Providence Bruins Playoff Primer (Round One vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms)

Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins Official Twitter Account @AHLBruins

By: Josh B.   |   Follow Me On Twitter @ToCauseway

April 13th, 2018 the Providence Bruins fell apart in the 3rd period against the Charlotte Checkers and lost 3rd place in the Atlantic playoff standings. Over the next two days, they were able to claw back to within a few points but were hoping for the Checkers to lose to the Sound Tigers on Sunday, April 15th. The Checkers prevailed, and Providence stayed in 4th place. On a brighter note, Providence is 7th in the 30-team AHL standings with a healthy 45-26-5 record through 76 games.

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With the regular season ended, Providence has drawn the first place in the Atlantic Division (2nd AHL-wide) Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the Atlantic Division Quarterfinals. In 2017-2018, Providence went 1-4-1 against the Phantoms in the regular season. Their only two wins came at home. In most outings against the Phantoms, the team has scored 3 or fewer goals, including a couple shutouts where no Bruin could solve the Phantoms goaltender.

This doesn’t faze Providence Head Coach Jay Leach.

“You’re going to have to beat them all,” Leach said postgame on April 15th. For what it’s worth, on the same day, one of the Springfield Thunderbirds added Wilkes-Barre Scranton would be a tougher pull for Providence. “They’re a heavier team, built for the playoffs.”

Side note: Josh Ho-Sang who I met at the Bridgeport Game in Bridgeport on April 7th said almost the exact quote word for word about Providence. Either a coincidence or maybe it’s a generic quote the players are given to say about other teams.

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Anyways, Providence opens up the best of 5 game series at home in the Dunkin Donuts Center on Friday, April 20th. Game 2 is played the following night also at the Dunk. After opening the series at home, Providence will travel to Allentown, PA, for the remaining 3 games played on April 27, 28, 30th respectively. Providence will need to win both games at home to have success in the series. With Providence’s only wins against Lehigh Valley coming at the Dunkin Donuts Center, the first two games may decide the outcome. Regardless, winning at least one at home is an absolute must. Fortunately, the regular season isn’t always a barometer for how a playoff matchup will go.

Providence’s Austin Czarnik (25G, 44A) and Lehigh Valley’s Phil Varone (23G, 47A) occupy the 3rd and 2nd spots respectively in AHL scoring for 2017-18. Both are slightly undersized centermen with excellent hands and vision capable of taking over a game at the AHL level. Czarnik, to his credit, has more games at the NHL level than Varone does and could be playing himself into a raise and NHL roster spot come next season. The next highest point getter for either team is Kenny Agostino, who his far removed from his AHL MVP season with (16G, 37A) and 29th overall; Providence’s Jordan Szwarz with (21G, 27A) comes in next at 47th overall. Lehigh Valley’s Nick Aube-Kubel (18G, 28A) is next at 60th overall, and teammate T. J. Brennan (14G, 31A) rounds out the top point-getters at 67th. Honorable mention here to Lehigh Valley’s Danick Martel at 100th overall, with the highest goal total of everyone mentioned (25G, 15A). For a complete rundown of the Providence Roster (as of April 18th), here’s the AHL’s site.

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Between the pipes, the goaltending tandem of Zane McIntyre (16th, 2.52 GAA, 0.914 SV%) and Jordan Binnington (2nd, 2.05 GAA, 0.926 SV%) is better on paper than Lehigh Valley’s netminders. The Phantoms goaltender duo Dustin Tokarski (24th, 2.65 GAA, 0.915 SV%) and Alex Lyon (31st, 2.75 GAA, 0.913 SV%) have won more games, however. In their two wins, Providence thumped Lehigh Valley with a 5 and 6 goal game respectively. In their two losses that weren’t shutouts, Providence posted 2 and 3 goal games to Lehigh Valley’s 3 and 5 goals respectively.

Predictions that will horribly go wrong: I see Providence bowing out in 5 games. They’re loaded with prospects and talent, but the Phantoms have played Providence enough to know where and how to expose the Bruins’ defense and weaknesses. The only way for the Bruins to win is by consistently good starts or winning the first 20 minutes. Otherwise, the Phantoms will run right over you before the midway point of regulation. I would like to see Providence exercise revenge on the Phantoms in this series as Boston has done to Toronto thus far in their playoff series. The NHL Bruins lost their season series with Toronto, yet are making a stand in the Atlantic division quarterfinals. Hopefully, the farm team of the Black and Gold will follow the same pattern and surprise me by defeating the Phantoms.

Providence Bruins Weekend Wrap-up (4/13/18 to 4/15/18)

 

Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins / Flickr

By: Josh B.   |   Follow Me On Twitter @ToCauseway

Tl;Dr Recap for those who just want the stats:

 4/13/18 Providence (43-25-5) vs. Charlotte (44-26-4) 7:05 PM

Goalies: Jordan Binnington, 23 of 28 shots, 0.821 SV%; Jeremy Smith, 29 of 32 shots, 0.906 SV%

 Box Score W/Scoring Summary:

 PVD 5-3 regulation loss, drops to (43-26-5), CHA improves to (45-26-4)

4/14/18 Providence (43-26-5) @ Springfield (32-35-7) 7:05 PM

Goalies: Zane McIntyre, 24 of 24 shots, Shutout; Sam Montembeault, 8 of 12 shots, 0.667 SV% Replaced by Harri Saterri, 16 of 17 shots, 0.941 SV%.

Box Score W/ Scoring Summary:

 PVD 5-0 Regulation W, improves to (44-26-5), SPR drops to (32-36-7)

4/15/18 Providence (44-26-5) vs. Springfield (32-36-7) 3:05 PM

Goalies: Zane McIntyre, 27 of 29 shots, 0.931 SV%; Harri Sateri, 31 of 34 shots, 0.911 SV%

Box Score W/ Scoring Summary:

PVD 4-2 Regulation W, improves to (45-26-5), SPR drops to (32-37-7)

Game Summaries:

Providence Bruins vs. Charlotte Checkers (4/13/18)

Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins / Flickr

Up from the Carolinas, the Charlotte Checkers stopped by the Dunkin Donuts Center for the last regular season matchup between the two clubs for the 2017-2018 season. Providence took an early lead off the stick of Austin Czarnik fed by Tommy Cross and Kenny Agostino during a power play, but Charlotte stormed back with two back-to-back goals. Charlotte’s Hayden Fleury beat Providence’ Jordan Binnington back door, off a feed from Andrew Miller and Lucas Wallmark; This was followed up a minute later by Nicolas Roy who tipped a shot-pass from teammate Josiah Didier into the Providence net, and the period ended 2-1 Charlotte.

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Providence answered back in the second, as Ryan Fitzgerald caught linemate Jordan Szwarz’s spin around pass and tucked it past former Providence Bruin Jeremy Smith to tie the game. Both teams battled hard in the second, but neither scored till the dying seconds of the period, as Valentin Zykovnotched a powerplay goal with Trent Frederic in the box. Approaching the midway point of the third period, Zach Senyshyn used his speed to blaze up the ice, and score the tying goal off his own rebound. Charlotte responded with another powerplay goal as Jakub Zboril sat in the Providence box for slashing, and another in the final minute of regulation to seal the win and overtake Providence in the AHL standings.

Providence Bruins @ Springfield Thunderbirds I (4/14/18)

Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins / Flickr

Providence played spoiler to the Thunderbirds final home game of the AHL season, putting a clinic on a Springfield team well clear of a playoff berth. Special teams proved to be a bright spot for the Bruins, as early in the first period, Jack Studnika tipped a shot-pass from teammate Kenny Agostino on the powerplay. Later, with newcomer Karson Kuhlman in the box serving 2 minutes in the Providence penalty box for slashing, the Bruins PK unit forced a turnover near the point, leading to a 2-on-1. Adam Payerl slid a pass around the Springfield defender to Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson who tipped it past Sam Montembeault for the 2nd Providence goal.

