AHL Bruins Send Two To California As Providence Hits 2020 All-Star Break

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The annual American Hockey League All-Star festivities get underway this evening in Ontario, California with the 2020 Skills Competition and game tomorrow night from the Toyota Arena. This year’s mid-season event will be hosted by the Pacific Divisions Ontario Reign the top minor-pro affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings and sure to pack it’s 9,736 seat arena capacity with rabid hockey fans from near and far.

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This will be an inaugural event for the AHL as this is the first time since the league added the Pacific Division that an All-Star hoopla has been out to the new seven-team division with the inception at the beginning of the 2015-16 season. Speaking of firsts, this is will be a new experience for a Boston Bruins organizational player as a pro hockey veteran and another whos on his way to NHL stardom in his first full season of North American pro hockey. The Providence Bruins will be represented by two of the team’s best players this season and hope you enjoy the update of both players and how they’ve contributed thus far in the 2019-20 campaign respectfully.

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Paul Carey

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

The 31-year-old Weymouth, Massachusetts native has been a solid journeyman pro in his hockey career. By researching his player portfolio it seems like the Boston Bruins organization kept a close eye on him dating back to his days at nearby Boston College in the tough Hockey East Conference. Paul has had an off and on relationship in the minor-pro level when the Bruins are looking for skillful players but the never-ending need for leaders no matter in what league has a high standing value as well. Carey has been nothing but a professional waiting for his chance but in that leadership role, he’s provided enough offensive capabilities to keep a growing prospect’s mind captured with the increasing change in-game speed year-to-year. Paul’s speed is something to watch because most veterans who grid it out hard in the AHL don’t normally get better as they age.

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This is the first full AHL season the 6′-1″ 201-pound versatile forward has been with the Bruins organization with both parties being involved in trades and free-agent signings dating back to March of 2015. The minor-pro journeyman career the signings of this hockey veteran have had solid returns when considering points-per-game and a solid backup plan to have in case the glass has to be broken in an emergency situation. So far this season he’s appeared in 45 games serving as the Providence Captain this year he’s contributed offensively with 17-13-30 numbers and is a workhorse in all three zones.

Paul has 100 NHL games under his belt contributing 8-8-16 numbers. Zero of his points came with his Bruins recalls but with the Providence Bruins on three separate occasions, in his short stays in Rhode Island, Carey has posted 41-29-70 and as I said grooming the future as he’s linemates with some pretty well know Boston prospects. His AHL career numbers have him at 123-149-272 in 391 games and currently has another season under his two-year, two-way contract so another year of mentorship can be expected and ready for more NHL chances next season as well. Carey’s been a great asset to Providence Bruins Head Coach Jay Leach with the bench boss along with staff and players mentioning him as a true leader of this club and isn’t a slouch when it comes to the competitive side of the game. If this was Mystery Alaska the movie, he’s John Biebe who was played by Russel Crowe as the grizzled veteran driving a team to success.

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Carey is tied for the Providence lead in points this season and his first AHL All-Star appearance might be a fun one but a challenge to stay refreshed and dialed into a return to the regular season. The All-Star festivities will mean Paul will have skated for the fourth time in the last five days and seven times in the last ten days. The nine-year AHL pro should be ready to go and rest up when he rejoins his Providence team after the All-Star break and first game back on Friday night to end the month of January with a road game in Binghamton, New York against the top minor-pro affiliate of the New Jersey Devils the Binghamton Devils. Carey hopes to return and snap a three-game pointless streak after his All-Star appearance is over.

Depending on if the Boston Bruins finish strong, Carey is deserving of a game or two appreciation recall for his services as he’s seen a few times in his long career. He’ll definitely be in the mix of Black Ace players if the B’s do in fact go on a deep run again and serve as another solid replacement piece in an emergency situation.

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Jack Studnicka

( Photo Credit:  Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images )

In his first North American professional season, the former 2017 second-round selection of the NHL Bruins is having an outstanding rookie season at the minor-pro level and is starting to fill out his frame. We’ve all known about Studnicka’s offensive capabilities as a Bruins prospect but what I like about his game this year gradually throughout the season is his aggressive nature as a highly-skilled threat. On several occasions, he’s not been that guy to take liberties on when other AHL teams are targetting him to get him and the team off their game and boby slammed an opposing nuisance. That bit of aggressiveness has put the Providence club at a disadvantage late in games but as he develops you know he’ll harness that in the future. To clarify I’m not suggesting that he’s some kind of fighter or savior to the narrative of this NHL Bruins team needs to add an enforcer but I do like to see how he handles himself and that part of the game as he continues to build muscle mass.

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Since leaving the Ontario Hockey League where posted career numbers of 80-153-233 and career .92 points-per-game percentage he transitioned his game nicely as he seeks permanent placement in the NHL in the near future. Studnicka is an absolute sponge when it comes to learning and applies that very knowledge to produce an intelligent 200-foot game. Jack is a master of creativity in my opinion and a pleasure to watch live with the way he controls the game much like current Bruins center David Krejci.

This season Jack’s addition up the middle and occasionally elsewhere on a line has benefited both the player and the organization when it comes to development. Head Coach Leach has strategically placed Jack in situations where his game sways with his game on and away from the puck. A demotion to a lower line is not a bad thing for a player continuing to learn the craft of a man’s game at a higher level. In 44 games thus far in his rookie year with the AHL Providence club “Captain Jack” has contributed with 14-16-30 numbers and a .71 PPG% with 30 regular-season games remaining before a hopeful 2020 Calder Cup Playoff appearance and long postseason run.

