Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 10 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 10 of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 14-7-1-2 (31 points) and 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for first in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. Our boys in black and gold are coming off a superb week that saw them beat the defending Calder Cup Champion Charlotte Checkers 4-1 and 4-0 in Charlotte. This week the team return home for a dreaded three games in three days stretch.

The hockey action kicks off on Friday, December 6, 2019, when the Binghamton Devils invade Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. The action continues on Saturday, December 7, 2019, when the Utica Comets soar into town to take on the Providence Bruins at the Dunkin Donuts Center. The three games in three days conclude on Sunday, December 8, 2019, when the Hartford Wolf Pack come to Rhode Island to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. The hockey action wraps up on Wednesday, December 11, 2019, when the Syracuse Crunch comes to town to take on the Providence club at the Dunkin Donuts Center.

Friday, December 6, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Binghamton Devils (HOME)

The Friday night matchup marks the first of two that these two teams will have this season. The Binghamton Devils have had a rough start to their season. The New Jersey affiliate skates into the game 7-11-4 (18 points) and 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for eighth in the North Division and 16th in the Eastern Conference.

Not only have the Devils had a bad start to their season, but they’re also facing a Providence club that has their number over the past five seasons. Our boys in black and gold are 13-5-1-1 against the Binghamton club during that time, including 5-3-1-1 at home. Binghamton’s defense has really let them down this season. This is why the Binghamton club is last in the conference this season.

The New Jersey affiliate has surrendered 77 goals in 22 games this year. That means they’re giving up a terrible 3.5 goals a game. In comparison, the Providence Bruins have let in 63 goals in 24 games this season. That’s a stingy 2.62 goals a game given up. If that isn’t bad enough for the Devils, their offense isn’t great either.

They’ve scored 59 goals in 22 games. That means they’re scoring 2.68 goals a game. The Bruins, on the other hand, have scored 82 goals in 24 games. That means they’re scoring 3.41 goals a game. This is a game the Providence club should absolutely win.

Saturday, December 7, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Utica Comets (HOME)

The Saturday night matchup marks the second and final meeting of the year that these two teams will have. In the first meeting, the Bruins would shutout the Comets 2-0, getting goals from Zach Senyshyn and Joona Koppanen. Netminder Max Lagace was excellent in net stopping all 34 shots he faced.

Utica comes into the game 13-8-1 (27 points) and 5-4-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the North Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. The Vancouver affiliate has been on a downward trend recently. They started the year 8-0. Since that start, they’ve gone 4-8-1, including a loss to Providence. To add insult to injury, the Providence Bruins are 8-5 against the Comets over the past five seasons, including 3-3 at the Dunk.

Scoring early and keeping the lead will be extremely important in this game. When leading after the first period, Utica is 7-3-1. When leading after the second, they are 9-2. The Providence Bruins, on the other hand, are 8-0 when leading after the first period. They are a perfect 11-0 when leading after the second period. This is another game I think Providence should absolutely win.

Sunday, December 8, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (HOME)

The Sunday matchup will mark the fourth of 10 meetings the two teams will have this year. In the first meeting, the Bruins would fall 2-1. Providence got their lone goal from Jack Studnicka. Goalie Kyle Keyser was up to the task in net stopping 23 of 25 shots that were fired his way.

The second battle saw the Bruins win 4-3 in a shootout. They got goals from Scott Conway, Jack Studnicka, and Robert Lantosi. Max Lagace was able to stop 35 of the 38 shots he faced. The last game saw the Bruins fall 5-2. They received goals from Ryan Fitzgerald and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Kyle Keyser was able to stop 24 of 28 shots he faced.

The battle with the Hartford club is going to be challenging. The Rangers’ affiliate comes into the game 11-4-2-5 (29 points), including 3-3-2-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. Even though it’ll be a tough game, there is hope for the Bruins.

Over the past five seasons, our boys in black and gold have gone 22-13-4-2, including 14-5-1-1 at the Dunk. The Wolf Pack has seen success this season thanks to a stifling defense. They’ve given up only 58 goals in 22 games. Providence, on the other hand, has scored 82 goals in 24 games. That’s 3.41 goals a game. It’ll be a great battle between the two teams.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Syracuse Crunch (HOME)

The Wednesday matchup will mark the first of two meetings the two teams will have. The Lightning affiliate skate into the matchup 11-9-2 (22 points) and 5-5 in their last 10 games. That’s good for sixth in the North Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. The two clubs haven’t played each other much over the past five seasons. Providence holds a 3-3 record, including 2-1 at home.

This has the makings of being a trap game for Providence. Even though the Syracuse club is out of a playoff spot, they’ve been a good team for the last few years. Special teams are keeping the Tampa Bay affiliate afloat. On the power play, they’ve scored 19 goals in 101 opportunities. That’s 18.8%, which is good for fifth in the North Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. Their Penalty kill is even better. They’ve given up 12 goals in 93 opportunities. That’s a stifling 87.1%, which is good for first in the North Division and second in the Eastern Conference.

The Providence Bruins’ penalty kill is also stellar. They’ve given up 14 goals in 103 opportunities. That’s 86.4%, which is good for second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference.  The Providence club also has a league-leading eight shorthanded goals. The power play, on the other hand, is not good. They’ve scored 14 goals in 89 opportunities. That’s 15.7%, which is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and 10th in the Eastern Conference.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Brendan Woods: This is Brendan Woods’ first season in Providence. He came to the Bruins after spending last season with the Utica Comets. The former University of Wisconsin Badger has gotten the opportunity to play more recently, with players going up and down between Boston and Providence. The veteran forward has taken that opportunity and run with it. Over his past five games, he’s found the back of the net five times while dishing out two assists for seven total points. In 13 games total on the year, he’s netted five goals and dished out three assists for eight total points.

Urho Vaakanainen: Urho Vaakanninen has been on an absolute tear recently. Since being sent back down to Providence after a brief stint with Boston, the young defenseman has played in five games. In those five games, he’s found the back of the net four times while dishing out three assists for seven total points. In 20 games this year, he’s netted four goals and dished out five assists for nine total points. He’s also playing superb defense.

Not

Josiah Didier: This is Josiah Didier’s first season in Providence. The veteran defenseman came to the Bruins after winning the Calder Cup with Charlotte last season. Though he’s providing some essential leadership to the team, that hasn’t translated on the scoresheet. Over his past 15 games, the University of Denver alum has only registered one point, an assist. In 23 games this season, he hasn’t found the back of the net and dished out five assists for five total points.

Jakub Zboril: Jakub Zboril has been playing average on defense. Offensively, the game doesn’t seem to be clicking currently. Over his past 11 games, he has registered just two points, both assists. In 24 games this season, the young defenseman has netted one goal and dished out six assists for seven total points. The Bruins hoped his offense would be closer to the production he had in the QMJHL. That hasn’t happened yet, but there is still time.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Jakub Lauko: Jakub Lauko is a top prospect in the Bruins’ system. The young forward didn’t start off the season the way he’d like before getting injured. Recently, however, he’s played well. Over the past four games, he’s netted one goal, while dishing out three assists for four total points. He also had the game-winning shootout goal in a game this week. In 16 games on the season, Lauko has four goals and three assists for seven total points. Let’s hope he can keep up the hot-streak.

On The Blue Line

Urho Vaakanainen: Urho Vaakanainen has been on an absolute tear recently. Not only contributing to the scoreboard but playing elite defense while also driving the play. It wasn’t a great start to the year, but he looks like himself again after his callup to Boston. Look for him to continue the hot-streak. I would also recommend just watching him play in general. He’s a joy to watch in every facet of the game.

In Net

Dan Vladar: Dan Vladar returned from injury to Providence against Charlotte this weekend and was excellent in between the pipes. The young goalie registered his first shutout of the season. In four games this year, he is 2-1 with a 1.77 GAA and a save percentage of .936%. Look for him this weekend.

