Bruins Give Gritty Forward Blidh Contract Extension

( Photo Credit: NHL.com / BostonBruins.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Over the weekend I was contacted by a close source that the Boston Bruins had a deal in place with forward Anton Blidh as the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins were going through their exit meetings. The exit meeting came as the top minor-pro affiliate of the NHL Bruins were back in the Ocean State on Monday after being eliminated by the AHL’s best in the regular season the Charlotte Checkers. Although the Providence club made the postseason for the seventh straight year, they were no match for the powerful Checkers losing the first-round best-of-five opening series 3-1. I tweeted this below as soon as I heard the news and what do ya know, I pretty much nailed it.

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Well, the B’s did, in fact, lock up the 24-year-old Swedish native to a two-year, two-way contract worth an annual cap hit of $700K. Per Cap-Friendly, Anton was set to make $650K at the NHL level and $80K in the AHL, so with today’s official announcement, he could make around the same if he stays in the minor system and used as that depth player in case of emergency’s. Blidh was three points shy of tying his career high of 26 points (11-15-26 2017/18) in 71 games last season. This past regular season the hardnosed forward posted 10-13-23 numbers in 74 games during the 2018-19 campaign.

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The former sixth-round selection of the B’s in 2013 certainly brings an impactful dynamic when it comes to playing that power forward role. He can be a pest along the boards and around the top of the crease forcing loose pucks and creating lucky bounce chances. One of my favorite attributes to his game and role in the developing depth of the Providence organization is his willingness to have a teammates back and not afraid to throw down when the opposition is taking liberties. Erik K. Piri of the Elite Prospects website in 2014 said “Blidh is a gritty winger who plays with a lot of energy. Can kill penalties and is a terrific shot blocker. Also owns some offensive instincts and a willingness to go hard to the net. Loves to agitate and rile up opponents.” 

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In 21 career NHL games, Blidh has contributed a goal and an assist and in 263 career games in the AHL all with Providence, he has 41-38-79 numbers and 219 career penalty minutes. Career +27 in the AHL for those who love to talk plus/minus. It remains to be seen what’s going to happen to Anton when the question of where he could play. As fantastic twitter follower BruinsNetwork mentioned above, contracted players, especially on the fourth line, may have Blidh placed in Providence, or he could be that cap friendly asset if the NHL Bruins don’t want to entertain a Noel Acciari return in 2019-20.

No matter if Anton is placed in the NHL or AHL he’s going to continue to be a value in the depth of this organization and a player that can be inserted into any lineup at any time. His leadership was tested last season as he wore the “A” behind team Captain Jordan Szwarz and with Jordan currently on an expiring contract himself, Blidh could be a solid choice to be the leader if there’s a Szwarz offseason departure.

Providence Bruins Weekend Re-cap – Week 9

31210710007_67fe59aeaa_z(Photo Courtesy of the Providence Bruins)

By: Jen Stasio Coombe | Follow Me On Twitter @hockeygirl2976

Week nine and ‘bada-bing, bada-boom’ just like that the Providence Bruins pull five points out of the possible six this weekend to move them up, up, up in the rankings.  That’s correct three ups; it was that big a move.  In one weekend the baby-b’s went from last place in the division to sixth in the division, ninth in the conference and sixteenth overall in the league.  This past weekend saw the boys facing some of their stiffest competition yet and in a three-in-three weekend to boot.  It was not a simple task, nor was it something they were willing to just give up on.  Each and every player fought through this entire weekend, gave their all and I couldn’t be more proud. The character and resilience displayed by a few of these players were to be commended.  It was obvious that the noise about the early season penalty trouble had made its way around the league, but even when taunted on several occasions, most everyone kept calm and steered clear of being baited into anything.

Goaltender Performance:

Dan Vladar started in net this Saturday on the road against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.  Vladar had a solid night saving 29-30 shots bringing his save percentage back above .900 to .902. It looks like Vlady got his groove back.

Zane McIntyre got the nod twice again this week.  Starting in-goal both times against the Charlotte Checkers.  Friday night he had an amazing performance touted even by those who aren’t his biggest fans.  That night he saved 25-26 shots on goal. Sunday’s matinee was a bit of a roller-coaster for Zane’s emotions, and emotions are not good when you are in goal under heavy fire.  Even so, McIntyre managed to save 45 of the incredible 47 shots fired at him during this hotly contested battle.  His save percentage is now .878.

This Weekends Scores:

FRI Nov. 30 HOME              Providence 2 – Charlotte 1 WIN!!! 

SAT Dec. 1 AWAY             Providence 2 – Bridgeport 1 WIN!!!

SUN Dec. 2 HOME             Providence 2 – Charlotte 3 OTL

Detailed Daily Game Re-caps:

Friday, November 30, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Charlotte Checkers (HOME)

In the first of match of the three-in-three weekend, the Bruins faced the best team in the league, the Charlotte Checkers.  A team stacked with solid talent, not to mention a net tended by none other than Scott Darling, formerly of the Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks.  Not an easy way to start the weekend, but Jay Leach and the entire team had the confidence and drive to not let this challenge get the better of them.  They went into this match full steam ahead skating circles around the checkers.