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As mentioned with his Providence teammate above, Studnicka could get another look in the remaining 31 games in the NHL B’s regular season. Although Jacks gone through some offensive struggles lately without a goal in his last 12 games he does have four points in his last four games and has displayed an incredible amount of creativity doing so with helpers to fellow linemates. His roller coaster offensive production is no indication of taking steps behind and if you really want to gauge his game for yourselves I highly suggest getting a regular season subscription to end the year and prepare for some AHL Calder Cup Playoffs by going to watchtheahl.com today!

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Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 163 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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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 17 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 17 of the AHL season has arrived. The Providence Bruins skate into it 24-16-2-2 (52 points) and 4-5-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a challenging week that saw them lose to the Sound Tigers 2-1 before beating the same Bridgeport club 3-1. The Bruins would then go on to lose to Springfield 6-5 in overtime before beating Lehigh Valley 3-2 in a shootout.

This weekend’s hockey action starts on Friday, January 24, 2020, when the Lehigh Valley Phantoms travel to Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The action wraps up on Saturday, January 25, 2020, when the Hershey Bears invade Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. It should be exciting hockey you do not want to miss.

Friday, January 24, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (HOME)

The Friday meeting will mark the third of six the two teams will have this season. In the first meeting, the Bruins would go on to win 3-0. The now in Boston Anders Bjork, Brendan Gaunce, and Paul Carey would score goals. Max Lagace would stop all 28 shots he faced in what would be his first game as a Bruin. The most recent matchup saw the Bruins win 3-2 in a shootout. Oskar Steen and Zach Senyshyn scored goals. Max Lagace stopped 26 of 28 shots he faced.

Historically, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms have given the Providence Bruins fits. Over the past five seasons, the Providence club is 11-13-2. This includes 6-6-1 at home. This game, however, should not reflect that. The Philadelphia affiliate skates into the matchup 18-19-1-5 (42 points) and 6-3-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 13th in Eastern Conference.

The only real positive thing that you can say about the Lehigh Valley club is that their defense is not horrible. They’ve given up 118 goals in 43 games. This means they are only giving up 2.74 goals a game. The problem with that is they’ve only scored 103 goals this season. This means they have a -15 goal differential, while also only scoring 2.39 goals a game. Scoring less than you give up is not how you consistently win hockey games.

Some other stats of note for the Phantoms, they are 9-4-0-1 when leading after the first period. 11-0-0-1 when leading after the second period. They are 3-10-0-1 when trailing after the first period. The Lehigh Valley club is 3-15-0-3 when down after the second period.

To give some perspective to those numbers, The Bruins have given up 117 goals in 44 games while scoring 138. That is a +21 goal differential. That means they are only giving up 2.65 goals a game while scoring 3.13. The Providence club is 13-0 when leading after one period and 19-0 when leading after two. However, they are 2-10-1-1 when trailing after the first period and 1-12-0-1 when trailing after two.

Saturday, January 25, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Hershey Bears (HOME)

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

The second matchup saw the Providence club fall 5-3, getting goals from Brendan Woods, Paul Carey, and Jakub Zboril. Kyle Keyser was okay in net stopping 28 of 33 shots he faced. The 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 most recent 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 Hershey Bears come into the game 25-14-2-3 (55 points) and 6-4 in their last 10 games. This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and second in the Eastern Conference. Providence has had success against the Washington affiliate going 17-9-1-1 over the five seasons. Including 10-2-0-1 at home.

The Hershey Bears are 17-7-0-1 when they outshoot their opponents. They are also 7-7-2-2 when they are being outshot by their opponents. The Bruins, on the other hand, are 11-11-2-2 when they outshoot opponents and 8-5 when being outshot by opponents. The Washington affiliate is 7-1-0-1 when leading after the first period and 14-0-0-1 when leading after the second. However, they are just 4-6-2-1 when trailing after the first and 3-11-0-1 when down after two.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic is a guy who started off slow, but is having a good season. In 41 games this year, he’s netted six goals while dishing out 17 assists for 23 total points. This includes netting two goals and dishing out four assists for six total points in his last six games. The former University of Wisconsin Badger is only two points away from his total of all last season. This year the young center has really rounded out his game in all zones.

Brendan Gaunce: Brendan Gaunce is in his first season with Providence. He came to the Bruins after spending his entire professional career in the Vancouver Canucks system. In 34 games this season, he’s netted 10 goals while dishing out 11 assists for 21 total points. This includes netting three goals and dishing out three assists for six total points in his last seven games. The veteran forward has been a great addition to the Providence forward crop.

Not

Josiah Didier: Josiah Didier is also in his first season with the Providence Bruins. The veteran defenseman came the Bruins after spending last season with the Calder Cup Champion Charlotte Checkers. In 44 games this season, he hasn’t netted a goal while dishing out eight assists for eight total points. This includes registering two assists for two total points in his last 18 games. Hopefully, the University of Denver alum can provide some offense soon.

Joona Koppanen: Joona Koppanen is in his second season with Providence. The young forward came to the Bruins after spending the beginning of his career in Finland. In 33 games this year, he’s netted seven goals while dishing out seven assists for 14 total points. This includes registering one point, an assist in his last seven games. Hopefully, the former fifth-round pick can pick up his offensive game soon.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Paul Carey: Paul Carey is having an excellent season with Providence. In 44 games this year, he’s netted 17 goals while dishing out 13 assists for 30 total points. This includes netting three goals and dishing out three assists for six total points in four games against Hershey this season. The Bruins’ Captain has played so well that he earned himself a spot on the AHL All-Star Team.  The success Carey has had both this season and against Hershey makes him a prime candidate to have a big weekend.

On The Blue Line

Urho Vaakanainen: Urho Vaakanainen came into the season has one of the Boston Bruins’ top prospects. The young defenseman has had an excellent season overall. In 39 games this season, he’s netted four goals and dished out seven assists for 11 total points. This includes netting three goals and dishing out an assist for four total points in four games against Hershey this season. Look for him to have a big weekend.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has had an excellent first season with Providence. On the season, he’s 16-6-2 with a 2.43 GAA and .917 save percentage. This includes a league-leading five shutouts. The veteran netminder has provided stability at the back end of the Bruins’ defense. Look for him to have a big weekend.

