Bruins Minor-Pro Affiliate Done With Season After Virus Concerns Rise

( Photo Credit: Infinite Energy Center / Infiniteenergycenter.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Per CBC & Sportsnet reporter/writer Elliotte Friedman sent out a tweet below letting the hockey world that the ECHL would announce that the league is going to cancel the season on Monday. Minutes later the well informed Friedman updated the new that the cancelation of the 2019-20 was going to be within the hour and not on the upcoming Monday. Later in the series of tweets below, the ECHL did, in fact, announce that the regular season and playoffs are done for the remainder of the hockey year.

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This unfortunate news certainly came at a bad time when it comes to the Boston Bruins franchise as the Atlanta Gladiators are they’re “AA” minor-pro affiliate and feeder system to the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins which is Boston’s top minor-pro affiliate. The Gladiators have hovered around the bottom of the South Division standings but have played well before the ECHL cancelation to be in the mix of the 2020 Kelly Cup postseason. Before last night’s announcement, the Glads produced points in their last ten glams accompanied by an impressive 8-0-1-1 record good enough for 62 regular-season points just one point shy of tying the third-place Greenville Swamp Rabbits.

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As the 2019-20 season ended for Atlanta club they finish with a 29-28-2-2 record and when you look at the Eastern Conference postseason outlook they sit in the eighth position and would’ve qualified for a playoff spot unlike they did at the end of the 2018-19 campaign. Before this terrible virus seemingly took over the world, I believe with the way the Gladiators club was playing down the stretch the team could’ve earned more points to possibly reach the seventh position in the East with 11 games remaining.

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Some Gladiators players that were under contract and Providence Bruins property that deserve mentions this season offensively were longtime veteran forward Eric Neiley (24-31-55, 59GP) forward Samuel Asselin (26-26-52, 53GP) forward Tommy Marchin (21-27-48, 49GP) forward Scott Conway (17-16-33, 39GP) defenseman Joel Messner (8-29-37, 59GP) defenseman Zach Malatesta (14-20-34, 60GP). It was unfortunate that goaltender and Boston Bruins prospect Kyle Keyser wasn’t able to return to the Gladiators lineup as he was recently sent down to Atlanta presumably medical cleared to return to action after leaving the AHL Providence Bruins team he was with for several weeks getting back to game shape after a long absence with concussion problems.

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Bruins seventh-round prospect Pavel Shen who was struggling to get into games with Providence down the stretch was sent to Atlanta to keep his feet moving and would’ve added some offensive production at the lower level was unable to see any ice in Georgia due to the cancelation. With the top minor-pro affiliate in Providence in his AHL rookie season, the 20-year-old Russia native appeared in 35 games for the Bruins contributing 4-5-9 numbers. Shen was selected in the last round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft and impressed at the 2018-19 World Junior Championship Tournament where he had 3-1-4 numbers in seven games.

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With the end of the ECHL 2019-20 campaign officially over it remains to be seen what’s to become of the higher up AHL and even higher NHL and their thoughts on the current hockey season. The ECHL is a feeder to the higher AHL franchises so in emergency situations and callups presumably won’t be there. If the AHL is next, well there goes your feeder league for the NHL if the same scenarios are to arise. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, and don’t have any solid proof, but the ECHL might be setting the bar here for further cancelations of hockey seasons. This is something I’m not exactly happy about as a diehard Boston Bruins fan and pure speculation on my part but it seems like it may be a trend. Also, with the ECHL and the no winner of the Kelly Cup, hearing the 2019-20 regular season accolades at the higher above leagues and just giving the Cups to the clubs with the most points is just an unsettling feeling with those winning by default scenarios.

Tough times no doubt moving forward and honestly hope things get worked out for the better. Sports aside, I hope all are safe and in well health as we continue this worldwide pandemic. As mentioned in a previous article we hope all our BNG readers and families/supporters stay vigilant throughout this process and if anything gets our beloved sport oh hockey back when it’s safe to do so.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 169 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

AHL Suspends Season, Halts Providence Bruins Impressive 2nd Half

(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Unfortunately, the spread of the Covid-19 virus has taken a toll on the North American sports scene as many amateur, minor-pro, and professional leagues shut down operations to appropriately contain this global pandemic. BNG Senior Writer Max Mainville updated Bruins Nation shortly after hearing the official National Hockey League press release of the 2019-2 being suspended (Seen Here), well shortly after the  American Hockey League followed suit as seen below.

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This egregious effort to cancel large gatherings is a no-brainer, in my opinion, but it does put a serious wrench in the gears of beloved sports fans and what goes on in day-to-day lives. As many Boston Bruins fans know, the team is in first place in the NHL. With a six-point lead over last year’s Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues, they pause their 2019-20 campaign as a favorite to return and hopefully capture the organization’s seventh league championship. The NHL Bruins top minor-pro affiliate the Providence Bruins have also reached impressive milestones this season with an outstanding second-half marching their way up the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference with playoff-type games leading up to the recent halt of the regular season.

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The AHL team from the smallest state in the Union (United States) started a better part of the 2019-20 season in the middle of the Atlantic, but in the second half, the Providence club has really put the pressure on teams leading the way. A team such as the Hartford Wolf Pack, who ruled the early season, have taken a plunge since their parent NHL club the New York Rangers recalled phenom goaltender Igor Shesterkin. AHL Clubs like the Hershey Bears and Providence Bruins took advantage of the Wolf Packs downward spiral to be the new leaders of the Atlantic. If you follow the AHL on the regular, the Eastern Conference postseason outlook has been tight since the beginning of January, so you could already see organizations jockeying for Calder Cup Playoff positioning.

Before this sudden pause in the Providence regular season, the B’s were on a season-high 12 game point streak, which contributed to the recent successful rise up the AHL league standings but also a season-high 11 game winning streak. Another high point of the second half of this 2019-20 Providence Bruins season is the way the affiliate of the NHL B’s has played at home in front of the La Salle Square faithful. Before the recent consecutive winning success, the Providence club was a franchise dipping above and below the .500 mark for a better part of this season at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Downtown Providence, Rhode Island.

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The Providence Bruins started the season off with a subpar home record of 7-8-0-1, but since the turn of the calendar year, have picked it up in front of the Providence faithful to produce a very respectable 10-3-2-1 record at the Dunk since the beginning of January 2020. Everything has been clicking nicely until today’s announcement, and as a media member under the credentials of the Providence organization, it’s going to be tough to see this what this minor-pro club has done this season to just stop and figure it out later. A huge chemistry speed bump, in my opinion, for everybody on this mission of a Calder Cup playoff run that I thought was coming this Spring.