The first period was a challenge for both teams.  They were obviously geared up and ready to go, their feet were moving fast, and the puck was flying.  However, there was a bit of a case of the “oopsies” going around during the first half of the period with consistently missed passes or poorly handled pucks.  It took both teams about ten minutes to settle down and once they did it appeared that Providence had won the relaxation race.  They were reading the plays well and stealing the puck effortlessly over and over again.  Unfortunately pick-pocketing the Checkers never lead to any first period goals for the Bruins.  In fact, with only four minutes left to go in the period Charlotte’s McKegg was able to wrestle the puck out of the corner and make a clean pass to Poturlaski who then quickly nailed one past McIntyre high blocker. Zane was not impressed, but with a few stick taps from his teammates, appeared to brush it off.

The Bruins did not allow the lead to stand long.  Only 1:27 into the second period Bjork, fresh from Boston, rushed into the zone, passing to Fitzgerald who saw a clear path to Szwarz and that was all she wrote.  Szwarz found the back of the net right past Darling to score his 4th goal of the season.  With the score level at 1-1, the back and forth continued for the rest of the period.

It took until well into the third for Providence to find the room they needed to breathe.  On a power-play, with only four and a half minutes to play in regular time, McNeill passed to Hughes who found Cehlarik completely unguarded.  Cehlarik settled the puck and rocketed the tie-breaking goal past Darling.  Desperate to force overtime, the Checkers pulled their goalie at 3 minutes, but their effort was futile.  The Providence Bruins walked away with a huge morale-boosting win, even if the point difference was only one.  Final score: Providence 2- Charlotte 1.

Saturday, December 1st, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AWAY)

Coming off a strong victory the previous night can do one of two things to a team; leave them overconfident and prone to mistakes or get them back door and ready to take on the world.  Which Providence Bruins team would show up in Bridgeport on Saturday?  It wasn’t going to be that easy to answer.  It would take time to see the two teams match up and gain their momentum before it could really be determined.

Dan Vladar started in-goal on Saturday and was fully prepared for the challenge.  He has met Bridgeport before and knows they can be fierce competitors.  The first period in this game is very similar to many we have seen lately, a lot of feeling each other out, a fair number of half-hearted shots on goal by both sides, but altogether not much to write home about. The horn sounded with no score for anyone.

That would change for Providence five and a half minutes into the second period.  Austin Fyten attempted to score, but the rebound headed out deep into the corner.  Anton Blidh was there to dig it out and drive for the net drawing the attention of all the defenders before cleverly passing to Sherman who slid the puck in the back door to open the scoring with his second goal of the season.  The rest of the period saw both teams pushing hard toward the net, but neither capitalizing on any opportunity.  When the period closed Providence led with the one goal from Wiley Sherman.

The third period was not as kind to Providence.  The only puck that found the back of the net this period came from a Sound Tiger and slid right past Vladar.  Similar to Blidh’s play the previous period, Ho-Sang pulled the puck out of the corner and passed it to Wotherspoon in front of the net.  Wotherspoon saw the opening and took it.  The score was now level, one all.  Forcing overtime guaranteed a minimum of one point for Bridgeport in this game, but that was all Providence was willing to let them have.  After four Providence shots on goal in overtime, Fitzgerald appeared to be on the breakaway when one of the Bridgeport defenders tripped him ending the bid for a goal, or so he thought.  The referees saw it differently awarding Fitzgerald a penalty shot, which Ryan slowly took up the ice and landed solidly behind Chris Gibson the Bridgeport goaltender.  With that Penalty shot Fitzy won the game for the Bruins. Final score: Providence 2 – Bridgeport 1.

Sunday, December 2nd, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Charlotte Checkers (HOME)

This Sunday matinee promised to be a doozy, and it would not disappoint.  A rematch from Friday with the Charlotte Checkers and the last time the two teams will meet for the regular season.  There was everything you could ask for from a good matinee, happiness, sadness, anger, tears, laughter and all the bears were safely behind the glass. The perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon, well… almost perfect.

The game began with the Bruins wanting to be the first out of the gate.  At sixty-six seconds Fitzgerald took a shot that ricocheted off Darling and headed directly for Jordan Szwarz.  Szwarz not willing to waste a good rebound sent the puck back at the recovering goaltender and slid it right by him, scoring his seventh of the season.   With the Bruins up by one, the Checkers felt the need to pummel McIntyre with pucks, twelve shots on goal in just the first period, but not a single one found its way past.

The second period got a bit chippy as the teams battled back and forth.  Charlotte appeared to be skating through molasses from time to time slow to respond and make any real progress.  Perhaps this was their aim?  Up until this point, Providence had been playing a very fast paced game driving hard, so by slowing things down maybe they hoped to disrupt the flow of Providences game.  Either way, the Checkers defender Trevor Carrick was trying to bait anyone he could into a brawl.  Believe it or not, even Anton Blidh took a pass on this guy, well for now anyway.

The third period began similarly with a fair amount of exchange between the two teams, until at a bit after six minutes when Kuhlman pulled a nifty one.  Shooting the puck straight at Darling, who was unable to control the rebound, it came straight back out and after a glance around Kuhlman passed it Frederic who was positioned perfectly to lay the puck in behind the veteran goaltender and put the Bruins up by two.  The story was far from over though as the prodding that the Checkers had been doing all night and in fact all weekend was finally wearing on the Baby-B’s.  The penalties came creeping in and at 9:33 on one of the power-play opportunities the Checkers scored a goal to bring them within one point of tying and forcing overtime.