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Providence’s power play struck again in the 2nd period, as Adam Payerl found the back of the net off feeds from Jakub Zboril and Zach Senyshyn. 4 minutes later, JFK tallied his second of the night and chased Thunderbirds goaltender Sam Montembeault who allowed 4 goals on 12 shots. Even the Thunderbirds replacement Harri Sateri couldn’t stem the bleeding entirely: Kenny Agostino redirected a JFK shot-pass in the third period to wrap up the scoring for both teams, and Zane McIntyre posted his AHL-best 7th shutout of this season, passing Toronto’s Garret Sparks. Providence skated closer back to the 3rd place spot with this win.

Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds II (4/15/18)

Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins / Flickr

As the Providence Bruins began the season, so did they end it, with a matchup against the Springfield Thunderbirds on home ice. The night prior, Providence chased the Thunderbirds starting goaltender en route to a 5-0 thumping of Springfield. In the Saturday night matchup against Springfield, Providence wisely rested their top line of Fitzgerald-Szwarz-Czarnik, icing a fresh top line. However, it would be Zach Senyshyn, promoted to the second line that would open the scoring. After several scoring chances for Providence were stuffed by the Thunderbirds Harri Sateri, Senyshyn charged into the attacking zone behind Colton Hargrove who carried the puck in. Senyshyn took a short drop-pass, fought off a check, and flicked a nifty backhander from the slot that slid by Sateri glove side. Before this, Providence successfully killed two penalties, and the period ended with the Bruins up by one.

Springfield began the 2nd period scoring quickly, but Ryan Fitzgerald made a brilliant play by the blue line to filch the puck and race up the ice for his 21st goal of the season. Dryden Hunt’s second of the game followed a little over ten minutes later, and Springfield pulled even with Providence once more. In the third period, Zane McIntyre got his second assist of the season, while newcomer Karson Kuhlman notched his first professional point as they fed Trent Frederic for the latter’s 5th goal of the season. The game opened up at this point, with Providence and Springfield trading scoring chances, but the Bruins held their lead.

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With a minute and change remaining in their season, Springfield pulled the goalie to try for an equalizer. Austin Czarnik, in a continuation of a theme, pressured the Thunderbirds at the blue line. Czarnik successfully stripped the puck and skated up ice toward the empty net until he was hauled down from behind by a Springfield skater; in the AHL rulebook, when that happens, the skater with the puck is automatically awarded a goal. The Bruins topped the Thunderbirds 4-2, but with a Charlotte win the same day, remained in 4th place.

Plus / Minus

Plus: + Zach Senyshyn has been coming into his own, scoring 3 goals and 1 assist in his last 4 games. Senyshyn uses his speed, size, and skill to outplay, outmaneuver, and wear down opponents, and his patience to draw penalties (for example 2 in the Friday night game against Charlotte).

+ JFK scored two goals and an assist against the Thunderbirds Saturday night, including a heartbreaking shorthanded goal. He and Kenny Agostino returned from injury along with Justin Hickman. Kenny Agostino had a strong game Saturday night with 1G-2A.

+ Jack Studnika has his first professional goal, with a high tip-in PP goal on Sam Montembeault Saturday night in Springfield. He has 5 points in 4 games during his ATO.

+ Providence scored at least once each game on the man-advantage; also scored a shorthanded goal while killing a penalty Saturday night. The Bruins also killed all penalties against Springfield both Saturday and Sunday.

+ Despite losing to Charlotte Friday, Providence won the next two games to put them in a position to reclaim third in the Atlantic. Gritty, high-energy effort to make up for their mistake.

+ Austin Czarnik ends the season 3rd in the entire AHL among scoring leaders.

+ Boston Bruins newest addition Karson Kuhlman has his first pro point, with an assist on Sunday afternoon.

Minus: – Providence gave up 2 goals on the penalty kill to Charlotte Friday night.

– Another shaky outing for Jakub Zboril who was penalized twice in quick succession Friday night, one of which resulted in the game-winning goal for Charlotte.

– Losing to Charlotte Friday night took The PBruins’s playoff position out of their direct control, requiring 2 more Providence wins, and a Charlotte loss to Bridgeport.

Is It Time For The Bruins To Add Depth In The Crease?

By: Mark Allred   |   Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The Boston Bruins have a decent amount of prospects when it comes to the developing depth in the crease of the organization, but I believe this summers National Hockey League Entry Draft from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas the B’s should add another one to the mix. Jordan Binnington is a St. Louis Blues goaltender that came to the Providence Bruins on a loan agreement to start of the 2017-18 season as the Blues organization lost their American Hockey League affiliation with the Chicago Wolves to the new National Hockey League franchise the Vegas Golden Knights.

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According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch article published by Jeremy Rutherford in August of 2017, the Blues organization will have an AHL affiliation with the San Antonio Rampage who currently have a minor-pro agreement with the Colorado Avalanche. Once the AHL expansion to the state of Colorado is complete with the current East Coast Hockey Leagues Colorado Eagles, the Avalanche will have their own AHL team closer to the organization’s operations in Denver. With all these changes set to happen over the 2018 summer offseason, a roster spot in the crease will open up in Providence after Binnington is presumably returned which sparks my speculation of another netminder joining the Bruins developing depth.

With the vacancy in the net for Providence, I believe this will be a great opportunity for 2015 third-round selection Dan Vladar who’s had limited time in the AHL as an emergency recalled goaltender from the ECHL’s Atlanta Gladiators where he started his pro career after one season in the United States Hockey League with the Chicago Steel in 2015-16 after being selected in the NHL’s Entry Draft from Sunrise Florida. In two seasons with the Gladiators team, the 6′-5″ 185-pound Praha, Czech Republic native has a career record of 22-27-2-2, a Goals-Against-Average of 3.24, and Save Percentage of .904. In his time of need when called up to the better, faster AHL Providence team, the 20-year-old seems to step up his game and rise to the occasion posting a 6-2-2 record in 12 games played, a 2.47 GAA, and .922 Save%.

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If the NHL Bruins re-sign veteran backup goaltender Anton Khudobin to an extension, Vladar could join netminder Zane McIntyre next season to potentially make a lethal 1A /1B AHL tandem. Now, if the Bruins do not want to bring back Khudobin who’s definitely changed his game for the better since Head Coach Bruce Cassidy took over the bench boss duties last spring, McIntyre could be an option for the NHL backup role leaving two spots for goaltending additions either in the AHL or ECHL.

Bruins goaltending prospect Kyle Keyser who signed an Entry-Level contact with the Bruins and is currently with the Providence team for the remaining regular-season games and playoffs will be returned to his Ontario Hockey Leagues Oshawa Generals as he’ll not be eligible to stay with the AHL Bruins as a 19-year-old. This past regular season with the Generals, Keyser posted 28-13-0 record with a 3.16 GAA and .904 save% and appeared in all five first-round OHL playoff games against the Niagra Ice Dogs losing the series 4-1.

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Also, in the developing mix is University of Maine netminder Jeremy Swayman who finished a stellar freshman season for the Black Bears and is presumably headed back to school next season.  The 19-year-old Swayman, an Anchorage, Alaska native posted a 15-12-3 record with a 2.72 GAA and .921 save% with the Black Bears last season in his rookie year of collegiate hockey. His 2018 playoffs were also something to watch as he swept cross-state rival Universtiy of New Hampshire Wildcats but didn’t have enough for the second round matchup with Providence College ending a year full of positives for the young man.

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This leaves the Bruins in an interesting position in my opinion. With the organization’s fine work of restocking the prospect pool and not giving up valuable future assets to address needs in the past, I believe (I know this is going to sound crazy) using this year’s 2018 second-round or third-round selection to address the continued growth in the crease and be ready for any situation forthcoming would be a wise idea. In my opinion, the prospect pool is full of quality defenseman and forwards to make a selection like this.

Below are a few ideas that I’ve come up with as a possible solution for the Bruins moving forward in the crease and why I like these players.

