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More of the same for P-Bruin foes
By BOB DICK
Journal Sports Writer
PROVIDENCE -- Peter Ferraro says twin brother Chris is the better all-around hockey player. Chris insists that Peter is better because he has had more National Hockey League experience.
In any case, these 26-year-old identical twins drive people nuts trying to tell them apart. Now that the Ferraros have been linked up on the ice once again, this time with the Providence Bruins, they will keep opposing coaches up late trying to figure out how to contain them.
Both Ferraros stand 5-foot-10 and weight 180 pounds. Both shoot right-handed. Both have jet black hair, although Peter wears his just a bit longer.
``If you lined them up against a wall, I could probably pick them out,'' said P-Bruins broadcaster Dave Goucher, ``but that's only because I have spent more time with Peter here. Anyone else? I doubt if they could do it.''
On the ice, Peter wears No. 17 and Chris No. 71. Good thing, too, says Goucher. ``From where we sit, it's impossible to tell them apart.''
``They are both identical in the way they play the game,'' said P-Bruins coach Peter Laviolette says. ``What you see is what you get from each one. Both are goal scorers, both compete very hard. If you need a goal, you want them on your team. We're fortunate to have them both.''
However, acquiring Chris Ferraro, who can put points on the board quickly, may have gone a long way toward replacing Randy Robitaille, who scored 102 points last year and was voted the American Hockey League's NHL MVP.
Chris opened the season with the New York Islanders and performed well early, scoring a goal and collecting three assists in four games.Regardless, his playing time kept dwindling.
Back in September, the P-Bruins let Islanders GM Mike Millbury know that if things didn't work out for Chris, Providence would be interested in obtaining his services. That opportunity came along last Wednesday when Chris was placed on waivers.The P-Bruins wasted no time scooping him up.
``We did it as quick as we could,'' Laviolette said.
As a result, there's double trouble ahead for future P-Bruins opponents. Peter Ferraro, one minute younger than Chris, already has become a major offensive force for Providence. He is tied for the team lead in scoring with nine goals and 10 assists. Seven of those goals have come in his last 10 games.
However, since Chris arrived, Peter's level of play has jumped even higher. And Chris, in only two games for Providence, has already picked up three assists, two in a 2-1 overtime road win against Lowell Saturday night. The brothers wasted little time in showing what they can do on the ice together, combining for Providence's first goal Friday night in a 5-3 loss to Louisville.
Containing one Ferraro is tough enough, but struggling to contain both will a considerable chore for most AHL clubs.
``They bring a lot of passion and energy to the club,'' said P-Bruins captain Sean Pronger, who scored Saturday's game winner against Lowell off an assist from Chris Ferraro. ``You can tell they enjoy themselves out there, especially when they play on the same line. It's fun to play with them. They'll find you if you can get yourself open. They'll get the puck on your stick.''
Born in Port Jefferson, N.Y. on Jan. 24, 1973, the twins have rarely been apart during their careers.
``We've played hockey 20 years and 18 of them we have been together,'' says Peter Ferraro.
Both were freshmen at the University of Maine when the Black Bears won the NCAA title in 1993. The following fall they played for the U.S. National team as a prelude to the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. However, only Peter played on the U.S. Olympic team, which was captained by Laviolette.
The twins were originally drafted by the Rangers in 1992 with Peter going in the first round and Chris in the fourth.
However, they both began their pro careers together in the IHL with the Atlanta Knights in 1994-'95, then spent part of that season with the Binghamton Rangers, formerly of the AHL. Peter led Binghamton in scoring with 101 points in '95-96. Chris finished with 99. In 1996-'97 with Binghamton, Peter notched 77 points and Chris racked up 63.
Their separation occured during the 1997-'98 campaign when Chris spent all season with the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins while Peter suited up for Pittsburgh, the New York Rangers and Hartford WolfPack. Last year Chris was back in the AHL and led Hamilton in scoring with 35 goals and 41 assists. Peter, after playing 46 games with Boston, scored 15 goals in 16 games for Providence and was chosen the Calder Cup MVP.
Now, they're back on the same team again.
``It's a great situation that we're playing together and spending time with one another,'' said Chris after practice yesterday. ``Whatever role I can fill, that's fine with me because this team has the talent from top to bottom just like it did last year.''
Adds Peter: ``It happened so fast, but it has brought back memories of us playing together. We have proved we can play the game away from each other so now its just great to have the chance to play with him again. We're so similar in the way we think. We didn't lose that edge of knowing where each will be on the ice.''
© 1999 The Providence Journal Company