The Providence Bruins have been excellent this year. They sit atop the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. With the team clicking in all facets of the game, it seems like they’re gearing up for a big run. The Providence club could have one of those seasons that’s talked about for years to come. We should all just sit back and enjoy it. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 9 Preview

 

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week nine of the AHL is here, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 12-7-1-2 (27 points) and 5-4-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for second the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a fantastic week that saw them shutout the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 5-0. They would then fall to the Springfield Thunderbirds 5-4 in overtime before beating the Hershey Bears 6-3. They would then finish the week by beating the Hershey Bears again 7-6 in a shootout. The Bruins have two big games this weekend that you don’t want to miss.

The hockey action starts on Saturday, November 30, 2019, when the Providence Bruins invade Charlotte, North Carolina, to take on the defending Calder Cup Champion Charlotte Checkers at the Bojangles’ Coliseum. The action wraps up on Sunday, December 1, 2019, when the Providence Bruins take on the Charlotte Checkers again at the Biscuit in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Saturday, November 30, 2019 (AWAY) and Sunday, December 1, 2019 (AWAY) Providence Bruins vs. Charlotte Checkers

The weekend series between the Providence Bruins and Charlotte Checkers will be the first and second of eight meetings the two teams will have. The Providence club is 6-5-1 against the Checkers over the past five seasons. Last season, the Charlotte Checkers were dominant. They would beat the Bruins in four games in the first round of the playoffs on their way to their first Calder Cup Championship. This season has been a bit of a different story.

The Hurricanes’ affiliate skate into the match up 8-8-3 (19 points) and 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference. Something that led to their dominant season last year was their defense. They only gave up 189 goals while scoring 255. That means they had a goal differential of +66. This season has been the opposite. The Charlotte club on the year has scored 51 goals while giving 55. That’s a minus-four goal differential.

To put those numbers into perspective a little bit, the Providence Bruins have played in three more games this season, scoring 74 goals and giving up 62. That’s a +12 goal differential. It’s hard to sustain success when you give up more goals than you score. This is the main reason why both clubs seem to be heading in different directions. These two games being in Charlotte should also benefit the Bruins. The Carolina affiliate is 4-3-1 at home this season. While our boys in black and gold are 8-3-1-1 away from the Dunk this year. These are two very winnable games for the spoked P this weekend.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka has been a permanent fixture in the hot category for a few weeks now, and that isn’t going to change. The young center has been excellent in his first full professional season. In 21 games for the Providence club, he’s netted nine goals while dishing out nine assists for 18 total points. The OHL product also has a five-game goal streak that has seen him net five goals while tallying three assists for eight total points. Going back even further, he’s registered a point in eight of his last 10 games. Studnicka earned himself a promotion this week with injuries and his play. In his first game against Montreal, he looked good while dishing out an assist for his first NHL point.

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic finds himself in the hot category after a cold streak. The former Wisconsin Badger had a superb weekend putting together a four-game point streak. In those four games, he netted two goals and dished out two assists for four total points. In 19 games this year, the young forward has netted two goals and dished out seven assists for nine total points. Let’s hope he can keep up his hot play.

Not

Pavel Shen: Pavel Shen has had a rough start to his first full professional season in North America. The young forward in 16 games, hasn’t found the back of the net and dished out two assists for two total points. Shen came to Providence after spending the beginning of his career in Russia, where he’s from. The good news is the former seventh-round pick is only 20, there is plenty of time for him to develop. Let’s hope he breaks out of his slump soon.

Cameron Hughes: Cameron Hughes has continued to be on a bit of a cold streak. The young forward has just two points, two assists in his last ten games played. Overall on the year, the former Wisconsin Badger has netted two goals and dished out six assists for eight total points in 22 games. This is two weeks in a row that Hughes finds himself in the not category. Let’s hope he’s able to break through this weekend against Charlotte.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald has been on a bit of a hot streak himself. Over his last five games, he’s netted three goals and dished out two assists for five total points. In 22 games this year, the former Boston College Eagle has found the back of the net seven times while tallying five assists for 12 total points. In addition to those stats, in five games against Charlotte last season, Fitzgerald potted one goal and assisted on three others for four total points. With players moving up and down between Providence and Boston frequently, look for him to pick up the slack this weekend.

On The Blue Line

Urho Vaakanainen: Urho Vaakanainen has been excellent over the past few weeks for both Boston and Providence. It’s been the best stretch of play he’s had in his professional career. The young defenseman is coming off a weekend that in two games saw him net two goals while dishing out three assists for five total points. Thanks to his big weekend, the native of Finland would be named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week. My colleague here at BNG Carrie Young wrote about that honor here. He would follow up this honor by scoring a goal against Hershey Wednesday night. In 18 games this season, Urho has netted three goals and dished out five assists for eight total points. Look for him to continue his sizzling play.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has been nothing short of excellent in his first season with Providence. With injuries to both Dan Vladar and Kyle Keyser, the veteran netminder has been a stabilizing presence in goal. On the year, he’s 9-2-2 with a 2.45 GAA and a .919 save percentage while also leading the league with four shutouts.

The Providence Bruins find themselves in a fantastic position to start the year. At this point in the season, teams usually have a good understanding of how the rest of the year will go. Our boys in black and gold currently find themselves comfortably in playoff contention. You should absolutely expect this moving forward. At the beginning of the season, I wrote that this team would be great. They are proving me right. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and has an excellent holiday. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 8 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week eight of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 9-7-0-2 (20 points), including 4-5-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a week that saw them take down the Hartford Wolf Pack 4-3 in a shootout. They would then lose to the same Hartford club 5-2. The spoked P will have a tough weekend coming up with three games in three days and then a game Wednesday.

The hockey action kicks off on Friday, November 22, 2019, when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers invade Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin Donuts Center. Then on Saturday, November 23, 2019, the Providence Bruins make their way to Springfield, Massachusetts, to take on the Springfield Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center. The Bruns’ three games in three days come to an end on Sunday, November 24, 2019, when the Hershey Bears travel to Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. Finally, the Bruins wrap up week eight on Wednesday, November 27, 2019, when they travel to Hershey, Pennsylvania, to take on the Hershey Bears at the Giant Center.

Friday, November 22, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (HOME)

The Friday matchup with mark the fourth of 12 that these two teams will have this season. The first game saw the Bruins shutout the Sound Tigers 4-0, getting goals from Peter Cehlarik, Cameron Hughes, Robert Lantosi, and Ryan Fitzgerald. Goalie Max Lagace was excellent in net topping all 30 shots fired his way.

In the second meeting, the Providence club would win 4-1, getting goals from Joona Koppanen, Brendan Gaunce, Alex Petrovic, and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Max Lagace was fantastic in net stopping 31 of 32 shots fired his way. The most recent meeting saw the Bruins lose 2-0. Goaltender Max Lagace was up to the task in net stopping 33 of 35 shots fired his way.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers provide a favorable matchup for the Providence club. The Bridgeport club comes into the weekend 4-10-3-1 (12 points) and 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for eighth in the Atlantic Division and 16th in the Eastern Conference.  Furthermore, the Bruins are 23-17-6-3 against the Islanders’ affiliate over the past five seasons.

The biggest key to Bruins’ victory in these two games is taking an early lead and keeping it. The Sound Tigers are 0-5-2 when trailing after one and 0-8-1 when trailing after two. To add insult to injury, the Bridgeport club in 18 games has only scored 32 goals while giving up 59. Not only is this a horrendous -27 goal differential, but they’re only scoring 1.77 goals a game while giving up  3.27. They are giving up almost double what they’re actually scoring. This isn’t a winning formula.

To compare, the Providence Bruins are 6-0 when leading after one period and 7-0 when leading after two periods. They’ve also scored 52 goals while giving up only 48 in 18 games. That means, not only do they have a plus-four goal differential, but they are scoring 2.88 goals a game while only giving up 2.66. This is a game that Providence must win. Bridgeport is not a good club at all.