Via 2018 NHL Draft –  Goaltender Stephen Dhillon

Dhillon who is currently playing in the second-round of the OHL playoffs with the Niagra Ice Dogs had a career-high 2017-18 regular season posting a 28-16-3 record and although his goals-against (3.34) and save percentage (.899) isn’t exactly attractive to the stat watchers, he does possess solid attributes and is a key factor in this year’s Ice Dogs success. The 6′-4″ 186-pound netminder from Buffalo, New York would be a solid addition to the Bruins organization as he’s already been involved with the coaching and training staff when he was invited to the 2016 Bruins Development Camp in 2016 that was held at the Ristuccia Memorial Arena in Wilmington, Massachusetts.

This will be Stephen’s second year of draft eligibility, and that shouldn’t be a knock on him for being passed over from NHL teams in the past. When he was in Bruins development camp, he was one of the better goaltenders and got heavy praise from management and attending media. One key factor of a potential addition of a player like Dhillon is if he’s selected in this year’s draft he will be eligible per CHL/NHL agreement to play in the AHL and ECHL if needed.

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Dhillon will be 20-years-old on September 14, 2018, and he’ll miss the cut off date by one day giving him immediate exposer to the higher levels of developmental professional hockey.  I really liked the way Bruins Goaltending Coach Bob Essensa worked with Dhillon and believe if he’s selected could get increased tutelage from former NHL netminder Mike Dunham who now has one full season under his belt as B’s Crease Development Coach. Dunham did a fantastic job last season making the rounds to give pro instructions to the many goaltenders of the Bruins depth in the crease.

Via Free Agency – Goaltender Leonid Lazarev

Lazarev had a monster 2017-18 regular season and helped his OHL’s Barrie Colts get to the second round of the playoffs in his first-year with the club. With Friday’s 4-2 series elimination to the hands of the Kingston Frotenacs, the now 20-year-old and his season commitment over with Barrie, this might be a tempting addition for the Bruins organization without having to waste a draft pick. With Barrie last season, Lazarev posted a 32-16-0 record with a 3.23 GAA and .898 save%. In 12 playoff games in 2018, the undersized 5′-10″ 161-pound netminder went 6-6 in the second season with a 3.37 GAA and .911 save% and looks to be ready for the next step whether it’s continued development in the AHL or ECHL.

Leonid, a Moscow, Russia native spent three full seasons with the Ottawa 67’s appearing in 122 games and posted a 55-52-3 record before being traded to Barrie. As an available player that could be signed any NHL team to add to their organizational depth.  This is another netminder I strongly suggest the Bruins add to the core in the crease particularly with the Atlanta Gladiators organization where next season if Vladar is moved up to the AHL, would be the only goaltending prospect with the Premier “AA” minor-pro affiliate for the last year of the affiliation agreement with the NHL Bruins.

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I know the Bruins organization isn’t too keen on players of Russian descent but one of these days this team is going to have to bite the bullet and take a chance on the talent like Lazarev regardless of positional needs. Just think how next season could look in goal if this all comes to fruition. An NHL Bruins tandem of Tuukka Rask and Khudobin next season, an AHL Providence tandem of McIntyre and Vladar, and an eligible minor-pro tandem in the ECHL with the Atlanta Gladiators of Dhillon and Lazarev would be some scary depth in my opinion. Depending on what happens after next season, a player like Kyle Keyser could easily slot into a role in the minor-pro depths as he’ll be eligible for first-year pro hockey as his OHL commitment with Oshawa would seemingly be over.

Providence Bruins Weekend Recap (4/3/18 to 4/8/18)

Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr

By: Josh B.   |   Follow Me On Twitter @ToCauseway

Tl;Dr Recap for those who just want the stats:

 4/3/18 Providence (41-23-5) @ Bridgeport (34-27-8) 10:30 AM

Goalies: Dan Vladar, 31 of 34 shots, 0.911 SV%; Eamon McAdam 23 of 25 shots, 0.920 SV%

Box Score W/Scoring Summary:

 PVD 3-2 regulation loss, drops to (41-24-5); BRI improves to (35-27-8)

4/6/18 Providence (41-24-5) vs. Hartford (31-31-9) 7:05 PM

Goalies: Zane McIntyre, 37 of 40 shots, 0.925 SV%; Alexandar Georgiev 20 of 25 shots, 0.800 SV%, replaced by: Marek Mazanec 13 of 14 shots, 0.928 SV%.

Box Score W/ Scoring Summary:

 PVD 6-3 regulation win, improves to (42-24-5); HFD drops to (31-32-9)

4/7/18 Providence (41-24-5) @ Bridgeport (36-27-8) 7:05 PM

Goalies: Jordan Binnington 23 of 25 shots, 0.920 SV%; Christopher Gibson 19 of 23 shots, 0.826 SV%

Box Score W/ Scoring Summary:

PVD 4-2 regulation win, improves to (42-24-5), BPT drops to (36-27-8)

4/8/18 Providence (42-24-5) vs. Lehigh Valley (43-19-10) 3:05 PM

Goalies: Zane McIntyre, 32 of 37 shots, 0.864 SV%; John Muse 32 of 35 shots, 0.914 SV%

Box Score W/ Scoring Summary:

 PVD regulation loss, drops to (42-25-5), LV improves to (44-19-10)

Game Summaries:

Providence Bruins @ Bridgeport Sound Tigers (4/3/18)

Providence opened their only 4-game week with their only Tuesday game at an unusual 1030 AM puck drop. A hungry Bridgeport Sound Tigers team came out a little sluggish in the first 40 seconds, but an early powerplay energized the home team. From that moment on, the momentum seemed to be in the Tigers’ favor till the final horn. Providence goaltender Dan Vladar would fight Bridgeport tooth and nail for every goal against. After getting badly outshot in the first period, Providence managed to strike first. As Providence skaters Adam Payerl and Colton Hargrove broke up 2-on-2 up ice, Payerl dumped the puck into the Bridgeport zone, and the Tigers’ goaltender misplayed the puck back into the reach of a charging Adam Payerl who wasted no time chipping the puck past the sprawled goalie.

Providence didn’t hold the lead very long: On a cross-checking minor to Payerl, the home team evened the score. In an overload powerplay formation, Casey Bailey, Sebastian Aho, and Josh Ho-Sang worked the puck along the left-wing boards. The puck was fed back out to Aho at the blue line who had his stick cocked in a shooting position, but instead,, he passed back to Bailey just inside the left faceoff circle and the one time beat Vladar glove side.

Early in the third period, Bridgeport struck again off the stick of Kellen Jones at even strength. In the midst of a Providence line change, Jones charged up the ic and cucked a backhand shot at the Providence net, and it bounced off Paul Postma’s skate past Vladar. Colton Hargrove, who was injured in the game earlier but returned, equalized the score later in the third. Right off the draw, left winger Hargrove maneuvered to the hash marks on the right-wing boards by the faceoff dot and wired the puck five-hole on Bridgeport goaltender Eamon McAdam.

Rookie mistakes and bad penalties would sink the Bruins late in the third, however. Cameron Hughes was caught out of position in an odd-man rush midway through the third period, and reached out with his stick, tripping up a Bridgeport skater. The Bruins successfully killed off the penalty, but as it expired, Trent Frederic incurred a delay of game penalty the Bridgeport power play capitalized on. Off a pretty passing play similar to their first powerplay goal, Travis St. Denis scored to edge the Bridgeport squad up one. Providence Swiss army knife Sena Acolatse took a 5 minute major and game misconduct with 4 minutes left in the game, snuffing out any hope at a Bruins counterattack.

Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (4/6/18)

Providence was out to prove their last game was a fluke, scoring 2 early first period goals against the visiting Hartford Wolf Pack in their Friday night matchup. After heavily outshooting the Hartford Wolf Pack 8-2 midway through the first period, Providence finally broke the scoreless tie almost 8 minutes into the first frame. Off a broken pass initially intended for a Providence defenseman, Cameron Hughes instead sprung Anton Blidh at the Hartford blue line, and Blidh walked in and sniped over the blocker side shoulder of Alexandar Georgiev.