Then things got really hairy.  A few after that power-play goal there was a flurry of activity around the Providence net; shots on goal, battles for position and so on.  In the middle of this chaos one of the Charlotte players gloves the puck out of the air and herein lies the controversy, according to McIntyre the puck went straight into the goal off the glove (illegal), according to some sources it may have been redirected off the players stick into the goal, and according to other sources it may have actually come of one of the Bruins skates into the goal.  Regardless, from McIntyre’s point of view, it was a hand goal, and he chased the referees past the blue line screaming and motioning about it.  When it was clear his input was not making a difference Zane headed back to the goal to await the result of the officials’ conference.  The result did not go his way and enraged, he busted his stick against the goal and threw what remained ‘in the direction of,’ not ‘AT’ per se, the referees.  He was lucky to get away with that I’d say.  After the game when I mentioned how lucky he was, he cracked a wry smile and said, “Noticed that did you?”  Um, yes Zane pretty sure thousands of us did.

45212221905_72899a6391_z(Photo Courtesy of the Providence Bruins)

With the score even and forced into overtime, both teams fought down to the very last seconds.  Perhaps distracted by the earlier rage or thinking ahead to the shoot-out, Zane let his guard down and with only sixteen seconds left in overtime Charlotte scored the game-winning goal.  The emotion of this moment let loose a brawl, and Anton Blidh ended up getting a ten-minute major for misconduct along with Szwarz and Charlotte’s Carrick receiving two-minute minors for roughing. Not the perfect end to the weekend, but a great weekend indeed!

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Providence Bruins Week 7 Preview

40142141074_bd7f68ff42_z(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

By: Jen Stasio Coombe | Follow Me On Twitter @hockeygirl2976

Providence Bruins enter this weekend with a significant challenge on their plate.  Friday night they will face the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, who not only sit third in the division at the moment but were the force that ended the Bruins run for the Calder Cup in 2018.  Saturday night the Bruins will face the Rochester Americans who currently sit in first place in the North Division. The question that we face is whether the improvement the Bruins have shown in the past weeks is enough to overcome these challenges.

40429951595_5f7ac793fd_z(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

Friday, November 16th Providence Bruins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (HOME)

The Dunkin Donuts Center will be haunted by the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for the first time since April when they beat the Bruins 4-3 to win the first round of the Calder Cup Play-Offs and put an end to the season for Providence.

With that being the last meeting between the two teams and many of the same players being on the ice, I would expect tensions to be running a little higher than normal.  This year’s batch of players has been more penalty prone on a good day, so this will no doubt be the situation on Friday as well.

Last season these two teams had a regular season head to head record of Providence 2 – Lehigh Valley 4, the same as the previous season.  Post-season the record was Providence 1 – Lehigh Valley 3. Statistically and historically the deck is stacked against the Bruins this Friday, their best bet is to believe in themselves, keep a level head, and bring the team effort that we saw this last weekend.

40142145694_7ea2c2b821_z(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

Saturday, November 17th Providence Bruins vs. Rochester Americans (HOME)

Saturday night brings the Rochester Americans to Providence to face the Bruins for the first of their two meetings this season. The two teams lie in different divisions, the Bruins in the Atlantic and the Amerks in the North, so they only meet twice.

The past two years, this arrangement has worked well for the Bruins as they have walked away winning both games in each of the seasons.  With a perfect record against this team in the past it would be easy to get overconfident.  Give me one second to slow your roll. Providence currently sits in 7th place in the Atlantic division with 12 points. The Amerks, on the other hand, are standing atop the North Division with 21 points.  That is more than enough to give me pause and remind me that nothing is ever as easy as it appears at first glance.  So, just as with Friday’s uphill battle the boys in Black and Yellow will have to bring their A-game and keep their wits about them if they are to keep their record against the Amerks a perfect one.

40612138414_9ebd6706a0_z(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

My picks to watch this weekend:

Up Front:

Colby Cave and Anton Blidh– Both of these players have provided the consistency and leadership the team has needed through the beginning of the season.  Coach Leach even described the pair as the heartbeat of the team.  This weekend will definitely put a strain on the heartbeat, let’s see how they do.

On The Blue Line:

Cody Goloubef – This man’s name came up several times last weekend for me, I will be keeping a close eye on him this weekend to see if I am in fact seeing the positives I thought I saw.

In Net:

Dan Vladar – Having played only one game last weekend and being called up to Boston on an emergency basis, I want to see how he feels coming back home to the Dunk.

39040905000_a6b7990802_z(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

Cheers to week seven and best of luck to our Baby B’s. The Providence Bruins Fan Club is holding a winter clothing drive.  If you have any gently used winter clothing feel free to bring it along and drop it in the donation box near their booth behind section 104.  I will catch up with you next week and until then, feel free to message me on twitter with any questions or comments and as always, take some time to check out the other great articles by the incredible team here at Blackngoldhockey.com. Now Go Get Hockey With It!

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Providence Bruins Weekend Recap – Week 6

31962550678_6e65d04b49_z(Photo Courtesy of the Providence Bruins)

By: Jen Stasio Coombe | Follow Me On Twitter @hockeygirl2976

Week six is in the books, and the team is starting to show glimmers of the group we have been waiting for.  Consistent with previous years, the Providence Bruins have started out a bit of wreck, but as the weeks pass by, the boys tend to mesh together and start bringing the game we all know they have within.  This weekends two out of three game wins, with the loss being a very, very close overtime loss is evidence of just how far they have come.

