Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 15 Preview

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Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr

By Tim Richardson| Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Heading into week 15 the Providence Bruins currently sit at 18-16-6 (42 points) and 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for sixth in the Atlantic Division and 10th in the Eastern Conference. Despite being just out of the playoff picture, the Bruins managed to grab five out of six points last weekend and remain only four being behind fourth place in the Eastern Conference. This weekend, the Baby B’s have another full docket of games as it’s the fourth week in a row that they have a three-game weekend.  

It all kicks off on Friday, January 18, 2019, when the Thunderbirds of Springfield invade the Dunk. Next up, the spoked P takes the show on the road on Saturday, January 19, 2019, when they travel to Bridgeport, Connecticut to take on the home team Sound Tigers at the Webster Bank Arena. Finally, the Baby B’s wrap up the weekend enjoying some home cooking on Sunday, January 20, 2019, when they play host to the Hartford Wolf Pack at the Dunk. It’s going to be an exciting hockey filled weekend that you don’t want to miss.  

Friday, January 18, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (HOME) 

This game mark the seventh time the Bruins and Thunderbirds have faced off this season. In the first meeting, Springfield beat Providence 6-3 with the Bruins getting goals from Zach Senyshyn, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Colby Cave. Meanwhile, goalie Zane McIntyre was a little off his game stopping 14 of 20 shots. The second meeting between the two teams saw a different score with the same result. The Florida Panther’s affiliate beat the Baby B’s 4-2 with the Bruins getting goals from now-departed Martin Bakos and Jan Kovar, while current goalie Zane McIntyre looked much better stopping 17 of 20 shots in net. 

The third game of the season series saw the Bruins finally break through and get a win beating the Thunderbirds 5-4. The boys in black and gold got goals from Mark McNeill, Karson Kuhlman, Peter Cehlarik, Jordan Szwarz, and Connor Clifton while Dan Vladar stopped 22 of 26 shots he faced. The next installment of the season series did not go according to plan for the spoked P as they fell to the Springfield club 5-3. Bruins got goals from Zach Senyshyn, Gemel Smith, and Jordan Szwarz. Meanwhile, goalie Dan Vladar was a little off his game despite facing a barrage of shots stopping 34 of 39 he faced.   

Part five of the season series was a good one for the boys in black and gold. The Bruins beat the Thunderbirds 4-3 getting goals from Peter Cehlarik (2), Trent Frederic, and Paul Carey. Meanwhile, goalie Zane McIntyre continued to play well as he turned away 19 of the 22 shots he faced. The most recent battle saw the Panthers’ affiliate beat the spoked P 3-2 in overtime. The Baby B’s were able to get goals from Gemel Smith, and Cameron Hughes with Dan Vladar giving a tremendous effort in net stopping 38 of the 41 shots he faced.  

The Springfield hockey club comes into the seventh game of the season series with a record of 18-14-5-3 (44 points) and 3-4-3 in their last 10 games good for third in the Atlantic division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. The Thunderbirds seem to have the Bruins’ number this year going 4-2 against our boys thus far. Something that bodes well for the Baby B’s though is they are 9-4-1 against the Panthers’ affiliate in the last five seasons at home and 19-10-3 overall.  

Something that has been a major key for the Springfield Thunderbirds this year is balanced scoring. They have eight players with at least 22 points on the season and are second in the Eastern Conference in goals for with 139. Shutting down the high-powered offense of Springfield is going to be huge for Providence. Something that plays into the Baby B’s favor is that they are tied for fifth in the entire Eastern Conference in goals against this season with 119. On top of that, the boys in black and gold have gotten some key defenders back in the lineup. This should make for a great game this weekend. 

Saturday, January 19, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AWAY) 

Saturday’s game marks the seventh time that these two teams have met, and all the games have been closely contented games with four of the six games going to overtime. The first game of the season series saw the Sound Tigers beat the Bruins 4-3 in overtime with the spoked P getting goals from the recently departed Colby Cave (2), and Jakub Zboril with goalie Dan Vladar playing well turning away 30 of 34 shots he faced. The next meeting saw the Providence club win 5-2 getting goals from Cameron Hughes, Colby Cave, Trent Frederic (2), and the now departed Jan Kovar. Goalie Zane McIntyre looked good in net stopping 25 of the 27 shots he faced.  

The third meeting between the two clubs saw Providence breakout offensively winning 6-1 getting goals from Cameron Hughes (3), Zach Senyshyn (2), and Trent Frederic. In net, Dan Vladar was superb stopping 28 of the 29 shots fired his way. The next three meetings the Eastern Conference foes would play ended up going to overtime. The first of those ended up going the Sound Tigers’ way 5-4 with the Bruins getting goals from Jan Kovar, Anton Blidh, Jakub Zboril, and Ryan Donato. Zane McIntyre was in net for the contest, and he was a little off his game stopping 20 of the 25 shots that were fired his way.  

The next meeting between the two teams had the puck bounce the Bruins way as they won 2-1 in overtime getting goals from Wiley Sherman, and Ryan Fitzgerald (OT GW). Goalie Dan Vladar was excellent in net stopping 29 of the 30 shots he faced. Most recently, the Baby B’s fell in overtime 4-3 getting goals from Anton Blidh, Peter Cehlarik, and Kyle Cumiskey with goalie Dan Vladar stopping 13 of 17 shots he faced. It’s been a crazy season series thus far, and I would look for it to continue that way.  

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers come into the game 22-14-4-2 (50 points) and 4-5-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and second in the entire Eastern Conference. This game will be especially tough for Providence because, despite their 23-16-5-2 record overall in the past five seasons against Bridgeport, the Baby B’s are only 8-10-3-2 in Bridgeport during that time. A major key to winning this game will be special teams.  

The boys in black and gold boast the fifth best power play in the entire Eastern Conference at 20.6%, meanwhile, the Sound Tigers’ penalty kill is ranked ninth in the Eastern Conference at 80.4%. On the flip-side, the spoked P also has the second-best penalty kill in the entire Eastern Conference at 85.1% with the New York Islanders’ affiliate having just the 10th ranked power play in the Eastern Conference at 18.6%. Winning this match-up will go a long way to winning the game.  

Monday, January 21, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (HOME) 

The Monday game marks the eighth time the two teams have faced off this season. The first match-up saw the Wolf Pack beat the Bruins 4-2 with Providence getting goals from Austin Fyten and Mark McNeill while goalie Zane McIntyre was pulled in the first period after stopping 7 of 10 shots faced. Dan Vladar finished the game turning away all 8 shots he would see. The second meeting between the two teams saw a better result with Providence winning 4-3 in overtime. The Baby B’s got goals from Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Anton Blidh, Trent Frederic, and Cody Goloubef (OT GW), and goalie Zane McIntyre looked much better stopping 15 of 18 shots faced. 

The third leg of the season series saw the Pack come out victorious, winning 4-3. The Providence club got goals from Zach Senyshyn, Colby Cave, and Anton Blidh. Goalie Dan Vladar had a busy game stopping 26 of 30 he faced. In game four these two clubs both fought hard, but Hartford came out on top 4-3 in overtime. The boys wearing the spoked P got goals from Karson Kuhlman, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Kyle Cumiskey. Goalie Zane McIntyre turned away 18 of 22 shots faced in the losing effort. In the fifth meeting this year the New York Rangers’ affiliated blanked Providence 3-0. Goalie Dan Vladar played well in the game stopping 30 of 33 shots faced.  

More recently, the sixth meeting of the year could not have gone better for the spoked P, winning the game 5-1. The Bruins got goals from Peter Cehlarik (2), Emil Johansson, Gemel Smith, and Jordan Szwarz. Goalie Zane McIntyre looked excellent in net stopping 15 of 16 shots he faced. The two teams latest battle saw the Baby B’s score in bunches winning 6-3 getting goals from Peter Cehlarik, Jordan Szwarz, Karson Kuhlman, Anton Blidh, Mark McNeill, and Chris Breen. Zane McIntyre was up to the challenge in net for Providence stopping 15 of 18 shots he faced.  

