Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Recap: 3/20 vs Laval

( Photo Courtesy: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By Sam Fryman | Follow me on Twitter @sfryman20

With the season winding down, the Bruins took to the road to face the Laval Rocket for the first time in Bell Place. Laval didn’t have too much to play for apart from pride with 12 games remaining, but that didn’t stop them from giving Providence a significant challenge in their playoff push.

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First Period:

Both teams started the night with some early power plays but could not convert many shots towards the net. At the 11:02 mark of the period, Stuart Percy sent in a great shot for the blue line to give Providence a lead. It was Percy’s third goal of the season and his first as a member of the Bruins. For the rest of the period, Zane McIntyre was instrumental in keeping the lead intact as the Rocket outshot the Bruins 11-5.S

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Score: 1-0 Bruins

Second Period:

The second period began with a great chance from Gemel Smith that was denied in the low slot. Shortly after, Daniel Audette netted his 13th of the season for Laval by backhanding in a loose puck in the crease. Providence wouldn’t let the game stay tied for long. With Alex Alain in the box for holding, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson sniped a shot through traffic to put the Bruins back on top. Cooper Zech also picked up his first career AHL point on the assist.

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Score: 2-1 Bruins

Third Period:

The third period began on the man advantage for the Bruins, and throughout the period they had an abundance of close calls to pull away on the scoreboard. With just under five minutes to go in regulation, Cale Fleury netted a solid backhander to tie the game once again at two. The tally would send the game to overtime with both teams looking to get a critical extra point.

Score: 2-2

Overtime provided some great back and forth action, but only three combined shots registered on net forcing the game to be decided by the skills in a shootout. After an extended eight-round shootout, Hunter Shinkaruk finally ended the game in favor of Laval. The Bruins get a day off to travel and rest back home before they take on the Belleville Senators for the first time this month.

Final: 3-2 Laval

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 24 Preview

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( Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 24 of the AHL season is upon us, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 32-22-8-3 (75 points) and 4-3-1-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. Even though the Baby B’s sit firmly in a playoff spot, with a little help they could move up in the standings if they have a good weekend. With only 11 games left in the regular season, now is the time for our boys in black and gold to make their big push in the playoff standings. The weekend hopes to be fruitful as the Providence club comes home for two games before embarking on another three-game road trip.

The weekend kicks off on Friday, March 22, 2019, when the Belleville Senators invade the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The hockey action continues Saturday, March 23, 2019, when Binghamton Devils roll into town hoping to conjure up a W at the Dunk. After the weekend of home cooking, the Providence Bruins head out on the highway and take on the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins on Wednesday, March 27, 2019, at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. It should be an exciting weekend of hockey that you are not going to want to miss.

Friday, March 22, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Belleville Senators (HOME)

The Friday showdown will mark the second time the Bruins take on Belleville this season. The Senators are in the North Division, so because of that they only play each other twice a year once at home and once on the road. In the first match-up, the Bruins fell 3-2 getting goals from Connor Clifton and Zach Senyshyn. Goalie Dan Vladar was adequate in net turning away 20 of the 23 shots that were fired his way. The Belleville Senators come into the match-up 33-25-3-5 (74 points) and 6-2-1-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the North Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference. Over the past five seasons, the two teams have not played each other very much because of being in different divisions, but the baby B’s are 1-1-1 against the Ottawa affiliate in that time frame.

As with most games, situational scoring is going to be very important to whoever wins this game. When leading after two periods, the Belleville Senators are 23-0-0-1. Meanwhile, when losing after two periods, the Ottawa affiliate is 5-21-0-2. The Providence Bruins, on the other hand, are 25-3-2-2 when they have a lead after the second period, and a record of 4-18-3 when down after two. Speaking of situational scoring, special teams will also play a major role in the game. The Sens have a power play percentage of 19.2% this is good for sixth in the Eastern Conference. They’ve scored 53 power play goals and 211 goals overall on the season. This means 25.1% of their goals have come with the man advantage. On top of that, they’ve only given up three shorthanded goals on the year. Meanwhile, the Baby B’s have the third-best penalty kill in the Eastern Conference at 85.7% and have scored 10 shorthanded goals, which is fifth in the East.