Saturday, November 23, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (AWAY)

The Saturday night matchup will be the second of 14 these two teams will have this season. In the first meeting, the Bruins would fall 5-2, getting goals from Peter Cehlarik and Anders Bjork. Goalie Dan Vladar was subpar in net stopping 23 of the 28 shots fired his way.

The Springfield Thunderbirds come into the game 11-7 (22 points) and 7-3 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, this is still a favorable matchup for the Providence Bruins. Over the past five seasons, the Bruins are 23-15-3 against the Panthers’ affiliate, including 11-7-2 in Springfield.

The Springfield club has been winning with excellent defense. They’ve only given up 41 goals in 18 games while scoring 55. This is a fantastic +14 goal differential. This also means they are only giving up 2.27 goals a game while scoring 3.05.

The Springfield Thunderbirds are 3-1 when leading after the first period. They are also 7-0 when leading after two periods. On the flip side, they are 1-2 when trailing after one period. They are also 1-5 when trailing after two periods. Providence needs to get ahead early on in the game to have the best chance at winning.

Sunday, November 24, 2019 (HOME) Wednesday, November 27, 2019 (AWAY) Providence Bruins vs. Hershey Bears

These will mark the third and fourth of six matchups the Providence Bruins and Hershey Bears will have this season. In the first meeting, the Bruins would win 2-1 in overtime, getting goals from Ryan Fitzgerald and Brendan Gaunce (OT).  Dan Vladar was excellent in net stopping 21 of 22 shots fired his way. The most recent matchup saw the Providence club fall 5-3, getting goals from Brendan Woods, Paul Carey, and Jakub Zboril. Kyle Keyser was okay in net stopping 28 of 33 shots he faced.

The Hershey Bears come into the game 8-6-2-2 (20 points) and 4-3-1-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and 10th in the Eastern Conference. Providence has had success against the Washington affiliate going 15-9-1-1 over the five seasons. The team that has the best shot generation and suppression is going to win these games.

The Hershey Bears are 6-3-0-1 when they outshoot their opponents. They are also 2-3-2-1 when they are being outshot by their opponents. The Bruins, on the other hand, are 2-5-0-2 when they outshoot opponents and 5-2 when being outshot by opponents. These are more games that the Providence club should win. The Washington affiliate has a goal differential of minus-five. This means they’ve given up five more goals than they’ve scored. It is hard to sustain success like that.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka remains hot this week. The young center had a lot of expectations and excitement surrounding him to start the year, and he’s delivered. In 18 games this season, he’s netted six goals while dishing out seven assists for 13 total points. This includes netting five goals and dishing out two assists for seven total points in his last eight games. The OHL product is one of the few players carrying the Providence Bruins offense. Let’s hope we continue to find Studnicka in the hot category.

Alex Petrovic: Alex Petrovic is another player that’s spent most of the year on a hot streak. The veteran defenseman has been excellent during his first year in Providence. In 17 games this season, he’s netted two goals and dished out 11 assists for 13 total points. This includes netting one goal and dishing out six assists for seven total points in his last eight games. The former Edmonton Oiler is providing great veteran leadership for a young team.

Not

Cameron Hughes: Cameron Hughes has had a good season overall, but has run into a cold streak recently. The young forward even received his first callup to Boston and played in a game with the big club. In 18 games this season, he’s netted two goals and dished out five assists for seven total points. However, over his past five games, he hasn’t found the back of the net and dished out one assist for one total point. Let’s hope the cold streak subsides for the former Wisconsin Badger.

Oskar Steen: Oskar Steen started out pretty hot this season, but has since skated into a cold streak. The young forward was someone I was very high on, so the cold streak is rather disappointing. In 18 games, he’s netted two goals and dished out four assists for six total points. This includes no goals and two assists for two total points in his last 10 games. Let’s hope the native of Sweden can break out of this funk soon.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Samuel Asselin: Samuel Asselin is a name you may not recognize because he’s only played in two games for Providence this season. The young forward is someone you may want to get to know. In nine games down in the ECHL with the Atlanta Gladiators, he netted seven goals while dishing out seven assists for 14 total points. Asselin signed a deal with Providence after a fantastic season with Halifax in the QMJHL. In 68 games with the Mooseheads, he netted 48 goals and dished out 38 assists for 86 total points. BNG founder Mark Allred wrote about Asselin’s call up to the AHL here.

On The Blue Line

Jeremy Lauzon: Jeremy Lauzon is sometimes a forgotten prospect when it comes to the Bruins’ defense. The young defenseman has had a pretty good year with Providence thus far. In 18 games, he hasn’t found the back of the net, but he has dished out six assists for six total points. The QMJHL product has already reached his assist total from last season and is only one point away from last year’s point total in fewer games played. Look for him this weekend.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has been excellent in his first season for the Providence Bruins. In 11 games played the veteran netminder, is 7-2-1 with a 2.10 GAA and a .934 save percentage. The former Vegas Golden Knight also has three shutouts on the season. Let’s hope he can keep it up.

The Providence Bruins have hit a bit of a cold streak as a team over their last 10 games. Despite this, they are still in a playoff spot early in the season. The Providence club is young but also talented. They’ve shown early on that they can bounce back from losses. This weekend is going to be tough. Three games in three days and four games total bunched together is difficult. The good news is that all four games are very winnable. If the Bruins can come out with six out of eight points, they’ll be in good shape. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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 AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 7 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week seven of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 8-6-0-2 (18 points), including 5-4-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a week they would rather forget. Our boys in black and gold were able to down the Sound Tigers 4-1, before falling to Hartford 2-1 and Bridgeport 2-0. With only two games this weekend, we hope the Bruins get back to their winning ways.

The hockey action starts on Friday, November 15, 2019, when the Hartford Wolf Pack invades Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. To end the weekend, Providence returns the favor and heads down to Hartford, Connecticut to take on the Hartford Wolf Pack at the XL Center on Saturday, November 16, 2019. It is going to be an exciting week of hockey that you do not want to miss.

Friday, November 15, 2019 (HOME) Saturday, November 16, 2019 (AWAY) Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack

This weekend’s matchups will mark the second and third of 10 meetings the two teams will have this year. In the first meeting, the Bruins would fall 2-1. Providence got their lone goal from Jack Studnicka. Goalie Kyle Keyser was up to the task in net stopping 23 of 25 shots that were fired his way.

The home and home battle with the Hartford club is going to be challenging. The Rangers’ affiliate comes into the game 10-1-0-4 (24 points), including 6-1-0-3 in their last 10 games. This is good for first in the Atlantic Division and first in the Eastern Conference. Even though it’ll be a tough few games, there is hope for the Bruins.

Over the past five seasons, our boys in black and gold have gone 21-12-4-2, including 13-5-1-1 at the Dunk. The Wolf Pack has seen success this season thanks to a stifling defense. They’ve given up only 33 goals in 15 games. This means they’re giving up only 2.2 goals a game. Only one other team in the Eastern Conference has given up fewer goals.

To add to their defense, the New York affiliate has only given up six goals in 51 penalty kill opportunities. That’s an excellent 88.2%, which is good for third in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. They’ve also only given up two shorthanded goals.

To compare, the Providence Bruins have given up 10 goals in 74 penalty kill opportunities. That’s 86.5%, which is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. The spoked P has also given up a league-leading three shorthanded goals.

One area the Providence club needs to work on is the number of penalties they take. They are taking 4.62 penalties a game. They cannot be giving other teams that many power-play opportunities. When a team is on the penalty kill that often, it’s difficult to build offensive momentum. It’s going to be a hard-fought weekend series. Let’s hope our boys in black and gold are up to the task.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka has had an excellent start to his first full professional season. In 16 games, the young center netted four goals and dished out six assists for 10 total points. This includes netting four goals and dishing out three assists for seven points in his last 10 games. The OHL product has been a revelation on offense and is developing exactly how the team would want. Let’s hope Studnicka can keep up his high level of play.