Colby Cave and Anton Blidh have been standouts for this team providing what coach Jay Leach calls, “the heartbeat” of the team.   This may be just what they need as the team faces a merry-go-round of players back and forth to Boston to cover injuries, leaves of absence, and even some players coming back for more spit and polish.  The close relationship between these two teams is truly a blessing, but along with that comes the challenge of juggling that interdependency.  The stability, consistency, and leadership shown by Cave and Blidh all season has without a doubt contributed to the ability for the entire team to mesh and build to where they are now.

44890450565_64a36fe0e8_z(Photo Courtesy of the Providence Bruins)

Goaltender Performance:

Dan Vladar manned the net on Friday at home against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.  Saving 27-28 shots on goal bringing his save percentage to .909.  Vladar was called up to Boston on an emergency basis Saturday and was released back to Providence on Monday.

Zane McIntyre manning the net on Saturday in Bridgeport. Saving 20-25 shots on goal in the highly contested match-up.  Taking the net on back to back days, this time back in Providence on Sunday. Zane Saved 20-22 shots on goal ending the weekend with a save percentage of .833.

This Weekends Scores:

FRI Nov. 9 HOME              Providence 2-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 1 WIN!!! 

SAT Nov.10 AWAY            Providence 4-Bridgeport 5 OTL!!!

SUN Nov.11 HOME            Providence 5-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 2 WIN!!! 

31932363958_0b4c2b79f8_z(Photo Courtesy of the Providence Bruins)

Detailed Daily Game Re-caps:

Friday, November 9, 2018, Providence Bruins Vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (HOME)

The Providence Bruins host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the Dunkin Donuts Center for their first match-up of the year.  This low scoring game was packed with twelve penalties evenly split between the two teams.

The first period saw the penalties begin around the five-and-a-half-minute mark when penguins Czuczman was sent to the box for high-sticking.  Five minutes later the same teams Haggerty was called for tripping and thirty seconds into the power-play Providences Martin Bakos scored the first goal of the night with help from Kovar and Fitzgerald. Not satisfied with just contributing to a goal, Kovar went to the box for hooking to round out the period.

The second period was even lighter on the goal scoring, but they did take it up one notch on the penalty meter.  Penguins Hovart and Bruins Frederic started the penalties off at 6:49 seconds with a litany of charges.  Hovart went to the penalty box for a 2-minute minor (boarding), and a 5-minute major (fighting), but Frederic one-upped those with 2-minute minor (instigating), 5-minute major (fighting) and 10-minute misconduct (instigating).  The rest of the period was quiet save two more minors, one for the Penguins Summers (slashing) and the other for our very own Colby Cave (interference).

The third period was started off with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton player Summers being sent to the box for slashing two-and-a-half minutes in. Following this stint Providence skaters, Blidh and Johansson visited the penalty box for holding and cross-checking, respectively. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was not content with letting this game slip through their grasp without at least scoring one goal.  So, at 15:08 Lafferty with help from Haggerty found the back of the net to even the score in Providence. One final penalty from Providence from Fitzgerald for slashing and the lads were off to over-time.

Over-time came in like the other periods with an initial penalty from WBS near the two-minute mark putting Providence on the power-play.  This was to be the break the Bruins were looking for as Fitzgerald scored the second power-play goal of the night with the help of Goloubef and Kovar.  This game-winning goal saw Providence take the two points and the W in the first match against WBS this season.

31932364298_6da40ec2c1_z(Photo Courtesy of the Providence Bruins)

Saturday, November 10, 2018, Providence Bruins Vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AWAY)

Traveling to Bridgeport to meet up with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this weekend saw a much different game than Friday with a similar, but not as gratifying result.

The first period kicked off with Bruins Forward Fitzgerald being booked for interference at 1:18, putting Bridgeport on the quick power-play.  Not letting this opportunity slip away Toews assisted by Fritz and C. Bourque scored the first goal of the game.  A reversal of roles was coming soon as R. Bourque was booked for cross-checking and while on the power-play Bruins Forward Kovar scored the tying power-play goal assisted by Fitzgerald and Cave.  Bridgeport would not be kept down for long however as only a minute later Bellows scored for the Sound Tigers with help from Bernier and Fritz, putting them up by 1 with a score of 2-1. Three more penalties were handed out in the remainder of the period, one to Bridgeport’s St. Denis (holding) and two to Providence skaters Goloubef (tripping) and Fitzgerald (holding).

Beginning the second period down by one the Bruins were not thrilled when Bridgeport was the first to find the back of the net at 4:28 on a goal by C. Bourque assisted by St. Denis and Koivula.  This blow may have contributed to the roughing penalties handed out to Bruins Kovar and WBS Jones.  Not all who are down use their fists, in this instance Anton Blidh used his stick to score an unassisted goal at 5:39 to bring them back within one goal.  The next fifteen minutes were not so kind to the Bruins.  First, two penalties were handed out to him one to Zboril for Slashing and the second to Hughes for hooking.  Then to top off this rough period the Bourques strike again and put the Sound Tigers up by two for the second time this night.

A pep talk during the intermission, a snack, or a few swear words as Halak would suggest, whatever it was it appeared to work.  The third period saw the Bruins come out with a renewed fight. The first to score this period was Zboril with assistance from Senyshyn and Cave at 3:49 and the lead is again shrunk to one, Providence 3- WBS 4.  Trent Frederic took the penalty game seriously being called at 4:15 and 7:14 for hooking and then elbowing. Bridgeport may have been concerned that their penalty box was getting cold so Ho-Sang and Toews each took a turn warming it up at 8:48 and 9:12. This power play gave Donato space and time he needed to level the score with help from Fitzgerald and Goloubef he found the back of the net at 10:26.  The score now was a brilliant four all.  The period ended on a charging penalty for Bridgeport’s Bernier that resulted in a 5-minute major, 10-minute game misconduct, and a two-game suspension that was handed out on Tuesday.