The last time the AHL Providence franchise won season-ending bragging rights was in the 1998-99 campaign capturing a Regular-Season Title, Division Championship, Conference Championship, and raising the Calder Cup after beating the Rochester Americans in a seven-game series 4-1. I thought after watching this team and with the way goaltending from the backend was the catalyst to build on early on with the free-agent addition of Max Lagace. The 27-year-old Quebec, Canada native, was amongst the AHL league leaders when it came to highly ranked goaltenders. Lagace has been a solid depth netminder for the Bruins organization and might be Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney’s ace in the hole for another year of backup sustainability while on a cap-friendly contract.

Another member of the crease core in Providence is Dan Vladar, who I’ve always spoken high of has really turned his game around in the last season of his current three-year, entry-level contract. The former 2015 third-round draft pick is having his best pro season posting a 14-7-1 record with league-leading 1.79 goals-against-average, and .936 save percentage. The 22-year-old Czech Republic native is currently on a seven-game winning streak and, in that timeline producing an unbelievable 1.54 GAA and .940 Save%.

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Providence stands as the Eastern Conferences best team with a 38-18-3-3 record and 82 points and tied for second place league-wide with the Iowa Wild eight points behind  AHL leading Milwaukee Admirals who’re leading the league in its 84th year of operation as the top minor-pro affiliate of the NHL. After how this team came together orchestrated by bench boss Jay Leach who many fans wanted to see fired every start of regular seasons unable to wait for the mid-season ramp up. Yes, in previous years, the Providence club would struggle severely due to the fact that the NHL Bruins were recalling players ripping apart any youthful chemistry facilitating the higher up parent club. In recent years the new calendar year has been a turning point for Leach and staff to get healthy players back in the lineup and have a stronger competitive season.

Regardless of my displeasure of this whole situation and where this Bruins minor club was going, I hope that all of our readers do the right thing for your families and friends to help the cause. We need our sport back, but we also have to get our healthy life cycle back in order so we can go to these awesome spectator sports venues in the near future. It’s unfortunate that I had to cancel planned trips to Providence to cover this team as a media member via the Providence franchise for our production team, but it’s also a great little city to hang out in. I will miss my regular visits to the Trinity Brew House for a Rueben Sandwich and cold Rhode Island IPA, and Murphy’s Providence for an interesting Irish menu feast. Be safe everyone and the Bruins prospect talk from our BNG team will continue to keep the interest going through tough times.

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Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 169 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 24 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim A Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 24 of the AHL season has arrived. The Providence Bruins skate into it 32-18-3-3 (82 points) and 10-0 in their last 10 games. This is good for first in the Atlantic Division and first in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a stellar week that saw them push their win streak to 12 games. Our boys in black and gold were able to beat Springfield twice before beating Hershey and Hartford. This weekend will have exciting hockey that you do not want to miss.

The weekend kicks off on Saturday, March 14, 2020, when the Providence Bruins invade Charlotte, North Carolina, to take on the Checkers at Bojangles’ Coliseum. The weekend action wraps up on Sunday, March 15, 2020, when the Providence Bruins take on the Charlotte Checkers at The Biscuit in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Saturday, March 14, 2020, and Sunday, March 15, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Charlotte Checkers (AWAY)

The weekend series between the Providence Bruins and Charlotte Checkers will be the fifth and sixth of eight meetings the two teams will have. In the first battle, the Providence Bruins would win 4-1. Brendan Woods (2), Scott Conway, and Robert Lantosi scored goals for the Bruins. Max Lagace was excellent in net stopping 28 of the 29 shots fired his way.

The second matchup saw the Bruins shutout the Checkers 4-0. Brendan Woods, Urho Vaakanainen, Pavel Shen, and Jack Studnicka found the back of the net. Dan Vladar was a wall, stopping all 36 shots he faced. The third game saw the Bruins fall 4-0. Max Lagace would go on top stop 39 of the 42 shots he faced. The most recent matchup wasn’t much better. The Bruins would be beaten 4-1. Robert Lantosi scored the lone goal for Providence.

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 34-22-5 (73 points) and 5-4-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Something that led to their dominant season last year was their defense. Their defense only surrendered 189 goals, while they scored 255. That’s a +66 goal differential. This season has been a little different. The Charlotte club on the year has scored 202 goals while giving up 172. That’s a +30 goal differential. That means they’re scoring 3.31 goals a game while giving up 2.81.

To put those numbers into perspective, the Providence Bruins have played in one more game than Charlotte. They’ve scored 197 goals while giving up 154. That’s a +43 goal differential. This means they’re scoring 3.17 goals a game while giving up only 2.48. The Providence Bruins are 8-7-1 against Charlotte over the past five seasons. This includes 5-3 at the Checkers.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka finds himself in the hot category once again. The young forward is having a stellar season. In 60 games, he’s netted 23 goals while dishing out 26 assists for 49 total points. This includes netting nine goals while dishing out 14 assists for 23 total points over his last 18 games. Studnicka also finds himself registering a point in six of his last seven games. He’s netted three goals and dished out 5 assists for eight total points during that time. Studnicka is also becoming an elite penalty kill weapon. He’s registered seven shorthanded goals on the year. This is the most in the AHL.

Peter Cehlarik: Peter Cehlarik has fallen out of favor with the Boston Bruins in recent years. He’s had a few players jump ahead of him on the depth chart when it comes to callups. Despite this, the veteran forward has played well this season. In 48 games, he’s netted 16 goals while dishing 21 assists for 37 total points. This includes netting three goals and dishing out six assists for nine total points in his last nine games. Cehlarik has been a large part of the Bruins’ win streak.

Not

Robert Lantosi: Robert Lantosi is in his first full season with the Providence Bruins. Overall, it’s been a successful first season. In 50 games, he’s netted 11 goals while dishing out 20 assists for 31 total points. Despite these numbers, he’s only dished out two assists in his last six games. The young forward came to Providence after spending the previous season in his native Slovakia.

Brendan Woods: Brendan Woods came to Providence after spending the last two seasons in the Vancouver Canucks organization. In 49 games this season, he’s netted eight goals while dishing out 12 assists for 20 total points. This includes dishing out two assists in his last 10 games. Despite this, the 20 points did eclipse his total of 17 from last season. Hopefully, the veteran forward’s offense game is back soon.

My Player To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Jakub Lauko: Jakub Lauko came into this season with a lot of publicity. The young forward came to Providence after having a stellar season in the QMJHL with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. This season was derailed because of injuries before and during the World Junior Championships. In 22 games this season, he’s netted five goals while dishing out four assists for nine total points. He’s played in four games since returning from injury, netting a goal. Look for him this weekend.