Newcomer Jack Studnika picked up his first of two assists on this goal. A couple minutes later, Jordan Szwarz doubled the Providence score from the left faceoff dot off a pretty passing play from Ryan Fitzgerald and Austin Czarnik. Harford was whistled for high-sticking early in the second period, and Providence went on the first of 4 powerplay attempts. Off a faceoff in the attacking zone, Providence cycled the puck all around the Hartford zone until Paul Postma fed Austin Czarnik for a shot, and Ryan Fitzgerald picked up the rebound and trickled it through a sprawling Hartford goaltender for his first of two goals.

Later in the period, Fitzgerald struck again off a terrific individual effort: Off a blocked Conor Clifton shot, Fitzgerald picked up the loose puck in the slot, turned, and wired it into the back of the Hartford net. Providence scored their fifth goal of the game midway through the second period during a delayed penalty to Hartford. Paul Postma began the sequence after collecting a shovel pass from McIntyre deep in the Providence end. With a long stretch pass to Colton Hargrove, Providence gained zone entry. Hargrove shoveled a short pass to Adam Payerl who took a monster hit to make a play, dropping the puck back for Hargrove again.

Hargrove made another short shovel pass to ex-Badger Trent Frederic who wasted no time with a quick shot that beat Georgiev, chasing the visiting goaltender.  Harford scored two early goals in the third period to spoil McIntyre’s bid for a shutout, but Providence scored the touchdown off the stick of Austin Czarnik soon after the second Hartford goal. E-Bruins prospect Ryan Lindgren beat McIntyre from the blue line to close the score to 6-3, but by then it was too little, too late. The Bruins had done their damage early through two periods and skated away with a commanding win.

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Providence Bruins @ Bridgeport Sound Tigers (4/7/18)

Providence traveled to nearby Bridgeport (along with yours truly) to take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the second time this week. The Sound Tigers were skating for their playoff hopes, while Providence played for clinching a playoff berth. As was Tuesday morning, Providence struck first while activating their defense corps to join the attack. Cam Hughes, Trent Frederic, and a trailing Jeremy Lauzon raced into the zone with Hughes feeding Frederic who shoveled to Lauzon on the left wing. Lauzon beat Gibson short-side high for Jeremy’s first professional goal and a 1-0 Providence lead. Bridgeport answered back on an early powerplay opportunity with Providence’s Colby Cave in the box. Bridgeport’s Mitch Vande-Sompel won a board battle against the Providence PK, kicking the puck back to teammate Ryan Borque. Borque made a quick turnaround cross-crease feed to Ryan Hitchcock in the right-wing circle, and the latter beat Jordan Binnington glove side.

Providence took the game to Bridgeport at this point, two minutes later off the stick of Colton Hargrove on the Powerplay. Providence continued to activate their D throughout the game and was rewarded with another goal from defenseman Paul Postma who took a silky feed and rifled a heavy slap shot into the back of the Bridgeport net. Halfway through the third, Austin Czarnik’s earlier hard work was rewarded with a powerplay goal from Tommy Cross and Paul Postma feeds. Till this point, Czarnik had been tracking pucks well, making hits, hunting rebounds, and loose pucks, and his goal on the powerplay validated his efforts.

Before the final buzzer sounded, Bridgeport took advantage of a mental lapse in Providence’s powerplay unit: rookie Jeff Kubiak pounced on a loose puck while his team was killing off a penalty and skated into the Providence zone almost unopposed. Kubiak scored his first professional goal off a sharp angle shot far side on Binnington, but the damage had already been done. Providence won 4-2 and clinched a playoff berth in doing so.

Providence Bruins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (4/8/18)

In the final game of the unusual 4-game week format, Providence came out flat against an aggressive Lehigh Valley Phantoms team eager to finally best the Bruins on the latter’s home ice. A rested Zane McIntyre (who remained in Providence while his team traveled to Bridgeport) was no match for the firepower of a Phantoms team who had just lost in Hartford the night before. The bleeding began 7 minutes into the first period after Zane made the initial save on Nick Aube-Kubel, he couldn’t make the follow up save on Carson Twarynski’s first professional goal. On a questionable high-sticking call to Jakub Zboril, Greg Carey scored on a cross-crease shovel pass. Providence’s PK overcommitted to the left side of the ice and left Carey alone by the right post for an easy goal over McIntyre’s glove.

At this point, Providence was heated and pushed back on a powerplay of their own where Trent Frederic scored. Jakub Zboril fired a shot intentionally wide of the Phantoms net, and it caromed out to Colton Hargrove on the left wing who passed to Frederic. The latter walked in looking to shoot high but instead snuck the puck five-hole to bring the Bruins back within one. This would be the closest the Bruins would get to tying the game, as the Phantoms struck back with a goal each from T.J. Brennan and Colin McDonald in quick succession to end the first period.

In the second period, McIntyre’s goaltending was sharper, but the Phantoms walked all over the Bruins again. The lone goal of the period was scored by league-leading scorer Phil Varone who picked up a rebound off McIntyre and backhanded it blocker side, and it broke through McIntyre. To open the 3rd period, youngster Zach Senyshyn was rewarded for his hard work earlier in the game causing havoc amongst the Phantoms with a true goal-scorer’s goal 34 seconds in. Off a faceoff in the neutral zone, veteran Chris Porter shoveled a small backhand pass to Senyshyn who charged in with his dazzling speed. Senyshyn then cut around the left faceoff circle, skated right in front of the crease where the Phantoms goaltender over-committed to a deke. Zach had no trouble firing the puck over the sprawled, baited goaltender for his 10th of the season. Jakub Zboril’s 4th of the season came 13 minutes later, but the comeback fell silent after that. Lehigh Valley managed to score a last-second empty-netter for a final score of 6-3.

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Plus / Minus

Plus: + Goaltender Dan Vladar up from Atlanta played in Bridgeport Tuesday morning and though he took the L, acquitted himself well despite poor defense in front of him (0.911 SV%)

+ Bruins 2017 2nd rounder Jack Studnika joined Providence on an ATO and picked up 2 assists that night, then an assist the two following nights. Jay Leach on Studnika: “He’s a playmaker, He’s always skating with his head up with the puck. Always.”

+ Jeremy Lauzon scored his first professional goal Saturday night. Ryan Fitzgerald scored his 18th and 19th goals of the season Friday night. Rookie Trent Frederic scored 2G, one Friday, and one Sunday along with an assist Saturday. Zach Senyshyn’s goal Sunday afternoon sparked a small rally for the Bruins in the third period. Jakub Zboril scored 1G, 2A through four games this week.

+ Providence’s powerplay was coached well this week: one goal in 2 of 4 games played,  and two goals Saturday night in Bridgeport.

+ While his team’s play was lackluster, Zach Senyshyn displayed his substantial talent Sunday night, with speed, tenacity on the puck, tough forechecking, and was rewarded with a goal in the third period.

 

Minus: – Providence’s PK was terrible this week, surrendering a goal on 6 of 14 PK situations.

– Providence gave up a shorthanded goal Saturday night with about 30 seconds left in the game.

– Newcomers Cam Hughes and Trent Frederic made rookie mistakes that directly led to the game-winning Powerplay goal for Bridgeport on Tuesday.

Sena Acolatse received a 5-minute boarding major Tuesday morning for a late-game hit on Ryan McKinnon.

– Providence had a weak start Tuesday morning, getting outshot 15 to their 7. Dan Vladar’s steady goaltending was the only reason they weren’t blown out. Providence came out with another anemic effort Sunday afternoon, outshot 33-12 through 2 periods.

Zane McIntyre let up 4 goals on 20 shots in the first period of Sunday’s game.

– Despite points on the score sheet, Jakub Zboril has been committing a worrisome number of rookie errors of late. Questionable judgment and passes have led to egregious turnovers.

– Providence could not score on a late powerplay nor a minute of 6-on-5 with the goalie pulled, or even a minute of 6-on-4 to end the game against Lehigh Valley.