Paul Carey: Paul Carey has been excellent for the Providence Bruins this season. The team’s captain in 16 games has netted seven goals and dished out six assists for 13 total points. This includes netting five goals and dishing out four assists and nine total points in his last 10 games. The former Boston College Eagle and NCAA champion has not only contributed to the scoresheet but also provided excellent leadership for a young team.

Not

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald has been good overall this season, netting four goals and dishing out three assists for seven total points in 16 games. Despite this, he’s gone pointless in his last six games played. The former Boston College Eagle will hopefully break this slump soon. With players going up and down due to injuries in Boston, Providence needs Fitzgerald to pick up some slack.

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic has had an up and down season. In 15 games, the former Wisconsin Badger hasn’t netted any goals and dished out five assists for five total points. The young forward hasn’t registered a point in his last five games. Frederic is one of the better prospects in the Bruins system. Hopefully, he can turn his season around.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Peter Cehlarik: Peter Cehlarik has been excellent in his time with Providence this season. In nine games, the native of Slovakia has netted six goals and dished out four assists for 10 total points. Also of note, in seven games against Hartford last season, he netted three goals and dished out two assists for five total points. Look for him to have a big weekend.

On The Blue Line

Alex Petrovic: Alex Petrovic has been excellent for the Providence Bruins this year. It’s his first season with the club, and in 15 games, he’s netted two goals and dished out 10 assists for 12 total points. The WHL product has also played excellent defense for our boys in black and gold this season. Look for him to continue his play against Hartford.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has been excellent for the Providence Bruins net. The QMJHL product has gone 6-2-1 this season, with a 2.02 GAA and a .936 save percentage. He’s also had three shutouts this season. He’s provided leadership to the young goaltenders Dan Vladar and Kyle Keyser.

The Providence Bruins have had a superb start to their season. In previous years, they’ve started out slow and then came on hot the second half of the year. This year our boys in black and gold are bucking that trend. They have a wealth of talent and could go far this year. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 6 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week six of the AHL season has arrived, and the Providence Bruins are 7-4-0-2 (16 points). They are also 4-4-0-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. Our boys in black and gold are coming off a week that saw them beat the then-undefeated Utica Comets 2-0. The Providence club would follow that big win up with a loss to the Hershey Bears 5-3. Week six sees the Bruins end their current four-game road trip before coming home for two games to wrap up the weekend.

The weekend action starts out on Saturday, November 9, 2019, when the Providence Bruins wrap their road trip by invading Bridgeport, Connecticut, to take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Webster Bank Arena. The hockey battles continue on Sunday, November 10, 2019, when the Hartford Wolf Pack make their way to Providence, Rhode Island to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Finally, the spoked P wraps up their week on Monday, November 11, 2019, when the Bruins take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Dunk.

Saturday, November 9, 2019, (AWAY) and Monday, November 11, 2019, (HOME) Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers

The Providence Bruins bookend their week with the second and third of 12 matchups against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. In the first meeting, the Bruins shutout the Islanders’ affiliate 4-0. The spoked P got goals from Peter Cehlarik, Cameron Hughes, Robert Lantosi, and Ryan Fitzgerald. Goalie Max Lagace was superb in net stopping all 30 shots he faced.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers provide a favorable matchup for the Providence club. The Bridgeport club comes into the weekend 3-7-2-1 (9 points) and 2-6-1-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for eighth in the Atlantic Division and 15th in the Eastern Conference.  Furthermore, the Bruins are 22-16-6-3 against the Islanders’ affiliate over the past five seasons.

The biggest key to Bruins’ victory in these two games is taking an early lead and keeping it. The Sound Tigers are 0-3-1 when trailing after one and 0-6-1 when trailing after two. To add insult to injury, the Bridgeport club in 13 games has only scored 25 goals while giving up 46. Not only is this a horrendous -21 goal differential, but they’re only scoring 1.92 goals a game while giving up  3.53. They are giving up almost double what they’re actually scoring. This isn’t a winning formula.

To compare, the Providence Bruins are 5-0 when leading after one period and 5-0 when leading after two periods. They’ve also scored 41 goals while giving up only 31 in 13 games. That means, not only do they have a plus-six goal differential, but they are scoring 3.15 goals a game while only giving up 2.69. These are two games that the Providence club has to win. You have to beat teams you’re supposed to beat if you want to succeed.

Sunday, November 10, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (HOME)

Week six continues when the Hartford Wolf Pack take on the Providence Bruins in a Sunday afternoon battle. It will be the first of 10 meetings the two clubs will have. This is going to be a tough game for our boys in black and gold. The Rangers’ affiliate comes into the matchup 8-1-0-3 (19 points) and 6-1-0-3 in their last 10 games. This is good for first in the Atlantic Division as well as first in the Eastern Conference.

Despite this uphill battle, there is hope for the Providence Bruins. They have seen success against Hartford in recent years. Over the past five seasons, our boys in black and gold have gone 21-11-4-2, including 13-4-1-1 at the Dunk. The Wolf Pack has seen success this season thanks to a stifling defense. They’ve given up only 27 goals in 12 games. This means they’re giving up only 2.25 goals a game.

Only one other team in the Eastern Conference has given up fewer goals. To add to their defense, the New York affiliate has only given up five goals in 44 penalty kill opportunities. That’s an excellent 88.6%, which is good for second in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. They’ve also only given up one shorthanded goal.

To compare, the Providence Bruins have given up 10 goals in 59 penalty kill opportunities. That’s 83.1%, which is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. The spoked P has also given up a league-leading three shorthanded goals. It’s going to be a challenging game for our boys in black and gold. They’ll need to be on top of their game if they want the two points.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Paul Carey: Paul Carey has been excellent for the Providence Bruins since coming to them in a trade midseason last year. Coming into this season, the former Boston College Eagle was named the team’s Captain. The veteran forward has taken the captaincy and ran with it. In 13 games this season, he’s netted seven goals and dished out three assists for 10 total points. That includes points in eight of his last 10 games, scoring six goals and dishing out three assists for nine total points in that time frame.

Robert Lantosi: This is Robert Lantosi’s first professional season in North America. The young forward has spent his entire career playing in Sweden and Slovakia. He would play all of last season for HK Nitra of the Tipsport Liga, which is Slovakia’s highest hockey league. In 56 games with HK Nitra, he netted 20 goals and dished out 38 assists for 58 total points. So far this season, in nine games with Providence, the Slovakia native has netted three goals and dished out four assists for seven total points. This includes points in six of nine games this season.

Not

Urho Vaakanainen: Urho Vaakanainen came into the season one of the Bruins’ brightest prospects. The young defenseman had an excellent first season, last year. In 13 games this season, the Native of Finland hasn’t found the back of the net and has dished out two assists for two total points. This includes not registering a point in his last 10 games. He also doesn’t look as confident on the ice as he did last season. Let’s hope he shakes off the rust soon.

Pavel Shen: This is also Pavel Shen’s first professional season in North America. The young forward comes the Providence after spending the beginning of his career in Russia. The native of Russia has had mixed reviews since coming to Providence. In nine games so far this season, he hasn’t found the back of the net and has dished out two assists for two total points. Though it’s been a tough start, let’s hope he break out of his slump soon.

My Players to Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka came into the season with a lot of hype. The young center is one of the Bruins’ best prospects, and he’s exciting the fanbase. In 13 games this season, the OHL product has netted two goals while dishing out six assists for eight total points. Not too bad for just starting his first full professional season. He also registered an assist in the first matchup against Bridgeport. Look for him this weekend.

On The Blue Line

Jakub Zboril: Jakub Zboril has had a great start to his 2019-2020 season. In 13 games, the young defenseman has netted one goal and dished out four assists for five total points. He’s also playing great defense. I believe he’s starting to look like the player they drafted. Also of note, in 18 games against Bridgeport and Hartford last season, he netted two goals and dished out five assists for seven total points. Look for him to have a big weekend.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has had an excellent start to his first season in Providence. He’s 5-1-1 with a 2.15 GAA and a .930 save percentage. The veteran netminder leads the league in shutouts with three. Lagace was also in the net when Providence shutout Bridgeport earlier this season. With two games against the Sound Tigers this weekend, I’d expect him to have a big weekend.