The Hartford Wolf Pack come into the Sunday match-up 18-17-2-2 (40 points) and 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club has enjoyed some success at home against the Rangers’ affiliate over the past five seasons going 13-4-1-1 and 20-13-4-2 overall. Getting a lead early on, and keeping it is going to play a major factor in this game. The Bruins are 10-5-2 when leading after one period, and 14-3-2 when leading after two periods. At the other end, the Wolf Pack are 9-2 when leading after one period and 12-2-1-2 when leading after two periods. If our boys in black and gold can grab a lead early and hold onto it, they stand a fantastic shot at coming out of this game with two points.  

Who’s hot and Who’s not for the Bruins 

Hot 

Peter CehlarikCehlarik has been nothing short of spectacular for the Bruins lately. In his last four games with the Baby B’s, he has netted five goals while dishing out two assists for seven total points. This includes two separate two-goal games. So far this season in the AHL, the Swedish Hockey League product has potted 10 goals while helping with 19 assists for 29 total points in 37 games played. This is good for a 0.78 point per game clip. This is higher than his career AHL point per game clip of 0.74 (41-49-90 in 121 games played) and much higher than his SHL clip of 0.37 (22-27-49 in 132 games played). The young forward was playing so well he earned a call up to Boston this week and even scored two goals in his first game with the big club this year.  

Zane McIntyre: The veteran goaltender has been great for Providence recently. McIntyre has won his last four games played for the Baby B’s going 4-0-0. In doing so, he’s turned away 69 of the 78 shots that he’s faced for a .884 save percentage and goals against average of 2.25. Despite some drastic home and road splits this season, he has been a rock for the boys wearing the spoked P thus far and has been a big reason why they’ve begun to climb to standings in the Eastern Conference.  

Not 

Jeremy Lauzon: Lauzon has had an up and down year for the Baby B’s. When he was sent back down to Providence from Boston, the big club wanted the young defenseman to work on his shot and play-making ability. He has only found the stat sheet once over his past four games dishing out one assist for one total point. Despite this, so far this season he’s played 20 games in the AHL he’s found the back of the net once and dished out five assists for six total points. This is a point per game clip of 0.30 which is higher than his AHL career total of 0.18 (2-11-13 in 72 games), but still much lower than his OMJHL days of 0.65 points per game (35-95-130 in 200 games).  

Dan VladarThe young net-minder has had a rough go of it as of late. Over his last four games, he has a record of 1-2-1 turning away 111 shots of the 128 he has faced for a save percentage of .888 and goals against average of 3.49. Hopefully, Vladar can pick up his play the rest of the year. If the Bruins want to win and find themselves in the playoffs, they’re going to need both goalies to be on top of their game.  

My players to watch this weekend 

Up Front 

Cameron Hughes: Hughes has been very good for Providence this year and especially so against Springfield, Bridgeport, and Hartford. On the season, 11 of the young forward’s 24 points have come in the 19 games against these three teams. This is good for a point per game clip of 0.58 which is higher than his AHL career of 0.50. Look for him to have a big weekend for the Baby B’s. 

On the Blue Line  

Urho VaakanainenThe young defenseman returned to the lineup for Providence for the first time since October due to a combination of being called up to Boston, getting injured, and helping Finland win the gold medal at the U20 World Junior Championships. In the three games since his return, Vaakanainen was excellent playing great defense and dishing out three assists for three total points. Look for him to continue playing well further raising his stock as a prospect.  

In Net 

Zane McIntyre: As I stated earlier the veteran goalie has played really well for Providence going 4-0-0 in his last four games with a goals against average of 2.25 and a save percentage of .884 which saw him turn away 69 of the 78 shots he faced. Zane has been able to solidify the goalie position recently for the Baby B’s which has led to them slowly but surely climbing the Eastern Conference standings. Sometimes with goalies, you need to ride the hot hand. Look for the Bruins to do that this weekend.  

The Providence Bruins were able to grab five of six points last weekend to climb into sixth place in the Atlantic Division and 10th in the Eastern Conference. Their defensive play has really been a joy to watch since they’ve gotten Zboril and Vaakanainen back in the lineup. I would expect the Baby B’s to have another big weekend which will help catapult them in the division and conference standings. This team is too talented to not be in playoff contention. We will catch up with you next week to let you know how the team fared but feel free to send any questions or comments to me on Twitter. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and Go, B’s, Go!  

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket, from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows, please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You! 

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 14 Preview

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Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Heading into week 14 the Providence Bruins currently sit at 16-16-5 (37 points) and 5-5 in their last 10 games good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 12th in the Eastern Conference. The Baby B’s have a full docket of games this weekend starting out with some home cooking on Friday, January 11th when the Hartford Wolf Pack invade the Dunk again.

Next up, as Yogi Berra would say “it’s like déjà vu all over again” when the boys wearing the spoked P travel to Springfield, Massachusetts to take on the home team Thunderbirds at The MassMutual Center on Saturday, January 12th. Finally, the weekend ends back where it started on Sunday, January 13th when the Springfield Thunderbirds follow our boys in black and gold back to the Dunk. One thing to keep an eye out for is both teams that the Bruins play this weekend are ahead of them in the standings. Win all three games, and we could see our boys climb the division and conference standings.  

Friday, January 11th Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (HOME) 

The Sunday game marks the seventh time the two teams have faced off this season. The first match-up saw the Wolf Pack beat the Bruins 4-2 with Providence getting goals from Austin Fyten and Mark McNeill while goalie Zane McIntyre was pulled in the first period after stopping 7 of 10 shots faced. Dan Vladar finished the game turning away all 8 shots he would see. The second meeting between the two teams saw a better result with Providence winning 4-3 in overtime. The Baby B’s got goals from Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Anton Blidh, Trent Frederic, and Cody Goloubef (OT GW), and goalie Zane McIntyre looked much better stopping 15 of 18 shots faced.

The third leg of the season series saw the Pack come out victorious, winning 4-3. The Providence club got goals from Zach Senyshyn, Colby Cave, and Anton Blidh. Goalie Dan Vladar had a busy game stopping 26 of 30 he faced. In game four these two clubs both fought hard, but Hartford came out on top 4-3 in overtime. The boys wearing the spoked P got goals from Karson Kuhlman, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Kyle Cumiskey. Goalie Zane McIntyre turned away 18 of 22 shots faced in the losing effort. In the fifth meeting this year the New York Rangers’ affiliated blanked Providence 3-0. Goalie Dan Vladar played well in the game stopping 30 of 33 shots faced. More recently, the sixth meeting of the year could not have gone better for the spoked P, winning the game 5-1. The Bruins got goals from Peter Cehlarik (2), Emil Johansson, Gemel Smith, and Jordan Szwarz. Goalie Zane McIntyre looked excellent in net stopping 15 of 16 shots he faced.  

The seventh part of this season series should be a difficult task for the Baby B’s. The Wolf Pack come into the game 17-16-2-2 (38 points) and 6-3-1 in their last 10 games good for sixth in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins have had a mixed back of luck against the Rangers’ affiliate overall this season going 2-3-1. However, the Providence club has been good against them historically going 12-4-1-1 against Hartford at home over the past five seasons and going 19-13-4-2 overall in that time frame. First-period scoring is going to be a major key in this game for clubs. When leading after the first period, Providence is 9-5-2 this season, and Hartford is 8-1. The other big key for the Bruins will be keeping center Peter Holland off the score-sheet. He is the leading scorer for the Pack with stats of 12-23-35. If our boys in black and gold can come out of the first period with a lead, while also keeping Holland from scoring they have a great chance of grabbing two points.  