NHL To Honor Former Bruin O’Ree With League Award

Photo Credit:  In Play Magazine / Windsor, Ontario

By: Mark Allred   |   Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Yesterday, the National Hockey League announced there will be a new piece of hardware being presented at this year’s awards ceremony held once again in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year’s festivities from Sin City will feature former Boston Bruins player Willie O’Ree and acknowledge his pursuit to promote the game through racial diversity with an award in his honor.

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As Mr. Shannon mentioned in his above Tweet the new Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award will recognize the commitment of those who are improving lives and strengthening their communities through the game of hockey as Mr. O’Ree has done for so many years. O’Ree who’ss been the NHL’s League Diversity Ambasodor since 1998 was a member of the Boston Bruins when he played his first career game as a black player ever in the league when he broke the race barrier playing his first game in January of 1958. Even though O’Ree’s NHL career consisted of 45 games all with the Boston team, he had a tremendous hockey career in general playing from the 1950-51 season to the 1978-79 campaign playing until he was 43-years-old.

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When it comes to stats, Willie had his best career in the now-defunct Western Hockey League playing 13 seasons starting with the Los Angels Blades and San Diego Gulls where he amassed 328-311-639 numbers in 785 games of minor league hockey.  In the mentioned 45 NHL games played O’Ree registered 4-10-14 totals and those numbers and minimal experience at the top level of the world is one of the most significant issues why he shouldn’t be considered to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ontario.

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We can all agree that his numbers are not worthy of HHoF consideration as a player but how about in the builder categories that was received from the unpopular Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs in November of 2017. In my opinion, I believe he should get his call to the Hall as a character builder of the league with the way he’s inspired so many young children to choose hockey with the right-to-play mentality,. Many of those he touched have spent some time in the NHL having successful careers such as goaltender Kevin Weekes, forward Jarome Iginla, and defenseman PK Subban.

It should be very interesting to see who this year’s first-time recipient will be with so many valid candidates. I believe that we’ll always have ambassadors of the game but with the way NHL franchise’s work with the surrounding communities where the teams are based out of, and increased numbers of youth interest in the game these days, it’s not going to be easy to select a winner.

O’Ree has this to say below from his interview that can also be seen from the originator the NHL Public Relations article published yesterday here at NHL.com

“I believe in our youth, and in the power of the game of hockey to unlock the on- and off-ice potential of boys and girls around the world,” said O’Ree. “I am honored to be chosen as the namesake for this award, which will shine a light on many others within the hockey community who share a similar belief, passion and vision of the future of this game.”

Also, mentioned in the NHL.com article was what league Commissioner Gary Bettman had to say.

“We are privileged to honor Willie with the creation of this new community award,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “He has dedicated his life to equality and inclusion; to supporting young people of all backgrounds who are following their dreams; and to using hockey as a platform to build character and teach life skills.”

Providence Bruins Weekend Wrap-up (3/28/18 to 3/31/18)

Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins Official Twitter Account

By: Josh B.   |   Follow Me On Twitter @ToCauseway

Tl;Dr Recap for those who just want the stats:

 3/28/18 Providence (40-21-5) @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (38-20-8) 7:05 PM

Goalies: Zane McIntyre, 27 of 31 shots, 0.870 SV%; Tristan Jarry, 27 of 29 shots, 0.931 SV%

 Box Score W/Scoring Summary:

 PVD 5-2 Regulation L, drops to (40-22-5); WBS improves to (39-20-8).

3/30/18 Providence (40-22-5) @ Lehigh Valley (42-17-9) 7:05 PM

Goalies: Jordan Binnington, 32 of 34 shots, 0.941 SV%; Dustin Tokarski, 22 of 22 shots, Shutout.

Box Score W/ Scoring Summary:

 PVD 2-0 Regulation L, Drops to (40-23-5), LV improves to (43-17-9).

3/31/18 Providence (40-23-5) @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (40-20-8) 7:05 PM

Goalies: Jordan Binnington, 34 of 35 shots, 0.971 SV%; Tristan Jarry, 24 of 27 shots, 0.888 SV%

Box Score W/ Scoring Summary:

 PVD 3-1 Regulation Win, Improves to (41-23-5), WBS Drops to (41-21-8)

Game Summaries:

Providence Bruins @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (3/28/18)

Providence skated against the Baby Penguins Wednesday night, opening a 3 game road trip to eastern Pennsylvania. The effort from the Bruins was said best by the Pens’ play-by-play announcer: lackadaisical. The only bright spots of the night came off the stick of Jakub Zboril, who had a strong game except for one hiccup in the second period. Through the first 18 minutes, the Providence defense sagged, allowing the Penguins to get 14 shots on goal. Fortunately, McIntyre looked to be having another brilliant game against the Penguins, while the team in front of him opened the scoring in the final minute of the first.

After a scrum in front of the net, and a clearing attempt by the Penguins, Jakub Zboril held the puck in at the blue line, and calmly aimed an ensuing booming slapshot that hit the back of the Penguins net. The Pens didn’t take long to tie the game up in the second. Almost 2 minutes in, Daniel Sprong took an outlet pass from Jena-Sebastian Dea and charged up the left-wing boards. After entering the zone, Sprong took a serpentine route around the Providence defense and threw a backhand shot-pass that snuck under the pads of McIntyre who unsuccessfully questioned if the net was dislodged. A few minutes later, Sprong found the back of the Providence net again; Kevin Czuczman sprung a high loft pass to Garrett Wilson, who centered the puck for Sprong and an easy five-hole shot past a bewildered McIntyre.

The bleeding continued a couple minutes after that as Wilke-Barre continued to pressure the Bruins. Jakub Zboril made his only gaffe of the night as he carried the puck behind the Penguins net, and went to backhand shovel pass to a teammate/ Instead, he passed directly onto the stick of a Penguin, allowing them to break up the ice. Once into the Providence zone, Sam Lafferty and Ryan Haggerty worked the puck along the right wing boards, and the latter hit a streaking Joseph Cramarossa who called for the puck in the slot and shot glove side on McIntyre.

Providence responded with a goal of their own before the period ended to bring them within one. After the Penguins cleared the puck, Jakub Zboril caught the high loft out of the zone and quickly transitioned it to teammate Colby Cave. Cave shoveled back to Zboril who took a hard hit to make another small shovel pass to Anton Blidh. The latter walked into the right-wing circle and sniped the puck short side high on Tristan Jarry. This would be the last goal Providence scored as Teddy Blueger added a goal off an assist from former Bruin Zach Trotman and teammate Adam Johnson. Jared Tinordi would hit the back of an unguarded Providence cage to secure a Penguins victory.

Providence Bruins @ Lehigh Valley Phantoms (3/30/18)

The Providence Bruins left the PPL center in Allentown, PA, after their final regular season matchup with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, with a miserable loss. Despite the return of Jordan Szwarz to the lineup, the Bruins had trouble keeping up with the speed and transition game of the briskly skating Phantoms squad. Only the brilliant goaltending of Jordan Binnington kept the score close, despite a Providence loss. Binnington fought off several quality scoring chances in the first period, however, buckled in the second. Off a faceoff win, Phil Varone won the draw to Will O’Neill who then passed from the left wing boards to the point man Greg Carey.

From the blue line, Carey fired a booming slap shot over the shoulder of Binnington less than 10 seconds after the puck had dropped. This seemed to set the tone for the second period, as the Phantoms outshot the Providence Bruins 19-1. Binnington saved 18 of 19 of those shots to keep the score close, and Providence tried to ramp up the intensity in the third period. Their comeback bid would fall short, as the Phantoms doubled their lead with less than 4 minutes in the game. The score ended 2-0 in the Phantoms favor as Providence dropped another contest in regulation.

