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Game Day Report: Utica Comets vs Providence Bruins AHL Regular Season

American Hockey League Regular Season
Utica Comets vs Providence Bruins

Dunkin’ Donuts Center
I can count the number of Baby Bruins games I’ve missed over the last two seasons on two hands (and probably still be able to hitchhike).  So I am intimately familiar with the Dunkin Donuts Center.  It is a great place to watch a hockey game.  Of the New England minor league/college rinks I’ve been to, it may be the best laid out, brightest and most technically proficient building in the region.  This season my partner and I have spent most of the year in section 101 anywhere between 2 and 5 rows off the ice behind the goal (Bruins attack once zone).  We’re actually considering doing season tickets for next year because we’d like to slide down to glass row, or at least be able to get good seats without having to show up at doors open.

The best part of The Dunk is that it’s connected to the Providence Place Mall.  The only way to go to a PBruins game is to park at the mall.  If you’re hungry, eat at either Panera, PF Chang’s or Dave & Busters in the mall (or grab some street food in the food court if you’re adventurous).  Then shoot across the sky bridge to The Omni Hotel, across another sky bridge to the RI Convention Center.  Follow the foot traffic down to the Dunk.  While you’re on your walk, jump on Groupon and look for the Bruins’ ticket deal.  All season long they were selling $42 lower bowl seating for $18.

You’re going to want to eat before you get into the building, because of the 50 or 60 different sports venues I’ve been to, The Dunk has the worst food possible.  I’m not exaggerating.  I got a cold hot dog once, and it wasn’t that much worse than a warm hot dog from this place.  There are, however, plenty of places to get a cold drink.  There is also a walk around team store, something I didn’t consider a luxury until visiting rinks in Hartford, Bridgeport and Springfield.  The Bruins do share the team store with Providence College men’s basketball, so the options are limited to about what you would expect from a single-A baseball stadium.
This time through the Dunk, I did head into the team store, and I did pick-up all the team card sets that I didn’t have, which is 2013 through 2017 and the current season.
Once we got to our seats, I was excited at the prospect of seeing Victor Berglund (RD), a 2017 7th rounder from Sweden who signed with the Bruins at the conclusion of his Allsvenskan season with MODO.  He was asked immediately to carry a heavy load as both the Boston & Providence Bruins had been decimated by injuries and call-ups in their defensive ranks.  His debut on Friday (4/5/19) saw him rostered as the only natural right defender, and the young man stood strong tallying his first AHL goal against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait to see Berglund in action, as the Bruins had returned a handful of key players to PVD, including Karson Kuhlman, Trent Frederic, Peter Cehlarik and Zech Senyshyn.
The Comets jumped out to a quick lead, and held the Bruins to precious few scoring opportunities through the first 30 minutes of the game.  At the 11 minute mark of the 2nd, Providence had only mustered 11 total shots on net, and 2 through the first half the period.  But the team broke through on a goal from Paul Carrey.  Jakob Forsbaka-Karlson netted a second, and Anton Blidh tied the bow with a mid-ice shot sliding into an unminded goal inside the last two minutes.
Zane McIntyre was in form in his 44th start of the season.  
Right now, the Bruins are sitting 4th in the division and are looking at a meeting with the regular season points champion Charlotte Checkers in the first round of the Calder Cup.  Providence needs a lot to go right to jump Hershey for 3rd place and a first round against Bridgeport – which is a much more favorable match-up.

Regular season concludes next week.

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