AHL Bruins Forward Gaunce Suffers Head Injury Against Laval

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / ProvidenceBruins.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Providence Bruins forward Brendan Gaunce was taken off the ice on a stretcher tonight as his American Hockey League club is played the Laval Rocket on the road in the second game in three nights. The video below from Twitter account Scott Matla, Rocket Forward Michael McCarron plants an open-ice hit on Gaunce at the 14:50 mark of the first period. There was no penalty on the play. Per source in Laval, Quebec the 25-year-old Gaunce suffered a severe concussion and broken nose.

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This isn’t the first time this week that McCarron has been involved with contact to the head as Providence forward Peter Cehlarik was the subject of a McCarron hit on Wednesday night when these two clubs faced each other for the first time this season and the first game of the current four-game road trip. RinksideRhodeIsland.com reporter Mark Divver mentioned below that the AHL Bruins team could ask the league for a review which could result in the league also looking into Wednesday nights infraction that had Cehlarik playing the rest of the game with a protective cage as seen in the image above courtesy of the Providence Bruins official website.

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Report: Bruins Assign Forward Koppanen To ECHL Atlanta

( Photo Credit: Finnish Junior Hockey @FINjrhockey )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Per RinksideRhodeIsland.com reporter Mark Divver and the AHL.com’s website transactions page, the Boston Bruins have assigned forward Joona Koppanen to the ECHL Atlanta Gladiators. The 21-year-old 6′-5″ 195-pound forward has only appeared in one game this season for the NHL Bruins top minor-pro affiliate Providence Bruins registering zero points and in Mark’s tweet below was in rotation for fourth-line centering duties where he was obviously overpassed by players earning more time.

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Koppanen, a Finnish born left shooting forward, has the ability to be a big presence either up the middle or on the left side but hasn’t exactly brought it offensively to the American Hockey League. Joona was selected in the fifth round of the 2016 National Hockey League Entry Draft and spent some time developing his skillset back home after being selected in the draft from Buffalo, New York. He spent two full seasons playing for the IIves organization with one season in the Jr. A SM-liiga and his second year in the higher Liiga Pro League. With the junior club, he posted 23-31-54 in 38 games playing with talent around his own age, but when he moved up to the pro league netted 2-12-14 numbers in 45 games. He left his llves club after his contract expired and joined the Providence Bruins team at the end of their 2017-18 campaign appearing in ten games and posting 2-0-2 numbers.

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Joona’s no stranger to the ECHL Atlanta club as he started the 2018-19 season appearing in seven games where he and former Boston Bruins prospect Jesse Gabrielle were assigned. Joona would eventually get the call back up to Providence after a one-point stint with the Gladiators and finished the season with 2-0-2 totals in 45 games in the higher AHL. As mentioned in Mark Divver’s Tweet above, this is a sold move to keep him game time fresh and paraphrasing here but could be given a bigger role with top 12 minutes that he might need to find a spark offensively. You have to learn to crawl before you walk, so if he gets on a roll and works hard, there’s no reason he couldn’t return to PVD after point streaking in the Coast.

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Check out the new Black N’ Gold Prospect Podcast episode 002 that we recorded on 10-8-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Providence Bruins Opening Weekend Recap

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins started the 2019-20 regular season on a positive note with victories over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (3-0 Shutout) and Hershey Bears (2-1 In Overtime) both on the road. Over the weekend, the top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins held it’s annual Opening Weekend festivities with two games at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

Before I recap the first two regular-season games from the Dunk over the weekend, I’d like to take a moment to share some incredible news. Our Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast, and blackngoldhockey.com website has been granted full season press credentials from the AHL’s Providence Bruins organization. This is a tremendous opportunity for our team of 15+ Bruins writers and a group of podcasters. Acceptance from a professional organization is pure motivation to increase our prospects coverage as a team, but it also opens doors to others that want to get involved with special access. If you live in the Providence area or willing to travel there regularly, please send a cover letter to blackngoldhockeyblog@gmail.com with a sample of your writings to join our team.

Saturday, October 12th, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Rochester Americans (Home)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The first home game of the season was a much-anticipated one for the hometown Providence fans, which had a decent crowd on hand for the mid-weekend tilt. The first period was lackluster at most as the Bruins seemed to be skating in cement, trying to fight there way through the heavily tilted Rochester ice. The first period ended with the Americans leading 1-0 and leading in the shots department 14-6.