Providence Bruins @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (3/31/18)

On their final game of the week, Providence came out with one mission: avoid going pointless in their road trip. Back in Wilkes-Barre, the visiting team took the fight to the opposition and capitalized on mistakes made by the Penguins squad. Slightly past the halfway mark of the first period, former Bruins prospect Zach Trotman was called for roughing sending the Bruins to the powerplay. Toward the end of the 2-minute man advantage, Colby Cave fed Swiss army knife forward/defenseman Sena Acolatse by the blue line. Acolatse fired a wrist shot in on Tristan Jarry in the Pens net, and Adam Payerl collected the rebound and scored to put Providence ahead by 1. Later in the first period, newcomer Trent Frederic (who had a strong game overall with several blocked shots and excellent stickhandling) received the puck by the blue line and skated in towards the slot. As he closed in on the net, the Penguins tried to poke the puck off his stick, but as the Pens Play by Play announcer declared, Frederic was “Stickhandling in a phone booth” keeping the puck moving forward.

 

Eventually, he was stripped of the puck, but Adam Payerl was nearby and shoveled the puck back to Frederic who wound up and wristed the puck blocker side on Jarry to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead. The Pens’ Jean-Sebastian Dea cut the lead in half a minute later, but Providence netminder Jordan Binnington refused to surrender any more goals. Providence had a strong second period but had to wait till the third period to extend their lead. Again on the power play, Jordan Szwarz potted his 20th, on feeds from Austin Czarnik and Tommy Cross. Ryan Fitzgerald made a bid for an empty net once Jarry was pulled in favor of an extra attacker, but his shot rang the near post as he was being hauled down by a Penguin defender. Providence went back to the powerplay, and Tristan Jarry returned to his net for the remaining seconds of the game.

Plus / Minus For The Weekend

Plus: + Jakub Zboril opened the scoring Wednesday night with an unassisted PPG; He then added an assist on the only other Providence goal of the night for the first multi-point game of his pro career.

+ Wiley Sherman made his pro debut Wednesday night.

+ The Bruins Powerplay connected 3 times this weekend, including twice on Saturday night in Wilkes-Barre.

+ Providence’s PK was a perfect 10 for 10 in PK situations.

+ Despite losing twice this week, the Bruins are still only a point behind Wilkes-Barre for 2nd in the Atlantic division. Charlotte, behind Providence at 4th place, is further from Providence than Providence is from Wilkes-Barre.

+ By virtue of points, Providence swept the Season series with Wilkes-Barre.

+ Jordan Binnington had a good weekend, allowing only 2, and 1 goals respectively in 2 back to back decisions.

Minus: – Zane McIntyre might have had the Baby Penguins number for most of this season; however he spotted them 4 goals Wednesday night for another 4 goal-against game in a row. His worst stretch came in the second period where he allowed 3 goals in a row over 6 minutes of play.

Austin Czarnik, Emil Johansson, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Colby Cave all had a rough night against Wilkes-Barre Scranton Wednesday night; all were -2.

Peter Cehlarik took a nasty hit from the Penguins’ Andrey Pedan and was sent to the room for part of a period, but did return to finish the game.

– Providence was shut out in Allentown, PA, at the PPL center against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for the second game in a row. The Bruins cannot seem to find offense in this building this season.

– Providence failed to convert on two 4 minute powerplays on Friday evening. Overall their road powerplay is a pedestrian 14.6%.

– In the second period vs. the Phantoms Friday night, Providence managed one shot-on-goal to Lehigh Valley’s 19.

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Providence Bruins Weekend Recap 3/23/18 To 3/24/18

Photo Credit:   Commercial Construction & Renovation

By: Josh B   |   Follow On Twitter @ToCauseway

Tl;Dr Recap for those who just want the stats:

3/23/18 Providence (38-21-5) vs. Lehigh Valley (42-16-8) 7:05 PM

Goalies: Zane McIntyre, 27 of 31 shots, 0.870 SV%; Dustin Tokarski, 29 of 34 shots, 0.852 SV%

Box Score w/ Scoring Summary:

PVD 5-4 OTW, Improves to (39-21-5) LV drops to (42-16-9)

3/24/18 Providence (39-21-5) vs. Lehigh Valley (42-16-9) 7:05 PM

Goalies: Jordan Binnington, 18 of 19 shots, 0.947 SV%; Anthony Stolarz, 29 of 35 shots, 0.828 SV%

Box Score w/ Scoring Summary:

PVD 6-1 Regulation W, Improves to (40-21-5) LV drops to (42-17-9)

Game Summaries:

Providence Bruins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms I 3/23/18

On the first of back to back Star Wars Nights for the Providence Bruins, the action was intense from start to finish. Zane McIntyre made his 46th start for the Boston Bruins affiliate and helped backstop his team to a much-needed win. In the first period, both teams exchanged scoring chances, including a cannon slap shot from Tommy Cross that rang iron behind Dustin Tokarski at 8:18 of the first period. At 10:07 of the first frame, the Bruins did something they have been unable to do thus far in their season by scoring first against Atlantic Division 1st place heavyweight Lehigh Valley Phantoms.Ryan Fitzgerald finished off a chance at point-blank range by dangling Tokarski out of his net after a heads-up play by Austin Czarnik along the wall and Emil Johansson at the point.

The lead would not last long unfortunately as on the powerplay Dominique Martel scooped the puck high over the shoulder of McIntyre from almost the same spot Fitgerald scored in the opposite end of the ice. After the 1st period ended tied 1-1, Colby Cave would pull the Bruins ahead again 5 minutes into the 2nd period. After a hair-raising sequence in the Providence end of the ice where Colin McDonald rang the far post on McIntyre, the Bruins transitioned well into the Lehigh Valley zone. Cave, Peter Cehlarik, and Conor Clifton played tic tac toe with the puck, and by the tie, it reached Cave for the shot, he had a yawning net to shoot at Tokarski was down in the butterfly at the opposite post as Cave.

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A couple minutes later, the Phantoms struck back. After plucking the puck out by the player benches, the puck came out to Chris Connor, who fed Tyrell Goulbourne streaking in on McIntyre alone. Zane made the initial stop on the shot, and ensuing hacks at the puck, however, Phantoms’ Corbin Knight flew in to chop a loose puck behind a sprawled McIntyre for the equalizer. Later in the second, newcomer Trent Frederic scored his first professional goal to pull the Bruins ahead a third time. After a bad intercepted Phantoms pass, Frederic and Czarnik broke two on one into the Lehigh Zone. Frederic looked poised to go cross-crease on Tokarski, but it bounced off a Phantoms’ shin pad and back to Frederic who had a window to shoot as Tokarski was moving away. In a common theme, the Phantoms tied the game right back up a few minutes later.

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With Jeremy Lauzon in the box for interference, the Phantoms took an offensive-zone draw against the Bruins. Winning the faceoff, the Phantoms cycled the puck deftly around the Bruins penalty killers, and Greg Carey found a wide-open window to shoot into the Providence net. Providence would tally one more off the stick of Josh Hennessy before the period ended, but in the third, the Phantoms Phil Varone tied it up. As the scoring opened, so did it end in overtime: Ryan Fitzgerald took a dicey pass from McIntyre who saw a lane open up into the Phantoms end of the ice. McIntyre practically threw the pass out to Fitzgerald who was motoring along the left wing boards, and as soon as the puck was on his tape, Fitzgerald flew up the ice skating coast-to-coast. Upon entering the Phantoms zone, he deked around Alex Krushelnyski in the right-wing faceoff circle and went far post on Tokarski for the OT game-winner.

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Providence Bruins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms II 3/24/18

Anthony Stolarz’ return to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms was a miserable one: in the first 4 minutes back from a rehab stint in the ECHL, he gave up 2 goals to a hungry Providence Bruins squad. After Phantoms’ Cole Bardreau committed an early holding violation that sent him to the box for 2 minutes, Providence capitalized on the man advantage. Kenny Agostino fired an initial shot, and Stolarz made a save but gave up a juicy rebound to Colby Cave waiting in the slot. Cave roofed the loose puck, popping Stolarz’ bottle in the process. Providence added insult to injury 2 minutes later. Peter Cehlarik scored his first of the night off several quick passes. Cehlarik began the passing sequence himself, feeding Cross by the point, who fired a shot in on Stolarz that rebounded out to Kenny Agostino.