Saturday, January 12th (AWAY) and Sunday, January 13th (HOME) Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds 

These games mark the fifth and sixth times the Bruins and Thunderbirds have faced off this season. In the first meeting, Springfield beat Providence 6-3 with the Bruins getting goals from Zach Senyshyn, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Colby Cave. Meanwhile, goalie Zane McIntyre was a little off his game stopping 14 of 20 shots. The second meeting between the two teams saw a different score with the same result. The Florida Panther’s affiliate beat the Baby B’s 4-2 with the Bruins getting goals from now-departed Martin Bakos and Jan Kovar, while current goalie Zane McIntyre looked much better stopping 17 of 20 shots in net.

The third game of the season series saw the Bruins finally break through and get a win beating the Thunderbirds 5-4. The boys in black and gold got goals from Mark McNeill, Karson Kuhlman, Peter Cehlarik, Jordan Szwarz, and Connor Clifton while Dan Vladar stopped 22 of 26 shots he faced. The most recent installment of the season series did not go according to plan for the spoked P as they fell to the Springfield club 5-3. Bruins got goals from Zach Senyshyn, Gemel Smith, and Jordan Szwarz. Meanwhile, goalie Dan Vladar was a little off his game despite facing a barrage of shots stopping 34 of 39 he faced.  

The Springfield club comes into the two-weekend games with a record of 16-12-5-3 (40 points) and 3-4-3 in their last 10 games good for 5th in the Atlantic Division. You could say the Panthers’ affiliate has brought the lightning and the thunder against Providence this year. The Baby B’s are 1-3 against them so these two games will be anything but easy. Something that does bode well for our boys in black and gold is over the past five seasons they have records of 9-4 at home and 9-6-2 on the road for an overall record of 18-10-2. A major key to these games is going to be special teams.

The Thunderbirds have one of the best power plays in the league ranked first in the Eastern Conference and second in the entire American Hockey League at 25.3%. Meanwhile, the Bruins have one of the best penalty kill units in the league ranked second overall in the Eastern Conference and third overall in the entire American Hockey League. With both clubs being elite in the facet of the game it’s something that has the potential to turn a game over on its head quick. The other thing to look out for is Springfield’s balanced offensive attack. They have five players with 24+ points on the season. Playing an all-around good defensive game is something the Baby B’s must do if they want to win. 

Who’s hot and Who’s not for the Bruins 

Hot 

Gemel Smith: Gemel Smith was acquired from Dallas via waiver claim by Boston earlier in the year. Since being sent down to Providence, he’s been excellent in 9 games with stats of 5-2-7 including 4-0-4 in his last three games. The former OHL product has a career AHL point per game average of 0.48 (40-53-93 in 195 games), but in his small sample with the Bruins, it’s 0.78. Let’s hope he continues his hot play throughout the rest of the season. 

Jordan SzwarzThe Bruins’ Captain has played very as of late. Especially over the weekend which saw him have stats of 2-1-3. Overall this season Szwarz’ point per game total is 0.63 (12-7-19 in 30 games) which is up from his career AHL total of 0.59 (102-131-233 in 394 games.) This has helped the spoked P greatly this year, and it is part of the reason why they named him captain in the first place.  

Not 

Zach SenyshynThe speedy forward did have stats of 1-1-2 over the weekend, however, they were his first points since December 12th. The OHL product has been a streaky player since coming to Providence. Sometimes it does take some time to adjust to the pro game. One positive note, the young forward’s point per game total this season is 0.47 (11-4-15 in 32 games) which is higher than his AHL career of 0.42 (23-18-41 in 98 games).  

Mark McNeill: The gritty forward found himself in the middle of a hot streak last week and was in the hot category, it seems as though he’s cooled off a little bit having not registered a point in his past four games. Though it should be noted, that the WHL product is still scoring at a higher point per game total this season 0.68 (4-13-17 in 25 games) than his AHL career of 0.57 (93-117-210 in 368 games), but it is closer to his WHL totals of 0.88 (97-146-243 in 276 games). 

My players to watch this weekend 

Up Front 

Peter CehlarikCehlarik has been excellent for the Providence Bruins this year with stats of 7-17-24. However, he’s been especially good against Springfield and Hartford in 10 games against the two clubs he has stats of 3-5-8 good for a point per game clip of 0.80. Look for him to have another big weekend.  

On the Blue Line 

Jakub ZborilThe young defenseman returned to the lineup last weekend after missing almost a month with an injury. Not only did Zboril play well defensively, but he also contributed offensively getting on the score-sheet with 0-2-2 numbers in three games. Look for him to continue to get stronger as he puts the injury behind him.  

In Net 

Zane McIntyre: This is a repeat from last week, but it cannot be stated enough how good McIntyre has been at home this season. Last weekend the young netminder improved to 7-0-1 at home with a .929 save percentage and 1.86 goals against average. With two of the games, this week at the Dunk look for Zane to have another big weekend. 

The Providence Bruins had a very good week 13. They were able to come away with four points and inch closer in the standings. With both teams they play this weekend ahead of them in the standings it’s another perfect opportunity to continue that climb. The Baby B’s have been good at home this season, and with two games at the Dunk, I would look for at least another four-point weekend. If they can pull that off, it would go a long way to climbing into playoff contention. We will catch up with you next week to let you know how the team fared but feel free to send any questions or comments to me on Twitter. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and Go, B’s, Go! 

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket, from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows, please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You! 

Click Here For The Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 13 Recap

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(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By Tim Richardson| Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 13 for the Providence brought their first three games of 2019, and much-needed return home to the Dunk. Our boys in black and gold came into the weekend 14-15-5 (33 points) good for seventh in the Atlantic Division. The Baby B’s had hoped week 13 would bring some much-needed wins and points so they could to claw their way back into the playoff picture. When the weekend started, they sat at 13th in the Eastern Conference, which is just out of the playoff range.  

The Providence Bruins won two of three games over the weekend which improved their record to 16-16-5 (37 points). They remain in seventh place in the Atlantic Division, however, only four points separate the Baby B’s and fourth place in the division which currently belongs to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Meanwhile, the top Boston Bruins minor league affiliated moved up to 12th in the Eastern Conference, and only 6 points separate them and the sixth place Utica Comets.  

Hopefully, the Bruins can have a strong week 14, which is jam-packed with three games over the weekend. Two of the games are at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence where the Bruins are 9-3-2 this season. The one road game will be in Bridgeport, Connecticut against the Sound Tigers where the Bruins are 1-0-2 this season, and 7-13-3 overall.  

Let’s strap in and look back at the weekend that was for the Providence Bruins with some key offensive details for the first three games of 2019.  

Friday, January 4th Providence Bruins vs Lehigh Valley Phantoms (HOME)  

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(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr)

The first of three-weekend games on the docket was at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, who currently sit third in the Atlantic Division. The Baby B’s came out with vengeance in the first period scoring three goals. The first came late in the period when Trent Frederic buried the puck in the back in the net in a goal that was assisted by Cameron Hughes and Karson Kuhlman. Less than a minute later with the Bruins on the power play, Gemel Smith was able to score to make 2-0 with assists coming from Jakub Zboril and Trent Frederic. The Providence club’s quick-strike ability struck again when less than 30 seconds later Gemel Smith found the back of the net again to make it 3-0 with the assists coming from Connor Clifton and Zach Senyshyn.  

With the Bruins ahead 3-0 going into the second period the Lehigh Valley Phantoms picked up their play. They would go on to score two goals in the frame and it would be 3-2 at the end of two periods. The score would remain that until early in the third period when Joona Koppanen scored to make it 4-2 on a goal that was assisted by Connor Clifton and Kyle Cumiskey. The 4-2 score would end up being the final with the Baby B’s getting a need two points. Goalie Zane McIntyre looked excellent in net stopping 20 of 22 shots. He improved to 6-0-1 at home with a .928 save percentage and 1.97 goals against average. Gemel Smith, who was acquired by Boston via waivers from the Dallas Stars earlier in the year has been very good in nine games since being sent down to Providence with stats of 5-2-7.  