On The Blue Line

Jakub Zboril: Jakub Zboril has had an up and down season with Providence. He’s also a player that has caused many different arguments amongst Bruins’ fans. In 58 games this season, he’s netted three goals and dished out 16 assists for 19total points. This includes netting one goal and dishing out four assists for five total points in his last four games. The young defenseman has also been playing better defense recently. Look for him this weekend.

In Net

Dan Vladar: Dan Vladar has had a superb season for the Providence Bruins. On the year, he’s 14-7-1 with a 1.79 GAA and a .936 save percentage. The young netminder has also registered three shutouts on the year. Vladar is also 1-1 with 1.51 GAA and a .956 save percentage against Charlotte this season.

The Providence Bruins are playing excellent hockey right now. Earlier in the year, I hammered home the point that this team was one of the most talented teams in the league. We are seeing that tenfold right now. The Providence club looks primed to make a deep run in the playoffs. I hope you enjoy the games this weekend. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Shen Reassigned By Boston Bruins To “AA” Minor-Pro Affiliate Atlanta

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flikr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Per the AHL’s official website transactions page, the NHL Boston Bruins have reassigned 2018 seventh-round selection, Pavel Shen, from the Providence Bruins to the organization’s ECHL “AA” minor-pro affiliate the Atlanta Gladiators. In this, his rookies season with the Providence club the Ufa, Russia native appeared in 35 games while producing 4-5-9 offensive numbers. RinksideRhodeIsland.com founder/hockey writer Mark Divver gives a great explanation below in a Tweet earlier today on why the  20-year-old forward was demoted to the lower developmental level.

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The last time Shen got into game action was back on February 26th,2020, in a 6-2 beat down of the host Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. In that game against the Penguins, he recorded an assist on the second-period goal from defenseman Cooper Zech snapping a six-game pointless streak. As a young prospect, this is a solid move to keep the 6′-1″ 183-pound center moving with available ice-time as Divver mentions in his Tweet above. No need to keep a guy around just practicing and viewing games from the press box on the regular.

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The ECHL Atlanta Gladiators team has really come together lately and making a drive up the South Division standings sitting in fourth place, one point behind the Greenville Swamp Rabbits who are in third with 63 points. With Eastern Conference teams such as the South Carolina Stingrays, Florida Everblades, Newfoundland Growlers, and Reading Royals clinching 2020 postseason births, the Atlanta club sits in the eighth position with a 29-28-2-2 record. The Gladiators 2019-20 regular season might not be impressive to most but it’s what the team has done in the last three weeks compiling an  8-0-1-1 record and getting closer to Kelly Cup Playoff contention.

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The Atlanta club didn’t qualify for the postseason last season (2018-19) but did the previous campaign in 2017-18 when they faced the powerful Florida Everblades who swept the team from Georgia in the first-round 4-0. That was the first time the Gladiators qualified for the postseason after four playoff-less years. the addition of Shen could help out the surging Atlanta club and might spark some offensive creativity that he was lacking in Providence. The next contest for the Gladiators and potentially Pavel’s first regular-season game in the ECHL could be Friday night March 13th on the road against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 169 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast #169 3-8-20

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Hosts Heather Ingerson and Mark Allred are back for another week of Boston Bruins hockey talk. This episode was recorded on March 8th, 2020, amidst an interesting week that had the Boston organization winning two games in Florida to come home and drop points against a foe close by in the National Hockey League regular-season standings. Check out the episode below and please share and subscribe!

Below are the show topics that hosts Heather Ingerson and Mark Allred talked about in episode 169!

Intro – 00:00
Last Weeks Games – 4:40
Upcoming Weeks Schedule – 21:55
Lance From New Hampshire Call-In Listener Apprearence – 36:50
Brandon Carlo Injury – 54:35
245 Man-Games Lost To Injuries, Time For Load Management? – 1:10:32
GM Meetings And Some Upcoming Game-Play Changes – 1:15:30
Cassidy Continues To Line Shuffle – 1:35:40
Kuhlman Sent To Providence, Bruins Activate Clifton – 1:41:26
AHL Providence Bruins report – 1:42:55
General Discussion – 1:48:40
End Of Show – 2:19:00

Follow us on Twitter at:
Mark Allred @BlackAndGold277
Podcast Account @BlackNGoldPod

You can financially support our show by donating $1 and have exclusive access to our new Patreon Rewards Program where we draw a winner during every episode moving forward. Rewards will be official BNG Hockey Podcast gear and items from Fanatics.com Go to patreon.com/blackngoldhockeypodcast for another way to cut the operating costs.

Have a question or a comment for the hosts? Please send us an email at blackngoldhockeyblog@gmail.com

Thanks for tuning in and all the support! We’ll be back next week for another show of Bruins Hockey related material. Take Care and GO Bruins!!

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Report: Bruins Goaltending Prospect Keyser Could Return To Action Soon

( Photo Credit: ECHL Atlanta Gladiators )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Longtime American Hockey League writer Mark Divver reported the other day that the Providence Bruins have sent Boston Bruins goaltending prospect Kyle Keyser to their “AA” minor-pro affiliate in Atlanta Georgia. The 20-year-old undrafted netminder signed with the National Hockey Leagues Bruins in early October of 2017 after the B’s placed Malcolm Subban on waivers ultimately being claimed by the Vegas Golden Knights. Keyser returns to the Atlanta Gladiators organization after a lengthy battle with a concussion-related injury.

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As Divver mentioned in his tweet above, Keyser has spent several weeks practicing with the Providence club as he recovers from the head injury that he sustained with Atlanta prior to his injury reserve status. Kyle only appeared in one game for the Gladiators this season giving up four goals on 22 shots in a 4-3 loss to the Jacksonville IceMen in mid-December 2019. Before his only game with Atlanta, Keyser appeared in six games for Providence as he was recalled to fill the position vacated by fellow B’s prospect goaltender Dan Vladar who suffered his own injury early in the 2019-20 campaign with a high ankle sprain. In his time with Providence, he appeared in six games for the top minor-pro affiliate of the NHL Bruins posting a 1-4-1 record with a goals-against-average of 3.21 and .890 save percentage.

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This isn’t Keyser’s first bout with concussion issues as he suffered two significant head injuries in the 2018-19 season which was his final year in the Ontario Hockey League with the Oshawa Generals. Even though he went through troubling times with concussions in his final year in the Canadian Hockey League, he managed to complete his best year of developmental hockey in the OHL with a record of 32-8-0, a 2.75 GAA, and .915 save%.

