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P-Bruins continue upswing by notching 30th home win
|By CAROLYN THORNTON
Journal Sports Writer
PROVIDENCE -- Records and stats aside, Providence Bruins coach Peter Laviolette is more concerned about the quality of his team's wins right now as they head into the final stretch of the regular season. And right now, he's pretty happy.
``When the end of the season rolls around and all the games are done, you don't just want to be the best team in the league, you want to be playing the best,'' Laviolette said after Providence's 9-4 win over Fredericton last night. ``That's a huge difference, and I don't think we were playing well in the middle of March, but the last couple of games have been a good sign for us. We have to stay focused in on that. It's not where you finish. It's how you're playing, and we have to keep playing well.''
The P-Bruins' victory over the Canadiens, in front of a crowd of 7,414 at the Civic Center, tied a franchise record of 30 home wins, a mark they first set during the 1992-93 season.
P-Bruins goalie John Grahame, who has not lost in regulation since dropping a 7-5 decision to Fredericton on Dec. 13, made 22 saves and continues to lead the American Hockey League with 33 wins.
Winger Peter Ferraro recorded his second hat trick in 10 games, including a power-play goal that got Providence on the board at 9:00 of the first period when he caught Canadiens goalie Jose Theodore out of position.
Ferraro made it 2-0 about five minutes later, scoring off a pass from Andre Savage.
Aaron Downey picked up a rebound in the left circle and knocked it in for another Providence tally, less than three minutes into the second period.
Arron Asham five-holed Grahame 41 seconds later to cut the Canadiens' deficit to 3-1.
But Joel Prpic put the P-Bruins back up by three with a turnaround shot from the slot at 7:12.
Fredricton closed the gap with goals by Martin Gendron and Aris Brimanis in the final five minutes of the second period. Gendron beat Grahame with a shot at 15:24.
Grahame made the initial save on another Gendron shot with just over 30 seconds remaining, but Brimanis skated in and put back the rebound to make it 4-3 heading into the third period.
It didn't take Providence long to pull away once again, though, outshooting Fredericton, 19-7, in the third period and collecting five more goals.
``It was a very good performance,'' Laviolette said. ``I thought we let down a little bit in the second period and stopped playing the body as much, but it was nice to see that we snapped out of it in the third period. I thought we did a good job of putting the puck in the net, playing the body and playing pretty good defense.''
Copyright © 1999 The Providence Journal Company