The Providence Bruins would go on to out-shoot the Phantoms by a 34-22 margin and go one for three on the power play. The Baby B’s currently sit fifth in that category in the Eastern Conference with a 21.3% power play percentage which also ranks seventh in the entire American Hockey League. Meanwhile, the Bruins were also able to kill off both Lehigh Valley penalties. The penalty kill has been elite for the boys in black and gold which currently sits second in not only the Eastern Conference but the entire American Hockey League with 86.3%. 

Saturday, January 5th Providence Bruins vs Springfield Thunderbirds (AWAY) 

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(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr)

The second game of weekend would see the Providence Bruins travel to Springfield, Massachusetts to take on the home team Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center. The Florida Panther’s affiliate current sits at fifth in the Atlantic Division at 16-12-5-3 (40 points). The game would start out promising for the Baby B’s when they scored early in the first period to make it 1-0. The goal was scored by young prospect Zach Senyshyn his 11th on the year, and it was assisted by Austin Fyten and Chris Breen. The Bruins lead the Thunderbirds 1-0 after one period of play. 

The good news would stop there when thunder struck for Springfield and they would go on a scoring spree netting four goals in the second period to make it 4-1 after two periods of play. The Thunderbirds would score again a quarter of the way through the third period making it 5-1. This made five unanswered goals for the Panther’s affiliate in just over 26 minutes of play. The Bruins would go on to score two more goals in the third period to make it 5-3. The first third-period goal was on the power play scored by Jordan Szwarz assisted by Cody Goloubef and the second of the period was netted by Gemel Smith assisted by Chris Breen and Emil Johansson. The Baby B’s would go on to pull goalie Dan Vladar in the last few minutes of the game to try and get the extra attacker on the ice, but they still came up short losing 5-3.  

The Providence Bruins would go on to outshout the Thunderbirds 46-39, and both clubs would go one for five on the power play. Goalie Dan Vladar who’s normally sure-handed on the road, suffered the loss falling to 6-8-2 with a .897 save percentage and 2.82 goals against average overall on the season. Gemel Smith’s play stuck out again, making it two straight games with a goal.  

Sunday, January 6th Providence Bruins Vs Hartford Wolf Pack (HOME) 

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(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr)

The final game of the weekend saw the Providence Bruins return the Dunk for some home cooking against the Wolf Pack of Hartford. Our boys in black and gold would start off the game strong scoring two goals. The first came a little over halfway through the period when Captain Jordan Szwarz pocketed a goal that was assisted by Cameron Hughes and Kyle Cumiskey. Then in the final seconds of the period, Peter Cehlarik netted a power play goal that was assisted by Kyle Cumiskey and Jordan Szwarz. The period would end with Bruins up 2-0. 

The second period of play would bring out some chippy play with old friend Matt Beleskey fighting Wiley Sherman, but the period would end with the score still 2-0 Providence. The third period would see the Baby B’s score three more times. The first came about halfway through the period when Emil Johansson netted a shorthanded goal that was assisted by Karson Kuhlman and Cameron Hughes. A few minutes later, Peter Cehlarik would find the back of the net on a goal that was assisted by Wiley Sherman. Then with a little under five minutes to play and the Hartford goalie pulled, Gemel Smith would add an empty net goal for the Bruins that was assisted by Jakub Zboril to make it 5-0. The Pack would go on to spoil the shutout netting a power play goal of their own in the final three minutes of play to make 5-1 and that would be your final.  

The Providence Bruins would go on to out-shoot the Wolf Pack by a whopping 37-16 margin with both teams going one for five on the power play. Goalie Zane McIntyre was excellent again at home stopping 15 of 16 shots. He improved to 7-0-1 at home with a .929 save percentage and 1.86 goals against average. Gemel Smith would go on to score in his third game in a row and his fourth goal of the weekend.  

Honorable Mention 

Gemel Smith: Smith had an excellent weekend for Providence with stats of 4-04. Since being sent down to the AHL he has been a spark for the offense. 

Jordan SzwarzThe Captain had a great weekend for himself with stats of 2-1-3. The two goals brought his overall total to 12 on the year. Eight more goals and he will be the fifth player in Providence Bruins history with 20+ goals in three seasons. 

Jakub ZborilZboril returned to the lineup for the first time in almost a month due to injury and had stats of 0-2-2 while playing good defense for the Bruins. It was nice to see him back and on the score sheet. 

Zane McIntyre: Zane had a phenomenal weekend for the Bruins. He went 2-0-0 stopping 35 of 38 shots for a .921 save percentage and goals against average of 1.50. 

Not So Honorable Mention 

Zach SenyshynIt was nice that Senyshyn scored and got an assist over the weekend, but those two points were his first two since December 12. Hopefully, these two points will open the floodgates a little bit. 

Anton BlidhBlidh continues to be as cold as the ice the team skates on. The gritty forward has not registered a point since December 22.  

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 13 Preview

pbruins2

(Photo Courtesy of the Springfield Thunderbirds)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

The Providence Bruins come into the weekend 14-15-5 (33 points) and 3-6-1 in their last 10 games good for seventh place in the Atlantic Division. Our boys in black and gold kickoff a jam-packed three-game weekend coming home to the Dunk for the first time in five games when the Lehigh Valley Phantoms roll into town on Friday, January 4th. The Baby B’s continue the weekend on Saturday traveling to Springfield, Massachusetts to take on the home team Springfield Thunderbirds at The MassMutual Center. Finally, the Providence club finishes up the weekend with more home cooking on Sunday, when the Hartford Wolf Pack invade the Dunk. It should be an exciting hockey filled weekend for all involved.  

Friday, January 4th Providence Bruins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (HOME)  

The Friday match-up marks the fourth time the Bruins have faced the Phantoms this season. In the first meeting, Lehigh Valley beat Providence 5-4 with the Bruins getting goals from Karson Kuhlman, Cameron Hughes, Colby Cave, and Wiley Sherman. Meanwhile, goalie Dan Vladar was off his game stopping 21 of 26 shots in net. The second meeting between the two teams saw a much better result for the Bruins. The Baby B’s beat the Philadelphia Flyers affiliate 6-3 with the Bruins getting goals from Austin Fyten (2), Cameron Hughes (2), Ryan Fitzgerald, and Jordan Szwarz, while goalie Dan Vladar looked much better in net stopping 18 of 21 shots. The third match-up was another tough outcome for our boys wearing the spoked P. Lehigh Valley beat Providence 3-1. With Providence getting their lone goal from Joona Koppanen with goalie Dan Vladar continuing his solid road play stopping 17 of 19 shots he faced.  

The fourth installment in the season series is going to be tough for Providence. Lehigh Valley comes into the game 19-10-1-2 (41 points) and 6-3-0-1 in their last 10 games good for third in the Atlantic Division with games in-hand. That doesn’t even fully illustrate the uphill battle the Baby B’s. The Philadelphia Flyers’ affiliated has the Bruins’ number over the past five seasons going 7-3-1 in Providence during that time and 15-7-1 overall. A major key for Providence will be scoring early and keeping the game close. When tied or leading after the first period this season, the Boston Affiliate is 12-4-3. Meanwhile, for the Phantoms a major key is out-shooting their opponents, they are 6-4-0-2 when doing so.

Saturday, January 5th Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (AWAY) 

This game marks the fourth time the Bruins and Thunderbirds have faced off this season. In the first meeting, Springfield beat Providence 6-3 with the Bruins getting goals from Zach Senyshyn, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Colby Cave. Meanwhile, goalie Zane McIntyre was a little off his game stopping 14 of 20 shots. The second meeting between the two teams saw a different score with the same result. The Florida Panther’s affiliate beat the Baby B’s 4-2 with the Bruins getting goals from Martin Bakos and Jan Kovar, while goalie Zane McIntyre looked much better stopping 17 of 20 shots in net. The third game of the season series saw the Bruins finally break through and get a win beating the Thunderbirds 5-4. The boys in black and gold got goals from Mark McNeill, Karson Kuhlman, Peter Cehlarik, Jordan Szwarz, and Connor Clifton while Dan Vladar stopped 22 of 26 shots he faced.  