The Providence Bruins have had a rough six weeks after starting the year so hot. The Providence club currently sits in a playoff spot by two points. These two games this weekend are both very winnable and ones the team needs to win to push towards the playoffs. I expect the Bruins to win both games this weekend. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Karson Kuhlman’s Position On The Bruins

(Photo Credit: AP Photo / Winslow Townson)

By: Michael DiGiorgio  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BostonDiGiorgio

When Don Sweeney took over as General Manager of the Boston Bruins, one item on his to-do list was to send his scouts to a relatively untapped market.  Historically, American college hockey took a backseat to leagues like Canada’s Ontario Hockey League, Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, and Sweden’s Elite Swedish League.  Draft-eligible players found themselves forgoing college hockey and playing in these leagues because that’s where the competition was.  Over the last seven or eight years, though, American college hockey has attracted more stars, and NHL teams have noticed.

Don Sweeney played at Harvard University from 1984-1988.  He is familiar with the talent in the college hockey system, which explains his vested interest.  Some of his recent draft picks have even come from Boston University, University of Denver, and the University of Wisconsin.  Moreover, he’s made sure his scouts are also looking for players who weren’t drafted in June and invite them to training camp.  One player in particular who fits this situation is Karson Kuhlman.

The Esko, Minnesota native played his college hockey 20 minutes northeast of his hometown at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.  Karson was awarded captain his senior year and posted a modest 80 points and an impressive plus-47 rating in 166 games for the Bulldogs.  He and his teammates won the franchise’s second National Championship in 2017-18.  Karson was named MVP of the Frozen Four and scored a goal and an assist in the title game.  Kuhlman’s style of play fits the Bruins style perfectly.  He is a smaller center, with great hands, a lethal shot, and the ability to lead on and off the ice.

Unfortunately, Kuhlman was not drafted during his eligibility year in 2014.  He was invited to two training camps by the Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens.  Neither team saw enough to sign him.  Thankfully, his hometown roots made him a rememberable name to another Minnesota Native with Bruin ties.  Jamie Langenbrunner, former NHL right-winger, and current Bruins player development coach, knew Kuhlman before the NHL teams caught on.  Langenbrunner has long been impressed by Kuhlman’s “attention to detail. He’s a kid that plays a pro-style game in the way he positions himself, uses his body, gets pucks out on walls.

The Bruins invited Kuhlman to their 2017 development camp to see what Langenbrunner had advocated.  He left the Bruins without a deal, but they kept a keen eye on him.  Following his senior year, the Bruins signed Kuhlman to a 2-year, $1.5M contract, and he reported directly to Providence.  He would only play in three games, notching two assists for the baby Bruins.  The following year, he played through the end of January for the Bruins’ AHL farm team and received the call up to the Boston Bruins when one of their star players injured himself.

David Pastrnak slipped on ice in the Boston streets and injured his thumb.  This created an empty roster spot, which Kuhlman was called to fill.  He joined the Bruins on their west coast road trip and lit the lamp in his second career NHL game.

He would play in nine more regular-season games and made the playoff roster.  He played through game one of the Columbus series and was eventually scratched for the veteran David Backes.  Kuhlman would watch the Bruins from the ninth floor until game six of the Stanley Cup finals.  Similar to his time in Minnesota, Kuhlman shined on the team’s biggest stage.

Both the Stanley Cup goal and the NCAA Championship goal featured Kuhlman’s lethal shot.  He has immense power and accuracy from most areas of the offensive zone, and both goals are evidence of that.  His willingness to shoot the puck in any spot of the offensive zone will pay dividends for his style of play in the long run.

The 24-year old was set to make a lasting impact on the Bruins second line at the beginning of the 2019 regular season.  He formed great chemistry with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci right off the bat.  The Bruins and its fanbase were hopeful they found the top-six winger they’d been longing for.  He was averaging nearly 13 minutes a game through the first eight games in October until he suffered an unfortunate injury.

It wouldn’t be until January 3, 2020, that Kuhlman would return to the ice.  He was sent to Providence for a conditioning stint to get his legs back and up to game speed.  Once again, Kuhlman didn’t skip a beat and notched three points in four games, one of which was an impressive score.

The Bruins finally called up Kuhlman on January 16, 2020, against the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he set up two Bruin goals.  Karson’s call up is also interesting timing.  The Bruins had just sent down Brett Ritchie and are still looking for the top-six winger that’s plagued them for years.  Kuhlman’s skill is undeniable, but is he the answer for Krejci’s wing?

That is still to be determined.  He has yet to play a full season as a top-six forward.  He certainly fits the mold of what the Bruins search for in players.  He’s versatile, leads by example, and plays on both ends of the ice.  He even throws his body around quite well for a sub-6-foot forward. Karson has already earned the trust of his coaches and the organization, which could yield significant benefits in the future.

Even if he doesn’t answer the Bruins hole on the second line, he would fit nicely with Danton Heinen and Charlie Coyle on the third line.  That line combination would be a high-speed, hard-hitting, skillful third unit to counter the league’s top counterparts.  Karson is a mainstay on this Bruins roster, and time will tell what line is best for him and the franchise.

Check out this weeks Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 163 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 Recall Maxime Lagace On Emergency Basis, Assign Dan Vladar

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(Photo: Providence Bruins)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced on Friday that the team has assigned goaltender Dan Vladar to the Providence Bruins, and recalled goaltender Maxime Lagace on an emergency basis. Vladar was recalled earlier this week after goaltender Tuukka Rask went down with what head coach Bruce Cassidy labeled a concussion.