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It didn’t take long for the hometown Bruins to get on the board in the second period as AHL rookie forward Jakub Lauko notched his first professional goal at the 4:36 mark assisted by a pair of B’s defensemen in Urho Vaakanainen and Alex Petrovic. Exactly two minutes later forward Anders Bjork scored his second goal of the season on the power-play assisted by Vaakanainen and Cameron Hughes, who’s been outstanding to start the year even though his face got mashed by a skate in an NHL Bruins preseason game. Almost a minute after the Bjork goal on the man advantage, the Rochester club tied the game at two at the 7:40 mark of the second, and the score remained the same until the end of the period. The Bruins led that period in shots with an 11-8 advantage and started to be more competitive other than the first frame where they had troubles completing passes and struggled in defensive zone exits.

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Both teams entered the third and final frame of the contest tied at two apiece, and after a second period that saw some physicality and a little bit of hatred for one another, both teams battled until the final moments with positive results at least for the hometown Providence crowd. With 57 seconds remaining in the game Bruins forward, Oskar Steen broke the 2-2 deadlock scoring his first professional goal assisted by forward Ryan Fitzgerald and defenseman Jeremy Lauzon.

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New goaltender Maxime Lagace was in goal against the Amerks and stopped 30 of 32 shots for his second win in the early season. Lagace is 2-0-0 so far in 2019-20 with a 3-0 shutout in his first game and currently has a 1.00 goals-against-average and .967 save percentage. Maxime is the fifth-ranked goaltender in the AHL thus far and has looked sensational since being a sneaky free agent steal when he signed over the summer offseason.

In this game, Rochester led the way in shot totals with a 32-30 advantage. Special teams for both sides had the visiting Americans going 1/2 on the power-play while the home Bruins went 1/5. Forward Cameron Hughes and newcomer Josiah Didier had team-highs with four shots apiece. On this night, 9,722 faithful fans were in attendance at the Dunk for game one of Opening Weekend.

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Sunday, October 13th, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (Home)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The second leg of the Providence Bruins Opening Weekend games didn’t exactly live up to Saturday night’s heroics as the cross-state Atlantic Division rival  Springfield Thunderbirds came to play. Much like Saturday nights game, the first-period scoring had the visiting Thunderbirds up 1-0 after the opening frame, but this time the B’s were the ones doing the outshooting in this particular period having a 13-3 advantage.

Down 1-0 in the middle frame, the Bruins only needed 20 seconds to tie the game at one apiece with a power-play goal from forward Peter Cehlarik, who scored his first of the year assisted by Anders Bjork and Cooper Zech. The 24-year-old Cehlarik who slipped through the wavier wire on his way down from his time at the NHL Bruins training camp got injured shortly after his arrival in Providence, and this was his first game back in action which he didn’t disappoint. The B’s would once again give up the lead to Springfield on the man advantage at the 7:37 mark of the second period and again at 15:59 on the power-play to end the middle frame for the Thunderbirds and their 3-1 lead. The Hometown Providence club had 13 penalty minutes vs. the seven that Springfield had. Both teams were showing signs of frustration for each other, and this will continue no doubt with both clubs facing each other 11 more times in the 2019-20 regular season.

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In the third period, the Bruins seemingly took matters into their own hands, tilting the ice to stay in this game, and Providence Head Coach Jay Leach relied heavily on his veteran core for heavy minutes and a grind’em down style. In this final period, the Bruins club showed impressive signs of diligence staying out of the penalty box for the entire period, but the Thunderbirds got to a commanding 4-1 lead with a shorthanded goal at the 11:51 mark. Providence forward Anders Bjork scored his second goal of the weekend (3rd Of Season) assisted by forward Jack Studnicka and forward Paul Carey at 14:47 of the final frame as the B’s were pushing hard to at least tie the contest. The last desperation effort just wasn’t enough as the Thunderbirds added another at the 17:54 mark capping off the 5-2 road victory for their second win of the season.

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Providence goaltender Dan Vladar took the loss in this one stopping 23 of 28 shots giving him a season record of 1-1 with a 2.91 GAA and .880 Save%. I thought Vladar showed signs of greatness with some exceptional saves, especially down low with his big frame but also was left out to dry with defensemen and backchecking forward missing assignments. This is not all on his teammates as he’s a work in progress and has to keep working hard to correct those small mishaps.

Some positive mentions in this lopsided loss for the Bruins. Anders Bjork was the only “plus” player in this game with a +1 and five shots to accompany his two-point afternoon. Forward Cameron Hughes also had five shots in the contest giving him 10 shots on goal in his last four games, one behind Bruins leader Bjork with 11 on goal.

To finish, I once again have to mention our Black N’ Gold writing team on the threshold crossing achievement this season with press access. This is a huge step for us and looking forward to the challenge of bringing you the readers our opinions and insight of this Providence Bruins team. Please give fellow BNG team members below a follow as they’re truly the ones that make this Bruins related platform happen, and without them, this couldn’t continue. Thanks, to everyone for the continued support and hope you all enjoy the content from all levels of the NHL’s Boston Bruins organization throughout this 2019-20 season.