The Providence Bruins have had an excellent start to their season. They’ve been hovering right around the top of the standings all year. One of the biggest positives I’ve seen this year is their ability to bounce back. Whenever they’ve had a rough loss, they seem able to put it behind them before the next game. We’ve also seen them come back in a few games this year as well. That is huge for such a young team. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 5 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson| Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week five of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins are 6-3-0-2 (14 points). This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. Our boys in black and gold are coming off a rough week in which they lost 3-2 to Laval in a shootout. The Providence club would then fall to Belleville 4-3, before finally beating Rochester 4-3. The spoked P packs their bags and heads out on the road for both games this weekend. Let’s hope that it is a fruitful road trip for our boys.

The weekend action kicks off on Friday, November 1, 2019, when the Providence Bruins invade Utica, New York, to take on the Utica Comets at the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The weekend wraps up on Saturday, November 2, 2019, when the Providence Bruins make their way down to Hershey, Pennsylvania, to take on the Hershey Bears at the Giant Center. It should be an exciting weekend of hockey that you do not want to miss.

Friday, November 1, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Utica Comets (AWAY)

The Providence Bruins kick off their weekend against the Utica Comets in a Friday night matchup. It will be the first of two meetings the two clubs will have this season. Over the past five seasons, this has been a favorable matchup for the Providence club going 7-5, including 4-2 at Utica. Despite the record, this game may not be so easy. The Utica club enters the matchup 8-0 (16 points). This is good for first in the North Division and second in the Eastern Conference.

Utica has been doing it with a good offense and suffocating defense. The Vancouver affiliate has scored 39 goals in eight games. That’s an eye-popping 4.87 goals a game, which is by far the best in the Eastern Conference. That’s not all, the Comets have only given up 14 goals in their first seven games. That means they’re only giving up 1.75 goals a game.

To compare, the Providence Bruins have scored 36 goals in 11 games, which is 3.27 scored a game. Our boys in black and gold have given up 30 goals in 11 games. This is 2.72 goals given up a game. It’ll be a tough matchup, and the Providence club will need to be on their game if they want to come out with a win.

Saturday, November 2, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Hershey Bears (AWAY)

The weekend ends with a matchup at the Hershey Bears. It’s the second of six meetings the two clubs will have this season. In the first showdown, the Bruins came out on top 2-1 in overtime. They got goals from Ryan Fitzgerald and Brendan Gaunce. Netminder Dan Vladar was superb in net stopping 21 of 22 shots he faced.

The Hershey Bears come into the game 4-3-1-1 (10 points). This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference. Providence has had success against the Washington affiliate going 15-8-1-1 over the five seasons. This includes 6-6-1 at Hershey. Whichever team can grab an early lead and hold onto it will likely win this game.

The Providence Bruins are 4-0 when winning after the first period. When up after two, they are also 4-0. The Providence club is 1-3-0-1 when trailing after one period. When down after two periods, they are 0-1-0-1. The Hershey Bears are 1-0 when leading after one. When leading after the second, they are 2-0. The Hershey club is 1-1-1-1 when down after one. They are 0-3-0-1, when down after two. Expect the Bruins to win if they can grab that early lead.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald has had a great start to his season. In 11 games this season, he has netted four goals and dished out three assists for seven total points. The former Boston College Eagle has also registered a point in four of his last six games, which includes three goals and two assists for five points. With Anders Bjork being called up to Boston, Fitzgerald has picked up the slack on offense.

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic finally finds himself in the hot category for the first time this season. In 11 games this season, he doesn’t have a goal but has dished out five assists for five total points. All five points have come in his past six games. The former Wisconsin Badger has picked up his game since the start of the season. Let’s hope the young center can keep up his play.

Not

Jeremy Lauzon: Jeremy Lauzon has had a rough start to the year. He’s playing decent enough defense but offensively hasn’t been great. In 11 games, he doesn’t have a goal and dished out three assists for three total points. The former Rouyn-Noranda Husky only has one point in his last five games. The Bruins hope the young defenseman can get out of his cold streak.

Cooper Zech: Cooper Zech jumped onto the scene last season after his freshman year at Ferris State University. The young defenseman signed an AHL contract and looked really good in limited time. That really hasn’t translated much this season. In seven games, he hasn’t scored a goal and dished out one assist for one total point. Let’s hope he can put the slow start behind him.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Jakub Lauko: Jakub Lauko came to Providence after having an excellent season with Rouyn-Noranda of the QMJHL last season. The young forward has had some growing pains, but overall looked good this season. He’s netted three goals and doesn’t have an assist for three total points in 11 games this year. I expect him to continue to develop and have an excellent season.

On The Blue Line

Alex Petrovic: Alex Petrovic has been excellent this season for Providence. In 11 games, he’s netted one goal and dished out nine assists for 10 total points. This includes one goal and six assists for seven points in his last six games. The veteran defenseman has done this all while playing good defense. Look for him to keep up his hot season.

In Net

Kyle Keyser: Kyle Keyser has played pretty well since being called up from Atlanta. In three games, he’s 1-1-1 with a 2.58 GAA and a .910 save percentage. The young netminder was called up because of injury, but he may stay in Providence if he continues this play. Look for him this weekend. He’s arguably the most talented goalie in the system.

Despite the rough week, the Providence Bruins have had a successful start to the season. Though they face some tough competition this weekend, I still think that they could come out on top in both games. This team has me excited. I think they could end up being one of the best Providence teams we’ve seen in a very long time. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 4 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week four of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins have a record of 5-2-0-1 (11 points). This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. Our boys in black and gold are coming off a successful week. They fell to Laval 3-2. The Providence club would bounce back to beat Belleville 7-4, before shutting out Bridgeport 4-0. Week four sees the spoked P come back to Providence for the Pink in the Rink weekend at the Dunk to support breast cancer awareness. It’s an excellent weekend to catch a game.

The heart-stopping hockey action begins on Saturday, October 26, 2019, when the Laval Rocket travels to Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. The weekend continues on Sunday, October 27, 2019, when the Belleville Senators invade the Dunkin Donuts Center. Finally, week four wraps up on Wednesday, October 30, 2019, when the Providence Bruins march to Rochester, New York, to take on the Rochester Americans at the Blue Cross Arena. It’s going to be an exciting week you don’t want to miss.

Saturday, October 26, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Laval Rocket (HOME)

The Providence Bruins kickoff their Pink in the Rink weekend with a game against the Laval Rocket. It’s going to be the third of four meetings between the two clubs. The Providence club lost the first meeting 5-4 in a shootout. They got goals from Peter Cehlarik (2), Paul Carey, and Brendan Gaunce. Goalie Max Lagace was less than stellar in net, turning away 14 of the 18 shots he faced. Our boys in black and gold didn’t fare much better in the second meeting, losing 3-2. They got goals from Ryan Fitzgerald and Alex Petrovic. Goalie Max Lagace was better in net, stopping 27 of 30 shots fired his way.

The Montreal affiliate has started the season 3-5 (6 points). This is good for sixth in the North Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, the Bruins have had trouble with Laval in the past. They’ve gone 2-2-0-2, including 1-1 at the Dunk. Even with the rough luck, I still believe our boys in black and gold should win this matchup.

Team defense and goaltending will be the two keys for Providence against Laval. The Laval club is giving up 3.12 goals a game. Their offense is scoring 2.50 goals a game. This means the Montreal Affiliate is giving up a little more than half a goal a game more than they’re scoring. Their two goalies have started out on opposite ends of the spectrum. Cayden Primeau is having an excellent first season so far, going 2-2 with a 2.03 GAA and a save percentage of .933%. Charlie Lindgren has had a rough start, going 1-3 with 3.24 GAA and a .881% save percentage.