Vladar served as backup to Jaroslav Halak in Boston’s 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night. The 22-year-old holds a 6-5-0 record with a 1.84 goals-against average, a .935 save percentage two shutouts in 12 AHL contests this season.

Lagace has been strong with the P-Bruins this season since signing a one-year, $700,000 contract over the offseason. Through 23 AHL appearances this season, the 27-year-old boasts a 14-6-2 record to go along with five shutouts, a 2.49 GAA and a .915 save percentage. This is the first time the club has recalled him this season.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound netminder was with the Vegas Golden Knights organization over the course of the last two seasons, spending time with both the big club in Vegas and the team’s AHL-affiliate, the Chicago Wolves. In 17 career NHL appearances, Lagace holds a .868 save percentage and a 3.92 GAA. In 184 games in the AHL over his career, Lagace has a .904 save percentage and a 2.84 GAA.

The Bruins will return to action on Sunday as they will travel to Pittsburgh for a matinee rematch with the Penguins. Puck-drop is slated for 12:30 pm.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 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 16 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 16 of the AHL season has arrived. The Providence Bruins skate into it 22-15-1-2 (47 points) and 4-6 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a superb week that saw them beat the Springfield Thunderbirds 5-2 and 5-3. This weekend is another big weekend with three games in three days plus a game next Wednesday. Four games in a short period are never easy.

The hockey action begins on Friday, January 17, 2020, when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers travel to Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The action continues on Saturday, January 18, 2020, when the Providence Bruins make their way to Bridgeport, Connecticut, to take on the Sound Tigers at the Webster Bank Arena. The three games in three days conclude on Sunday, January 19, 2020, when the Springfield Thunderbirds come back to Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. Week 16 comes to an end on Wednesday, January 22, 2020, when the Lehigh Valley Phantoms invade Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

Friday, January 17, 2020 (HOME) and Saturday, January 18, 2020 (AWAY) Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers

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

In the second meeting, the Providence club would win 4-1, getting goals from Joona Koppanen, Brendan Gaunce, Alex Petrovic, and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Max Lagace was fantastic in net stopping 31 of 32 shots fired his way.

The most third meeting saw the Bruins lose 2-0. Goaltender Max Lagace was up to the task in net stopping 33 of 35 shots fired his way. The most recent battle saw the Bruins win 5-0. Brendan Gaunce (2), Ryan Fitzgerald, Trent Frederic, and Jack Studnicka had goals. Max Lagace stopped all 17 shots fired his way.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers provide a favorable matchup for the Providence club. The Bridgeport club comes into the weekend 14-22-4-1 (33 points) and 3-6-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for eighth in the Atlantic Division and 16th in the Eastern Conference.  Furthermore, the Bruins are 24-17-6-3 against the Islanders’ affiliate over the past five seasons.

The biggest key to Bruins’ victory in these two games is taking an early lead and keeping it. The Sound Tigers are 1-12-2 when trailing after one and 0-15-2 when trailing after two. To add insult to injury, the Bridgeport club in 41 games has only scored 92 goals while giving up 133. Not only is this a horrendous -41 goal differential, but they’re only scoring 2.24 goals a game while giving up  3.24. They are giving up a full goal more than they are scoring. This isn’t a winning formula.

To compare, the Providence Bruins are 12-0 when leading after one period and 18-0 when leading after two periods. They’ve also scored 126 goals while giving up only 106 in 40 games. That means, not only do they have a +20 goal differential, but they are scoring 3.15 goals a game while only giving up 2.65. These are games that Providence must win. Bridgeport is not a good club at all.

Sunday, January 19, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (HOME)

The Sunday matchup will be the eighth 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 most recent 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 Springfield Thunderbirds come into the game 21-18-2 (44 points) and 5-4-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, this is still a favorable matchup for the Providence Bruins. Over the past five seasons, the Bruins are 28-15-4 against the Panthers’ affiliate, including 14-8-1 at home.

The Thunderbirds have been winning with excellent defense. They’ve only given up 117 goals in 41 games while scoring 125. This is a plus-eight goal differential. This also means they are only giving up 2.85 goals a game while scoring 3.04. The Springfield club is 5-2 when leading after the first period. They are also 14-2 when leading after two periods. On the flip side, they are 4-8 when trailing after one period. They are also 1-13-1 when trailing after two periods.

To give some perspective to those numbers, The Bruins have given up 106 goals in 40 games while scoring 126. That is a +20 goal differential. That means they are only giving up 2.65 goals a game while scoring 3.15. The Providence club is 12-0 when leading after one period and 19-0 when leading after two. However, they are 2-9-1-1 when trailing after the first period and 1-11-0-1 when trailing after two. These two teams are evenly matched and getting and sustaining an early lead, are imperative to winning.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (HOME)

The Wednesday meeting will mark the second of six the two teams will have this season. In the first meeting, the Bruins would go on to win 3-0. The now in Boston Anders Bjork, Brendan Gaunce, and Paul Carey would score goals. Max Lagace would stop all 28 shots he faced in what would be his first game as a Bruin.

Historically, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms have given the Providence Bruins fits. Over the past five seasons, the Providence club is 10-13-2. This includes 5-6-1 at home. This game, however, should not reflect that. The Philadelphia affiliate skates into the matchup 16-19-1-4 (37 points) and 4-6 in their last 10 games. This is good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 15th in Eastern Conference.

The only real positive thing that you can say about the Lehigh Valley club is that their defense is not horrible. They’ve given up 114 goals in 40 games. This means they are only giving up 2.85 goals a game. The problem with that is they’ve only scored 93 goals this season. This means they have a -21 goal differential, while also only scoring 2.32 goals a game. Scoring less than you give up is not how you consistently win hockey games.