The Springfield Thunderbirds come into the weekend 15-11-4-3 (37 points) and 3-4-2-1 in their last 10 games. Providence not only has excellent numbers against Springfield (9-5-2 in Springfield and 18-9-2 overall in the past five seasons), they’re playing at a time where the Florida Panthers’ affiliate is on a downward trend. This could bode well for the Baby B’s. A major key to the game will be who’s leading after two periods. Springfield is 12-0-1, and Providence is 10-3-2 in that scenario. Meanwhile, when down after two periods the Thunderbirds are 0-10 and the Bruins are 3-12-2.  

Sunday, January 6th Providence Bruins Vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (HOME) 

The Sunday game marks the sixth time the two teams have faced off this season. The first matchup saw the Wolf Pack beat the Bruins 4-2 with Providence getting goals from Austin Fyten and Mark McNeill while goalie Zane McIntyre was pulled in the first period after stopping 7 of 10 shots faced. Dan Vladar finished the game turning away all 8 shots he would see. The second meeting between the two teams saw a better result with Providence winning 4-3 in overtime. The Baby B’s got goals from Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Anton Blidh, Trent Frederic, and Cody Goloubef (OT GW), and goalie Zane McIntyre looked much better stopping 15 of 18 shots faced.

The third leg of the season series saw the Pack come out victorious, winning 4-3. The Providence club got goals from Zach Senyshyn, Colby Cave, and Anton Blidh. Goalie Dan Vladar had a busy game stopping 26 of 30 he faced. In game four these two clubs both fought hard, but Hartford came out on top 4-3 in overtime. The boys wearing the spoked P got goals from Karson Kuhlman, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Kyle Cumiskey. Goalie Zane McIntyre turned away 18 of 22 shots faced in the losing effort. Finally, in the fifth meeting this year, the New York Rangers’ affiliated blanked Providence 3-0. Goalie Dan Vladar played well in the game stopping 30 of 33 shots faced.  

The Hartford Wolf Pack come into the sixth game of the season series with a record of 15-15-2-2 (34 points) and 4-5-1 in their last 10 games good for sixth in the Atlantic Division. Despite this year’s misfortune, this match-up is one the Bruins should be looking forward to. Over the past five seasons, the Bruins have an 11-4-1-1 against the Pack and are 18-13-4-2 overall in that time frame. Special teams will play a major key in the outcome of this game. The Baby B’s power play against Hartford this season is at 22.7% (5/22) this is up from their overall percentage of 20.8% (30/144). Meanwhile, their penalty kill is 83.3% (3/18) against the Pack which is down from their overall penalty kill of 86.6% (20/149). Hartford’s 16.7% (3/18) power play against the Providence club is down from their overall power play of 20.7% (30/145). Their 77.3% (5/22) penalty kill against the Bruins is also down from their total season average of 80.7% (28/145).  

Who’s hot and Who’s not for the Bruins 

Hot 

Karson Kuhlman: Over his past five games Kulhman has stats of 3-1-4. Last week, he was in the not category for Providence, and it was stated that the former NCAA Champion and the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs was very streaky thus far for the Baby B’s. This continues to be true, but after a good weekend, the gritty forward finds himself in the hot category.  This past weekend saw him go 2-1-3 in 3 games and it raised his point per game from 0.33 (4-7-11 in 33 games) to 0.39 (6-8-14 36 games). He’s slowly getting closer to his college average of 0.48 (39-41-80 in 166 games) points per game. The former UMD captain seems to be getting more comfortable playing against AHL talent, and we could see his point per game total rise even closer to his college average this weekend.  

Mark McNeill: McNeill has found himself in the middle of a hot streak with stats of 2-5-7 in his past five games. A product of the WHL’s Prince Alberta Raiders, the gritty forward, is a career AHL player who has been very good for the Bruins this year scoring 4-13-17 in 22 games. That’s good for a 0.77 point per game clip which is closer to his WHL days of 0.88 (97-146-243 in 276 games) than his AHL career number of 0.58 (93-117-210 in 365 games).  

Not 

Anton BlidhOver his past five games Blidh has scored 1-1-2. The gritty winger has been a streaky player since coming over from Sweden’s SHL to play with the Bruins. Despite being on a cold streak, Blidh’s season point per game total of 0.41 (6-8-14 in 34 games) is higher than his career AHL total of 0.31 (37-33-70 in 223 games). Hopefully, he can get back the scoring touch this weekend and make his way out of the not category.  

Cameron Hughes: Over the past five games Hughes has scored 0-1-1. The former University of Wisconsin Badger has still adjusted well overall to AHL talent since graduating. Even though he currently finds himself in the not category on the year, he’s scoring at a 0.56 (9-10-19 in 34 games) clip which is very close to his NCAA number of 0.66 (23-69-92 in 139 games). This is very good for someone in their first full professional season. The hope is that this is just a minor bump in the road and Hughes will find himself back in the hot category very soon.  

My players to watch this weekend 

Up Front: 

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald has played very well all season, but he’s played particularly well against the three opponents the Bruins have coming up. Against Lehigh Valley, Springfield, and Hartford the young forward has played in 11 games with stats of 3-8-11. The Baby B’s will need him to carry the load for them if they want to win this weekend. If the former Boston College Eagle can keep up his play against these teams, he would remain a candidate to be called up to get a look with the big club.  

On the Blue Line:  

Cody GoloubefGoloubef has been good for Providence this season. He returned to the lineup from injury on December 29th and scored two goals against Hershey. On the year the defenseman has scored at a 0.73 (3-8-11 in 15 games) clip. Look for the former University of Wisconsin Badger to continue to regain his form coming back from injury.  

In Net:  

Zane McIntyre: Zane McIntyre has had an up and down season this year for Providence. However, at home, he’s been excellent. The young goalie has a 5-0-1 record at home stopping 160 of 172 shots for a .930 save percentage and 1.97 goals against average. These are fantastic numbers at home, and with two of the weekend’s games at the Dunk look for Zane to have a big weekend.  

The Providence Bruins have had an up and down season thus far. Being 3-6-1 in their last 10 games, I am optimistic that a little home cooking is just what the doctor ordered to turn the season around. Winning these three games would be important for multiple reasons. All three teams the Baby B’s are playing are ahead of them in the standings and are in the same division. Being able to win all three games would mean the boys in black and gold would gain ground in the division, and they could start to claw their way back into playoff contention. We will catch up with you next week to let you know how the team fared but feel free to send any questions or comments to me on Twitter. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and Go, B’s, Go! 

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 12 Preview

PBruins

(Photo Courtesy of Amanda Statland – The Sin Bin )

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

This weekend is the last leg of the 5-game road trip for the Providence Bruins. Our boys in black and gold currently sit at 7th in the Atlantic Division with a record of 13-13-5 (31 points) and 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. The team continues the aforementioned road trip on Friday traveling to Allentown, Pennsylvania to take on the home team Lehigh Valley Phantoms at the PPL Center. The Providence club finishes up the road trip with two games against the host Hershey Bears in Hershey, Pennsylvania on Saturday and Sunday.  

Friday, December 28th Providence Bruins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AWAY) 

The Friday match-up marks the third time the Bruins have faced the Phantoms this season. In the first meeting, Lehigh Valley beat Providence 5-4 with the Bruins getting goals from Karson Kuhlman, Cameron Hughes, Colby Cave, and Wiley Sherman. Meanwhile, goalie Dan Vladar was off his game stopping 21 of 26 shots in net. The second meeting between the two teams saw a much better result for the Bruins. The Baby B’s beat the Philadelphia Flyers affiliate 6-3 with the Bruins getting goals from Austin Fyten (2), Cameron Hughes (2), Ryan Fitzgerald, and Jordan Szwarz, while goalie Dan Vladar looked much better in net stopping 18 of 21 shots.  