To compare, the Bruins are giving up 2.50 goals a game. They’re also scoring 3.37 goals a game. This means our boys in black and gold are scoring .87 more goals a game than they’re giving up. Veteran goalie Max Lagace has had an excellent start, going 3-1-1 with a 1.93 GAA and a .935% save percentage with two shutouts. Dan Vladar has gone 1-1 with a 2.57 GAA and a .897% save percentage. Youngster, Kyle Keyser is 1-0 with a 4.02 GAA and a .867% save percentage.

Sunday, October 27, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Belleville Senators (HOME)

The Pink in the Rink weekend wraps up in Providence when The Belleville Senators come to town. It’ll the second and final meeting between the two clubs this season. In the first meeting, the Providence club came out on top 7-4. They got goals from Oskar Steen, Jakub Lauko, Robert Lantosi, Cameron Hughes, Peter Cehlarik, Jack Studnicka, and Paul Carey. Goalie Kyle Keyser was up to the task in net, stopping 26 of the 30 shots he faced.

The Belleville Senators have started the season 2-4 (4 points). This is good for eighth in the North Division and 15th in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins have had success against the Ottawa affiliate recently. They’ve gone 3-1, including 2-0 at the Dunk. Five on Five play is going to be the biggest key to victory for our boys in black and gold.

During their first matchup, the Bruins penalty kill was horrendous, giving up four goals in five opportunities. The power-play wasn’t much better, scoring only one goal in three chances. A deep-dive reveals that special teams are a real problem for the Providence club. Our boys in black and gold have given up nine goals in 36 penalty kill opportunities. This is only good for 75%. They’ve also given up two shorthanded goals.

The Bruins have also only converted on five of 34 power-play chances. These means at five on five, the Providence club has scored 22 goals, while only giving up nine. Belleville meanwhile has scored nine goals and given up 20, in the same situation. If the spoked P can keep their special teams off the ice, they should dominate the game. In their previous matchup, they had a six to nothing advantage when it was five on five.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Rochester Americans (AWAY)

Week four wraps with a game against the Rochester Americans. It’ll be the final of two meetings these two clubs will have this season. In the first matchup, the Providence Bruins came out with a win 3-2. They got goals from Jakub Lauko, Anders Bjork, and Oskar Steen. Netminder Max Lagace was excellent, turning away 30 of 32 shots he faced.

The Rochester Americans have started out the season 4-2-0-1 (9 points). This is good for third in the North Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence Bruins have had the Buffalo affiliate’s number in the past. They’ve gone 8-1 over the past five seasons, including 3-1 on the road. Shots on goal will end up being key in this game and not in the way you may expect.

The Rochester Americans are 3-2-0-1 when outshooting their opposition. This means they’ve had the shot advantage in every game they’ve played. To combat this, the Providence Bruins are 2-0 when being outshot by the team they’re playing. This includes the game they played against each other earlier this season. Something else to watch out for is team defense.

The Rochester club has given up 20 goals on the year while only scoring 19. This is a minus-one goal differential. Our boys in black and gold have scored 27 goals and given up 20. This is a plus-seven goal differential. When a team gives up more than they score, they aren’t able to sustain success. I expect Providence to come away with two points in this game.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka is one of the top three prospects in the Boston Bruins’ system. The young center came to Providence after an excellent season in the OHL, which saw him net 36 goals and dish out 47 assists for 83 total points split between Oshawa and Niagra. He’s scored one goal and tallied four assists for five points this season with Providence. He’s registered a point in five of eight games, including four of his last five. Let’s hope he keeps this hot streak up.

Peter Cehlarik: Cehlarik almost seems like a permanent fixture here in the hot category. This is because the young forward has had an excellent start to the season. In five games, he’s found the back of the net five times while also tallying two assists for seven points. He’s registered a point in four of the first five games he’s played.  With injuries starting to pile up in Boston, we may see Cehlarik called up before long.

Not

Cooper Zech: Zech is a player that I was really excited about going into the season. The young defenseman was coming off an excellent freshman season at Ferris State University, which earned himself an AHL contract with Providence. He’s a smaller offensive-minded defenseman who I expected big things from. To start the season, he’s played in five games and only registered one assist for one total point. Hopefully, Zech bounces back and can figure it out in Providence. I still expect good things from him.

Zach Senyshyn: Senyshyn seems to be a permanent fixture in the not category to begin the season. The former first-round pick has had a less than stellar start to the 2019-2020 season. In seven games he’s played in the young speedster has yet to register a point. His scoring has been down overall since joining the AHL. He has a .36 point per game total with Providence. This is much worse than the .91 point per game total he had in the OHL. The young forward did miss a game this year with an upper-body injury, so maybe that is playing a factor early on.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald is a guy who may get lost in the shuffle when talking about prospects, but he’s had a great start to the 2019-2020 season. In eight games this season, he’s netted three goals and dished out three assists for six total points. The former Boston College Eagle is also on a three-game point streak, which has seen him score two goals and tally two assists for four total points. Look for him this weekend.

On The Blue Line

Alex Petrovic: Alex Petrovic initially came to Boston on a PTO during training camp as a free agent. The Bruins liked what they saw and signed to a one-year two-way contract. The veteran defenseman has been great for Providence. In eight games, he’s netted one goal while dishing out five assists for six total points. The former Edmonton Oiler has also played well on defense. Let’s hope he keeps it up for Providence.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has been excellent for Providence to start the season. The veteran netminder is 3-1-1 with a 1.93 GAA and a .935% save percentage. He’s also recorded two shutouts, including one in the team’s game Tuesday night against Bridgeport. No other goalie has that many shutouts so far this season. The Bruins’ deciding to sign Lagace was an excellent move. I think he will have a great year while being a mentor to Keyser and Vladar.

The Providence Bruins have started out hot in their first eight games of the season. With the amount of talent, our boys in black and gold have, this is not surprising. I still fully expect that the spoked P will come out with at least four of six points from this week’s games. All three games are winnable. One characteristic that all good teams possess is that they beat the teams that they should. If the Bruins want to prove they’re a good team, they need to win at least two of these next three games. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 3 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week three of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins go into it 3-1-0-1 (7 points). This is good for second in the Atlantic Division as well as third in the Eastern Conference. Our boys in black and gold are coming off a down week in which they beat the Rochester Americans 3-2 in their home-opener. They would then lose to the Springfield Falcons 5-2 before losing again to the Laval Rocket 5-4 in a shootout to end the week. Week three should be full of exciting hockey that you don’t want to miss.

The hockey fun kicks off on Friday, October 18, 2019, when the Providence Bruins take on the Laval Rocket for the second game in a row at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada. The action continues on Saturday, October 19, 2019, as the Bruins continue their tour of Canada when they travel to Belleville, Ontario, Canada to battle the Belleville Senators at CAA Arena. Finally, the week wraps up on Tuesday, October 22, 2019, when Providence invades Bridgeport, Connecticut to take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena.

Friday, October 18, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Laval Rocket (AWAY)

The Providence Bruins kick off the weekend against the Laval Rocket. It’s the second of four meetings between the two clubs this season. Our boys in black and gold lost to the Montreal affiliate in the first meeting 5-4 in a shootout. They got goals from Peter Cehlarik (2), Paul Carey, and Brendan Gaunce. Goalie Max Lagace was less than stellar in net turning away 14 of the 18 shots he faced. The Providence club has had a tough time with Laval historically.

Over the past five seasons, they’ve gone 2-1-0-2, including 1-0-0-2 on the road. The Laval hockey club has had a rough start to the year. They are 2-3 (4 points) to start the season. This is good for sixth in the North Division and 12th in the Eastern Conference. They had a record of 30-34-6-6 (72 points) last season. This was good for seventh in the North Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference.