Some other stats of note for the Phantoms, they are 8-4-0-1 when leading after the first period. 9-0-0-1 when leading after the second period. They are 3-10-0-1 when trailing after the first period. The Lehigh Valley club is 3-15-0-3 when down after the second period. This is another game that you would expect the Providence Bruins to come out victorious.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Karson Kuhlman: Karson Kuhlman had a rough start to his year. While up in Boston, he suffered an injury eight games into his season. The former University of Minnesota-Duluth Captain has been excellent in the four games since he came back. In those games, he’s netted two goals and dished out an assist for three total points. On top of that, he’s looked great on the ice. He’s skating with purpose and attacking the puck whenever he’s on the ice.

Brendan Gaunce: Brendan Gaunce is in his first season with the Providence Bruins. He’s had a good season overall. In 30 games, he’s netted eight goals and dished out 11 assists for 19 total points. This includes netting a goal and dished out three assists for four total points over his last three games. The former Utica Comets forward has provided a spark offensively that the team has needed.

Not

Oskar Steen: Oskar Steen is in his first professional season in North America. The Sweden native has had a rough time adjusting to the North American ice. In 38 games, he’s netted four goals and dished out seven assists for 11 total points. He also has not registered a point over his last eight games played. Steen is still young. I expect him to adjust to the smaller ice and start producing soon.

Alex Petrovic: Alex Petrovic is someone who started out on fire in his first season with the Providence Bruins. In 35 games, he’s netted two goals while dishing out 17 assists for 19 total points. However, he hasn’t registered a point over his last six games. Hopefully, the former Edmonton Oiler and Florida Panther defenseman can pick up his offensive play soon.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka is one of the Bruins’ top prospects. He’s also having an excellent season. In 38 games, he’s netted 14 goals and dished out 12 assists for 26 total points. He also earned himself a spot on the AHL All-Star team. Despite not registering a point in his last six games, the young forward still looks good in all zones. Look for him to break his pointless streak this weekend.

On The Blue Line

Urho Vaakanainen: Urho Vaakanainen is having an excellent season with the Providence Bruins. Not only is he playing well defensively, but he is playing well offensively as well. In 34 games, he’s netted four goals and dished out seven assists for 11 total points. Look for him to have a big weekend at both ends of the ice.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has had an excellent first season in Providence. He is 14-6-2 with a 2.49 GAA and a .915 save percentage. He’s also registered a league-high five shutouts this year. With Tuukka Rask being injured, it looks like Vladar could be called up to Boston on an emergency basis. This means Lagace is going to have to have a stellar weekend for the Providence club.

The Providence Bruins bounced back in a big way this past weekend after their worst one of the season. The next four games on the schedule are a good chance for the Providence club to build upon that and continue the momentum. Every game this weekend is a game that they should win. It would be nice to bank some points and get a little bit of a cushion in the standings heading into the Calder Cup playoffs. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Bruins Announce Transactions

 

karson-kuhlman

Photo Courtesy Of NESN.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced this morning that the team has placed goaltender Tuukka Rask on injured reserve and recalled goaltender Dan Vladar from Providence on an emergency basis. Check out Mark Allred’s piece on the recall of Vladar right here. The Bruins have also recalled forward Karson Kuhlman from Providence. Rask suffered an upper body injury during Tuesday nights loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. He has posted a 17-4-6 record this season with a 2.27 goals against average and a .925 save percentage in 28 games.

Kuhlman has skated in eight games this season for Boston, going scoreless. He has also skated in four games for Providence this season, posting two goals and an assist. Kuhlman suffered a leg injury in October and has just recently become healthy enough to play. He appeared in 11 games for Boston last season, recording three goals and two assists and played in eight playoff games, scoring a goal and adding two assists.

The recall of Kuhlman shouldn’t surprise anyone as he had earned a varsity spot in training camp and simply just caught a bad break on a blocked shot. He should inject some life into the Bruins lineup and probably could play as soon as tonight when the B’s take on the Pittsburgh Penguins. As for Vladar, he’ll now become the backup behind Jaroslav Halak and he could see his first NHL action as early as this week.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 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!!

Boston Bruins Recall Vladar, Providence Gets Netminder On Loan

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Word through the pipeline late this evening is that the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins have recalled goaltender Dan Vladar from their top minor-pro affiliate the Providence Bruins. In 12 games this season with the American Hockey League club from Rhode Island, Vladar has a 2019-20 regular-season record of 6-5-0, a 1.84 goals-against-average, a .935 save percentage along with two shutouts. Since his return from a high ankle sprain in early December of 2019, the former 2015 third-round selection has been on top of his game after spending time rehabilitating with goaltending coaches Bob Essensa and Mike Dunham and many hours of video sessions.

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With the departure of Vladar to the higher NHL for coverage, the Providence Bruins have accepted a loan from the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies for netminder Martin Ouellette. The 28-year-old Ouellette played for the Boston Bruins “AA” minor-pro affiliate the Atlanta Gladiators this season but has most recently been playing with the Utah club. The journeyman goalkeeper was a 2010 Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick but has spent a majority of his minor-pro career in the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers organization.

In ten games with Atlanta, this season he’s posted a record of 4-6-0 with a GAA of 3.74 and .874 Save% in ten games to posting an 11-1-2 record with the Utah club contributing with a 2.11 GAA and .924 Save%. He had a pretty decent NCAA career at the University of Maine where he might’ve received positive praise from the aforementioned Mike Dunham who also spent time in a Black Bears Jersey back in the day.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 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 15 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 15 of the AHL season has arrived. The Providence Bruins skate into it 20-15-1-2 (43 points) and 4-6 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off the roughest week of the season, which saw them lose to the Hartford Wolf Pack 3-1 before getting beat by the Charlotte Checkers 4-0 and 4-1. The Bruins must bounce back this weekend and get all four points.