The third game of the season series will not be easy for Providence. Lehigh Valley comes into the game 18-9-1-2 (39 points) and 6-3-0-1 in their last 10 games good for 3rd in the Atlantic Division with games in hand. To make matters worse, over the past five seasons the Bruins are 4-6-0-1 at Lehigh Valley and 8-11-2-1 overall in that time frame. A major key in this game will be the number of goals scored. On the year the Phantoms score 3.8 goals a game, and Providence is 3-12-5 when giving up 3+ goals in a game. Along those same lines, the Baby B’s are 10-5-2 when they score first. Grabbing the early momentum and keeping it will go a long way to shutting down the Flyers’ affiliate. Despite the uphill battle, the Baby B’s hope they can break through against the Phantoms and grab a much needed two points.  

Saturday, December 29th and Sunday, December 30th Providence Bruins vs. Hershey Bears (AWAY) 

The Saturday and Sunday games will mark the second and third time Providence has played Hershey this season. In the first meeting between the two clubs, the Baby B’s beat the Washington Capitals’ affiliate 6-2 with the Bruins getting goals from Jordan Szwarz (2), Cameron Hughes, Anton Blidh, Kyle Cumiskey, and Tanner Pond while goalie Zane McIntyre looked great in net stopping 19 of 21 shots he faced.  

These next two games are ones the Bruins should be looking forward to. Hershey comes into them 12-17-0-2 (26 points) and 3-6-0-1 in their last 10 games good for 8th in the Atlantic Division. On top of that, Providence holds a 4-4-2 record in Hershey over the past 5 seasons and a 12-6-2-1 record overall in that time frame. A few things to look at this weekend, Providence is 9-6-2 when playing on Saturday or Sunday this season, and are 10-3-2 when leading after two periods. If they can get an early lead, the home team from Hershey could melt from the pressure. These are two games the Baby B’s should win to grab a needed four points in the standings.

Who’s hot and Who’s not for the Bruins 

Hot 

Jordan Szwarz: Over the past 5 games the Bruins’ captain has played very well, scoring three goals and tallying two assists for five total points. Leading by example is big for Szwarz who has stats of 10-5-15 overall this year. Something to start looking for as the season progresses, if Szwarz scores 20 goals this year, he would be the fifth player in Providence Bruins history with three 20+ goal seasons. One thing the OHL product does have going for him is that he’s scoring 0.625 points per game which is higher than his AHL career mark of 0.59.

Peter CehlarikOver his past 5 games Cehlarik has netted two goals while dishing out four assists for six total points. He has looked good recently, and overall on the season, he’s posted 5-15-20 numbers. If the young forward can keep up these numbers we may see him up in Boston before the season is through.

Not 

Tanner Pond: Pond has produced 1-0-1 numbers in his last 5 games. Hopefully, the center can pick it up this weekend for Providence and light up the score sheet. The gritty forward has 24 penalty minutes in 13 games in his time with the Providence Club as he’s spent most of the 2018-19 season with the ECHL’s Atlanta Gladiators. Over his career in the ECHL, the former Northeastern Husky has scored at a 0.69 point per game clip with stats of 16-28-44 in 64 games. Given a little time to acclimate himself to the AHL’s talent, Pond could find himself in the hot instead of the not category.

Karson Kuhlman: Kuhlman has found the back of the net once in his last 5 games of action. The former NCAA National Champion and 2018 Tournament MVP with the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs has been a streaky player since joining the Providence club after his commitment to his college team was over. The former Bulldog is another player who may just need some time getting used to the skill level of the AHL before climbing out of the not category. With Providence, he’s scoring at a 0.33 ( 4-7-11 in 33 games) point per game clip which is less than his college days of 0.48 (39-41-80 in 166 games).

My players to watch this weekend: 

Up Front: 

Anders Bjork: Since being sent down to Providence, Bjork is scoring at a 1.00 point per game pace with 1-9-10 numbers in 10 games played thus far. Look for him to keep it up this weekend. If he plays well, we could see Boston call him up for the Winter Classic which is being played at his Alma Mater Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.

On The Blue Line: 

Connor Clifton: Clifton has played well for Providence this year posting 3-6-9 numbers in 22 games. He even saw a call-up to Boston when they needed help with injuries. Look for him to keep up his play this weekend. The young defenseman’s uptick in scoring is not as surprising as one may think. While at Quinnipiac University he was scoring 0.36 points per game (19-37-56 in 156 games). This is much closer to this season’s 0.41 points per game than last’s of 0.24. 

In Net:  

Dan VladarI would look for Vladar to have a good weekend for Providence, especially with the games against Hershey. The Bears have had a rough go of it this season, and Vladar could shine against them. Something to look for, the young goalie is 4-3-1 on the road this year stopping 212 of 234 shots for a .906 save percentage and  2.51 goals against average.

I am optimistic that the Baby B’s will find some magic this weekend before they return home. The game against Lehigh Valley will be tough. However, the two games against Hershey are ones they should absolutely win. If our boys in black and gold can skate away from the weekend with at least four points, it would go a long way to helping them climb the Atlantic Division standings. We will catch you up next week and let you know how the team fared but feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, and Go, B’s, Go!

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Providence Bruins Prospect Player Profile: Ryan Fitzgerald

Fitzy

(Photo Courtesy of NBCSports Boston)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Ryan Fitzgerald was drafted in the fourth-round (120th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft. Expected to get picked in the second round, the young center was thought of as a great pick for the Bruins. He possessed a high hockey IQ, great vision on the ice, good defensive awareness, with some play-making abilities sprinkled in. This combination made him a good two-way player, and after being drafted, it seemed like playing in Boston was Fitzgerald’s destiny.

After playing three seasons of High School hockey at Malden Catholic and posting 76-94-170 career numbers at that level, the gritty forward would forgo his Senior season to play in the EJHL with the Merrimack Valley Junior Warriors. With the Warriors, he would go onto contribute 14-16-30 numbers and represented the United States on the US National U-18 Team where he appeared in eight games with one goal in that timeframe. Ryan would go on to play at Boston College after he left the draft podium where he spent four full seasons playing for the Eagles in the NCAA Hockey East Conference.

The 2013-14 season was Fitzgerald’s first at Boston College. Despite his small stature (5’9), the young center proved early on that he belonged in the tough Hockey East. Playing in 40 games, the fourth-round pick showed off his offensive ability netting 13 goals while dishing out 16 assists for 29 total points and a +/- rating of +8.  Not only were the 29 points impressive, but so was his defensive awareness making this a good season by any measure.

Fitzgerald’s Sophomore season wasn’t as impressive as his previous, but it still was above average. The former fourth-round pick’s play-making ability took a bit of a step back, but his goal scoring ability took a leap forward. In 38 games the Florida native potted 17 goals while tallying 8 assists for 25 total points and a –4 rating. Even though the 2014-15 season wasn’t as point filled as the previous, it was still a season that the young Eagle could build upon going forward. The 17 goals were proof that he didn’t need to get others involved in the offense to be productive. This will bode well for the young center moving forward. 

Coming into his Junior season, Fitzgerald grew into a leadership role for the Boston College Eagles. This was unsurprising given the young center’s lineage. His father is former Nashville Predators’, Captain Tom Fitzgerald. It would seem that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. In his new-found leadership role, the former fourth-round pick had his best season with the Hockey East club netting 24 goals while tallying 23 assists for 47 total points and a rating of +24 in 40 games. The Bruins were happy with the young Eagle’s 2015-16 season, and they could not wait to see what was to come.

The 2016-17 campaign was Fitzgerald’s Senior year in the maroon and gold, and the team made his leadership role official giving him an “A” on his sweater. The young center did not disappoint in his new role potting 12 goals while dishing out 19 assists for 31 total points and a rating of +14 in 34 games. As the former fourth-round pick’s college career came to an end, he signed a two-year entry-level contract and was able to suit up in 8 games for Providence. The new Bruin didn’t find the back of the net but did dish out 2 assists for 2 total points and a rating of 0. The Boston College grad did pick up his play in the playoffs netting 1 goal and dishing out 4 assists for 5 total points and a rating of +3 in 13 games. From Boston College to Providence it was a great season for Fitzgerald.  