The Atlanta Gladiators start a seven-game road trip tonight in Jacksonville, Florida so it remains to be seen if he actually gets the start against the last team he faced before this season’s concussion. As Divver mentioned in his tweet above, his placement with the ECHL club seemingly means he’s been cleared by the Bruins medical staff to get back in the crease. If he doesn’t get in the game tonight against the IceMen, he could see action next weekend when the Gladiators play two games at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena against host Greenville Swamp Rabbits. We hope Kyle is able to get back on track as he’s an important member of the developmental depth in goal with a tremendous amount of athleticism and talent in the crease.

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Also, it should be interesting how that developing depth in goal will look next season with Vladar currently under the last year of his entry-level contract and Bruins goaltending prospect Jeremy Swayman who’s rumored to leave the University of Maine after this his junior year. Having all these netminders in the fold isn’t a bad thing but it remains to be seen where they all play in the near future. It almost seems the NHL Bruins like to have first-year minor-league pros start in the ECHL where they’ll see a ton of rubber as that was the starting point for Vladar and now Keyser. Could we see a departure of veteran Providence netminder Max Lagace who signed a one-year, two-way contract leave to make room for a Vladar-Keyser tandem at the AHL level and potentially have Swayman play his first-year wherever the NHL Bruins have their ECHL affiliate next season? Stay tuned as I’m on the upcoming news as soon as it breaks.

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Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 168 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 23 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim A. Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 23 of the AHL season has arrived. The Providence Bruins skate into it 34-18-3-3 (74 points) and 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and Third in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is going off a week that saw them push their winning streak to eight games, with wins over Springfield and Hartford. The Bruins are playing excellent hockey. You won’t want to miss this weekend.

The hockey action starts out on Friday, March 6, 2020, when the Springfield Thunderbirds invade Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. The action continues on Saturday, March 7, 2020, when the Providence Bruins return the favor and take on the Springfield Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. Then on Sunday, March 8, 2020, the Hershey Bears come to Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Finally, the week wraps up on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, when the Providence Bruins make their way to Hartford, Connecticut to take on the Wolf Pack at the XL Center.

Friday, March 6, 2020 (HOME) and Saturday, March 7, 2020 (AWAY), Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds

The weekend series will be the 11 and 12th of 14 these two teams will have. 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 second game saw the Bruins losing 5-4 in overtime while getting goals from Robert Lantosi, Joona Koppanen, Scott Conway, and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Max Lagace stopped 30 of the 35 shots fired his way. The third meeting saw the Providence club come out on top 5-4 in overtime. They would get goals from Jack Studnicka, Trent Frederic, Robert Lantosi, Peter Cehlarik, and Paul Carey (OT). Veteran netminder Max Lagace stopped 24 of the 28 shots he faced.

The fourth battle saw the Bruins come out on top 5-0. Jeremy Lauzon, Jakub Zboril, Jack Studnicka, Paul Carey, and Oskar Steen had the goals for Providence. Dan Vladar was out of this world in net stopping all 42 shots fired his way. The fifth game saw the Bruins come out on top 4-3. Robert Lantosi, Jack Studnicka, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Pavel Shen were the Bruins goal scorers. Dan Vladar was on his game, making 31 stops out of 34 shots.

The sixth battle would prove to be a good one. The Bruins won 5-2. Trent Frederic, Brendan Gaunce, Ryan Fitzgerald, Anton Blidh, and Karson Kuhlman would score goals. Dan Vladar stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced in net. The seventh matchup would also be a good one.

The Bruins would win 5-3. Brendan Woods (2), Peter Cehlarik, Karson Kuhlman, and Anton Blidh would net goals. Max Lagace would go on to stop 21 of the 24 shots he faced in net. The eighth battle saw the Bruins lose 6-5 in OT. Paul Carey (2), Brendan Gaunce (2), and Peter Cehlarik had goals. Martin Ouellette stopped 24 of the 30 shots he faced.

The ninth matchup saw the Bruins win 7-4. Brendan Gaunce (2), Paul Carey (2), Jack Studnicka, Peter Cehlarik, and Robert Lantosi scored goals. Dan Vladar went on to stop 19 of the 24 shots fired his way. The most recent chapter saw the Bruins win 3-1. Peter Cehlarik, Jack Studnicka, and Urho Vaakanainen netted goals. Dan Vladar stopped 31 of the 32 shots fired his way.

The Springfield Thunderbirds come into the game 30-26-2 (62 points) and 4-6 in their last 10 games. This is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and 10th in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, this is still a favorable matchup for the Providence Bruins. Over the past five seasons, the Bruins are 30-15-5 against the Panthers’ affiliate.

The Thunderbirds have been winning with inconsistent play. They’ve given up 179 goals in 58 games while scoring 183. This is a plus-four goal differential. This also means they are giving up 3.08 goals a game while scoring 3.15. The Springfield club is 8-4 when leading after the first period. They are also 20-2 when leading after two periods. On the flip side, they are 6-10 when trailing after one period. They are also 2-19-1 when trailing after two periods.

To give some perspective to those numbers, The Bruins have given up 148 goals in 58 games while scoring 185. That is a +37 goal differential. That means they are only giving up 2.55 goals a game while scoring 3.18. The Providence club is 19-0 when leading after one period and 27-0 when leading after two. However, they are 3-11-1-1 when trailing after the first period and 1-14-1-2 when trailing after two. These two teams are evenly matched and getting and sustaining an early lead, are imperative to winning.

Sunday, March 8, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Hershey Bears (HOME)

The Sunday battle will mark the sixth and final matchup, the Providence Bruins and Hershey Bears will have this season. In the first meeting, the Bruins would win 2-1 in overtime. They had goals from Ryan Fitzgerald and Brendan Gaunce (OT). Dan Vladar was excellent in net stopping 21 of 22 shots fired his way.

The second matchup saw the Providence club fall 5-3. They received goals from Brendan Woods, Paul Carey, and Jakub Zboril. Kyle Keyser was okay in net stopping 28 of 33 shots he faced. The third meeting saw the Bruins win 6-3. Ryan Fitzgerald, Paul Carey, Urho Vaakanainen (2), Jack Studnicka, and Trent Frederic scored goals. Sean Bonar, who has since been sent to the ECHL, stopped 25 of 28 shots he faced.

The fourth battle saw the Bruins win 7-6 in a shootout. Brendan Woods, Joona Koppanen, Urho Vaakanainen, Paul Carey, Jakub Lauko, and Oskar Steen had goals. Max Lagace stopped 17 of the 23 shots that were fired his way. The netminder would also contribute with an assist on the scoresheet. The most recent chapter saw Bruins 3-2 in a shootout. Peter Cehlarik would score both goals. Max Lagace would stop 30 of the 32 shots he faced.