The hockey action kicks off on Saturday, January 11, 2020, when the Providence Bruins invade Springfield, Massachusetts, to take on the Springfield Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center. The action wraps up on Sunday, January 12, 2020, when the Springfield Thunderbirds return the favor and take on the Providence Bruins at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

Saturday, January 11, 2020 (AWAY) and Sunday, January 12, 2020 (HOME) Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds

The weekend home and home series will be the sixth and seventh meetings 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 most recent 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 Springfield Thunderbirds come into the game 20-16-2 (42 points) and 5-3-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, this is still a favorable matchup for the Providence Bruins. Over the past five seasons, the Bruins are 26-15-4 against the Panthers’ affiliate, including 13-7-3 in Springfield.

The Thunderbirds have been winning with excellent defense. They’ve only given up 107 goals in 38 games while scoring 116. This is a plus-nine goal differential. This also means they are only giving up 2.81 goals a game while scoring 3.05. The Springfield club is 4-2 when leading after the first period. They are also 13-2 when leading after two periods. On the flip side, they are 4-6 when trailing after one period. They are also 1-11-1 when trailing after two periods.

To give some perspective to those numbers, The Bruins have given up 101 goals in 33 games while scoring 116. That is a +15 goal differential. That means they are only giving up 2.65 goals a game while scoring 3.05. The Providence club is 10-0 when leading after one period and 16-0 when leading after two. However, they are 2-9-1-1 when trailing after the first period and 1-11-0-1 when trailing after two. These two teams are evenly matched and getting and sustaining an early lead, are imperative to winning.

These are two games the Providence Bruins need to win. They’ve gone on a mini losing streak when the two teams ahead and behind them in the standings have gone on winning streaks. The Providence club needs to start banking some points, and with the Thunderbirds only one point behind them in the standings, these are must-win games.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Robert Lantosi: Robert Lantosi is in his first season with the Providence Bruins. He signed an AHL deal with after spending last season with HK Nitra of the Slovakian League. In 34 games this season, he’s found the back of the net 10 times and dished out 14 assists for 24 total points. This includes netting four goals and dishing out four assists for eight total points in his last 10 games. The young forward remains one of the hottest players on the team over the past few weeks despite the struggle.

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka is another player that’s in his first season with the Providence Bruins. Coming into the year, he was one of the team’s top prospects, and he’s lived up to expectations and then some. In 36 games this season, he’s netted 14 goals and dished out 12 assists for 26 total points. This includes netting four goals and dishing out one assist for five total points in his last 10 games. The young forward has remained one of the hotter players all year, and his play was rewarded with being named to the AHL All-Star team.

Not

Paul Carey: Paul Carey has had a great year overall in his first year as the Providence Bruins’ Captain. In 37 games this season, he’s netted 15 goals and dished out 11 assists for 26 total points. This includes only registering one point, a goal in his last seven games. The former Boston College Eagle and NCAA Champion will hopefully turn things around this weekend. His overall good season also landed him a spot on the AHL All-Star team.

Oskar Steen: Oskar Steen has had an up and down first season in Providence. The young forward came to Providence after spending last season with Farjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League. In 36 games this season, he’s netted four goals and dished out seven assists for 11 total points. This includes only registering one point, a goal in his last 13 games. One noteworthy thing is this year is Steen’s first full season on North American ice. It can take time for a young player to get used to that style of play.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Karson Kuhlman: Karson Kuhlman is a guy who burst onto the scene last year with Providence. He played so well that he got called up to Boston and got significant playing time with Boston in the regular season and playoffs. Eight games into his season this year, the former University of Minnesota-Duluth Captain was injured. This past weekend he played in two games with Providence for a conditioning stint. He’s still with the Providence club, so look for him this weekend.

On The Blue Line

Alex Petrovic: Alex Petrovic has had an excellent first season in Providence. The veteran defenseman came to Providence after spending last season with the Florida Panthers and the Edmonton Oilers. In 35 games this season, he’s netted two goals and dished out 17 assists for 19 total points. The WHL product has been an integral part of the defensive success as well. Look for him this weekend!

In Net

Dan Vladar: Dan Vladar has an excellent season with Providence thus far. He came into the season as one of the better goalie prospects in the Boston system. So far on the year, he’s 5-5 with a 1.83 GAA and a save percentage of .936%. He also has recorded two shutouts this season. Look for him to have another good weekend.

The Providence Bruins have had an excellent season despite the recent four-game losing streak. The one unfortunate thing about the losing streak is that the two teams ahead of them and behind them in the Atlantic Division standings are one winning streaks of four or more games. The Providence club needs to start winning games and banking points if they want to make the playoffs. This is a perfect weekend to start doing that. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Weekend Recap (Week 14)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins played their second three-game series of the 2019-20 regular season at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island over the weekend earning (Add Total Weekend Points Here). Heading into the weekend’s action the top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins sat in the second position in the Atlantic Division with a 20-12-1-2 record with 43 points in 35 games played only trailing division-leading Hartford Wolf Pack by two points.

Looking at the big picture in the AHL’s Eastern Conference the Providence club was in the fourth spot with a .614 winning percentage and 5-5-0 in their last ten games. Although the B’s are in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference Calder Cup Playoff picture, the Ocean State team has struggled at home with a record of 7-6-0-1 while having a record away from the Dunk of 13-6-1-1. Leading the club in points so far this season leading into the weekend’s action has rookie and 2017 second-round pick Jack Studnicka leading the team with 14-12-26 numbers in 33 games. Veteran forward and Weymouth, Massachusetts native Paul Carey is second on the club with 14-11-25 totals in 34 games and rounding off the top-three is AHL rookie Robert Lantosi who’s contributed 9-14-23 numbers in 31 games.