Overtime was short and not so sweet for Providence as Bridgeport came up with a goal at 1:22, clinching the W and the 2-points for the night.

31962556378_f2025b11d8_z(Photo Courtesy of the Providence Bruins)

Sunday, November 11, 2018, Providence Bruins Vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (HOME)

It’s Saturday, and the Bruins are back at the Dunk for a matinee game with the WBS Penguins.  Meeting up with this team for the second time this weekend and fired up from a very close loss the night before means the emotions would be running high for our hometown boys in Black and Gold.  This game would prove to be unlike any other we had seen this weekend.

The first period was the tale of two teams.  One who scored goals and one who sat in the penalty box.  Fortunately for the Bruins fans, ours was the team who scored goals.  The Penguins, however, were matching our goals with penalties.  The first penalty came at 2:00 when Grant was booked on roughing.  The second came at 10:34 when DiPauli was caught elbowing and the last of the period was at 13:42 to Grant for a delay of game.  This was when the scoring began.  At 14:17 Donato scored on the power-play with the help of Goloubef and Cave to give Providence a one-goal lead.  Three minutes later Cave and Blidh stepped up to feed one to Bakos scoring the second goal of the night.  The end of the first period came with a score of Providence 2- WBS 0

The second period began on a high for Providence.  At 3:32 Senyshyn took the feeder from Clifton and scored the third goal of the day.  The third goal apparently did not sit well with Penguin Haggerty as he and Cave got in a tussle at 5:35. Both were sent to the box with five minutes for fighting and Haggerty was granted an additional two minutes for roughing.  Once again on the power-play Providence was able to score.  This time it was Messner taking the assists from Cehlarik and Senyshyn to make the score a solid Providence 4-WBS 0.  Another ten minutes of the game passed by without any significant progress on either side.  Then at 18:25 Kovar was called for tripping, and the Bruins were now on the PK for the remainder of the period.  With twenty seconds left to go, the strangest call I have ever seen was issued, McIntyre was called for Holding.  You read that correctly, the goalie was called for holding.  Interesting.

The third period began, and the Bruins were able to kill what was left of the penalty.  Back to full strength but the Bruins appeared to not be as polished as they had been in the first two periods. They seemed somewhat scattered, and the Penguins did not hesitate to capitalize upon this.  Before they got going though, a few penalties had to come along. Bruins Goloubef was called for interference at 5:59 and Penguins Angello for slashing at 6:31. With the initial penalties on both sides out of the way, the Penguin’s Grant took assistance from Lindberg and O’Neill to score their first goal of the night and bring the score to Providence 4 – WBS 1.  Only a minute later the away team did it again.  This time Angello with the help of Blueger and DiPauli scored the Penguins second goal. Not to be shut-out of the goal scoring for the period Bruins forward Donato with an assist from Kovar scored the final goal of the night.  Ending a high-scoring runaway win for the Bruins with a final score of 5-2 and the only game of the weekend without an OT.

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45108775584_0a14212eb0_z(Photo Courtesy of the Providence Bruins)

Providence Bruins Weekend Recap

Team(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

By: Jen Stasio Coombe  |  Follow Me On Twitter @hockeygirl2976

In the first 3-in-3 weekend of the season, the Providence Bruins took away 2 points for their lone win.  These blessed two points keep them from being relegated to last place in the division, the conference and the league.  That honor, or lack thereof, is currently being held by the Hershey Bears.  One of the areas we are not close to last place is PIMS.  We are smack in the middle with 57, made up of 16 minor, 3 major, and 1 10-minute misconduct penalties.  We can thank Anton Blidh’s improving English skills for that last one as he garnered an abuse of officials penalty in the game against Springfield this past Sunday.

Breaking down the numbers from this season there are a few areas that we can see need improvement.  Of the 13 goals Providence has scored, 9 of them came in the third period and always after trailing.   If the object is to win, we need to score earlier, bring our A game to all three periods and not wait until crunch time.  That is and has been a recipe for disaster.  The other and less tangible item is that we are outshooting our opponents at an average rate of 28 to 24 yet they are scoring an average of 4 goals to our 2.9.  This is a clear sign that our defense needs to do a better job of reading what their offense is setting up and putting a stop to it. Yes, the goalie is the ultimate keeper of the gate, but the defense needs to be there to support him, and right now, they are not.

Two goalies(Photo Courtesy of Jen Stasio Coombe)

Goaltender Performance:

Zane McIntyre has stopped 36 of the 48 shots taken on him in the 3 games he has played.  Including the first game where he was pulled midway through the first period.  His current Save% is .750 and fingers crossed has nowhere to go but up.

Dan Vladar has stopped 65 of the 72 shots taken on him in the 3 games he has played, including the one in which he took over for Zane in the first period.  His Save% is a bit better at .903.

This Weekends Scores:

FRI Oct.12 AWAY              Providence 4-Hartford 3  WIN!!!