The Hershey Bears come into the game 35-18-3-3 (55 points) and 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for first in the Atlantic Division and second in the Eastern Conference. Providence has had success against the Washington affiliate going 17-9-1-2 over the five seasons. Including 7-7-1 on the road. Hershey comes into the game with the second-best defense in the Eastern Conference just behind Providence. They’ve given up 153 goals in 59 games. That’s only giving up 2.59 goals a game.

The Hershey Bears are 28-8-1-1 when they outshoot their opponents. They are also 9-10-2-2 when they are being outshot by their opponents. The Bruins, on the other hand, are 18-13-3-2 when they outshoot opponents and 12-5-0-1 when being outshot by opponents. The Washington affiliate is 12-3-1-1 when leading after the first period and 22-0-1-1 when leading after the second. However, they are just 6-8-2-1 when trailing after the first and 3-13-0-1 when down after two.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (AWAY)

The Wednesday matchup will mark the ninth 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 third 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 fourth battle saw the Providence Bruins fall 4-1. They got their lone goal from Cameron Hughes. Goalie Max Lagace stopped 18 of 22 shots he faced.

The fifth matchup was a bad one, the Bruins would lose 3-0. Goalie Max Lagace was up to the task in net stopping 18 of the 20 shots he faced. The sixth game saw the Providence Bruins lose 4-1. They got their lone goal from Joona Koppanen. Max Lagace had a rough night in net stopping 26 of 30 shots fired his way.

The seventh matchup saw the Bruins lose 3-1. Paul Carey had the Bruins lone goal. Dan Vladar stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced. The most recent battle saw the Bruins win 3-2. Oskar Steen, Jack Studnicka, and Brendan Gaunce would have goals. Max Lagace stopped 21 of the 23 shots he faced.

The battle with the Hartford club is going to be challenging. The Rangers’ affiliate comes into the game 31-16-6-5 (73 points), including 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and fourth 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 23-17-4-2, including 9-10-3-1 on the road. The Wolf Pack has seen success this season thanks to a stifling defense. They’ve given up only 161 goals in 58 games. That means they are only giving up 2.77 goals a game. This is the third-ranked defense in the Atlantic Division behind Providence and Hershey. Providence, on the other hand, has scored 185 goals in 58 games. That’s 3.18 goals a game. It’ll be a tough battle between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: New week, same Studnicka. Jack Studnicka has been on fire over the last month of the season. The young forward continues to get better day in and day out. In 56 games, he’s netted 22 goals while dishing out 24 assists for 46 total points. This includes netting eight goals and dishing out 12 assists for 20 total points in his last 16 games. Studnicka has also registered a point in 12 of his last 16 games. If he keeps up his play, we will see Studnicka in Boston for good very soon.

Brendan Gaunce: Brendan Gaunce has been a force for a few weeks now. He’s been an excellent addition to the Providence club this season. In 48 games, he’s netted 17 goals and dished out 18 assists for 35 total points. The veteran forward is riding a nine-game point streak. In that time, he’s netted six goals while dishing out six assists for 12 total points. He’s played a major part in the Bruins’ current eight-game winning streak.

Not

Alex Petrovic: Alex Petrovic is in his first season with the Providence Bruins. Overall, he’s been successful. In 50 games, he’s netted two goals while dishing out 18 assists for 20 total points. Despite these numbers, he’s only dished out one assist for one total point in his last 21 games. That’s an extreme cold streak. Let’s hope that Petrovic can put that behind him.

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald has had an up and down season. The veteran forward has seen his stock fall over the last few seasons. In 57 games this season, he’s netted 12 goals and dished out 13 assists for 25 total points. This includes not registering a point over his past five games. Despite the cold streak, the Bruins as a whole are playing well. Other players have been able to take up the slack. Let’s hope that Fitzgerald finds his offensive game soon.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic has had an excellent second full season in Providence. The young center has rounded out his game in all areas of the ice. In 55 games this season, he’s netted seven goals while dishing out 24 assists for 31 total points. This includes registering a point in four of his last five games. The former University of Wisconsin Badger has also played well against Springfield registering 10 points in 10 games.

On The Blue Line

Urho Vaakanainen: Urho Vaakanainen is another guy that’s had an up and down season for the Providence Bruins. In 50 games, he’s netted five goals while dishing out nine assists for 14 total points. The young defenseman has played well defensively, but his offensive game has been sporadic. Last weekend, he was able to break a four-game pointless streak with a goal. Look for him to come up big this weekend.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has had an excellent first season with the Providence Bruins. The veteran goalie spent the last few seasons in the Vegas organization. Lagace is 21-7-3 this season, with a 2.38 GAA and a .918 save percentage. He’s also registered five shutouts. That ranks second in the AHL.

The Providence Bruins are riding an eight-game winning streak. They’ve played well against both teams they should beat, and teams ahead of them in the standings. The games this weekend will be important when it comes to playoff seeding. Hartford and Hershey are top teams in the East. Those two games will not be easy. I believe Providence can come out of the weekend with six of eight points. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Providence Bruins Continue To Roll With Six Straight Victories

(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

On Wednesday night the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins were on the road in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for a mid-week contest against the Penguins. The top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins walked out of the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza with a significant 6-2 beatdown earning their sixth straight victory. The same two teams first faced each other in this two-game home and home series on Sunday, February 23rd, 2020, with the Providence club holding onto a 2-1 win at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

After a great start to the 2019-20 regular season campaign, the team from the smallest state in the Union went through a few bad times mid-season and many unsuccessful attempts to capture points in front of the hometown faithful. Hovering around .500 at home this season, the Bruins finally got back to winning ways at the La salle Squarefacility in the city’s capital to rise above that .500 mark at home with an impressive six-game stretch where Providence earned 11 of 12 points. During those consecutive games at the Dunk which took a better part of the month of February to complete, the Bruins now have a 15-10-2-2 home record. With last nights 6-2 road win in the state of Pennsylvania, the B’s continue to impress on the road and are in the top-five in the league with a 17-8-1-1 record away from the Dunk.

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Providence now sits in third place in the Atlantic Division and fourth place in the AHL’s Eastern Conference with a 32-18-3-3 overall record and 20 games remaining in the 2019-20 regular season. To go along with their six-game winning streak, the Providence club has actually earned seven points in the last seven games with an unfortunate 2-1 overtime loss to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers which kicked off the recent six-game homestand. The B’s are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and are starting to be a nuisance to the teams ahead of them in the Eastern Conference with the B’s having 70 points in the fourth spot and only five points away from conference-leading Belleville Senators who’ve really kicked it up a notch to begin the second half of the season.