BNG Team Members To Follow For B’s Coverage From The NHL Down To The Prospects Playing Worldwide: Thomas Nystrom ,  Mike Cratty , Max MainvilleEvan Michael , Garrett HaydonLiz St. PierrePatrick DonnellyTim RichardsonYanni Latzanakis , Joe Chrzanowski , Lucas PearsonScott DelanoJamara Wakefield

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Prospect Podcast episode 002 that we recorded on 10-8-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

Bruins Prospect Keyser Reassigned To ECHL Atlanta

( Photo Credit: Michael Penhollow / Boston Bruins )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

When the Boston Bruins signed free agent goaltender Maxime Lagace in early July of 2019, the speculation immediately gained traction on what the netminding tandem will look like in Providence for the 2019-20 American Hockey League campaign.  Many thought it was a good idea to roll with a three-headed monster in goal, but honestly, when it comes to development in the crease, playing time is of the utmost importance.

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As seen above from a tweet I sent out two days ago after hearing this Bruins related news come across my desk from a very trusted source, the National Hockey League Bruins have in fact reassigned netminder Kyle Keyser to the B’s “AA” minor-pro affiliate wth the Atlanta Gladiators per the official AHL websites leagues transactions page and below tweet from longtime Providence Bruins writer Mark Divver who also shared the news this morning.

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While Keyser is a fantastic goaltending prospect and seems to be highly regarded as the NHL Bruins next one in the near future, this demotion to Atlanta is not a knock on his talent and skills but a path that might be commonly used especially with the bottleneck in the AHL. As many of you know, goaltender Dan Vladar was selected in the third round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, and after playing a full season in the United States Hockey League with the Chicago Steel, the Bruins had him start his pro career in Atlanta.

At least to start the 2019-20 AHL Providence year, the netminding tandem will be Maxime Lagace and Dan Vladar. The 26-year-old Lagace takes over for the departed Zane McIntyre, who signed a deal to join the Vancouver Canucks organization over the 2019 summer offseason. Lagace will provide veteran leadership to the younger Vladar, who’s currently in year three and last of his entry-level contract. Vladar is set to be a restricted free agent at the end of the upcoming hockey season.

This is a solid move for the Bruins moving forward. All goaltenders will get their share of time in the crease, and who knows if Keyser actually stays in Atlanta for the whole season. From the trusted source that I mentioned above, the Bruins are going to give the ball to Vladar and let him run with it at the AHL level. I’m hearing that leash is short as he didn’t exactly have the greatest rookies season with Providence last year but did show signs that he’s getting it. I was told that placing Vladar in the ECHL where he started his pro career could mess with his head when it comes to confidence, and if he proves he can handle splitting duties with Lagace, then the B’s will keep the same tandem at the AHL level.

If, by any chance Vladar slips and cannot get a handle of his duties in his sophomore year in the AHL, he could lose that position and be demoted to Atlanta to figure out his game and give the call to Keyser who could be ready for his first AHL regular-season action. Regardless of who plays where and at what level of developmental hockey, the NHL Boston Bruins are prepared to act on any scenario when needed. If something happens up at the NHL level in the crease, Lagace will most likely get that call, and the shift upward in the goaltending system will happen and the same when all are healthy and returned to their respected teams and minor-pro systems.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Prospects Podcast episode 1 that we recorded on 10-3-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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New Multi-Rink Facility In Amesbury Set To Break Ground

( Photo Credit: TownMapsUSA.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

After many attempts to break ground over the past year and a half, Global Property Developers Inc. Project Manager Michael Gorman and his team can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Gorman and investors are planning a groundbreaking event for September 26th and to usher in the construction of one of the nations top developmental training facilities. My hometown of Amesbury, Massachusetts is finally getting a rink of its own after a 40+ year absence having players in the area seeking ice at the nearby Graf Rink in Newburyport, Massachusetts and most recently the Valley Forum 11 miles away in Haverhill, Mass.

This new state of the art $70M facility that is coming to Amesbury will house six rinks in its 410,000-square-foot building located alongside Interstate 495 on South Hunt Road. I believe having an in-house facility of this nature in the area it’ll create more local interest and proper avenues for continued development when it comes to the game and potential “pro ambitions” from younger players. Amesbury hasn’t had a rink in the city since the early 1980s and a few new sheets, in my opinion, could put this area back on the map when it comes to the evaluation and training of tomorrows stars and with that recipe is the Field of Dreams notion that could very well happen.

( Photo Credit: The Daily News of Newburyport )

Developing properly and strong lines of training continue to happen today with the fantastic members of the Amesbury Youth Hockey program, but it was at a whole new level starting in the early 1920s to the present day. The Amesbury Maples was once known as one of the best semi-pro / amateur teams in the country. Even though they had a great all-time record and traveled throughout the Northeast as an organization often, their biggest claim to fame believe it or not was continued development. The Amesbury Maples prided themselves on taking what you learned and be there for the next generation when those in the community needed guidance and structure.