SAT Oct.13 HOME            Providence 3-Hartford 4

SUN Oct.14 AWAY           Providence 3-Springfield 6

3-in-3(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

Detailed Daily Game Re-caps:

Friday, October 12, 2018, Providence Bruins Vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (AWAY)

Friday Night at the XL Center had an overall better ending for the Bruins than last week but in all honesty not much better play from our B’s.  The first period saw Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson score 6 minutes in, but the haphazard defensive effort being put up by our blueline saw Hartford’s Andersson answer back only 5 minutes later sneaking one past goaltender Zane McIntyre to bring the score level.  The first period only saw one penalty issued and that was a minor for interference to the home team’s Bigras at 11:16.   The Wolf Pack successfully killed off what they could of the penalty in the 1st and the remainder of it at the beginning of the second period.

While the first period saw more goals than penalties, there was a different storyline for the second.  Here we saw 6 penalties and only 1 goal.  That lone goal of the period came at 5:41 when Hartford took the lead on a swift one by Butler assisted by Holland. This did nothing to steady the already worn nerves of the Baby B’s or their jacked-up opponents as the penalties began flying on the regular; 5:59 Providence Penalty for hooking Clifton, 11:23 Hartford Penalty for holding Hajek, 12:46 Providence Penalty for hooking Szwarz, 13:24 Providence Penalty for slashing, and the 5th and 6th penalties of the 2nd period at 17:08 for roughing go to Providence’s Fitzgerald and Hartford’s Andersson.

The third period appeared to be that leveling force that the Providence fans were looking for.   The B’s stepped up their offensive game taking 12 shots on goal during the period, a 50% increase from the second period, and the defense, while still a bit squirrely, seemed to be getting things together for a bit.  Hartford took the first goal of the period at 7:01 bringing them to a 2-goal lead and it wasn’t long after that their Mr. Andersson was called once again for a penalty (8:29 holding). If there was to be a comeback, it was time Providence made their move.  At 12:16 Anton Blidh had help from Cave and Fyten to bring the B’s to within one goal and only a minute and a half later Kulhman and Cehlarik gave Frederic what he needs to find the back of the net and even the score.  Hartford was called for one last penalty at 19:32. This time a bench penalty for too many men on the ice.

Into overtime and it did not take long.  With 1:03 having ticked down on the clock Goloubef took a shot and was awarded mightily with not just a goal, but the game-winning goal assisted by Fitzgerald and Lauzon.  The Providence Bruins eked it out in Hartford this time, finishing it up in OT with a score of 4-3 and taking home the 2 points necessary to keep them from the bottom of the stack.

Saturday, October 13, 2018, Providence Bruins Vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (HOME)

ProvidenceBruins and Hartford Wolf Pack played follow the leader back to Rhode Island and settled in, ready for Saturday’s rematch.  The pack came out of the gates on fire, unlike the Providence Bruins who looked like they had never really woken up from their pre-game nap.  The first saw the Wolf Pack pepper rookie goalie Vladar with shots that none of the defense seemed inclined to read ahead and intercept.  Of the 9 shots, they landed on net 2 of them found the back putting them up solidly in the first without any significant difficulty.  Providence appeared plagued by open ice passes, uncontrolled passing and just all around poor puck handling.  They did not seem to be able to hold onto the puck once they got it and were easily moved off it in a skirmish.  They did manage to get 10 shots on goal, but none of them made it through the Wolf Pack keeper to provide a Providence point on the board.  The only penalty in the first was issued to Hartford’s Bigras late in the period at 17:35 for cross-checking.

The second period did not look any better for Providence and only 5:22 into the period Blidh took exception to Hartford’s Andersson and both were sent to the box with 5 minutes for fighting.  If it was an attempt to fire up the team, Blidh did not succeed where he had intended. The only team that scored for the rest of the second was the Pack at 14:47 bringing their lead to 3.  The period ended without another score or scuffle.

The third period started the same as the first two. A disheveled and ragtag Bruins team fought harder against themselves than they did to win.  At 4:52 when Hartford scored yet another goal, it appeared they had all but sealed the deal.  Three penalties followed, two to Providence minors to Lauzon and Pond, and a third was a bench penalty handed out to the Pack for, once again, having too many men on the ice.  The B’s were not able to capitalize on this powerplay.  However, I don’t know what was said in the 16th minute, but Providence decided to no longer hit snooze, finish their coffee, and kick it in gear.  Two goals were scored in the 17th minute, one by Zach Senyshyn and the other 15 seconds later by Colby Cave.  This giant burst of scoring must have thrown them for a bit of a loop as it took a whole 2 minutes for them to score their 3rd.  This time finding a way past the goalie was Anton Blidh.  It was a solid rally, but just too late to claim a victory as the Wolf Pack Came out on top this time with a 4-3 win at the Dunk.

Sunday, October 14, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (AWAY)

The first matinee of the year was hosted by the Springfield Thunderbirds and was the final game of the 3-in-3 for the Providence Bruins.  Unfortunately, while more consistent throughout the game, the Bruins have just not meshed as a team yet.  The first period saw the Bruins on the board first with a goal by Zach Senyshyn at 7:11 with assists by Cehlarik and Vaakanainen.  While the T-Birds failed to fly past Zane McIntyre even once in the first.  There was no shortage of penalties though.  They came rolling in, hot and heavy, as they often do when these teams meet.  The T-Birds had two penalties on the board within the first five minutes, and the Bruins took the rest of the period but managed to rack up three more. A 5-penalty period to start the day off right.