The defense is going to play a major role in this game. The Montreal affiliate gave up 231 goals last season while only scoring 195. This means their goal differential is -36. Anything below zero is incredibly bad, but -36 is awful. Providence has had some ups and downs defensively over the past few games, but I believe this is still one of the better defenses in the AHL. Urho Vaakanainen is one of the major reasons I believe this. He’s been stellar so far, and I expect him to help shut down Laval.

Saturday, October 19, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Belleville Senators (AWAY)

The Saturday night matchup between the Belleville Senators and the Providence Bruins marks the first of two these teams will have. There isn’t much history between these two clubs over the past five seasons, because of being in different divisions. Despite this, our boys in black and gold are 2-1-1 against the Ottawa affiliate in that time frame including 0-1-1 on the road.

The Belleville Senators have had a rough start to their season going 1-2 (2 points). This is good for eighth in the North Division and 16th in the Eastern Conference. Last season the Ottawa affiliate was 37-31-3-5 (82 points). This was good for fifth in the North Division and 10th in the Eastern Conference. Special teams are going to play a big part in this game.

The Senators are 0/11 on the power play to start the year. The Bruins’ penalty kill is stingy only giving up four goals in 22 opportunities. These two components coupled together should tip the scales in Providence’s favor. On the other hand, our boys in black and gold have netted just three goals in 23 power-play opportunities and Belleville has given up three goals in 16 chances on the penalty kill. Hopefully, this can give the Providence club a chance to get the power-play on track.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AWAY)

The Tuesday night matchup between Bridgeport and Providence will be the first of 12 between the two clubs. Over the past five seasons, the Sound Tigers and Bruins have been pretty evenly matched. Our boys in black and gold are 21-16-6-3 including 7-10-3-3 on the road. It should be an evenly matched game between the two clubs.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers are 1-2-1 (3 points) to start the young season. This is good for eighth in the Atlantic Division and 15th in the Eastern Conference. Last season, the Islanders’ affiliate was 43-24-6-3 (95 points). This was good for second in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. They would go on to lose to the Hershey Bears in the first round of the playoffs.

I expect this game, and the season series to be close. Last season, six of the 12 games went to overtime or shootout. With both clubs so evenly matched, it seems likely that the Tuesday night game will be a one or two-goal game. When you have closely contested matchups, goaltending, defense, and special teams generally play a huge part in deciding the outcome. To start the season Providence has the edge in those categories. I expect them to come out on top.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Anders Bjork: Anders Bjork has had a blistering start to the season. In five games with Providence, he’s netted three goals while dishing out three assists for six total points. This is exactly what both the young forward and the Bruins wanted to see after each of the last two seasons were cut short with shoulder surgery. If the Notre Dame alum keeps this up, he may force his way into Boston’s lineup.

Peter Cehlarik: Peter Cehlarik is a guy who had an excellent season in Providence last year. The young forward is in an awkward position currently. The team doesn’t really have room for him in Boston, and he’s a restricted free agent at the end of the season. Despite that, he’s started off hot scoring three goals in his first two games of action for three total points. He looks like one of the best players on the ice which is an excellent sign.

Not

Zach Senyshyn: Zach Senyshyn found himself in the not section last week as well. It’s unfortunate because you would like a player, especially one of Senyshyn’s caliber to start the year hot. The young forward is one of two players to play in all of the team’s games this season and not register a point. Despite this, Senyshyn does seem to be chomping at the bit. I expect him to break out of the scoreless streak soon.

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic is the other player on the roster to play in every game and not register a point. The University of Wisconsin alum has had a slow start to the year, but he’s another player that I expect to break out of the slump soon. He’s way too good to go too long without a point.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Anders Bjork: Anders Bjork has had a marvelous start to the 2019-2020 season. He’s scoring at a point per game clip of 1.20 and looks excellent on the ice. This is exactly what you want to see from a top prospect who has been injured each of the past two seasons. I expect the Notre Dame alum to keep up his hot start. Keep an eye on him, he’s a joy to watch.

On The Blue Line

Jakub Zboril: Zboril has had a good start to his AHL season. He’s playing a heavy game and doing well defensively. He hasn’t found the back of the yet but has dished out an assist for one total point this season. The good news is one of the teams that Providence plays this weekend is the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. In 10 games against the Islanders’ affiliate, last season Zboril netted two goals and dished out three assists for five total points. Look for Zboril to rack up some points this weekend.

In Net

Max Lagace: Lagace came to Providence as a free agent after being in the Vegas Golden Knights’ system. The veteran netminder has been good thus far going 2-0-0-1 with a 2.22  GAA, and a save percentage of .923. Look for him to have a big weekend on the road for Providence.

The Providence Bruins looked great the first week and not great the second. As I’ve previously stated, I still believe this team could be special. They have all the tools to put together a magical season. I expect our boys in black and gold to have another stellar week. They should be able to collect at least four of six possible points. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 2 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week two of the Providence Bruins season is upon us. Our boys in black and gold had a marvelous week one beating the Lehigh Valley Phantoms 3-0 and taking down the Hershey Bears 2-1 in overtime. After starting on the road, the spoked P finally comes home for the first time this year. The offense is playing well. That coupled with the defense and goaltending hitting on all cylinders, should make for an exciting home-opening weekend of hockey.

The action kicks off on Saturday, October 12, 2019, when the Rochester Americans roll into Providence, Rhode Island to invade the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The weekend action continues Sunday, October 13, 2019, when a familiar foe the Springfield Thunderbirds travel to Providence to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. Finally, week two wraps up on Wednesday, October 16, 2019, the Providence Bruins travel to Laval, Quebec, Canada to take on the Laval Rocket at Place Bell.

Saturday, October 12, 2019, Providence Bruins vs Rochester Americans (HOME)

The Providence Bruins finally come back to Rhode Island for their home opener against the Rochester Americans. This will be the first of two meetings that these teams will have this season. Despite also being in the Eastern Conference, the Buffalo Sabres’ affiliate is in a different division and that’s why the two teams don’t play often. Last season our boys in black and gold were 1-1 against Rochester and have been good against them in recent years.

Over the past five seasons, they hold a 7-1 record, including 4-0 at the Dunk. The Rochester Americans are 1-0 on the young season after beating the Syracuse Crunch in overtime 3-2 in their season opener. Last season they were 46-23-5-2 (99 points) this was good for second in the North Division and third in the Eastern Conference. They would go on to be swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Toronto Marlies.

Special teams are going to be a major part of this game. The Providence Bruins are a perfect 12 for 12 in killing penalties this season. The penalty kill has been outstanding. The Americans have also yet to register a goal in five power-play opportunities. Though the Bruins have only registered one power-play goal in seven chances, the Rochester club has given up two power-play goals in five opportunities. This could be a chance for the spoked P to get their power-play going.

The Bruins penalty kill was excellent stopping seven of eight power-play opportunities for the Americans, while also scoring on two of eight themselves. With both games last season one-goal games, we should be in for an exciting night of hockey. I believe the Bruins will come out of this game on top and give the home crowd something to cheer about.

Sunday, October 13, 2019, Providence Bruins vs Springfield Thunderbirds (HOME)

The Providence Bruins continue their homestand against a divisional foe the Springfield Thunderbirds. This is the first of 14 meetings between the two clubs. Last season our boys in black and gold had a rough time against the Panthers’ affiliate going 6-7-1. However, over the past five seasons, the Bruins have seen success against the Springfield club going 23-14-3, including 12-7-1 at the Dunk.

The Springfield Thunderbirds are currently 1-1 after opening weekend. They beat Bridgeport 5-1 in their opening game and fell to Charlotte 4-2 their last game. Last year was a rough year for the Panthers’ affiliate going 33-29-9-5 (80 points). That was good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 12th in the Eastern Conference. The defense and goaltending are going to be major factors in this game.