From former Maples players such as Albie Roy, Alphonse Picard, Fred Fournier, Leo Dupre,  and George Dodier, this is a small mention of a casting crew that spent a tremendous amount of time giving back to the younger generation. For decades so many, I wish I could mention helped produce some very good hockey players with some dabbling in the minor-pro levels to some having a chance to represent their country during the Winter Olympic times.

Speaking of former Amesbury Maples greats,  Paul “Desi” Desautels and Albie Roy along with other great former Amesbury High School athletes will be inducted into the Hall of Fame so there are two exceptional events happening later this month on the same day. Mr. Roy wasn’t only a fantastic all-around athlete, but the leading cog during his Maple hockey career dedicating even more time to the community as a creator of the high school program. This Hall of Fame event on 9/26/19 will be held at the Amesbury High Auditorium and is free to the public.

Mr. Gorman has been a class act throughout this process and has always brought the idea of history and honoring those who played in this city since the beginnings of the project in 2016. Remembering the Maples has always been important for him and crew, but in yesterday’s Newburyport Daily News article he paid the ultimate respect to those former players by renaming the facility from the former Atlantic Sports Center to the new Maples Crossing name as seen in the image below.

In the above mentioned Daily News article by James Sullivan on September 3rd, 2019, Gorman mentioned how important remembering the area’s history by saying….

“We are anxious to celebrate this next part of our project, which is monumental to us,” Gorman said. “We have worked very hard to get to this point and it is a big deal for us to see this on the horizon. It is also a big deal to us to know that we are on the cusp of physically getting this project built.”

“This is our home now,” Gorman said. “We wanted a name that we could proudly display that wasn’t just about us but about the community. The name we had was good enough to get us to today but we felt we needed something more dynamic in terms of its meaning and its visual. We feel we have accomplished that in a way that hopefully the people of Amesbury will embrace and be proud of.”

Amesbury Youth Hockey board member and co-chair of fundraising Heather Ingerson said last night when I reached out to her after the recent news. “ This facility will lead to so many avenues for our youth league to grow and be a part of continuing the rich hockey history of our community.”  Ingerson also added, “ From the first steps of learning to skate through high school, I know the kids and parents are excited to have ice time and expanded training opportunities right here at home.”

( Photo Credit: amesburyma.gov )

Now I know some reading this are saying that six rinks are overkill and pointless, but you really have to be in the know and understand the vision that this group has on and off the ice. With developmental hockey at the top of the mission, these folks have the potential to house music events, indoor lacrosse, and other non-related recreational functions. The biggest attraction from my dealings with Mr. Gorman besides the history factor has been the need for another multi-rink facility to take advantage of tournaments that will be a huge spectators draw. With I-95 and I-495 so close, travelers will also see what Amesbury has to offer with it’s growing downtown area and excellent bars and restaurants.

This facility could also be great for adults either getting in the game or a veteran beer leaguer. I’m sure a mega-plex like this will have openings for adult lessons and leagues but also a place to go and have a great meal and some competitive hockey. Rumor has it the project managers have applied for four liquor licenses, so no matter where folks go either up on the hill or to the downtown area and attraction to come here and spend money works for both sides. I’ve heard some concern from Amesbury’s downtown business owners about being concerned with what direction the foot traffic is going and to that rumored back and forth, all I can say is just work together and think about the common goal here. We’re still one community that benefits from each other.

This is an exciting moment and can’t wait to report on all the news that I get and provide updates of the site’s construction, so stay tuned. Anyways, thanks for reading and be on the lookout for more Maples related articles in the near future.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 143 that we recorded on 9-2-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Allred: Top-10 Bruins Prospects

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

As a diehard Boston Bruins fan, I also pay close attention to the organization’s prospects in the American Hockey League with the Providence Bruins and lower levels of developmental hockey around the world. I believe it’s important for B’s fans to not only be up to date with what’s going on with the National Hockey League team in Boston but also who’s standing out in the prospect pool and about to cross the threshold of future NHL professional careers.

These top-ten ranking below are my thoughts on where I see these prospects in the B’s developing depth with minimal if no games in the NHL. This was a great idea from our Senior writer Mike Cratty who came to our writing team of 17 members for that offseason content and to keep the B’s conversation going. Check out the two previous prospect ranking articles from Mike Cratty HERE, and writer Lucas Pearson’s rankings Here to see the difference in opinions when it comes to this offseason topic. Without further ado, here are my Top-10 Boston Bruins Prospect Rankings.

