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Changes expected as Rats extend skid to 4

2.12.2001 00:05
Journal Sports Writer

PROVIDENCE -- P-Bruins coach Bill Armstrong has warned his team that a shakeup is in store for tomorrow night's game against Cincinnati. His warning came after a dismal effort last night in which Providence was outplayed by the lowly Albany River Rats.

Providence forward Jeremy Brown says maybe a shakeup is just what the team needs.

"A shakeup might be good. We have to install some pride in wearing the Providence Bruins jersey. It isn't very often but, occasionally, you see guys out there doing their own thing. You can't have that. You have to
stick together as a team in order to pull through these tough times. Play the system, play it hard and do it for the team."

Brown said he wants to see some more enthusiasm on the ice. "Some guys have to find a way to spark it up. You can't keep putting on these kinds of efforts, especially in your own barn, against a team like Albany."

Providence has now lost four in a row. But since the start of the new year, the P-Bruins have been unable to get much done, going 5-11-2 in their last 18 games.

"I don't know what it is. It could be an experience thing. We've had a lot of one-goal games and we haven't found a way to maintain a one-goal lead. We haven't won those one-goal games," Brown said. "It could be a lot of things. Lack of pride, lack of bearing down for your teammates and getting the job done."

Ferraro not happy to sit

Winger Peter Ferraro, second on the team in scoring with 56 points, may be one of those players who Armstrong warned might not see any playing time tomorrow night. For whatever reason, Ferraro sat on the Providence bench for much of the second period last night and didn't play in the final period.

Armstrong had no comment on the Ferraro situation. But, after the game, Ferraro was none too happy with the situation.  "I started off the game and had some energy, created some opportunities. Then they scored a goal on our line and maybe I took the blame, I don't know," said Ferraro who only two goals in his last 17 games.

"I'm confused on the situation but, I have to get past it and look forward to the next game. No one said anything to me, I just sat there anticipating to get back out there, especially on the power play but that didn't happen. I just have to continue to try and help my teammates and help the team play better. I look up to my teammates and I think they look up to me. We'll get through this."

Asked about a possible shakeup, Ferraro replied, "We've had a couple of shakeups this year and they haven't seemed to do us any good. But we have the horses in this locker room to do the job. It should be going the right way, but, right now, its not. Hopefully, we'll break through as a team and start putting it together."

Those were the days

Rookie goalie Andrew Raycroft went into last night's game hoping for his first victory since Dec. 20 in Hartford and his first win at home since Dec. 17 against Hamilton.

But those were the days when the Providence Bruins were playing well and putting up victories that made them the top team in the league for a short period of time.

Now, nearly two months later, it's a different story and Raycroft didn't get that win last night. He finished with 33 saves against Albany, and, at times didn't get the help in front he needed. Still, it wasn't one of his
best performances but he also hadn't played since Jan. 24 against Springfield.

"He's a young goaltender and he's going to have off nights. But that doesn't give us an excuse to not bury our chances. Some nights he's going to be great and he helps us win games and on nights when the goaltender isn't sharp then we, as a team, have to be there for him. It's a back-and-forth relationship," Armstrong said. "We weren't there for him tonight because there were certain guys who gave up."

Armstrong said he hasn't decided who will be his starting goaltender against Cincinnati tomorrow night.

A crowd at center

With the return from Boston of center Eric Manlow , the P-Bruins, for the first time in a while, enjoyed some solid depth at that position. In addition to Manlow, Providence centers now include Andre Savage, Marquis Mathieu and Mattias Karlin. Also, newcomer Kent Hulst can play the center spot.

Manlow returned to Providence after a brief two-game stay with Boston when Joe Thornton sat our his two-game suspension. Manlow appeared in games against Philadelphia and Atlanta but got only 11 minutes of playing time.  Manlow came into last night's game tied for first in the AHL in assists with 44. He earned one more assist on Cameron Mann's 19th goal late in the game.

A defensive matchup

In the three previous games between the P-Bruins and the River Rats, only nine goals were scored, five by Providence. P-Bruins goalie Kay Whitmore had the best goals-against average -- 0.96 in two games against the Rats. Whitmore, who was the Providence backup last night, stopped 69 of 71 shots.

Grahame staying in Boston

Providence goalie John Grahame will remain with Boston on an emergency callup basis for a while. He was needed when Byron Dafoe went down with a right hamstring injury Saturday night against Tampa Bay. Dafoe is to have an MRI on his hamstring today. The results of the MRI will give Boston a better idea how long they will need Grahame to play behind Peter Skudra. After the game Saturday night, Dafoe said he was told the hamstring injury didn't appear that serious and that he might be able to make a quick recovery. Boston doesn't play again until Thursday in Tampa.

Copyright 2001 The Providence Journal Company

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