( Photo Credit: Providence College Athletics / Friars Hockey )

By: Mark Allred | Follow me on Twitter / X @BlackAndGold77

Last night, the Providence College Friars kicked off their 2023-24 NCAA Hockey East season on the road in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to face the Michigan Wolverines at the loud and rambunctious Yost Arena. The early season rankings have the Friars sitting in the 18th position while the Wolverines sit in the fifth spot before last night’s contest out in the Great Lakes region.

Providence got the non-conference road victory by the score of 4-2 behind a 30-save effort from Boston Bruins goaltending prospect Philip Svedeback. The Friars are now 11-2 under Head Coach Nate Leaman and 5-2 in road openers, per the Providence College official website. This was the first time Providence College beat Michigan, as the Friars now have a 1-3-0 all-time record against the Wolverines.

Svedeback, a Stockholm, Sweden native who stands at 6′-4″ and 209 pounds, was drafted in the fourth round of the 2021 National Hockey League Entry Draft, which was done online due to the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Last season as a freshman, Philip appeared in 34 games for the Friars in the 2022-23 campaign, compiling a regular season record of 14-11-7 along with a 2.18 goals-against-average and .909 save percentage.

I can see an increased role for Svedeback this season in Providence, as he’s already off to a fantastic start to his sophomore season. With more trust from head coach Nate Leaman and staff, I believe he could reach a career-high 20-win season to set up the possibility of turning pro after his 2023-24 season commitment to Providence College is over.

If you look at the goaltending depth of the Boston Bruins organization, it seems like Svedeback is the next in line for a pro hockey role. With goaltender Kyle Keyser on a one-year, two-way contract and uncertain future with the positional landscape in front of him, the Bruins may walk away from Keyser after this upcoming year of service. If Keyser departs for better opportunities, it could create an opening for Svedeback to join the pro ranks to backup, say, Brandon Bussi if the Bruins continue to role a Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark tandem at the NHL level after this season.

If Svedeback wants to play up to his junior season with the Friars or even further into his senior year, it will create opportunities for netminders internally. You already know what you have in Michael DiPietro or Kyle Keyser, so giving them a one-year, two-way extension to fill the gap of if and when Svedeback turns pro is a no-brainer to rely on who you can trust.

Providence College coach Nate Leaman mentioned in a quick post-game press conference last night after the 4-2 victory over Michigan that goaltender Philip Svedeback will get the start this afternoon for game two of the NCAA opening weekend at the Yost Arena. Leaman is eager to see how the former Boston Bruins fourth-round selection plays against a heavy Wolverines team with the crowd behind them and Svedeback on limited rest going back-to-back.