy did consider a lack of chemistry among his players as a contributing factor given how early it is in the season and some recent changes to his roster.
“There’s four new lines, so that might have something to do with it,” he chuckled. “[Alexander] Fallstrom moving from right wing to center now. [Craig Cunningham] in the middle; Jordan Caron back; now [David] Pastrnak with [Alexander Khokhlachev].”
As with any change to the roster of this magnitude, there has to be an amount of time where management leaves the guys on those lines to see if some magic can happen. However, even with the team having only played three games, in this fast-paced sport they can’t lose too many before something has to give.
Providence will see Worcester again Saturday night, this time in the Sharks’ barn, and at their home opener—which is always a little more emotionally charged, usually in favor of the home team. The Pink Puck asked 2014 NHL Entry Draft first round Boston Bruins’ pick Pastrnak, who coming into Friday’s game already had three points in Providence’s first two games, what the team needed when seeing the Sharks again on Saturday.
“I think we are a better team,” he said. “We just have to be stronger on the puck and get more to the net.”
Coach Cassidy is hoping that his team understands that they will have to play tough.
“I hope they understand they’re gonna be under duress and we’ve got to get back on pucks and be fast,” he told The Pink Puck. “We should win the battles on the walls, all things being equal, because if they’re quick and not that big, then we should have an advantage.”
At the very least, the Bruins have some idea of what the Sharks’ style of play will be on Saturday, along with the formations of a plan to combat it. And with all young teams—Providence is one of the youngest teams once again this season—there will be some growing pains.
“We’re gonna go through the process of ‘Guys, it’s a man’s game. You gotta be heavy on the pucks and these little dinky plays, they don’t work,’” explained Cassidy. “And that’s a work in progress.”
In the end, Providence hasn’t yet determined just what their identity is. Once they do, it will show on the ice. The big question though is when they do that will it be an identity for winning this season.