The 2017-18 season was Fitzgerald’s first full year in Providence. The Bruins hoped that he would show off the play-making ability and defensive awareness that led Boston to draft him back in 2013. The young center certainly delivered. In 65 games wearing the black and gold, he found the back of the net 21 times while tallying 16 assists for 37 total points and a rating of +5. Providence went on to make the playoffs, and in the team’s 3 playoff games the former Boston College Eagle netted 2 goals and didn’t tally an assist for 2 total points and a rating of 0. The young Bruin had a good season showing that he did a good job driving to the net while also creating his own space and scoring opportunities. Despite his small stature, he isn’t afraid to get into the dirty areas of the ice and bang around with the big boys. This is something that will prove to be useful for the young center as his career progresses.  

This season Fitzgerald looked to improve on his play from last season and grab the attention of the big club. The former fourth-round pick has not disappointed in 29 games he’s found the back of the net 7 times while dishing out 16 assists for 23 total points and a rating of –10. The young center has certainly made a case to be called up this season. We may see him make his NHL debut at some point this year, but if we do not, I expect him to seriously contend for a roster spot next season.

Fitzgerald is showing that being patient and letting a prospect develop over time can work out in the team’s favor. I think it’s preferable than calling a player up too soon. That is something that can ruin a player’s confidence and derail his career a bit. The approach with the former Boston College Eagle has been perfect, and the Boston Bruins will benefit from it very soon.  

Interested in going to a Providence Bruins or Boston Bruins game? Take a look at the upcoming schedule and ticket availability from our advertising partners over at SeatGiant. Click the links below and please use discount code BNGP to save a little cash! Thank You!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 11 Preview

Senyshyn

(Photo Courtesy of the Providence Bruins)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

This weekend kicks off a five-game road trip that won’t see the Providence Bruins return to the Dunk until January 4th, 2019 when they play the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The Baby B’s currently sit 6th in the Atlantic Division with a record of 12-12-5 (29 points) and are 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. The team starts the aforementioned road trip on Friday traveling to Binghamton, New York where they play the home Binghamton Devils at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena. The Providence club finishes up the weekend on Saturday by playing the host Springfield Thunderbirds in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Bruins hope they can find some road magic this holiday season.

Friday, December 21st Providence Bruins vs. Binghamton Devils (AWAY) 

The Friday match-up marks the first time the Bruins have played the Devils this season, and it’s one that they should be looking forward to. Over the past 5 years, the Baby B’s have a 13-5-1-1 record against the New Jersey affiliate, including a 9-1 record in Binghamton during that time and a 4-0 overall record last season. Providence hopes to carry that success into this season. Binghamton has had a rough go of it thus far. They come into the game with a record of 12-16-3 (27 points) and are 4-6 in their last 10 games. This is a game that Bruins should absolutely win, especially if they want to climb the standings and make their way into playoff contention.  

Saturday, December 22nd Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (AWAY) 

This game marks the third time the Bruins and Thunderbirds have faced off this season. In the first meeting, Springfield beat Providence 6-3 with the Bruins getting goals from Zach Senyshyn, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Colby Cave. Meanwhile, goalie Zane McIntyre was a little off his game stopping 14 of 20 shots. The second meeting between the two teams saw a different score with the same result. The Florida Panther’s affiliate beat the Baby B’s 4-2 with the Bruins getting goals from Martin Bakos and Jan Kovar, while goalie Zane McIntyre looked much better stopping 17 of 20 shots in net.

The third game of the season series won’t be much easier for Providence. Springfield comes into it 15-8-2-3 (33 points) good for third in the Atlantic Division with games in hand and is 5-2-2-1 in their last 10 games. Despite their struggles in two games this year, something that bodes well for the boys in black and gold is that they have an 8-5-2 record in Springfield over the past 5 years and a 17-9-2 record overall in that time frame.

Who’s hot and Who’s not for the Bruins 

Hot: 

Anders Bjork: Since being sent down to Providence Bjork has been great. Over his past 7 games, he has netted 1 goal and dished out 7 assists for 8 total points. This is exactly what you want to see from a player who was sent down to work on their game. 

Zach Senyshyn: Senyshyn’s last 7 games have been fruitful seeing him score 5 goals. His speed and scoring ability has been on full display, and it has been great to see. Keep an eye out for it this weekend. 

 Not: 

Austin FytenOn the flip-side, the last 7 games for Fyten have been ones he’d like to forget. The left wing has 0 goals and 1 assist, and on top of that, he was suspended for the last game because of a slashing incident. Hopefully, he can put all that behind him and have a good road trip.

Trent Frederic: Frederic has tallied 0 goals, and 1 assist over his past 7 games. Hopefully, the young center can pick things up for the Bruins. They need a spark offensively, and if Frederic can provide that, it would do a lot for the team this weekend. 

My players to watch this weekend: 

Up Front: 

Zach SenyshynSenyshyn seems to have found the scoring touch netting 5 goals in his last 7 games. This is great news for the Bruins and their fans. There are people that were worried his development was taking too long, but it looks like being patient is going to pay off.  

On The Blue Line: 

Jeremy Lauzon: He was recently sent back to Providence from Boston. In his mini stint with the big club, the defenseman looked good in both ends of the ice. I expect him to take what he learned in Boston and use it to develop more in Providence.  

In Net: 

Zane McIntyre: I would look for him to have a good weekend for the Baby B’s. It is an excellent chance for the goalie to make up for the losses against Springfield and come up huge for the club.  

Overall, it could be an up and down weekend for Providence playing in a game they should win and a game that could go either way. Hopefully, the Baby B’s can take care of business against Binghamton while also breaking through against Springfield. It would be a big 4 points for the club and would go a long way to helping them climb the Atlantic Division standings. I will catch you up next week and let you know how the team fared but feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday, and Go, B’s, Go! 

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Boston Bruins Prospect Player Profile: Jeremy Lauzon

LAUZON

(Photo Courtesy of the Boston Bruins)

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Jeremy Lauzon was drafted in the second round (52nd overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft. When drafted, the QMJHL product was billed as a strong two-way defenseman who could contribute anywhere on the ice. This at the time filled an area of need for the Bruins who had an aging defense and needed to replenish the prospect pool. He was even drawing a comparison to a top 4 defenseman, Marco Scandella. Now that we know some of the reasons why the Bruins drafted the Val-d’Or, Quebec native, let’s see what he’s done since.  

The 2015-16 season was Lauzon’s first since being drafted by the Bruins and it was his third year with the QJMHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. The veteran Husky was looking to prove why the Bruins drafted him in the second round, and he did just that. In 46 games the big blue-liner did not disappoint netting 10 goals while tallying an eye-popping 40 assists for 50 total points and a +/- rating of +40. To top it off, the second round pick lit up the scoresheet in the team’s 9 playoff games netting 1 goal and dishing 8 assists for 9 total points and a rating of +9. This helped lead the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies to the QJMHL Championship. It was a marvelous season that proved the then 18-year-old was to be taken seriously as a prospect.  

Coming into the 2016-17 season, Lauzon was named the Huskies team Captain. The newly appointed Captain was looking to carry over last year’s momentum and have another huge season, but an injury led to some inconsistent play. Despite this, he was able to play in 39 games potting 5 goals and dishing out 23 assists for 28 total points and a rating of +25. The Val-d’Or, Quebec native, was able to pick up his play in the playoffs netting 5 goals and tallying 9 assists for 14 total points and a rating of +3 in the team’s 13 playoff games. Despite getting hurt, it was a good season where the young defenseman was able to display not only his defensive ability but also his ability in the offensive zone.  

Lauzon would turn pro the next season and play all of 2017-18 in Providence. The former second-round draft pick played in 52 games for the Baby B’s netting 1 goal and dishing out 6 assists for 7 total points and a rating of +1 all while being given the “A” on his sweater during the year. Providence would go on to make the playoffs that year, and in 4 games the young defenseman did not register a point and had a rating of 0. After the season the former Huskies’ Captain admitted that defensive consistency was still something that needed be worked on. However, he was able to flash signs of that keen offensive eye and great skating ability.  