Last season the Springfield club gave up 241 goals. This was good for sixth in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins meanwhile, gave up 212 goals last season. This was good for second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. The spoked P has a much better defense, and to top it off they may have stronger players at the position this year. The Providence club also has only given up one goal so far this year. This should all equate to a victory for our boys in black and gold.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019, Providence Bruins vs Laval Rocket (AWAY)

The Providence Bruins end week two by traveling to Laval, Quebec, Canada to take on the Laval Rocket. This will be the first of four meetings the two teams will have this season. This is another case of a team being in the same conference but a different division so they do not play each other often. Last season, Providence had a tough time with the Montreal affiliate last season going 0-1-0-1.

Over the past five seasons, they’ve gone 2-1-0-1, including 1-0-0-1 on the road. The Laval hockey club has had a rough start to the year. They lost both opening weekend games to Cleveland 3-2 and 4-1. They had a record of 30-34-6-6 (72 points) last season. This was good for seventh in the North Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference.

The defense is going to play a major role in this game. The Montreal affiliate gave up 231 goals last season while only scoring 195. This means their goal differential is -36. Anything below zero is incredibly bad, but -36 is awful. With the Bruins having one of the stingier defenses in the league, this should be an easy win for Providence.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Brendan Gaunce: Brendan Gaunce came to the Providence Bruins on a one-year contract after being an unrestricted free agent. He played in 60 games with the Utica Comets last season, netting 16 goals and dishing out 22 assists for 38 total points. So far this year, he’s netted two goals and dished out one assist for three total points in two games. He’s been excellent. Let’s hope he keeps it up.

Anders Bjork: Bjork has had a rough few seasons. He’s needed season-ending shoulder surgery two-years in a row. In the first two games this year he’s netted a goal and dished out an assist for two total points. The Notre Dame alum looks excellent so far this year. If he keeps playing at a high level, we may see him called up to Boston before long.

Not

Zach Senyshyn: Zach Senyshyn remains a player that Boston Bruins fans are split on. You have one side that is ready to call him a bust. Then you have the other side who says he just needs time to develop. The young winger has had an up and down career in Providence and has started this season slower than you’d like. He’s yet to register a point in two games. Hopefully, he just needs time to warm up and gets his game going soon.

Trent Frederic: Frederic is another guy who fans seem split on. The young center, I believe may end up being a solid NHL player, but he too has started the year slower than you would like. He has yet to register a point this season, but hopefully, the slow start comes to an end this weekend.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Jakub Lauko: Lauko is playing in his first season with the Bruins. The young forward comes to Providence after an excellent season the QMJHL where he scored 21 goals and dished out 20 assists for 41 total points in 44 games for Rouyn-Noranda. He has yet to score a point this season, but I expect that to change soon. He’s a top prospect in the Boston system and is primed to have an excellent year.

On The Blue Line

Urho Vaakanainen: Vaakanainen is one of the best young defensemen in the Bruins system. I expect him to take a big step forward in his second full season in North America. He’s looked good so far this season. He’s also played really well against Springfield in his career. In nine games he’s netted three goals and dished out five assists for eight total points. I expect him to have a big weekend.

In Net

Dan Vladar: Dan Vladar is one of the best young goaltenders in the Bruins system. He had an excellent first outing against Hershey stopping 21 of 22 shots in an overtime win. It’ll be interesting to see how the 22-year old follows up his excellent first win of the season.

It’s been an excellent start to the 2019-2020 season for the Providence Bruins. Taking their first two games of the year on the road was important. Now they get to come home and play two games at the Dunk in Providence, Rhode Island. I expect them to finish the weekend with two more wins under their belt, and honestly, I expect them to beat Laval on Wednesday. This team has a chance to be something special. I hope everyone enjoys the weekend action and as always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 1 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Welcome everyone to the first preview of the Providence Bruins season. I hope you’re as excited as I am to get this year started. Just to quickly recap last season, the Providence Bruins ended up 38-27-8-3 (87 points) which was good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. They would go on to lose in the first round of playoffs to the eventual Calder Cup Champion Charlotte Checkers in four games. This season looks to be even better with Providence’s loaded roster.

The season kicks off on Saturday, October 5th, 2019 when the Providence Bruins head down to invade the PPL Center to take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Bruins continue their tour of the Keystone State when they head to Hershey, Pennsylvania to take on the Hershey Bears at the Giant Center on Sunday, October 6th, 2019. It should be an exciting first weekend of divisional matchups that you do not want to miss.

Saturday, October 5, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AWAY)

The Providence Bruins start off the regular season on the road playing against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The matchup marks the first of what will be six games against the divisional foe this season. Last year, our boys in black and gold were 3-3 against the Flyers’ affiliate. Despite the record, all of the games were close as both teams had a similar style of play.

Historically, the Providence club has had trouble with Lehigh Valley going 9-13-2 over the past five seasons including 4-7-1 on the road. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms were 39-30-4-3 (85 Points) which was good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference. Despite being eighth in the conference, they missed the playoffs because the top four teams in each division go on to the postseason.

Special teams are going to play a big part in this game. Last season both teams had exceptional penalty kill at 85% for Providence and 85.1% for Lehigh Valley. On the flipside, both had mediocre power play with 18.8% for the Phantoms and 17.7% for the Bruins. The Flyers’ affiliate is sure to come out strong for their home opener, but with the loaded roster for our boys in black and gold, I expect Providence to get the two points.

Sunday, October 6, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Hershey Bears (AWAY)

The Pennsylvania road trip continues as the Providence Bruins take on the Hershey Bears. This too will be the first of six meetings the two teams will have this season. Last season, the spoked P was 4-2 against the Capitals’ affiliate and they’ve had good success against them in recent years. Over the past five seasons, the Boston affiliate has a 15-8-2-1 record against Hershey including 5-6-2 on the road.

Last season, the Hershey Bears were 43-25-4-4 (94 Points) which was good for third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. They would go on to beat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in five games in round one of the playoffs and go on to lose to Charlotte in round two getting swept in four games.

Special teams are also going to play a big part in this game. As I stated earlier the Bruins had an excellent penalty kill at 85% last season. The Bears, on the other hand, had a rather pedestrian 79.6% penalty kill. With four of the six games, last season decided by just one goal and two of them going to overtime this is something that will play a major role in the matchup’s outcome. I expect the game to be close, but coming out with a win is certainly doable for the Providence club.

Players to Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Jack Studnicka: Studnicka is arguably the best prospect the Boston Bruins have in their system. The young center starts his first full season with Providence and it should be an exciting one. He did get a taste of the AHL last year playing in the team’s four playoff games netting a goal and dishing out an assist for two total points. The forward group is sure to be loaded for the spoked P and I expect big things from Studnicka. Look for him to have a big first weekend of the season.

On the Blue Line

Cooper Zech: Like Studnicka, Zech is starting his first full season with Providence. After signing an AHL contract last March, he played in 12 games with the spoked P he didn’t find the back of the net himself, but he did dish out four assists for four total points. In the team’s four playing games he would net two goals without dishing an assist for two total points. Zech also managed to net two goals in the team’s final preseason game. The young defenseman is offensive-minded, and I expect him to have a big weekend.

In Net

Kyle Keyser: Kyle Keyser comes to Providence after having an excellent season and playoffs with the Oshawa Generals in the OHL. This will be the young netminder’s first full professional season as well. The 20-year-old was excellent for the Boston Bruins in the preseason and played really well in Providence’s last preseason game. It’s pretty clear that he’s the best goalie prospect the team has, and if given the chance to play in the AHL he will be awesome.

It’s an exciting time when hockey returns to our lives. This season should be a thrilling one for the Providence Bruins. They are loaded with many of the system’s top prospects. I expect them to make the playoffs again this year, and at least make it passed the first round. This season has all the makings of being something special and I cannot wait to bring you coverage of this team. Also, for any of you interested in prospects, I will be doing a prospect podcast with the Black N’ Gold founder Mark Allred. You can find any podcast updates on Twitter @BNGProspectsPod. I hope everyone enjoys the first weekend of the season and as always GO, Bs, GO!

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