Goaltending for the Providence team has been one of the key factors in the AHL clubs’ success with the addition of veteran netminder Max Lagace who signed a one-year, two-way free-agent contract over the 2019 offseason. Lagace has a record of 13-5-2 with a 2.44 goals-against-average, a .916 save percentage and leading the AHL in shutouts with five. Dan Vladar who struggled to get off on the right foot to start the 2019-20 campaign suffered a high ankle sprain early in the year returned to the crease on December 1st, 2019, and has been outstanding in his return thus far leading into the new 2020 calendar year. Vladar has a season record of 5-3-0 with a 1.67 GAA, a Save% of .940, and two shutouts on the season. Now let’s get you updated on the weekend games and how the Providence team did in the three straight contests at the dunk. Enjoy!

Friday, January 3rd, 2020, Hartford Wolf Pack vs. The Providence Bruins (Home)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

Trailing the visiting Hartford Wolf Pack by a mere two points for the top position in the Atlantic Division this was a huge game against an opponent that the Providence club has certainly had a tough time against all season. Leading up to the action on Friday night the visiting Wolf Pack club has outscored the B’s 21-9 in six previous matchups in the 2019-20 regular season and it was important the home team came out on the right foot against a Packs netminder that has absolutely had their number for a majority of those games.

In the first period, the Bruins got off to a good start against a Wolf Pack team that they’ve been jockeying back-and-forth all season for the Division Lead. Captain Paul Carey got the first Bruins goal of the game scoring a shorthanded goal, his 15th of the year which was unassisted at 6:51 of the opening period. Hartford would only need three minutes after the Carey goal to tie things up at one on a goal from Tim Gettinger who scored his 8th of the year. Shots on goal to end the opening frame had the home Bruins team at an 11-7 advantage leading into the second period which was a tight battle in the middle of the game without either team putting the puck past the games netminders.

Jumping to the third period the scoring would all go to the visiting Wolf Pack. Pack leading goal scorer Vinni Lettieri would add his 12th of the year at the 19:34 mark of the final frame and to seal the deal for the visitors, winger Gettinger would get his second goal of the game with an empty netter at the 19:55 mark to end the game. Shots on goal in this game had the Wolf Pack with a 31-28 shot advantage

Bruins goaltender Dan Vladar got the start in goal on this night stopping 28 of 30 shots on goal and was a major reason the Wolf Pack club didn’t add several goals to make things worse. Regardless of this loss, the Bruins third-round selection in 2015 continues to play well since his return to the B’s lineup and will most likely get the call on Sunday against the Charlotte Checkers with the way Providence Head Coach Jay Leach has the rotation going. The Bruins have lost their last two games and look to snap out of this funk against a hot Checkers club that’s won their last three games before heading to the state of Rhode Island.

Saturday, January 4th, 2020, Charlotte Checkers vs. The Providence Bruins (Home)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The Bruins looked to change their recent misfortunes against an AHL team they’ve had recent success earlier this season. Providence has outscored the Checkers club 8-1 in the previous two games with one of the contests being a 36 save shutout in a 4-0 victory in Vladar’s return from injury. This night in game two of three on the weekend at the Dunk the end result would be very different.

After the Providence club commanded close to four minutes of the opening frame but that excitement was quickly deflated at the 3:59 mark when Checkers forward David Gust got the first goal of the game. Although there were times when the Bruins looked like they were getting back into the game the visiting Charlotte club just added more pressure holding the lead. At the 3:45 mark of the second period, the Checkers scored their second goal of the game on Steven Lorentz 9th of the season making things more difficult for the home Providence team.

The third period was a chippy affair as the Bruins started to show frustrations in being down on the scoreboard and were penalized four times putting themselves in a difficult situation. The Checkers club would score two goals in the final frame one from Julien Gauthier who scored his 15th of the season at the 1:54 mark of the third and sealing the deal on the night was an empty netter from Spencer Smallman who notched his third of the season at 16:48. The final tally on the shots on goal from both combatants had the visiting Checkers team finishing with a 43-25 advantage.

As mentioned above about the goaltending rotation, Providence Head Coach Leach did, in fact, go with Max Lagace in the second night of the weekend’s action. Lagace who’s been one of the best netminders in the AHL has had a recent run of bad luck giving up nine goals in his last three games and is on a three-game losing streak. Max stopped 39 of 42 Checkers shots on this night and did the best he could but ultimately the support in front of him didn’t do enough on the scoresheet to help out. Lagace suffered his sixth regulation loss of the year and will most likely have to wait until next Saturday, January 11th to try and snap his season-long losing streak.

Sunday, January 5th, 2020, Charlotte Checkers vs. The Providence Bruins (Home)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The final game of the Bruins weekend at the Dunkin Donuts Center came to a screeching halt with another loss in front of the Providence crowd. The Checkers club was again just too much to handle for the B’s outscoring the home team 8-1 in two of the three games in this weekend set and are now on a four-game losing streak.

The Checkers owned all-three periods leading up to a 4-0 lead with their fourth goal on a Brian Gibbons empty-netter at the 17:26 mark of the third. Providence broke the shutout bid for Anton Forsberg on a goal from B’s rookie Robert Lantosi who scored his 10th of the season at the 19:04 of the final frame. Shots advantage in this game went to the visiting team for the third straight contest in the weekend’s action this time giving the Checker a 33-27 total at the end of 60 minutes.

The AHL Bruins get back to work on Saturday, January 11th, 2020, in Springfield, Massachusetts with a tilt against a hot Springfield Thunderbirds team. The Thunderbirds are currently on a four-game winning streak and only one point behind the Providence club to tie for third place in the Atlantic Division. Springfield is 11-7-1-0 at the MassMutual Center and 53-3-2 in their last ten games. The Bruins wrap up the week’s action on Sunday against the same Thunderbirds team to finish up a home-and-home on Sunday, January 12th, 2020, at the Dunk in Providence Rhode Island.