With last nights road win, the Providence team will finish this short three-game road trip with contests against the Springfield Thunderbirds on Saturday,  February 29th, 2020 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts and wrap things up away from the Dunk on Sunday, March 1st, 2020 at the XL Center against the Hartford Wolf Pack. Speaking of the Atlantic Division foe Wolf Pack team, if the 2020 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs started today, Hartford and Providence would meet each other in the best-of-five first-round series with the Wolf Pack dominating the Providence club with a 6-0-0-1 regular-season record. As of today in this potential 2020 Calder Cup playoff matchup, the Hartford team would obviously have home-ice advantage and with their play against Providence this season it would be a tough task for the B’s as the Wolf Pack have a 21-2-1-2 record at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut but have only been able to muster up a 9-12-5-3 record on the road.

Providence Players Who Deserve Mentions As The Team looks To Clinch Their Eighth Consecutive Calder Cup Playoff Appearance

Paul Carey

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

The Providence Captain has been one of the club’s higher point producers throughout the season but as a veteran of the game, his experience and knowledge have been an asset to head coach Jay Leach’s staff away from the bench. Young Bruins prospects that get recalls often give high praise of him when asked who’s helped them along the way to get prepared for the higher level.

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The 31-year-old Weymouth, Massachusetts forward should be on the decline at his age but he never really slows down and able to keep up with the younger developing players. Carey sits in the second spot when it comes to team scoring with 20-16-36 numbers and 3-1-4 numbers in his last fours games as most Providence forwards are starting to pick up offensively. Paul who’s signed for another season will continue to serve the NHL Bruins organization as an inspirational leader at the developing depth but also a solid backup plan in case he’s needed in an emergency with Boston.

Peter Cehlarik

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

Cehlarik has missed a majority of games in February of 2020 but returned to the Providence lineup against Springfield on the 22nd and immediately got back to work offensively. Posting 1-1-2 numbers in the 7-4 victory over Atlantic Division rival Thunderbirds, the big 6′-2″ 205-pound versatile forward now has 2-2-4 in his last three games and his return and emergence couldn’t have been better timed as the Rhode Island team continues to climb the standings preparing for another postseason birth.

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So far this year the 24-year-old forward has appeared in 42 games for Providence posting 15-17-32 numbers and in his three games with the NHL Bruins in this 2019-20 campaign notched an assist before being waived for the purpose of AHL placement. Peter is another leader on a team full of good low-risk European talent and with 20 games remaining in this season, I believe he’s just getting warmed up as he’s auditioning for more time with the B’s organization as he’s a restricted free agent at the end of the year.

Trent Frederic

( Photo Credit: Team Shred Photography )

Trent possesses many attributes that you want to see in a young player that’s on the verge of starting a long NHL career. He has a good mind for the game and for a big kid has a tremendous pair of hands. He does have decent speed when needed but Frederic’s game, in my opinion, is how he grinds along the boards and in the dirty areas around the net. As many Bruins, fans already know, Trent is not afraid to mix it up or be a nuisance to an opposing team which he felt did his team wrong with liberties taken.

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Regardless of his heavy playing style, the former 2016 first-round pick of the Bruins has already passed his AHL career-high of 25 points in 55 games last season to 7-23-30 totals thus far in 53 games for his Providence club in 2019-20. Frederic who leads the AHL in penalty minutes is currently on a three-game point streak with four assists in his last three games. That hard-nosed grind it out style will be needed down the stretch and in the upcoming Calder Cup Playoffs if in fact the B’s get in and secure a spot.

Brendan Gaunce

( Photo Credit:  Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images )

Gaunce was a sneakingly smart free agent signing for the Boston Bruins when both sides agreed to a one-year two-way contract during the offseason. Brendan is another player with a heavy bag of attributes and solid plan “B” asset for the higher NHL Bruins if needed regardless of the situation. After missing almost a month in the early season with a concussion and facial lacerations from a suspendable open-ice hit from former Laval Rocket forward Michael McCarron he’s really stepped it up offensively in the second half of the year.

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Brendan is currently on a season-high seven-game point streak where he’s contributed 5-5-10 numbers in that timeframe. In his last 20 games, he’s posted 9-10-19 numbers and has been one of the veteran players that Head Coach Jay Leach can put in a multitude of situations including when a tenacious forechecker is needed. it’s hard to say if this career-high streak can be sustained but it’s been fun to watch as the club continues to gell together in hopes of a long postseason run.

Max Lagace

( Photo Credit: ProvidenceBruins.com )

Another great find for the Boston Bruins over the offseason as Legace started the year on fire and hovering at the top of the AHL’s top goaltenders when it comes to individual stats. Max signed a one-year, two-way contract last summer and not only was he going to be a solid veteran presence in the Providence crease, but he also came to the  Bruins organization with some NHL playing experience. When the AHL plays three games in three nights on a weekly schedule his athleticism and demeanor at the minor-pro level have been nothing but impressive.

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Lagace who started off like a firecracker to start the year as mentioned has appeared in 31 games thus far in 2019-20 posting a 20-7-3 regular-season record with a 2.40 goals-against-average, and .918 save percentage. The 27-year-old netminder is currently in second in the AHL in shutouts with five (Leader- Six) and riding a three-game winning streak and 7-2-1 in his last ten games. In that ten-game stretch the Quebec, Canada native has a 2.77 GAA and .908 Save%. It should be interesting to see how the goaltending will be planned out for Lagace down the stretch and potential postseason because of another Providence netminder who’s been on a tear since early December 2019.

Robert Lantosi

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

I have to give major props to the Boston Bruins scouting staff on the AHL free agent signing of forward and Czech native Lantosi. A low-risk high reward decision is certainly paying dividends in his rookie year in North America. Robert was invited to the 2019 Bruins development camp and the NHL B’s did their due diligence with scouting him up close and offering him a contract before the 2019-20 campaign started. Lantosi is an extremely fast forward that doesn’t exactly have the biggest Getty up and go stride but instead, it’s the hole-shot he creates with increased foot speed. He has really good edge work and offensive creativity to stickhandle in a phone booth.

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In his first year of AHL hockey, the 24-year-old Slovakia native has contributed 11-20-31 numbers and another player who’s earned the trust of Coach Leach and has the ability to play with anyone up and down the right side. He does have a sick one-timer in Pastrnak’s office and wish he’d use that weapon more often in key scoring situations like increased power-play time. In his last four games, Robert has posted 1-2-3 numbers as he as well needs to be strong down the stretch and in the postseason as he’s playing for another minor-pro contract after this season.

