Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 16 Recap

( Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins had two games this weekend with both events held at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The 2019 calendar year continues to be a successful time for the top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins. With points in the last nine of ten games in the month of January and losing only one of those games in regulation, the club from Rhode Island is really playing well and climbing up the Atlantic Division standings.

After a 5-7-2-0 month of December in 2018, hovering around the basement of the eight-team division and out of the Calder Cup playoff picture, the B’s have improved their postseason odds going 7-1-1-1 in the last ten games and currently sit in the sixth position in the Eastern Conference. Their 22-16-6-1 record in 45 games played thus far in the 2018-19 regular season campaign, and the recent unbeaten streak has them listed as one of the hottest teams in the AHL.

This weekends action started on Friday night with the Conference-leading Charlotte Checkers in town who are having an impressive campaign sitting at the top with 66 points and a 31-11-4-0 record in 46 games played. The Bruins are 2-2-1 on the season against the Checkers, and both teams meet three more times before the season ends in April with one at the Dunk and two on the road in Charlotte.  Saturday night’s action once again from the Dunk had the division rival Springfield Thunderbirds came to town as both of these teams have already played in eight of fourteen games on the year.

The B’s swept both games on the weekend beating the powerful Checkers 5-3 on Friday night and a 3-2 victory over the Thunderbirds in the last game before the AHL’s All-Star festivities from MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. The All-Star event kicks off tonight with the Skills Competition and game on Monday night. Both events can be seen on the NHL Network and AHLtv. We wish Providence Bruins captain Jordan Szwarz well as he’ll represent the B’s on the Atlantic Division roster sitting in for the injured Ryan Fitzgerald who’s just not healthy enough to participate.

Anyway, Let’s get to the important stuff and provide our readers with how these weekend games unfolded with a little more detail. Hope you all enjoy!

Friday, January 25th, 2019, Providence Bruins Vs. The Charlotte Checkers (Home)

( Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The Checkers came into the Dunk with an 18-5-2 record on the road and 6-3-1 record in their last ten games looking to take the lead over the B’s in the regular season series. After being down to the Checkers 2-0 after the first six minutes of the opening frame Bruins Prospect Trent Frederic got the B’s on the board with his ninth goal of the season with the lone assist going to Paul Carey at the 9:02 mark.

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Later in the first period, Gemel Smith scored his seventh of the year on the powerplay assisted from veteran forward Mark McNeill and Frederic at the 14:07 mark of the first period. Smith who’s playing in his 16th game since clearing waivers from the parent NHL Bruins club on December 19th, 2018. Gemel was picked up off the NHL waiver wire by the B’s on December 6th,2018 and after only playing three games was then reassigned to the AHL Providence team. The 24-year-old has been playing very well and is one of the team leaders on the bench and in the room behind Captain Jordan Szwarz. He has 16 points in 16 games this season with Providence to this point in the weekend.

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The second period the Bruins were on a mission to play strong and contain the powerful Checkers club and got to work quickly with the only goal of the middle frame to take a 3-2 lead on a Paul Carey shorthanded goal at the 2:33 mark from veteran defenseman Kyle Cumiskey and second-year pro Connor Clifton.  Carey who came to the Providence club via a trade with the Ottawa Senators has been a valued addition to the forward core of this B’s team as they look to be in the mix of the playoff picture. In seven games this season with the AHL Bruins the 30-year-old Weymouth, Massachusetts native has 5-3-8 numbers and recently had a hat trick in a game against the Hartford WolfPack a week ago.

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In the third period, Trent Frederic would get his second goal of the game and Providence 4-2 lead with his 10th of the year assisted by fellow University of Wisconsin Badger alum Cameron Hughes who got the lone helper on Frederic’s 15th career goal in his first full season of AHL play. Trent got his first 13 games of pro hockey in with Providence after his NCAA commitment was through with Wisconsin. In those games in the 2017-18 campaign, the former first-round pick of the B’s had 5-3-8 numbers to end the regular season and got one assist in three Calder Cup Playoff games.