The AHL’s Atlantic Division is very tight as rivals are starting to play better gearing up fro Calder Cup Playoff runs. In this said “tight” division the Providence team has an 8-8 record since December 1st, 2019 and is slowly going in the wrong direction as they started the year as one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. With almost a full week of practice B’s Head Coach, Leach and assistants behind the bench should have an interesting week of work addressing key areas that opposing teams have exposed in their game. Still, a lot of season left and keep in mind that this Providence team has gotten hot in previous years around this time of year and made the postseason debuts so I’m not giving up on this club just yet.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 160 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 14 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 14 of the AHL season and week one of 2020 are here. The Providence Bruins skate into it 20-12-1-2 (43 points) and 5-5 in their last 10 games. This is good for second 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 4-3 before falling to the Hartford Wolf Pack 4-1. The Bruins will start off 2020 at home for three games in three days after ending 2019 with a five-game road trip.

The hockey action starts on Friday, January 3, 2020, when the Hartford Wolf Pack invades Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The action continues on Saturday, January 4, 2020, when the defending Calder Cup Champion Charlotte Checkers come to town to take on the Providence club at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The weekend wraps up on Sunday, January 5, 2020, when the Providence Bruins take on the same Charlotte Checkers at the Dunk in Providence, Rhode Island.

Friday, January 3, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (HOME)

The Friday matchup will mark the seventh 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 most recent 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 battle with the Hartford club is going to be challenging. The Rangers’ affiliate comes into the game 19-8-2-5 (45 points), including 6-4 in their last 10 games. This is good for first in the Atlantic Division and first in the Eastern Conference. Even though it’ll be a tough game, there is hope for the Bruins.

Over the past five seasons, our boys in black and gold have gone 22-16-4-2, including 14-6-1-1 at the Dunk. The Wolf Pack has seen success this season thanks to a stifling defense. They’ve given up only 89 goals in 34 games. That means they are only giving up 2.61 goals a game. Providence, on the other hand, has scored 114 goals in 35 games. That’s 3.25 goals a game. It’ll be a great battle between the two teams.

Saturday, January 4, 2020, and Sunday, January 5, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Charlotte Checkers (HOME)

The weekend series between the Providence Bruins and Charlotte Checkers will be the third and fourth of eight meetings the two teams will have. In the first meeting, the Providence Bruins would win 4-1. They got goals from Brendan Woods (2), Scott Conway, and Robert Lantosi. 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. They got goals from Brendan Woods, Urho Vaakanainen, Pavel Shen, and Jack Studnicka. Dan Vladar was a wall, stopping all 36 shots he faced. The Providence Bruins are 8-5-1 against Charlotte over the past five seasons. This includes 3-2-1 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

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 16-13-3 (35 points) and 7-3 in their last 10 games. This is good for sixth in the Atlantic Division and 11th 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 the opposite. The Charlotte club on the year has scored 94 goals while giving up 87. That’s a plus-seven goal differential. This isn’t very good if you want to sustain longterm success.

To put those numbers into perspective, the Providence Bruins have played in three more games than Charlotte. They’ve scored 114 goals while giving up 90. That’s a +24 goal differential. The Providence club has been better this season than Charlotte, and these are two games that they should absolutely win.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Joona Koppanen: Joona Koppanen has had a good season for Providence thus far. He started the year spending time in the ECHL with the Atlanta Gladiators. In 25 games since being with Providence, the young forward has netted seven goals and dished out six assists for 13 total points. This includes a two-game point streak that saw him score a goal and dish out an assist. Koppanen joined the Bruins three years ago after spending the beginning of his career in Finland. He was drafted in the fifth round of the 2016 NHL Draft.

Robert Lantosi: Robert Lantosi continues his stellar first season with the Providence Bruins. In 31 games this season, the young forward has netted nine goals and dished out 14 assists for 23 total points. This includes three goals and four assists for seven total points in his last seven games. He came to Providence on an AHL deal after spending the beginning of his career in his home country of Slovakia. If he keeps up this play, we could see him land an NHL deal soon.

Not

Peter Cehlarik: Peter Cehlarik has had a good season overall for Providence. In 27 games, he’s netted nine goals while dishing out 13 assists for 22 total points. Despite this, the veteran forward has not registered a point in his last four games. Even though he is on a mini cold streak, I would expect Cehlarik to break out of the funk soon.

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic has had an up and down season for Providence. In 32 games, he’s found the back of the net four times and dished out 13 assists for 17 total points. Despite this, he hasn’t registered a point in his last four games. Another thing he needs to reign in a little bit is his penalties. He already has 93 penalty minutes on the year. He had 67 all of last year. Hopefully, the former Universit of Wisconsin Badger can turn it around soon.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka has had an excellent first season in Providence. In 33 games, he’s netted 14 goals and dished out 12 assists for 26 total points. The young forward has also netted four goals and dished out an assist for five total points over his last seven games. Studnicka’s special teams play has really stood out this year. He’s netted three power-play and five shorthanded goals this year.

On The Blue Line

Jakub Zboril: Jakub Zboril has had a good season for Providence Bruins. In 32 games, he’s netted two goals and dished out eight assists for 10 total points. The young defenseman is going to have to step up the next few games. Vaakanainen missed the last few games with an injury, and Lauzon was called up to Boston. I would expect Zboril to be a focal point for the defense this weekend.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has had an excellent first season with the Providence Bruins. The veteran netminder came to Providence after spending the past few seasons in the Vegas system. Lagace is 13-5-2 with a .916 save percentage and a 2.44 GAA. He’s also recorded a league-high five shutouts.

The Providence Bruins are in an excellent position as we head into the new year. They sit firmly in a playoff spot. I would expect the Providence club to sustain and build upon their success from the first half of the year. They’ve traditionally been better in the second half of the year. If they can continue that trend, we are going to be in for a spectacular end to the season. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and new year! Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, BS, GO!

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