Providence Bruins Week 3 Preview

Sound TigersBruins(Photo Courtesy of Christian Abraham)

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

The number three in some circles is a magical number. Let’s hope that inspires confidence in the Providence Bruins in this, the third week of the season. The B’s enter this weekend with a record of 1-4-0-0, a total of 2 points, and sit second to last in the division, conference, and league standings. All is not lost however, it is still way too early to relegate our team to the bottom of the pack. In fact, this has been a trend with our baby-B’s over the past several years. They start out pretty shabby for the first few weeks, dare I even say months. Then as the team settles in, the chemistry solidifies, the communication strengthens, and the confidence builds to a point where they break out and show what they are truly made of. So, let’s all take a deep breath, support our team, as we always do, and take the games as they come, one week at a time. This week sees back to back games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Friday night the Sound Tigers will host the Providence club at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport Connecticut and Saturday the teams will face off back in Providence at the Dunkin’ Donut’s Center.

Bridgeport(Photo Courtesy of Bridgeport Sound Tigers)

Friday, October 19th Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AWAY)

The Webster Bank Arena will come alive on Friday with Tigers and Bruins fighting it out for the title of ‘First Victor’ in this yearly grudge match. Last seasons’ first match-up for this pair was in November and took place on home ice for Providence. They met twice that weekend, once on Friday the 3rd and a second time on Sunday the 5th. Both of those games saw Bridgeport roaring to life, scoring 7 goals in total and preventing Providence from putting a single point on the board.

That weekend saw Providence put two different goaltenders in the Sound Tigers path, attempting to put a halt to their charge. Friday night saw the rookie Dan Vladar take his post, as Zane McIntyre had been called up to Boston on an emergency basis. Vladar put in a very strong showing that night, saving 31 of 32 shots on goal. Unfortunately for the rookie netminder, that one he let slip by was the game-winner. Sunday’s game had Zane McIntyre back between the pipes. The number of saves was the same 31, but the number of shots that found their way through was much higher. Six biscuits sped past Zane in that matinee match-up, not the veteran performance the team was hoping for.

The historical note of hope for this weekends first 2018-2019 match-up is the fortune of being on the road. The first road game played against the Sound Tigers on December 3 last year was a 4-1 win for the B’s. Zane McIntyre was in the crease for the match-up and was able to stop 26 of 27 shots on goal, a much-improved showing from the previous month. Fingers crossed we get that version of ‘Mickey’ this weekend.

RBorque(Photo Courtesy of Bridgeport Sound Tigers)

Saturday, October 20th Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (HOME)

Getting used to having a tag-along on their return trips to Providence, the Bruins meet up with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on home ice Saturday. The record last year for home games against the Tigers was an even split. The first three home games went to the visitors, but Providence had enough and decided to take the last three at the Dunk for themselves. So, If we purely look at the meeting of these two teams in Providence, our Bruins are on a 3-game winning streak, no need to end that now. Zane McIntyre was the goal tender for all three of those games, with save numbers of 29 of 29, 35 of 38, and 44 of 45. You can’t ask much better than that.

The same games saw our skaters do their part as well, both forwards and defenders took turns putting the biscuit in the basket. Scoring 1 goal in the first game, 5 in the second and 4 in the third. Clifton, Johanssen, Szwarz, and Zboril all put up points during those three games. With some of the new additions, Fyten, and McNeill spring to mind, I would hope to continue the home ice scoring frenzy when we meet the Tigers this Saturday and extend this run to four.

An interesting pair to check out on Saturday are the Bourgue brothers. Chris and Ryan Bourque, both sons of Ray Bourgue, were reunited on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this year. Last year they played for separate teams, Chris for the Hershey Bears and John with the Sound Tigers. Back on the same side, it will be fun to see them here in Providence.

bourques(Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

My picks to watch this weekend:

Up Front:

Blidh/—/Fyten – I don’t care who center these two. They are both on the top of my watch list, with their solid play and aggressive style. What’s not to like?

On The Blue Line:

Johanssen/Clifton – Not necessarily on the same line, but both have scored against this team in the past, and it will be interesting to see if they can pull off the offensive defenseman act repeatedly.

In Net:

Dan Vladar – Having met the Sound Tigers twice last year and held a very solid line against them, I am encouraged and am looking to see what level the past year’s development has brought him to now.

Johanssen(Photo Courtesy of Bridgeport Sound Tigers)

Similar to last weekends penalty extravaganza, we could be seeing the penalty box staying warm throughout the weekend with penalty minutes averaging about 27 per game when these two teams go head to head.

Cheers to week three, some solid hockey, and best of luck to our Baby B’s. 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!

Bruins Prospect Andersson Returned To SEL, Among Other Monday Roster Moves

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(Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced a series of roster moves yesterday.

