Header Imager(Photo Courtesy of Jen Stasio Coombe)

By: Jen Stasio Coombe  |  Follow Me On Twitter @hockeygirl2976

On Saturday,  the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence was the scene of the first preseason game of the 2018 exhibition schedule for the Providence Bruins. The visiting team was the Springfield Thunderbirds — a team that’s been a thorn in the Bruins’ side for many years being a cross-border rival. The night was as action-packed as any fan could have hoped for and certainly an indication of what’s to come when the 2018-19 AHL campaign kicks off on Oct. 5 on the road in Hartford against the WolfPack.

Starting up front for the Bruins were Karson Kuhlman, Anton Blidh, and Colby Cave.  At their backs were Jeremy Lauzon and Mark McNeill with Dan Vladar in net.  The first period got off to a bang with a power-play goal from Cameron Hughes after Springfield was called for holding.  Shortly after that tempers flared and the gloves came off. The first fight of the night was a quick but good one between Springfield’s Tony Turgeon and Providence’s David Broll.  Broll appeared to have the upper hand in the clash, but apparently, that took a toll on his actual hand — there’s no word on the status of his hand at this point.

Shortly after this tete-a-tete, McNeill came back to double the score on the board for Providence with an assist from Jacob Forsbacka-Karlsson. Answering a goal with a fight was the story of the first period as Austin Fyten took on Springfield’s Juho Lammikko. It was a little more prolonged and involved in this one, without a doubt, saw Fyten living up to his name. The end of the first came with the Bruins still leading the T-Birds 2-0.

Perhaps a word or two was said in the locker room between the periods as the gloves did not come off the rest of the game. However, the roughhousing was far from over, including one hard takedown of Vladar well away from the net. The second period saw Zach Senyshyn find the back of the net for the Bruins, but it also saw the T-Birds come back with two goals. One of these goals was decidedly iffy as a T-Bird decided to carry on from the early sack of Vladar and perched himself upon the goalie’s shoulder. Vladar uncharacteristically displayed his frustration as he punched the glass on his way off to punctuate the end of the period.

Bonar(Photo Courtesy of Jen Stasio Coombe)

The third and final period of the night began with new goalies in each net. Providence’s net was manned by Sean Bonar, a PTO from the Atlanta Gladiators. Sean did his ginger brothers proud, keeping the net free from T-Bird pucks and giving the Bruins the win in their first preseason game of the year.

The two teams faced off again on Sunday, Sept. 30, this time in Springfield. Providence jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with goals by Fyten and Riley in the first before extending their lead to 3-0 with a goal by Sherman to end the second.  The T-Birds came out motivated in the third and fought back to within a goal but still fell 3-2 to the Bruins.

All told it was a solid preseason for Providence, going 2-0-0 against their first foes of the year. We will be looking forward to seeing them again next weekend.  Oct. 5 opens the regular season as the Bruins will be in Hartford playing the Wolf Pack. The team’s home opener will be Oct. 6 versus the Laval Rocket.