10) Jakub Zboril

( Photo Credit: ProvidenceBruins.com )

Sometimes first-round NHL drafted players don’t get to the highest level in the world after leaving the draft podium, but with NHL contracted players ahead of Zboril it gives time to properly develop. The now 22-year-old two-way defenseman has one-year remaining on his current entry-level contract before becoming a restricted free agent. Jakub will most likely spend another season with the Providence Bruins where he’s played in 124 career games posting 8-30-38 numbers. In two career NHL games during his callups from the AHL, Zboril went pointless but did get a taste of the NHL which could drive him to seriously compete for a spot at training camp in September.

9) Zach Senyshyn

( Photo Credit: ProvidenceBruins.com )

Another young player with tremendous upside when he was selected in the first round in 2015 along with the aforementioned Zboril. In my opinion, Senyshyn has the attributes to be an NHL’er, but the pipeline ahead of him hasn’t been easy to crack the code to be a regular. With one-year remaining on his entry-level deal Zach is going to have to work harder than ever to get the attention of the Bruins brass high above to address a serious need on the right side of the B’s forward core.

In 132 career AHL games with Providence, the 22-year-old has 26-24-50 numbers and in two games during the 2018-19 campaign got his first career NHL goal when he was called up and played in a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild. I can see Senyshyn playing a majority of next year in Providence, but he could also get more looks during this upcoming 2019-20 NHL season.

8) Jeremy Lauzon

( Photo Credit: ProvidenceBruins.com )

Jeremy is another prospect that is being hindered by the bottlenecking factor of this Bruins organization, especially for a depth defenseman. Lauzon is on the last year of his entry-level deal and overly not sure of his NHL timeline with the core ahead of him. I’d expect he’s going to have a solid camp and will impress those who are constructing a winner in the next regular season campaign but another season in Providence developing is what I see in my crystal ball. Lauzon did play in 16 games at the NHL level during the 2018-19 season and thought he played well earning his first and only NHL goal in that timeframe. With Providence appearing in 81 games the former 2015 second-round selection posted 2-12-14 numbers in his career thus far in the AHL.

7) Trent Frederic

( Photo Credit: Team Shred Photography )

By far, one of my favorite prospects in the Bruins system. Frederic has speed and creativity, but above all, he plays with that edge that can get him into the NHL Bruins lineup no matter what forward line. He has good speed with or without the puck, and his strength in the faceoff circle is another tremendous attribute when winning draws in critical situations.

The 2018-19 season was Frederics first full season of AHL hockey and as a rookie in the league contributed offensively with 14-11-25 numbers. I still believe that Trent’s game can only get better with his time developing in Providence but did have a few good looks in his first career NHL games in the 2018-19 season where he spent 15 games with the Boston club failing to register a point.  Frederic is another big kid with serious upside as a 21-year-old and can definitely see his offensive numbers getting better with the upcoming season with two more full seasons under his current entry-level contract.

6) Kyle Keyser

( Photo Credit: TheAHL.com / NBCSports.com )

Signed to an entry-level contract as an undrafted free agent back in October of 2017 after losing former Bruins prospect netminder Malcolm Subban via the waiver process to the Vegas Golden Knights. Since Keyser’s addition to the future plans of the Bruins crease, the Coral Springs, Florida native has really impressed me and continues to pass other goaltending prospects that were drafted in previous years.

Keyser is a 20-year-old netminder who’s eligible for the AHL action in the upcoming season. With Zane McIntyre out of the picture and the Bruins signing Maxime Legace to a one-year deal to add to the netminding depth there are rumors he could start his minor-pro career in the ECHL. The AHL full time is not out of the realm depending on what the B’s want to do with goaltender Dan Vladar. Kyle had a career year last season playing for the OHL’s Oshawa Generals where he tied his career-high in games played with 47 and a record of 32-8-0 with a 2.45 goals-against-average and .915 save percentage.

5) Axel Andersson

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

One of the more intriguing defensive prospects, in my opinion.  Drafted in the second round in 2018, Andersson was quickly signed to an entry-level contract after the close of the teams annual Development Camp. The 6′-0″ 180-pound defenseman has impeccable skating abilities along with impressive edge work. He has a high hockey IQ and the ability to snap tape to tape stretch passes for quick transition offensively.

Andersson is not a point-producing blueliner, but that part of his game could be incorporated with his time in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the Moncton Wildcats a team who selected him in the 2019 CHL Import Draft where he went 30th overall in the first round. From the folks I talk to in the Moncton, New Brunswick Canada area is that he’s going to be heavily relied on the backend and could see top-line minutes in all situations.