One of the most noteworthy comes in the form of 2018 second-round draft pick Axel Andersson being returned to Djurgarden IF of the SEL. Andersson had a solid summer in Boston, most notably in preseason action with the Bruins. Returning to his Swedish stomping grounds will allow the 18-year-old defenseman to grow and improve as a hockey player in SEL, a league in which he has past experience in. This past Saturday, Axel got in the board in some preseason action this past Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings.

Additionally, four young Bruins are heading to Providence, as Cameron Hughes, Emil Johansson, Joona Koppanen, and Zachary Senyshyn have been sent to the AHL. Johansson and Senyshyn return to the Providence with 50+ games of AHL apiece, while Hughes and Koppanen are still getting their feet wet. All four, regardless of experience, join a group in Providence with a good mix of veterans as well as young, skilled players that could very well be a solid Atlantic division team yet again.

To wrap up the series of moves, forward Tanner Pond will report to Providence as well. After amassing 163 penalty minutes on top of 37 points in 61 games with the Atlanta Gladiators last season, Pond is not one to shy away from the fisticuffs.

The moves will continue to come as the regular season gets closer and closer to the regular season. One thing is for sure — roster decisions won’t become any easier for Bruins management as some roster battles still rage on.

Bruins’ Preseason Game 1: Defense

Jeremy Lauzon

(Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

By: Drew Johnson | Follow Me On Twitter: @doobshmoob

The Boston Bruins took the ice against the reigning Stanley Cup champions at TD Garden on Sunday afternoon in a preseason matchup. While the majority of the Bruins’ NHL starters found themselves overseas for preseason competitions in China, the team in Boston was able to showcase a number of their up-and-coming prospects.

Zdeno Chara was Boston’s only NHL regular along the blue line, which allowed the likes of Jeremy Lauzon, Connor Clifton, and Axel Andersson to get some time in the spotlight. The Bruins’ defensive core for their game against the Washington Capitals was effective despite their inexperience.

Axel Andersson

Boston’s 2018 second-round pick is well known for his speed and ability to produce points. Last season, as a member of Djurgardens IF J20 of the SuperElit league, Andersson registered six goals and 25 assists in 42 games. The Swede had plenty of promise and displayed that on Sunday.

6-foot-1 Andersson was paired up with 6-foot-9 Chara when the puck dropped to signify the beginning of the 2018-19 campaign. The Jarna native quickly showcased his confidence with the puck and was able to create a number of opportunities for Boston’s forwards. In fact, Andersson inked the sole assist on Jakub Lauko’s first-period goal. He kept the puck in the offensive zone, side-stepped an oncoming Capitals forward, and got the puck to an open forward — what more can you ask?

As the youngest Bruin on Sunday afternoon’s roster, I was impressed by the Swede’s ability to stay poised along the end wall and wrap the puck around to his defensive partner to spark a transition. During an oncoming rush, Andersson was able to stand his ground. On the occasions that he was beaten by an opposing forward, he was quickly able to recover and keep his man from getting to the hash marks. Andersson gave the Bruins plenty of reason to hand him 21:26 in time on ice.

Jeremy Lauzon & Connor Clifton

Lauzon and Clifton found themselves together on the second defensive pair. It was a very versatile duo, each countering each other’s weaknesses. Clifton, who tallied a goal as a right winger in the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo earlier this month, was not afraid to skate the puck into the offensive zone. He also never seemed to shy away from physical play, dishing out one of the biggest hits in the game.

Clifton was also strong along the boards and was able to win a number of 50-50 pucks in Boston’s defensive zone. Like Andersson, if Clifton was beaten, he was able to get back into position to thwart a clean scoring chance.

Lauzon, on the other hand, played a more stay-at-home game. He was strong along the boards as well, but most notably stayed solid in front of his own goaltender when guarding the slot. He didn’t see the opportunity to skate the puck through the neutral zone all too often but did receive time on Boston’s power play.

The 21-year-old showed the poise of a power play quarterback when given the chance. He registered two shots on the man-advantage and another two at even strength. Lauzon displayed nice hands when moving the puck along the blue line sending it deep into the zone to a winger. This was an encouraging sight considering Lauzon registered just a goal and six assists in 52 games last season — his first with the Providence Bruins. Other than Chara, Clifton and Lauzon led Bruins defensemen in ice time with a tally of 22:35 and 22:22 respectively.

Emil Johansson

Bruins 2014 seventh-round pick Emil Johansson also got some time along Boston’s blue line. He was paired with Mark Fayne for the preseason bout with the Capitals.

Emil Johansson

Photo: Andreas Sandstršöm

The 6-foot, 189-pound defenseman played a similar game to Andersson in terms of his mobility and abilities with the puck on his stick. He soaked up 17:19 in ice time, with 2:59 of that coming on the penalty kill. While the majority of Johansson’s 22 shifts hovered around a length of 45 seconds, on six occasions he was caught on the ice for over a minute and remained solid despite his energy draining.