After having a mostly successful first year with Providence, Lauzon was eager to start out the 2018-19 season on fire and show improvement in the areas needed. In 8 games with the Baby B’s, the young blue-liner netted 1 goal and dished out 3 assists for 4 total points and a rating of –2. With injuries piling up to the big club, on October 27th, the former second-round pick was called up to Boston. In 15 games with Boston, he found the back of the net once and hasn’t tallied an assist for 1 total point and a rating of –1. In the 15 game audition with Boston, the 21-year-old has looked good showing signs of improvement in the areas he needed and given some more seasoning down in Providence we could see him as a permanent fixture on the Bruins blue line next season.  

Being drafted in the second round can come with the added pressure of needing to be successful early on in the NHL. Despite this, the 21-year-old has flashed signs of elite play especially in big game situations like the playoffs. This is something that will bode well for Lauzon moving forward, because the Bruins expect to be contenders not only now but in the future. With a little more seasoning and refining of his defensive game, the young blue-liner could end up being very good for Boston. When all is said and done, I expect the former 2nd round pick to anchor the Bruins second defensive pairing for many years to come.  

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Providence Bruins Prospect Player Profile: Cameron Hughes

HUGHES

(Photo Courtesy of Boston Bruins)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Cameron Hughes was drafted in the 6th round 165th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft. When he was drafted, he was coming off a somewhat tough Freshman year at the University of Wisconsin. He played center for the Badgers and at times looked like he was physically overmatched. Despite this, the Bruins saw something they liked and drafted him. He is an exceptional skater and possesses a high hockey IQ. These qualities led the Bruins to drafting the Edmonton, Alberta native. Let’s dive in and see how he’s done since being drafted. 

The 2015-16 season was Hughes’ Sophomore year at the University of Wisconsin. He had hoped it would be a year in which he would take a big step forward as a prospect after a somewhat disappointing Freshman season. In 32 games with the Badgers, he netted 5 goals while dishing out 20 assists for 25 total points and a +/- rating of –11. This was that step forward the young Badger was looking for. He saw an increase in point production as well as his overall play. He started to build more confidence as the year went on and finished it out strong. The center’s skating ability really shined through the season. He is a strong skater who also possesses a smooth stride. Overall, it was a season that could be built upon moving forward.

Hughes’ Junior year was a big one. He was given the “A” on his sweater at the start of it. Some people may not see this as a big deal, but it is something that many teams do value. It shows that the player has great leadership qualities, and his character is something you rarely need to worry about. With his new-found leadership role, he had a good season for Wisconsin. In 36 games with the Badgers, he netted 7 goals while tallying 25 assists for 32 total points and a rating of –7. His play improved a great deal. He was starting to show off his offensive ability more. Especially his improved shooting ability. Again, the 2016-17 season was successful and his senior season was one both he and the Bruins could look forward to.  

The 2017-18 season brought big things for Hughes. It was his senior year at Wisconsin, and he saw his previous leadership role grow even further when he was named the team’s Captain. This was a big deal and a great honor. The newly appointed Captain was able to make the most of this honor in 37 games with the Badgers he potted 8 goals while dishing out 14 assists for 22 total points and a rating of –12. It was a good 4 years at Wisconsin for the former 6th round pick. He showed growth in each year. His skill and leadership qualities were evident on the ice while playing, and after the season he signed an entry-level contract with the Boston Bruins. The recent Wisconsin grad was able to get his feet wet in the pro game getting in 14 games with Providence. Although he didn’t find the back of the net, he did dish out 3 assists for 3 points and rating of –1. It was a good 2017-18 campaign for Hughes that gave him a taste of what was to come next season.  

Coming into this season, it was Hughes’ first full professional year of hockey. He does have soft hands and good offensive ability, but some things the first year pro needed to work on were his play without the puck and defensive awareness. So far this season has been very good for the former Badger. In 25 games for Providence, he has netted 8 goals while dishing out 8 assists for 16 total points and a rating of +5. He has done well to showcase his offensive ability while also improving on areas the Bruins wanted him to. If he continues this successful first season in Providence, you may even see him up with Boston next season.  

If Hughes is given time to develop, which he almost certainly will be, he could end up being a second- or third-line center. This would be big for the Bruins, not only because of his offensive or skating ability but also because of his leadership qualities. Character and leadership are invaluable to teams. The Bruins have done well-drafting players that possess this in bunches. It has been a long road since being drafted for the former Badger. When you’re taken in the 6th round of the draft not a lot is really expected of you. However, he has taken that and run with it. He’s worked hard to improve his game and prove that he belongs in professional hockey. It’s always stated that hard work pays off, and the young center is proving that he is one of the countless instances of this.

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket — from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows — please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You & Happy Holidays!

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Boston Bruins Prospect Player Profile: Urho Vaakanainen

(Photo Courtesy of NBCSports)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Urho Vaakanainen was drafted in the 1st round 18th overall in the 2017 NHL Draft. When Vaakanainen was drafted, it was said, that he was not only the most NHL ready defenseman but also the best all-around defenseman in the entire draft. He already at a young age possessed elite skills as a stay-at-home defenseman. He was even getting compared to NHL Hall of Famer Scott Niedermayer. Now those are some giant skates to fill, so let’s dive into the player and see why he had such a lofty comparison.

The 2017-18 season was Vaakanainen’s first since being drafted. Being such a young player, he decided to stay in Finland and play for SaiPa of Finland’s top hockey league Liiga. This was important because one of the few major knocks on Vaakanainen was that he lacked experience. In 43 games with SaiPa Vaakanainen netted 4 goals while dishing out 7 assists for 11 total points and a +/- rating of +8. He also played in the teams 9 playoff games where he didn’t find the back of the net, but he did dish out 1 assist for 1 total point and a rating of +1. Overall it was a very successful season for Vaakanainen. The Bruins were very high on his defensive skills, and skating ability. So much so that they signed him to an entry-level contract, and he was slated to play the 2018-19 season in Providence.  

Coming over into his first professional season in North America there was some buzz around Vaakanainen.  Vaakanainen added to an already deep young defensive core and a prospect pool that included Charlie McAvoy, Torey Krug, Matt Grzelcyk, Jakub Zboril, and Jeremy Lauzon. Those guys are good and have a bright future ahead of them, but even with how good they currently are and could be Vaakanainen may end up being the best of the bunch. He possesses elite skills as a stay at home defender. To top that off he has great vision on the ice, is a mobile defender, and he’s also elite on the penalty-kill. His play is wise beyond its years. He doesn’t have any major glaring weaknesses either. A few things that the Bruins did want him working on was improving his shooting skills, and playmaking ability. These are things that can come with time. 

Vaakanainen impressed in preseason this season but ultimately began the year in Providence because of the depth the Bruins had at defense. How he did flash that defensive ability and showed that he was close to being NHL ready. Vaakanainen played in 6 games for the Providence Bruins. He registered 0 goals and 2 assists and a rating of 0. Even bigger than those stats, however, was the fact that he had 14 shots in those 6 games. Showing that he was trying to improve the areas of his game that the Bruins wanted him to. The Bruins were very impressed, and with early injuries to the defense, Vaakanainen was called up to Boston. He played in 2 games with Boston where he didn’t register a point and had a rating of -1.  

Unfortunately, in that second game, he suffered a vicious elbow to the head and got a concussion. He has been out since October 23rd. He has skated a little bit since, but there is no timetable for his return. It was unfortunate that Vaakanainen did get injured because even in the limited sample we saw he looked good. He looked like he belonged in the NHL. Ultimately, Urho Vaakanainen has shown a reason for us as fans to be excited. The Bruins have many young, exciting defensemen either currently in the NHL or waiting in the wings in Providence. A few years down the road the Bruins could have one of the best young defenses in all the league anchored by Vaakanainen, and that is something to be excited about.