4) Jakub Lauko

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

Probably one of the most exciting prospects when it comes to raw talent. Lauko’s speed and puck control in full speed has been a pleasure to watch in his first development camp and his games in the “Q” with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. After he was selected in the third round of the 2018 NHL draft, he joined the Huskies club a year later as the Rouyn-Noranda club had his rights from drafting him in the CHL import draft. Lauko and the Huskies would go onto have one of the best seasons known to be with the team being the best in the QMJHL during the regular season, capturing the Presidents Trophy in the playoffs, and marching into Halifax, Nova Scotia to take home the Memorial Cup,

In 44 games for the Huskies, Lauko contributed with 21-20-41 numbers and 6-7-13 totals in the postseason. He’s definitely a work in progress and will be in the pro ranks soon enough, but I’m a firm believer in properly developing players and could see him back with the Huskies for the upcoming 2019-20 season. The AHL is another possibility but like I said another solid year in the QMJHL defending the outstanding President Trophy and Memorial Cup-winning year wouldn’t be a bad idea.

3) John Beecher

( Photo Credit: by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images )

Beecher is a 2019 first-round draft pick that has intimidating size and speed for an 18-year-old that’s about to start his NCAA hockey career at the University of Michigan in the fall of 2019. With players like Studnicka, Lauko, and Keyser excused from the 2019 Bruins Development Camp festivities, Beecher had the spotlight on him as the new kind in the system. His power forward mentality and creativity for a bigger player has been something to watch that’s for sure. His tremendous upside was on full display in the 2019 World Junior Summer Showcase held in Plymouth, Michigan where he was in the top-six of the tournament scoring for earning 4-1-5 numbers in five games played.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what this type of player he becomes at Michigan in his first year of collegiate hockey. If he can earn five points in five games on a team highlighted with names like Cole Caufield, Arthur Kaliyev, and Joel Farabee, the young Beecher could see an increased role with the NCAA Wolverines in a top-six powerhouse role under the tutelage of Head Coach Melvin Pearson and play with fellow B’s prospect Jack Becker.

2) Urho Vaakanainen

( Photo Credit: NBC Sports )

If any prospect defenseman is ready to cross the threshold of a long NHL Bruins career, it’s former first-rounder Vaakanainen. Due to an unfortunate head injury to start the 2018-19 NHL regular season, Urho would come back to the game later after recovering from a concussion to play the remaining games of the year with the Providence Bruins. The 20-year-old Vaakanainen started his pro career with Providence and was called up in October of 2018 due to injuries at the NHL level.

After only two NHL games and zero points, Urho suffered a concussion and didn’t return to the game for two months. When he did return to the game, he was placed in Providence where he played the remainder of the 2018-19 AHL season. Vaakanainen’s return would be in mid-January of 2019 and in 30 games to close the regular season Urho posted 4-10-14 numbers. As mentioned above a few times, current NHL contracts in Boston could hinder Vaakanainen from an NHL return for the upcoming season but the rumors of B’s defenseman going on the LTIR to start the year, Urho could easily make a return to the NHL lineup without a doubt.

Jack Studnicka

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

Drafted in the second round of the 2017 NHL Draft, Studnicka has worked extremely hard the last couple of seasons trying to make the NHL out of training camp. This year he could very well be in the mix for a forward position, but with the current depth up the middle, jack very well could see time on the wing if needed. The 6′-1″ 172-pound natural center has spent the last four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League and last season posting 12-22-34 numbers in 30 games for the Oshawa Generals before being shipped to the Niagara Icedogs via trade where he posted 24-25-49 numbers in 30 games played.

Between Oshawa where Captain Jack played three seasons prior and Niagara for a 30 game stint, Studnicka had his best offensive numbers posting 36-47-83 totals for his best OHL career season surpassing his previous career-high of 72 points in the 2017-18 campaign. As a person that like to see Bruins prospects properly develop, I’d like to see Studnicka play at least a full season in the AHL because if the B’s organization is seriously considering moving him to a wing position, he should learn that transition in Providence with what’s looking like a very impressive lineup for the upcoming season.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 139 that we recorded on 8-2-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Sticher.

Report: Bruins Invite Sherbrooke Phoenix Winger To Rookie Camp

( Photo Credit: Phoenix De Sherbrooke / PublicationSports )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

There’s a report out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League that Sherbrooke, Quebec native Alex-Olivier Voyer has been invited to participate in the 2019 Boston Bruins rookie camp. An invite like this is a great way for a young player to get looks from Bruins management if additions are needed at the minor-pro levels. This audition is also a chance to see Voyer in games action as he’ll most likely have a roster spot for the upcoming rookie camp festivities this fall. Rookie camp starts on Thursday, September 5th  at the Warrior Ice Arena and shortly after these invites and Bruins prospects will spend the rest of rookie camp at the annual Prospects Challenge Round-Robin Tournament held at the Harborcenter in Buffalo, New York starting on Friday, September 6th.