Jack Studnicka

( Photo Credit: ProvidenceBruins.com )

I know many Jack Studnicka mega fans are boiling over with the fact that’s he’s not playing regularly in the NHL yet, I believe the Boston organization is doing the right thing. By keeping a player like this in with the top-minor pro affiliate allows him to continue to develop and absorb the different aspects of the games as he’s currently in his first full year of AHL hockey. With potential departures on the NHL roster by this fall, it’s no doubt in my mind he’ll earn a spot in Boston after working hard during the offseason and providing Bruins management with no option to send him back to Providence after a solid NHL training camp in the fall of 2020.

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Jack currently leads the Providence club with 20-22-42 numbers in 54 games and when it comes to special teams play he’s contributed three goals on the power-play and leads the AHL with six shorthanded goals. After going eight games without a point from late December 2019 to mid-January 2020, the former 2017 second-round pick snapped out of that pointless funk to produce 6-10-16 numbers in his last 14 games. Jack is so fun to watch because of his tremendous hockey intelligence and the way he maneuvers effortlessly through all three zones. Be patient Bruins fans because Studnicka is coming and if you’ve had the chance to watch him play throughout his development you know what kind of special player he can be.

Dan Vladar

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

A big netminder with a ton of potential but his first few seasons of minor pro developmental hockey have been up and down as he continues to learn the pro game. I’ve always been high on Dan and can see why the Bruins selected him with the third-round selection in 2015 as the second-ranked European goaltender per NHL Central Scouting. The 6′-5″ 195-pound Czech Republic native has the size to smother any lose pucks down low and has the athleticism to be an effective butterfly style netminder. His up and down years when it comes to season records shouldn’t be any indication of his future as all hockey players go through highs and lows trying to soak so much information in while training to be a world-class athlete.

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The beginning of the 2019-20 season didn’t exactly start off the way anyone expected. The 22-year-old got his first win of the regular season giving up one goal in a 21 save effort but in his next contest he gave up five at the Dunk in Providence to go 1-1 in the early season with a 3.05 GAA and .888 Save%. His next game in Laval, Quebec he suffered a high ankle sprain and was out for a better part of six weeks. when he returned on the 1st of December, he certainly blew me away with a 36 save shutout and a return to the ice playing a style I’ve never seen him play before. During his injury rehabilitation, he worked with Bruins goaltending coaches Bob Essensa and Mike Dunham to minimize his movements in the crease.

Since coming back in the last month of 2019, Vladar has a 10-7-1 record with three shutouts, a 1.91 GAA, and .931 Save%. Dan’s goals-against -average ranks second and save percentage ranks third in the AHL. He’s currently on a three-game winning streak which has the potential to extend with an appearance in one of the road games this weekend. The young goaltending prodigy has worked very well with the aforementioned Max Lagace as both netminders look for equal regular-season playing time down the stretch.

Jakub Zboril

( Photo Credit: Tumblr )

Not a fan favorite when selected by the Boston Bruins in the first round with what talent remained on the draft board after the Boston organization had three straight selections. Regardless of fan opinion and NHL playing time, I believe Zboril has been a good soldier even though he’s spent a majority of his development with the Providence Bruins. He plays an aggressive shutdown style of defense and although he’s not considered to be much of an offensive producer from the backend, the 23-year-old has the vision and quick hands for fast outlet passes for defensive transition out of the zone. Those quick decisions have got him into trouble on several occasions throughout his pro-development but it’s not a knock as he continues to learn patience in his all-around game.

With fellow blueliner Jeremy Lauzon up with the NHL Bruins, for now, the 6′-0″ 195-pound Czech Republic native, in my opinion, is having his best season so far in his minor-pro career and has even surpassed former first-rounder Urho Vaakanainen on my depth chart. His defensive awareness and overall play with more trust from Head Coach Leach has been a pleasure to see and should bode well in contract negotiations this summer as a restricted free agent. Not saying that he’d get an extension for permanent NHL duties but could be retained and continue to develop in Providence as future roster spots become available with potential departures. In 52 games this season Zboril has 2-12-14 numbers and logs a lot of minutes as a depth defenseman with seniority.

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 22 Preview

ProBru9

(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim A. Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 22 of the AHL season has arrived. The Providence Bruins skate into it 32-18-3-3 (70 points) and 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a week that saw them beat the Springfield Thunderbirds 7-4. They would then beat Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 2-1 before beating the same Penguins’ team 6-2.

The Hockey action kicks off on Saturday, February 29, 2020, when the Providence Bruins travel to Springfield, Massachusetts, to take on the Springfield Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center. The action wraps up on Sunday, March 1, 2020, when the Providence Bruins invade Hartford, Connecticut, to take on the Hartford Wolf Pack at the XL Center. It’s going to be an exciting weekend of hockey that you do not want to miss.

 

Saturday, February 29, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (AWAY)

The Saturday matchup will be the 10th of 14 these two teams will have. 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 second game saw the Bruins losing 5-4 in overtime while getting goals from Robert Lantosi, Joona Koppanen, Scott Conway, and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Max Lagace stopped 30 of the 35 shots fired his way. The third meeting saw the Providence club come out on top 5-4 in overtime. They would get goals from Jack Studnicka, Trent Frederic, Robert Lantosi, Peter Cehlarik, and Paul Carey (OT). Veteran netminder Max Lagace stopped 24 of the 28 shots he faced.

The fourth battle saw the Bruins come out on top 5-0. Jeremy Lauzon, Jakub Zboril, Jack Studnicka, Paul Carey, and Oskar Steen had the goals for Providence. Dan Vladar was out of this world in net stopping all 42 shots fired his way. The fifth game saw the Bruins come out on top 4-3. Robert Lantosi, Jack Studnicka, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Pavel Shen were the Bruins goal scorers. Dan Vladar was on his game, making 31 stops out of 34 shots.

The sixth battle would prove to be a good one. The Bruins won 5-2. Trent Frederic, Brendan Gaunce, Ryan Fitzgerald, Anton Blidh, and Karson Kuhlman would score goals. Dan Vladar stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced in net. The seventh matchup would also be a good one.

The Bruins would win 5-3. Brendan Woods (2), Peter Cehlarik, Karson Kuhlman, and Anton Blidh would net goals. Max Lagace would go on to stop 21 of the 24 shots he faced in net. The eighth battle saw the Bruins lose 6-5 in OT. Paul Carey (2), Brendan Gaunce (2), and Peter Cehlarik had goals. Martin Ouellette stopped 24 of the 30 shots he faced.

The most recent matchup saw the Bruins win 7-4. Brendan Gaunce (2), Paul Carey (2), Jack Studnicka, Peter Cehlarik, and Robert Lantosi scored goals. Dan Vladar went on to stop 19 of the 24 shots fired his way.