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The latter passed cross-crease to a waiting Cehlarik for a quick tap-in goal, and a 2 goal lead very early in the period. In the second period, rookie Zach Senyshyn was rewarded for prior hard work with an important goal during a delayed penalty. With 6 skaters for Providence, they cycled the puck until Colby Cave fed Anton Blidh behind the Phantoms goal stripe, who made a short shot-pass out to Senyshyn in the slot for a redirection goal early in the 2nd period. Providence ended the period with Joona Koppanen’s first professional tally: Jeremy Lauzon fed Colton Hargrove who carried the puck in and below the Phantoms goal line, and Hargrove’s no-look backhand pass found Koppanen in the slot for a quick snapshot goal.

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Joona would tally another early in the third period, as Jakub Zboril carried the puck into the Phantoms zone, shoveling a pass to Colton Hargrove, who then made a cross-crease pass to Koppanen for a catch-and-release snapshot blocker side on Stolarz. Less than 5 minutes later, Lehigh Valley struck on the powerplay, but still trailed by 4 goals. Peter Cehlarik restored the Bruins’ 5 goal lead late in the final frame, off feeds from Agostino and Johansson. The Bruins thumped the Phantoms by a final score of 6-1 in front of 10,427 enthusiastic fans: the Bruins’ largest crowd this season.

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Plus / Minus

Plus: + Providence swept this weekend series with 4 of 4 points, both against Atlantic Division (2nd in the AHL) Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Till now, Providence hadn’t won a game against LV in this season. With these crucial wins, Providence can overtake WBS Penguins for 2nd in the division with wins in the coming games.

+ Providence offense exploded for 11 total goals against an opponent they had only managed 2 goals against up till now.

+ Zane McIntyre snagged an assist on Ryan Fitzgerald’s OT game-winner and stopped enough shots for his team to put the final nail in the Lehigh coffin Friday night.

+ Peter Cehlarik had his best weekend yet, with 2G, 2A for 5P total. Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril picked up an assist each Saturday night. Newcomer Joona Koppanen scored his first 2 pro goals Saturday night. Ryan Fitzgerald potted 2G (including the OT GWG Friday), Zach Senyshyn scored a goal, while Colby Cave notched 2G (one PPG) and 1A. Kenny Agostino secured 4A, while Emil Johansson earned 2A.

+ Providence suppressed the Phantoms to 5 shots in the first period Saturday night, and only 19 shots total.

Minus: – Providence surrendered 2 goals on the penalty kill (2 for 5 on the kill total.)

Providence could not hold a lead Friday night, as they would go up a goal and surrender a goal with little time between scoring and being scored on.

Zane McIntyre gave up 4 goals for the first time in months Friday night against Lehigh Valley.

3rd In points (AHL-wide) Austin Czarnik only took 2 shots total this weekend, and only managed 1 assist.

Newcomer Cameron Hughes is having a period of adjustment lately, with a -1 rating, only 2 shots this weekend, and no points. Occasionally looked lost and out of position.

Bruins David Backes Nominated For 2018 Masterton Trophy

(Photo: Bob DeChiara, USA TODAY Sports)

By: Mark Allred   |   Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Today the Professional Hockey Writers Association’s Boston Chapter announced that they’ve selected Boston Bruins forward David Backes as this year’s Masterton Trophy nominee. The 12 -year National Hockey League pro who spent a majority of his career with the St. Louis Blues organization has never won the prestigious award which is handed out annually to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey.

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The 6′-3″ 221-pound Backes has appeared in 124 games for the Bruins in two seasons with the club posting 29-37-66 numbers. In his 12-year career in total, the power forward Minnesota native has amassed 526 points (235-291-526) in 851 NHL contests. Per Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia the Masterton Trophy is named in honor of the late Bill Masterton, a Minnesota North Stars player who died on January 15, 1968, after sustaining an injury during a hockey game. During his playing career, Masterton exhibited “to a high degree the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey”. It was first awarded following the 1967–68 regular season. As of the end of the 2013–14 NHL season, players for the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens have won the trophy five times; players for the Boston Bruins have won the trophy four times, and players for the Philadelphia Flyers and Los Angeles Kings have won the trophy three times.

Also, Per Wikipedia It is named after Bill Masterton, the only player in NHL history to die as a direct result of injuries suffered during a game. The winner is selected by a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association after each team nominates one player in the competition. It is often awarded to a player who has come back from career– or even life-threatening illness or injury.

Below are previous winners of the Masterton Trophy that played for the Boston Bruins organization.

Charlie Simmer 1985-86 – Overcame serious ligament damage to his knee to score 60 points

Gord Kluzak 1989-90 – Tried to overcome severe knee injuries, but after playing two games after his tenth knee operation, he retired.

Cam Neely 1993-94 – Awarded “to recognize his valiant efforts to return to NHL action after suffering career-threatening injuries”; however, those injuries caused his retirement after the 1995–96 NHL season.

Phil Kessel 2006-07 – Missed 12 games because of testicular cancer mid-season.

Bruins Prospect Trent Frederic Records First Pro Goal

(Brighton, MA 07/07/17) #57 Trent Frederic jumps over a rope during Bruins development camp at the Warrior Ice Arena. Friday, July 7, 2017. Staff photo by John Wilcox.

By: Mark Allred   |   Follow On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Last night in a thrilling 5-4 Providence Bruins overtime victory over Atlantic Division-leading Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 2016 first-round draft selection Trent Frederic scored his first professional goal in his second American Hockey League game. The first of many goals from this talented young man from the St. Louis, Missouri area came at the 11:05 mark of the second period and was unassisted as seen in the Tweet below followed by some interesting insight from @BruinsNetwork account owner Anthony Kwetkowski.

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The top-shelf tallie is just a small sample size of what this 6′-5″ 2015-pound forward can do with only two games with the top minor-pro affiliate of the Boston Bruins. Before joining his Providence team, the now 20-year-old center chose to shorten his colligate hockey career with the University of Wisconsin Badgers after his sophomore year for the next level in the higher ranks of professional play. In 66 games playing in the NCAA Big-Ten Conference, the 29th selection from the National Hockey Leagues Entry Draft from Buffalo, New York contributed 65 points (32-33-65) under the exceptional tutelage of former NHL’er and Badgers current Head Coach Tony Granato.

Granato had this to say to Wisconsin State Journal’s Todd D. Milewski in his article on March 14, 2018, after Frederic went public with his decision to leave school and turn pro.  “Trent Frederic is 100 percent an NHL player. No question in my mind,” Granato said. “Does Boston want him to play in Providence for the remainder of this year and 40 games next year, similar to what Minnesota just did with Luke? Only they know that plan, and that plan changes fast.””Does it leave a void at center ice for us temporarily? Absolutely,” Granato said. “You take Trent Frederic out of your lineup, a guy that probably could have got 25 or 30 goals in college hockey next year, you don’t just all of a sudden find another one in your backyard.”

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Tony also mentioned the loss and value in taking a player of Frederic’s caliber out of the lineup for the 2018-19 NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey season. “Does it leave a void at center ice for us temporarily? Absolutely,” Granato said. “You take Trent Frederic out of your lineup, a guy that probably could have got 25 or 30 goals in college hockey next year, you don’t just all of a sudden find another one in your backyard.”

Many Bruins fans didn’t approve of his selection in the first-round and believed he was a reach for possibly being a mid-second-round projection, but it’s heavily rumored the Anaheim Ducks were going to select him with the 30th pick from intel gathered on that particular 2016 draft day. It was a solid pick in my opinion and continues the additions to the depth up the middle of this franchise even though the center position throughout the organization may be over-filled.

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Frederic had this to say about his departure from the Big-Ten team and movement closer to the east coast and dream of reaching the top professional league in the world. “I wish I would have won some more games and left a bigger mark on the program,” Frederic said. “That’s one of the reasons I wanted to come back. It was really hard to leave. “But I just thought in my heart, that’s where I wanted to go. I want to make the National Hockey League, and I thought this was the best opportunity for me.”