The second period was livelier at the net with Springfield starting the period literally 1,2,3 as they scored goals at 1 minute, 2 minutes and a 3rd at 3 minutes, causing Zane to bow his head in dejection following the last of these.    Apparently, this goal at three minutes broke something in Anton Blidh’s filter as he was sent to the box with a 10-minute misconduct penalty for abuse of officials.  Seeing him sitting there must have inspired Colby Cave as he came out with a Providence goal at 6:22 assisted by McNeill and Clifton.  Not to let the Box get cold, Breen and Turgeon took up arms and were each sent to the box for fighting at 13:09.  Still feeling feisty Providence took two more penalties, Goloubef at 14:31 for Cross-checking and Senyshyn at 17:17 for high-sticking and to finish off the period T-Bird Still was sent to the pokey for Interference.  A 6-penalty period in the books.

The third was nearly a repeat of the second with Springfield coming out sending three goals past McIntyre, though they did spread them out this time taking almost 11 minutes to score all three.  The only non-bench penalties called were against the T-Birds, three in total and one bench penalty to Providence for too many men on the ice.  (As the Pack wasn’t here the B’s took care of it for them.)  In the last-ditch effort, Fitzgerald sent a zinger by the T-bird goaltender to bring them within 3-points, but it was too little too late again, and the Bruins walked away with a second loss for the weekend.

Bruins Place Five On Waivers

colby-cave-providence(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

By: Jen Stasio Coombe  |  Follow Me On Twitter @hockeygirl2976

Only 8 more days until the regular season is here and the preseason squad has been trimmed down a few at a time, getting closer by the day to take its final form. Today’s biggest whack came by placing Jordan Szwarz, Mark McNeill, Cody Goloubef, Colby Cave, and Anton Blidh on waivers. For these five players, the next 24 hours will be telling.  They can either be picked up by another team or they can clear waivers, which would mean the Bruins could assign them to another league. In this situation, the only league available to assign them to would be the AHL, as only players on ELCs (entry-level contracts) can be loaned to an ECHL team. Szwarz, Cave, and Blidh have all spent time in Providence previously.  While Goloubef and McNeill came to the Bruins organization this year from Calgary and Dallas, respectively.

Jordan Szwarz(Photo Courtesy: Providence Bruins)

Jordan Szwarz, the 27-year-old RW/C, has been in Providence for two seasons, spending 12 games last season up with the big club but only showing them 3 assists in those 12 games. His numbers in Providence were much more promising, playing 65 games his first season posting numbers of 22-32-54 and 52 games last season walking away with 21-27-48 for numbers all while sporting an ‘A’ on his chest. Szwarz is a fan favorite at the Dunk and is a tough competitor whose presence would be missed should he be picked up by another NHL team.

colby cave(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

Colby Cave, the 23-year-old center, has graced Providence ice for three full seasons.  Playing nearly every game every season cave has worn an ‘A’ since his first full year here but has only spent 3 games up in Boston. He is consistently around 30 points per year but has never improved beyond that to show the extra drive and skill that Boston is looking for to move him up, especially in such a crowded field of players.

Anton Blidh(Photo Courtesy: Providence Bruins)

Anton Blidh, the 23-year-old winger, joined Providence the same year as Cave, but direct from Sweden. He has spent more time in the NHL than Cave, with 20 games in the past two years. Considering he came directly from a European league, where play and the actual rink size is different, it sometimes takes a bit for these players to mature to NHL readiness, so waivers are not a huge surprise here. However, Anton has a very gritty style of play that may or may not fit well in the future NHL and only time will tell for sure.

cody-goloubef-2017-2330(Photo Courtesy: HockeyDB.com)

Cody Goloubef is a 28-year-old right-handed D-man that has spent 8 seasons bouncing around the midwest and west with the AHL/NHL before joining us here in New England over the summer. Not known for his high scores or excessive penalties Cody appears to be one of those steady Eddy type players who is there primarily to fill the gaps when needed. Perhaps he could lend that veteran vibe that may be lacking now that Cross has gone.

Mark McNeill(Photo Courtesy: AHL.com)

Last for today’s waivers was Mark McNeill, a 25-year-old RW/C with history in the WHL, AHL, and NHL over the past 9 years. Having not had much opportunity to observe McNeill play I cannot comment much on what he has to offer, but it does appear that his stats have actually taken a downturn over the past couple seasons, not the upturn we would like to see in a growth candidate.

There you have it.  Five men on waivers and 24 hours to think about it. Assuming they all clear waivers, the Bruins have the option of assigning them to their AHL affiliate in Providence. If any of them don’t clear waivers, we will be waving them farewell by this time tomorrow.images

Blidh Inks A One-Year Deal With Bruins

Blidh1(Image courtesy of providencebruins.com)

By: Jen Stasio   |   Follow Me On Twitter @hockeygirl2976

Swedish winger Anton Blidh signed a $650,000 one-year, two-way contract with the Boston Bruins this week.  Drafted in the sixth-round (180th Overall) by the Bruins at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Blidh played in the Swedish Hockey League for two years before coming to the states to join the organizations AHL affiliate the Providence Bruins in 2015 signing a three-year entry-level contract.

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During those three years, Blidh showed consistency throughout.  Spending the whole 2015-16 season in Providence posting 10-4-14 numbers.  His second season stateside saw Anton earn 19 games in the NHL totaling 2 points.  His time in Providence proved more productive, having 16 points in 53 games. The 17/18 season was his best showing yet, playing in 71 games for Providence and recording career-highs with 11-15-26 totals.  His time in Boston in the 2017-18 campaign was limited to one emergency call-up with no points.