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The 20-year-old right-winger played in 68 games for his hometown Sherbrooke Phoenix club having a career year in 2018-19 posting 29-29-58 numbers in his first season with the Phoenix since being traded to his birth city. The four-year QMJHL veteran was drafted by the Rimouski Oceanic in the first round of the league’s entry draft where he was selected 15th overall in the first round. Voyer played his first three seasons of his “Q” career with Rimouski posting 22-35-57 numbers in 158 games before the June 1st trade that sent him packing for home.

Olivier-Voyer is a big rugged forward that is listed at 6′-2″ 192-pounds per EliteProspects.com and in his complete QMJHL career has posted 51-64-115 numbers in 226 games. If he does well and impresses the Bruins brass, he could very well get an invite to the American Hockey League Providence Bruins training camp set to kick off as soon as the B’s National Hockey League camp is over.

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Report: Bruins Prospect Looking To Terminate KHL Contract

( Photo Credit: KHL )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Rumor out of the Russian Kontinental Hockey League is Boston Bruins prospect Pavel Shen is eager to terminate his current contract with his Salavat Yulaev Ufa club. The 6′-1″ 183-pound Russian native played 20 games in the highest hockey league in Russia notching one assist. He also spent time in the lower levels of professional developmental hockey during the 2018-19 campaign with the VHL’s Toros Neftekamsk where he recorded two assists in 13 games and in the MHL with the Tolpar Ufa club posting one assist in five games played.

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Shen was selected in the seventh round ( 212th overall) of the 2018 National Hockey League Entry Draft from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. This was the first Russian prospect selected by the Bruins club since the days of Alexander Khokhlachev when the forward was selected in the second round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The 2019 NHL Draft also was the second year in a row that the B’s selected a Russian player when they took defenseman Roman Bychkov in the fifth round.

The now 19-year-old Shen was the 32nd-ranked European Skater per the NHL’s Central Scouting final ranking in the spring of 2018. Pavel is a highly-skilled forward that has a strong competitive edge and doesn’t back down when it comes to puck battles or standing up for himself. His speed and scoring ability have been great to watch during film sessions or the last two years he’s been at the Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Massachusetts for the annual Bruins Development Camps. His speed is one of his best attributes and in my opinion, right he possesses a nasty NHL type release.

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Although Shen was a later round pick, his ability to make and read a play in tight coverage is another attribute I enjoyed watching as he has a knack of getting to the net and frustrate defenders with his stop on a dime and acceleration with a powerful stride after that. Just the way he skates from east to west is impressive, and his head and shoulder movements tend to have those attacking him either with a body check or getting the puck away from him have them fooled or heading in the opposite direction.

It sounds like the NHL Bruins are interested in signing the crafty forward to a three-year, entry-level contract to get him over to the bigger ice sheets in North America to learn the tighter defensive game as he continues to develop. I would expect this signing could land him in the American Hockey League with the NHL Bruins top minor-pro affiliate the Providence Bruins at least for the duration of his potential ELC deal. If he is in fact placed in the AHL with Providence, he’ll be joining a potentially lethal prospect list regardless of NHL prospect Rankings lately, or Bruins fans displeasure of how this NHL franchise has been drafting lately.

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If he goes to the AHL club in the state of Rhode Island, his addition will complement nicely alongside fellow Bruins prospects Jack Studnicka, Trent Frederic, Zach Senyshyn, Oskar Steen, and Anders Bjork. Now, it remains to be seen if any of these players mentioned besides Shen make the NHL roster but in my opinion, a full season of development is never a bad idea.

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A Look Back: Bruins Prospect Frederic Notches 1st Pro Hatty

( Photo Credit: Circling The Wagon / Team Shred Photography )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twiter @BlackAndGold277

As a huge Boston Bruins prospect guy, I was looking at some of the B’s talent at the developmental levels particularly at the American Hockey League with the Providence Bruins during the 2018-19 regular season campaign. Looking at first-year American Hockey League pro and B’s 2016 first-round selection Trent Frederic and his best game offensively in April of 2019 when he notched three in a 5-3 road victory against boarding state rival Springfield Thunderbirds.

Frederic’s three goals all came in the second period from the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts and was a courageous effort to really put the team on his shoulders to get a victory over a birds team they see 12 times a year.  Frederic had a solid year learning the pro level rigors from Providence Head Coach Jay Leach and Assistant Trent Whitfield, and although didn’t have explosive numbers offensively with 14-11-25 numbers in 55 career games, his impact on the ice certainly overshadows his lack of finishing with point production, but that’s a work in progress nonetheless.