The Springfield Thunderbirds come into the game 30-24-2 (62 points) and 5-5 in their last 10 games. This is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, this is still a favorable matchup for the Providence Bruins. Over the past five seasons, the Bruins are 29-15-5 against the Panthers’ affiliate, including 14-7-3 on the road.

The Thunderbirds have been winning with excellent defense. They’ve only given up 170 goals in 56 games while scoring 179. This is a plus-nine goal differential. This also means they are only giving up 3.03 goals a game while scoring 3.19. The Springfield club is 8-3 when leading after the first period. They are also 20-2 when leading after two periods. On the flip side, they are 6-10 when trailing after one period. They are also 2-18-1 when trailing after two periods.

To give some perspective to those numbers, The Bruins have given up 145 goals in 56 games while scoring 179. That is a +34 goal differential. That means they are only giving up 2.58 goals a game while scoring 3.19. The Providence club is 18-0 when leading after one period and 27-0 when leading after two. However, they are 3-11-1-1 when trailing after the first period and 1-14-1-2 when trailing after two. These two teams are evenly matched and getting and sustaining an early lead, are imperative to winning.

 

Sunday, March 1, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (AWAY)

The Sunday matchup will mark the eighth 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 third 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 fourth battle saw the Providence Bruins fall 4-1. They got their lone goal from Cameron Hughes. Goalie Max Lagace stopped 18 of 22 shots he faced.

The fifth matchup was a bad one, the Bruins would lose 3-0. Goalie Max Lagace was up to the task in net stopping 18 of the 20 shots he faced. The sixth game saw the Providence Bruins lose 4-1. They got their lone goal from Joona Koppanen. Max Lagace had a rough night in net stopping 26 of 30 shots fired his way. The most recent matchup saw the Bruins lose 3-1. Paul Carey had the Bruins lone goal. Dan Vladar stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced.

The battle with the Hartford club is going to be challenging. The Rangers’ affiliate comes into the game 30-14-6-5 (71 points), including 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and third 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 22-17-4-2, including 8-10-3-1 on the road. The Wolf Pack has seen success this season thanks to a stifling defense. They’ve given up only 152 goals in 55 games. That means they are only giving up 2.76 goals a game. Providence, on the other hand, has scored 179 goals in 56 games. That’s 3.19 goals a game. It’ll be a tough battle between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

 

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: Studnicka has found himself in the hot category quite often this year. The young center has had an excellent first full season in Providence. He’s firmly grasped the title of the top prospect in the Bruins’ system. In 54 games this season, he’s netted 20 goals while dishing out 22 assists for 42 total points. This includes netting six goals while dishing out seven assists for 13 total points over his last 12 games. Let’s hope he keeps it up.

Brendan Gaunce: Brendan Gaunce is another guy that has been in the hot category a lot recently. He is also in his first season with the Providence Bruins. The veteran forward spent the beginning of his career in the Vancouver Canucks organization. In 46 games this season, he’s netted 16 goals while dishing out 17 assists for 33 total points. This includes netting five goals and dishing out six assists for 11 total points in his last nine games. Let’s hope he continues his hot streak.

Not

Urho Vaakanainen: Urho Vaakanainen is one of the top Bruins prospects. Overall, he’s had a good season. His defensive ability has been strong a large part of the season. However, offensively the young defenseman has struggled of late. In 47 games this season, he’s netted four goals while dishing out nine assists for 13 total points. However, over his past 22 games, he’s dished out two assists for two total points. Let’s hope Vaakanainen can break out of his slump soon.

Cooper Zech: Cooper Zech is another guy in his first full season with the Providence Bruins. The young defenseman came to Providence after having an excellent freshman season at Ferris State University. Coming into this season, I was very high on Zech. He started off slow but recently had been playing well. In 39 games this year, he’s netted two goals while dishing out 12 assists for 14 total points. This includes netting one goal and dishing out two assists for three total point in his last six games.

 

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Peter Cehlarik: Peter Cehlarik is a guy who’s been leapfrogged by other forwards in the system. Despite this, the former third-round pick has played well this season. In 42 games, he’s netted 15 goals while dishing out 17 assists for 32 total points. The veteran forward has also played exceptionally well against Springfield. In nine games this year, he’s netted five goals while dishing out six assists for 11 total points. That means 36% of his points have come against the Thunderbirds. Look for him this weekend.

On The Blue Line

Steven Kampfer: Steven Kampfer has been a bit of an unsung hero in the Bruins’ organization the past few seasons. The veteran blueliner has been a valuable seventh defenseman in Boston. He’s also provided great leadership when in Providence for the younger players. In 16 games with Providence, he’s netted three goals and dished out five assists for eight total points. Look for him this weekend.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has been excellent in his first full season in Providence. The veteran netminder has been a stabilizing force for the Bruins. On the season, he’s 20-7-3 with a 2.40 GAA and a .918 save percentage. He’s also recorded five shutouts on the year. Look for him this weekend.

 

The Providence Bruins are coming off an excellent week. They’ve been playing their best hockey as of late. This has come at the perfect time. They’ve been to put some points between themselves and the teams below them in the standings. This weekend is not going to be easy for the Providence club. Springfield is fighting for a playoff spot, and Hartford is ahead of them in the standings. Let’s hope our boys in black and gold can come out of the weekend with four points. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

 

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Report: Jakub Lauko Will Play For Providence On Saturday

( Photo Credit: Fred Kfoury III / Icon Sportswire )

 

By Carrie Young | Follow me on Twitter @carrieyoung512

According to a tweet by reporter Mark Divver (@MarkDivver), Providence Bruins forward Jakub Lauko will return from injury on Saturday, February 29th. Head coach Jay Leach reportedly confirmed Lauko’s return.

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Lauko suffered a knee injury during his first shift of the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship. He was ruled out for the remainder of the tournament, unfortunately, unable to continue to represent his home country of the Czech Republic.

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Lauko began his professional career with Providence at the beginning of this season. He was drafted in the third round, 77th overall, by the Boston Bruins in the 2018 NHL Draft. The Bruins signed him to a three-year entry-level contract on September 28th, 2018. He went on to play for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL. Lauko helped his team to the Memorial Cup tournament, with the Huskies being named the champions of the Canadian Hockey League.

After a strong showing during the 2019 preseason, Lauko was assigned to the AHL. He recorded four goals and four assists in 18 games with Providence. Unfortunately, before he could get significant momentum going, he suffered a scary injury on December 7th and had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher.

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Though initially very worrying, Lauko escaped serious injury on the play. He recovered in time to be sent to the Czech Republic for World Juniors, where he suffered his knee injury.

After going two months without playing, Lauko will finally return to the P-Bruins lineup. Providence plays at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Wednesday, then will travel to Springfield on Saturday.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 167 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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