Even with this limited play at the NHL level, Blidh’s aggressive style of play and his versatility fits well with the Bruins organization.  Hard-hitting and always willing to rile up the opponent, Blidh does not shy away from the competition.  As a competent yet not prolific scorer, he is continually looking for opportunities to assist in netting a goal.  He shoots left but can play both right and left-wing without much trouble.  It’s these attributes that make me happy to say I’ll continue to ‘Blidh’ Black and Gold.

Baby B’s and McIntyre Blank Hershey On The Road

( Above Photo Credit: Chocolate Hockey )

By: Mark Allred                      Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The Providence Bruins played a solid effort against the Hershey Bears last night from the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania and Blanked the top minor-pro affiliate of the Washington Capitals 3-0. As in past seasons, the Baby B’s are getting healthy and waiver exempt skaters from National Hockey League call-ups returning, the American Hockey League’s Providence Bruins are once again using the month of December as the starting point for a long Calder Cup Playoff run. As many of you know, the team from the Capital city of Rhode Island made it as far as the Eastern Conference Finals against Friday’s game two of the road trip opponent, Syracuse Crunch.

With last night’s win over fellow Atlantic Division Hershey team, the 17-6-2-0 Baby B’s have now won eight-straight, are 9-1-0-0 in their last ten games, and are currently in first place in the Atlantic and second place in the Eastern Conference with 36 points only four behind Toronto Marlies. Providence goals last night scored by Colton Hargrove’s  power-play goal at the 14:54 mark of the first period with his eighth of the season assisted by Jordan Szwarz and recently hot Austin Czarnik. The scrappy bottom six forward Anton Blidh scored his fourth of the year at 13:05 of the third period as Hargrove repaid the the Swede the favor when he received a pass from fellow teammate Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson to give the B’s a 2-0 lead. Often Criticized 2015 first-round selection, Zach Senyshyn silenced the critics for a moment with his fourth of the year at 14:35 of the third period to seal the deal to get the Bruins their 17th victory of the season.

Players With Points Last Night

Anton Blidh  1-3-4 in his last five games.

Austin Czarnik  3-9-12 in his last eleven games.

Jakob Forsback-Karlsson  5-6-11 in his last fifteen games.

Jordan Szwarz  4-3-7 in his last six games.

B’s goaltender Zane McIntyre had the game of the season with a 28 save effort last night for his first shutout of the 2017-18 campaign and earned his 10th victory of the year. Although McIntyre hasn’t played his best for the first two months and giving up 31 goals in his first ten games of the season, the 2010 sixth round selection of the NHL Bruins is now 5-0 in his last five games and has settled in nicely with an outstanding 1.76 goals-against-average, and very impressive .936 save percentage in those five appearances. Zane’s stats from the first ten games to give those an example of his start, he had a 3.11 GAA and .896 save%. His up to date states after tonight’s contest in Pennsylvania are now a 10-4-1 record with a 2.66 GAA and .907 save%.

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The 6′-2″ 200-pound netminder and Minnesota native hasn’t played all that bad during his AHL tenure posting a 45-18-10 record, 2.41 GAA and .913 save% but he’s also feeding off the success from the supporting role in front of him lately and really showing the NHL’s Boston Bruins brass that he wants to be in the thoughts of Bruins management as he has one more year remaining on his current contract and could make a serious push to walk away from current backup and pending unrestricted free agent Anton Khudobin. Easy folks! Dobby’s been a solid backup this season, but I believe the goalie market is going up with the increased salary cap that’s being talked about and also believe the Bruins should walk away. Again, pump the brakes Khudobin supporters. As the business side always bears its ugly head, this might be a smart move to let him go and address other needs outside of the crease while a player with one-year remaining on his contract walks into the backup role in 2018-19 season carrying a very “cap-friendly” $650K two-way year.

Zane hasn’t exactly been stellar in his limited time in the NHL with the Bruins organization but with the remainder of the Providence 2017-18 regular season, strong offseason workouts, and stellar training camp proving he’s the man for the backup role why not take a chance with him and hopefully keep a prospect like Dan Vladar in the AHL for good until it’s his time for him to rise to the highest professional league in the world.

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As mentioned above, the next game for the Baby B’s is against the North Divisions third-place Syracuse Crunch who have a 12-9-1-2 record as the top minor-pro affiliate of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. Providence is the third ranked team in the AHL with a .720 winning percentage and look to add to that when the puck drops from the War Memorial Arena at 7 pm on Friday night December 15th as the B’s look for their second straight victory on the road with hopes of continuing the current winning streak with their season high ninth consecutive victory.

Support Your Baby B’s!!!

If you’d like to watch tomorrow’s stars today, I highly suggest you take advantage of the cheap tickets and family atmosphere that’s available at every Providence Bruins home game at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence,  Rhode Island.  You can get ticket information and other great info by clicking HERE to enter the official Baby B’s website.

Also, if you do happen to go and support the team at the Dunk, be sure to stop by the Providence Bruins Fan Club table behind sections 101 and 102. Fantastic season ticket holders and Fan Club volunteers Jenna Labush, Rhonda Labush, and Steven Labush are always there with other valued members to help with any information and questions. You can also use the address below or visit the Official Fan Club page on the Providence Bruins website by clicking HERE. Follow the Baby B’s Fan Club on Social Media!

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/pbruinsfanclub

Providence Bruins
Fan Club

PO Box 40963
Providence, RI 02940
401.426.8277