Below Is Frederic’s first career Pro Hat Trick and please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey Youtube channel!  We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE For Link To Our Youtube Channel

Also, give a listen to the latest Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast that was recorded on June 26th with longtime friend and Bruins diehard Heather Ingerson! We have episode 135 planned for the weekend after the American 4th of July so stay tuned for that as we update you on the recent NHL Bruins free agent signings.

Amesbury Maples Legend Series: Games At The Old Boston Garden

( Photo Credit: Facebook Page / Google Search )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The Amesbury Maples hockey team established themselves as an organization during the 1924-25 winter season. Playing their games locally in shop leagues driven by the automotive industry alongside the many waterways in Amesbury, Massachusetts, the Maples club dominated the area and quickly got known as a team to be reckoned with. The first four years of the Maples was they’re coming out party as the team gained local popularity which in turn sparked media attention with newspaper publications and praise of the team’s efforts.

By the 1930-31 season, the Maples were heavily known as one of the best amateur/semi-pro teams in New England. Many club teams from afar heard how talented this team was that wore the Kelly Green and White and often welcomed those teams to Amesbury or travel to play at the challenger’s sheet of ice often returning home with a victory.  No matter how far the Maples had to go to find games due to unseasonably warm winters or the aforementioned gentlemanly challenge from an out of state club, sometimes the biggest moments are how you represent your community at the highest level.

( Photo Credit: Old Arenas Facebook Page / Google Search )

From the 1930-31 season to their last appearance in 1940-41, the Maples would participate in the Northeast Amateur Athletic Union’s annual playoffs. The team would travel to Providence to play their games at the  Rhode Island Auditorium (Image Above) for a few years before the postseason event was moved closer to home in Massachusetts.

( Photo Credit: Sports Business Daily )

The NEAAU would move its tournament operations to the Boston Garden (Seen Above) in 1936, and the Maples would appear on the Garden ice for the next six years after successful season schedules. The Maples would post a regular season record of 19-3-2  in the 1939-40 campaign good enough for a birth in the NEAAU playoffs. After previous years of not being able to cross the threshold of an NEAAU Championship,  the club finally got what was due and named New England Champions after a clean sweep of East Boston, Hingham Cove, Hyde Shore (Cambridge), and shutting out Concord, New Hampshire 7-0. In those four NEAAU games at the Garden, the Maples outscored their opponents  26-4. Even though they were named New England Champs, the mission was far from over after winning on Boston Graden ice.

The next level after capturing the NEAAU title was a move up to the National ranks to play other club teams and collegiate competition in Lake Placid, NY (Seen Below). The National AAU single elimination tournament kicked off its schedule on  Friday, March 1st, 1940 with the Maples earning a first-round bye. The Maples went into Saturday’s semi-final action shorthanded to the full bench and heavily favored University of Minnesota club who also entering the National tournament on a bye after winning their region.

( Photo Credit: TeamGB.com / Image Not Maples Related )

Although the Maples tried their best, it just wasn’t enough as Minnesota would cap off the semi-final event with a 9-4 victory over the Amesbury club that traveled over 300 miles in search of the ultimate prize. Minnesota would go onto win the championship at Lake Placid after beating Brock Hall of New Haven, Connecticut 9-1 in the finals. Per local paper that’s unidentifiable, the Maples entered the National AAU tournament having victories in 16 straight games and were certainly one of the hotter clubs gearing up to make a long run and be forever immortalized.

Below are some tickets from a few of the events at the old Boston Garden when the Amesbury Maples had a chance to play and capture a New England Championship.

 

During this timeframe, there were many great players who contributed but to give an idea of who was on the team during this time I’m going to mention those who I consider legends. I’m still learning about all these gentlemen as my research continues so if I missed anyone that some believe should be mentioned, this legend series isn’t stopping anytime soon so hope to get to those that folks suggest.

Archie Cloutier, Henry Graf, Eddie Nichols, Alphonse Picard, John Reddy, Albie Roy, Wilfred Stuart, Harold “Fuzzy” Thurston, and Chewie Williams.

As always I like to end every one of my Amesbury related hockey articles by thanking the many great folks that have given me the opportunity to gather family information over the years. Shout out to local area sports guru Bert Spofford who gathered all kinds of value findings that were Maples Hockey related for the 70th Anniversary Weekend Celebration in October of 1993. If it wasn’t for the effort of Spofford in searching local libraries for sports info nobody would probably know this team existed in 40 years. Mr. Spofford passed away in 2007 and was known to be very knowledgable in sports and stats for years. Spofford and mentioned above Albie Roy will be inducted into the 2019 Amesbury High School Athletic Hall of Fame on Thursday night September 28th in the AHS Auditorium.

If you happen to have an Amesbury Maples related items, photos or stories about the former players, please send me an email at blackngoldhockeyblog@gmail.com and I may use it in a future article during the summer downtime. Thanks for reading!!