Trent had decent success at the international level appearing in the World Junior Championships with his 2016 U-18 team which captured a bronze medal contributing seven points in seven games (4-3-7) and took home another bronze medal at the 2018 U-20 WJC scoring five points in seven games. His four-goal game from this year’s tournament from Buffalo, New York can be seen below in the video provided below.

Providence first-year Head Coach Jay Leach told Providence Journal’s Bruins beat writer Mark Divver after he skated in his first pro game on March 18, 2018, against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. ‘He didn’t even skate with us (before today). He literally skated with three guys yesterday. So we just kind of threw him in. Clearly has ability. I’m excited to get him into some practices this week, so he can really get used to the way we play….

The 39-21-3-2 Providence Bruins are back in action tonight in the second straight game in as many nights against the 42-16-4-5 Lehigh Valley Phantoms at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The B’s are 1-2-0 against Lehigh Valley and in six games last season went 2-2-2-0, and both teams are seemingly going to avoid playing each other in the AHL’s Calder Cup Playoff first-round matchup when the season ends. Including tonight’s game, the Bruins have 11 regular season contests before returning to the postseason a place the B’s had decent success reaching the Eastern Conference Finals ultimately losing to the stronger Syracuse Crunch last spring.

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Providence Bruins: Introducing The New Arrivals

Photo Credit:  Last Word On Sports

By: Josh B.   |   Follow On Twitter @ToCauseway

In the calendar year, March typically signals the arrival of spring, March Madness, and most importantly, Canadian Major Junior and NCAA playoffs. Teams that have battled hard since October have their chance at immortality with names engraved on a championship trophy. Teams that do not qualify for playoff contention fade into their offseason.
As teams meet with elimination, draft prospects will occasionally depart their amateur, developmental teams for a spot in the Show, or with an NHL-affiliated farm team; more often than not, with the AHL. March 11th, 2018 was the first signing of Boston Bruins prospects out of their stockpile in the developmental leagues. Trent Frederic and Cameron Hughes turned pro after the Wisconsin Badgers season ended in Ann Arbor, MI, to Michigan State.
While Joona Koppanen was signed a year ago, on April 13, 2017, he played the first part of his new contract with his Liiga team (top Finnish league). While not a recent signing, nor amateur prospect, he is a newcomer to the “WannaBs” in Providence. More on him later.
Next, on March 20th, QMJHL St Johns Sea Dog Cedric Pare joined the Providence Bruins on an ATO, much the same as aforementioned Frederic and Hughes. The Patrice Bergeron doppelganger posted a remarkable standout season for the Sea Dogs, with 13G, 24A–37 points. The year before, he tallied only 5G, 11A—16 points. By signing an ATO, the kids are able to return to developmental leagues should their trial period reveal they need more seasoning.
Last but certainly not least is 6ft 7in Wiley Sherman. The Crimson blueliner is the only prospect mentioned drafted in the Peter Chiarelli era and is a senior at Harvard University. Much like former Bruins prospect Rob O’Gara, Sherman opted to finish his collegiate career before turning pro.

Let’s introduce you to each one in a bit more detail:

Trent Frederic

Photo Credit:   NHL.com

Trent Frederic needs no introduction. The 2016 1st round selection exploded onto the U20 WJC stage with 5 tallies for the USA team that eventually won the Bronze medal, securing the USA squad 3 consecutive medals in 3 consecutive WJC’s for the first time in history. His shot and release are first-rate, while size and strength down the middle make him an effective pivot.
Frederic was also the subject of some unwarranted controversy revolving around former Bruins director of amateur scouting Keith Gretzky. “[Frederic] is not going to be a top-two-line guy, we know that” was the quote that sparked Frederic to prove his critics wrong. Ranked outside of the top 50 players by most scouts, Frederic went on to have back to back 30 point seasons with the University of Wisconsin Badgers. In his second season, Frederic’s leadership earned him an “A” on his sweater. His quotes following the draft and Gretzky’s comments hint that he’s a prospect wise beyond his years: “I’m just kind of excited to be on the team,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter where you get picked. It’s just what you do from there.” “I guess I’ve got a little pressure [as a first-round pick], but I think I like that. So it makes me push myself harder. So it’s good.”

Cameron Hughes

Photo Credit:  NHL.com

Cameron Hughes has the distinction of being the only draft selection already attending college when his name was called. The 2015 6th round selection has flown under the radar of most Bruins fans since the selection (development camps notwithstanding). 6’- 0”, 183lb Hughes most recently wore the “C” on his sweater for the 2017-2018 Badger campaign and has recorded 13pt, 25pt, 32pt, and 22pt seasons for Wisconsin beginning with his freshman year. He is described as a “skilled pivot with soft hands.” “Hughes needs to take a step forward with both his offensive output and his defensive play before he’ll get a look at the NHL level.”[3] As of today, Hughes has already contributed an assist at the professional level, during a 4-1 thumping of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on March 18th, 2017.

Joona Koppanen

Photo Credit:  Finnish Junior Hockey @FINjrhockey

Originally signed in 2017, the Finnish pivot spent the first part of his 3-year ELC with the Tampereen Ilves of the Finnish Liiga. Koppanen is tall, and somewhat lanky, standing 6’-5”, and 192lb. He was drafted in 2016, 6th round (135th overall) by the Bruins from the Jr. A SM-liiga, the top Finnish junior league. Koppanen also appeared in the same WJC tournament Frederic appeared in, where Joona contributed with 3G, 1A. His point production over the past 3 years has been slightly varied, with 57 in 2014-2015, and then 26, 54, and 14 in each of the following years respectively. Eliteprospects has him listed as “on loan” to the AHL, so his appearance in Providence might be a trial run for next year.[4]
Koppanen has the size to be an effective pivot and will gain the strength over time. His 2016-2017 campaign impressed, with a 1.42 points per game pace, and a final total of 57 in 38 games. His reach and defensive prowess are his strengths. However, he only has an “average” shot.[5] He has the reach and hockey IQ to make a solid role-playing NHL depth forward, but while his development league numbers were impressive, once he made it to the Finnish “major” leagues, his point production dipped. Like his upside, but I’m guardedly optimistic about his future.

Cedric Pare

Photo Credit: Grandstand sports Network

The lone representative from the Canadian Major Junior league (CHL), Pare must have been inspired after the Bruins selected him in the 6th round of the 2017 draft (163rd overall). After a pedestrian 5G, 11A season in the QMJHL 2016-2017, Pare more than doubled up both columns to the tune of 13G, 24A in 2017-2018. The Bruins love their big, strong-bodied centers, and French-Canadian Pare is no exception at 6’-3”, 205lb. In a continuation of a theme, the 19-year-old was signed first to an ATO, with his ELC kicking in next year. I’m excepting to see him in the Providence lineup in the remaining weekends this season.
Pare has excellent reach, and coupled with a strong frame, has been extremely effective at the dot for his QMJHL club. In his draft and draft+1 year, his faceoff% was over 50% consistently. The Bruins Brass acknowledged he is a “project” especially in the skating department, but at least till now, his excellent vision and play away from the puck has more than made up for it. He could shape into an energy or role-playing forward or more, depending on his developmental trajectory.

Wiley Sherman

Photo Credit:  Trifecta Network Sports

Playing alongside 2014 draft pick Ryan Donato, 6′-7” Wiley Sherman is set to graduate from Harvard and to the world of professional hockey. Sherman is the only prospect on this list from the Peter Chiarelli era, drafted in 2013 5th round (150th overall). Both he and Donato have won the NCAA NCAC championship twice: 2014/15 and 2016/17 respectively. If you’ve attended any of the development camps over the past 4 years, Sherman has been impossible to miss with his incredible size, and the best reach out of the newcomers to Providence. His point totals while at Harvard are low, but Sherman plays a shutdown defensive-defenseman role that doesn’t lend itself to showing up on the score sheet. His skating is fluid and effective for a 6’-7” beast, and with his huge wingspan, can gap opponents very well. Sherman is by no means a flashy player, but more of a blue-collar workman.