The Swede was even given the responsibility of logging time during the 3-on-3 overtime which quickly turned into a 5-on-3 man advantage for the Capitals. It was here where Johansson really proved his worth of not only being able to carry the puck but also be able to help kill crucial and daunting penalties.

Bruins’ Prospects Battle Back, Defeat Pens Prospects in Overtime, 3-2

( Above Photo Credit:   amerks .com / Rochester Americans )

By: Bob Mand                     Follow Me On Twitter @HockeyMand

The Boston Bruins’ prospect squad defeated their analogs from the Pittsburgh Penguins’ organization 3 to 2 in overtime at the HarborCenter in Buffalo, New York, achieving victory in their opening leg of the 2017 Third Annual Prospects Challenge. The ‘They Might Be Bruins’ showed grit, skill, and determination in resolving a 2-0 deficit after a period of play into the final 3-2 edge.

Jesse Gabrielle, the Bruins 2015 fourth rounder, scored minutes into the three-on-three action, beating the Pittsburgh goaltender short-side with a deft wrister on an odd man advantage mere seconds after positively blowing a 2-on-0 breakaway on the same shift.

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Also scoring for the Bruins were much-anticipated second-rounder centers Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson and Jack Studnicka. Studnicka scored first for the Bruins in the second period, halving the Proto-Pens advantage with a settled-down slapper in the slot that appeared to wrong-foot the Pens’ goaltender, Alex D’Orio. ‘JFK’ scored his game-tying tally, capitalizing on a forced turnover near the goal-line and firing the puck home.

After a first period where the Bruins were outclassed on and off the scoreboard, the true Black and Gold emerged from the intermission as the dominant squad. Led by alternate captain and 2013 third-rounder Matt Grzelcyk, Boston’s squad rebounded from the ugliness of the first stanza to control the pace and zone play for much of the rest of the game.

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Standouts included the goal-scoring trio, the aforementioned Grzelcyk; AHL signee and former Quinnipiac University captain (and Arizona Coyotes draftee), defenseman Connor Clifton; and undrafted invitee goaltender Kyle Keyser.

 

Other Notes:

  • Keyser made an amazing save early in period one, going left to right against Pittsburgh forward Teddy Blueger, nearly achieving a full split on the lightning-quick push-off. If Keyser had been just a little less on the ball, we’d have been talking a first-period blowout and not a comeback ‘W.’
  • Emil Johansson had a very solid afternoon for the Bruins, displaying good puck control in the corners, the ability and willingness to slow down play when necessary and the capability to make crisp outlet passes. He is one of the older skaters in the event with pro experience in Sweden, so it makes sense he should be noticeable.
  • Zach Senyshyn wasn’t the complete force that I’d want him to be if he plans on contending for a spot in Boston this year. However, on more than one occasion, his wheels created significant problems for the opposition – including a mad dash up the off-wing that ended uneventfully but was nonetheless fun to watch.
  • Jeremy Lauzon had a few awful turnovers in the first half of the game – including a terrible no-look backhand clear directly to the opposition. He settled down and was solid but not spectacular the rest of the tilt.
  • Jakub Zboril had a similarly (if less noticeable) poor game overall, though he did make one magnificent hit on Pens’ forward Jan Drozg in the third.
  • Zboril’s partner (and numerical inverse 76 to Jakub’s 67), Connor Clifton, had a dynamic game and was all over my notepad. Despite one misread that led to a scoring opportunity for the Bruins’ foes and a couple of poor clears, Clifton was the Bruins’ best defenseman not born in Boston. He made several understated D-to-D chips, forced turnovers, made open ice checks, and displayed the ability to read attackers well… If he continues to play like this through training camp, don’t be surprised when some team with 49 contracts or less snaps him up.
  • Studnicka came out flat like many Bruins but emerged as the team’s best forward through the entirety of the afternoon. It’s little wonder that the B’s snagged the Oshawa Generals’ captain in the second round this year when you see his motor and hockey-sense in action. If anything, the Windsor, Ontario native was trying to play too ‘fine’ throughout the game… Gripping the stick too tightly on a few shots and trying to make some difficult plays when higher-percentage ones were available.

 

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Providence Bruins Continue Signing Defensemen

 

( Above Photo Credit:  Pinterest .com )

By: Mark Allred                    Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

I wrote an article yesterday following a lead from Providence Journal’s  Bruins Hockey writer Mark Divver about the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins signing Connor Clifton, and the top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins have struck again. Earlier today said writer Mark Divver reported on Twitter that the AHL franchise has signed an AHL contract with defenseman Taylor Doherty.