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Ending the Providence scoring on this night and sealing the 5-3 victory was red hot AHL rookie Karson Kuhlman who scored his 10th of the year at the 16:03 from linemate Jordan Szwarz and defenseman Cumiskey. Kuhlman’s 10th extended his point streak to five games and tied his career/season high. The 23-year-old Kuhlman was a member of the NCAA Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs team which he captained to a National Championship and Tournament MVP before turning pro. So far in 44 games this season the undrafted free agent who signed back in April of 2018 has 10-13-23 in his rookie season and 7-7-14 numbers in his last 14 games.

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( Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins / Flickr )

Providence goaltender Zane McIntyre was sensational in the victory over Charlotte on this night stopping 24 of 27 shots. This was the 15th win of the season for the 26-year-old who was selected in the sixth round back in 2010. This was Zane’s seventh straight game with a win and is certainly deserving for consideration if NHL Bruins starting goaltender Tuukka Rask’s head injury continues to bother him. Many reports have Rask ready to go as they get back to work after the bye week ends on Tuesday night at TD Garden against the Winnipeg Jets. So far this season.

Saturday, January 26th, 2019 Providence Bruins Vs. The Springfield Thunderbirds (Home)

( Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins / Flickr )

To end the weekend festivities and prepare for the All-Star break the Bruins were once again engaged with a battle against state border rival Thunderbirds team. The motto of  2019 so far is once the opposition gets a lead did down deep and get it back, and that’s exactly what happened twice in this game. The no-give-up attitude started with a goal from Mark McNeill at the 9:27 mark of the first period scoring his seventh of the season and points in the last two games. The 25-year-old forward has 21 points in 32 games this season and has played well in his first year with the Providence club as another leader around a plethora of Bruins prospects. This powerplay goal below was assisted by Gemel Smith and Zach Senyshyn.

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After ending the first period down 2-1 and no scoring in the second frame, the B’s would eventually tie the game at two on a goal from Gemel Smith who netted his eighth of the season on the man advantage early in the last period of play at the 1:17 mark of the third. This was Smith’s second goal in the last two games and ended this night with a goal and two assists. In the last 12 games, Smith has 7-6-13 numbers and is jumping in on the offense quite nicely at a very appropriate time for this Bruins team.

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With the game deadlocked at two, it was Providence forward Zach Senyshyn who got the first Bruins lead of the game at 3-2 and the eventual game-winner at the 12:30 mark of the final period. Senyshyn’s 13th of the season was assisted by Smith and Jakub Zboril who earned his first multi-point game of the year with two assists against the Thunderbirds which snapped a six-game pointless streak. In the last ten games, Senyshyn has 3-4-7 numbers and continues to be a valued asset up and down head coach Jay Leach’s lineup and in all situations.

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( Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins / Flickr )

Providence netminder McIntyre got the start in goal for the second time in as many nights stopping 22 of 24 Thunderbird shots for his eighth straight victory and 16th win of the season. Zane has been outstanding in the early parts of 2019 and could be a key member to finish the season strong and possible workhorse in the upcoming postseason which starts in April of this year. His goals-against-average has dipped below three per game sitting at 2.74 but his .887 save percentage remains somewhat of a concern moving forward. With this win, McIntyre now has a 2018-19 season record of 16-8-3. His 16 wins are good enough for 5th in the league, his goals-against-average is ranked 19th, and save percentage out of 53 goaltenders in the league ranked 46th.

The Providence Bruins get back to work this week starting on Friday, February 1st when they travel to the mid-Atlantic for two games in as many nights against the Charlotte Checkers for the weekend series. The Bruins are only two points from third place Lehigh Valley Phantoms and 15 points from Division-leading and Conference-leading Checkers Club.

Mark Allred’s Providence Bruins Top-Three Goals of The Week!

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