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Last season the Cambridge, Ontario Canada native was up and down the minor system o of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs spending 12 games with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, 30 games with the East Coast Hockey Leagues Orlando Solar Bears before being loaned to the Baby B’s for 10 games where he earned two points.  Originally drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the second round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, he’s spent a majority of time in the AHL locally with the Worcester Sharks who’s franchise was shipped out west to keep prospects close and travel at a minimum cost. In those ten games with the Providence team, he earned only two points.

The 26-year-old Doherty is a solid blueliner at 6′-8″  236-pounds and could be that veteran minor leaguer to take the place of departed Alex Grant who I was shocked didn’t get another minor-pro contract to stay with the B’s after he had the best year of his lifetime offensively. The AHL journeyman has 43 points in 256 career AHL games.  In the East Coast Hockey League, he has 32 points in 54 games and can be optioned to the NHL B’s Premier “AA” team with the Atlanta Gladiators of the ECHL to add defensive size to help Glad’s goaltenders Matt Ginn and Bruins 2015 third round pick Dan Vladar.

Regardless of minor league placement the increased amount of defensemen in the lower leagues are certainly stacking up with names with main stay name such as Chris Breen, Tommy Cross, Rob O’Gara, and Matt Grzelcyk already on the team with the additions of first-year minor-pro defensemen Emil Johansson, Jeremy Lauzon, Jakub Zboril, and the recent signings of Connor Clifton and article topic Taylor Doherty, this is certainly going to be an interesting training camp coming up within a month. With the additions of youth coming into the system for the first time, it’s almost seemingly the signings of Clifton and Doherty might be to add some strength with opposing players taking Liberties on the younger developing players.

Boston Bruins Sign Two Prospects

By Mark Allred       Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The Boston Bruins announced earlier today that the club has come to terms with forward Ryan Fitzgerald and defenseman Emil Johansson. Both players will report to the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League after receiving entry-level contracts.

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Ryan Fitzgerald

A native of North Reading, the 5′-10″ 177-pound is a versatile forward spending time at center and the right wing in his four years of collegiate hockey at Boston College. In 152 career games with the Eagles the son of former Bruin Tom Fitzgerald (2005-06, 71 Games) contributed 66-66-132 numbers and finished his time with BC with an exit in last week’s Hockey East Tournament to the hands of the Umass-Lowell Riverhawks.

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Fitzy had a decent Senior year this season posting 12-19-31 numbers in 34 games. I firmly believe if he didn’t miss 14 games due to injury this season he would’ve passed hiss career high off 47 points he accrued in his junior year (24-23-47). This season the 2013 fourth round selection of the Bruins (120th overall) was named to the NCAA Hockey East All-Tournament Team. The 22-year-old forward has been a part of a decent hockey family as his cousins Jimmy Hayes, Kevin Hayes, and Matthew Tkachuk is currently playing in the league, and former great Kieth Tkachuk retired back in 2010.

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Ryan is an offensively talented forward who may not be big in stature, but you wouldn’t know it by his physical style competing against bigger stronger players. He’a a quick two-way forward with good vision in all three zones of the ice but could use more weight moving forward. He’ll  be a solid addition to the depths of the Bruins development system and with signing a two-year entry level contract today has time to showcase his skills and work hard to impress the Bruins Brass to even think of being considered for an NHL roster spot anytime soon.

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Emil Johansson

Emil is a 6′-0″ 190-pound defenseman who’s had a decent season in the Swedish Hockey League with the Djurgårdens IF club. In 49 games this season he’s contributed 7-10-17 numbers and with his three-year entry-level deal done today appears ready to transition his European style defensive game to the North American pro levels of hockey. The 20-year-old Vaxjo, Sweden native was selected in the seventh round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, and although I can’t evaluate his game just from researching his stats, I do have some input during his time in offseason Boston Bruins events.

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The last two years I’ve spent a great deal of time at the Bruins annual development camps which were held at Ristuccia Memorial Arena in Wilmington, Massachusetts and have been very impressed with Johansson’s skill set for a seventh rounder. Even tho these event aren’t game situations and can’t get proper evaluations, I thought whenever he attended camps he was really giving it all to make a serious impression which may have had implications on today’s news.

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I liked his skating with or without the puck and his vision transitioning during four on four and three on three drills. He possesses a nasty shot selection and moves well east to west along the blueline. At six feet he plays a much bigger style to his game and has a knack for finding the pivot points of an opposing players body to knock that player off balance while defending around the crease. Even in development camp, he showed he can throw the body around with devastating hits and is quick to recover to the play afterward.

With 12 games remaining in the AHL regular season, I look forward to seeing these two prospects make their debuts with the Providence and that time could be this weekend as the Baby B’s are set to play three games in a row starting tonight against the Wolf Pack in Hartford, Connecticut.

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