The Boston affiliate, meanwhile, has a power play percentage of 17.2% which is good for 12th in the East. They’ve also given up the second most shorthanded goals in the East at 13. The Senators’ penalty kill is at 75.9% this is last in the Eastern Conference, and they’ve had eight shorthanded goals. If the Bruins can manipulate these scoring situations in their favor, they will have a fantastic chance of coming out of this game with a victory. With the Belleville hockey club sitting in eighth place in the conference, a win here would absolutely help pad the lead the baby B’s have over them.

Saturday, March 23, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Binghamton Devils (HOME)

The Saturday battle marks the second time the Bruins have played the Devils this season. The first match-up saw the Binghamton hockey club come out on top 6-3 with the Bruins getting goals from Connor Clifton, Gemel Smith, and Anton Blidh. Goalie Zane McIntyre had a game that he would probably like to forget stopping 17 of the 22 shots that were fired his way. Despite the bad game earlier this year, the baby B’s have had great success against the New Jersey affiliate over the past five years going 13-6-1-1 during that time span including 9-2 at the Dunk.

The Binghamton hockey club has had a rough go of it this year. They skate into the contest 24-35-6 (54 points) and 1-8-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for eighth in the North Division and 16th in the Eastern Conference. Team defense will be a major key in this game. The Binghamton Devils have given up 233 goals on the year. This is not only the worst in the Eastern Conference, but it is the worst in the entire AHL. This is 3.58 goals a game that they are giving up. Our boys in black and gold, on the other hand, have given up 181 goals on the season which is 2.76 goals a game. Only three other teams in the East have given up fewer goals on the year.

On the other side of the puck, the New Jersey affiliate has one of the worst offenses in the East scoring 170 goals on the year which is 2.61 goals a game. Meanwhile, the spoked P has scored 196 goals on the year which is 3.01 goals a game. These stats bode well for the Providence hockey club in this game. Despite the tough year, the Devils are 15-1-1 when they are leading after the second period. If the Bruins stingy defense can keep Binghamton from scoring, they have a fantastic chance of coming out on top.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins (AWAY)

The Wednesday match-up will mark the sixth time that these two teams have played each other, and Providence has had their way with the Pittsburgh affiliate thus far. The first battle saw the Bruins beat the Penguins 2-1 in overtime getting goals from the now departed Martin Bakos, and Ryan Fitzgerald (OT). Goalie Dan Vladar was superb in net denying 27 of the 28 shots that came his way. The second installment saw the Baby B’s route Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 5-2 getting goals from the now traded Ryan Donato (2), Martin Bakos, Joel Messner, and Zach Senyshyn. Goalie Zane McIntyre was great in net stoning 20 of the 22 shots he faced.

The third match-up saw the boys in black and gold win 4-2 getting goals from Ryan Fitzgerald, Peter Cehlarik, Ryan Donato, and Jakub Zboril. Goal Zane McIntyre was excellent in net stopping 32 of the 34 shots that were fired his way. The fourth match-up saw the Bruins lost 2-1 in a shootout getting their goal from Chris Breen. Goalie Zane McIntyre was superb in net turning away 39 of the 40 shots that came his way. The most recent battle saw the Bruins fall 2-1 in overtime getting their lone goal from Ryan Fitzgerald. Goalie Zane McIntyre was great in net stoning 26 of the 28 shots that were fired his way.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins come into the game 30-23-7-3 (70 points) and 5-2-2-1 in their last 10 games played. This is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence Bruins have not only played extremely well against the Pittsburgh affiliate this year going 3-0-1-1, but over the past five seasons, the Baby B’s are 13-6-3-3. A major key for the boys in black and gold will be how their offense plays. The Penguins have given up a total of 185 goals on the year. Only four other teams in the Eastern Conference have given up less. Meanwhile, the Bruins have scored 196 goals this year which is the 11th most in the Eastern Conference. Hopefully, the offense is up to that task.

Special teams will also be a key in this game. The Providence Bruins are not only fourth in the Eastern Conference in goals given up with 181, but they are also third in penalty kill at 85.7%. That coupled with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton having the 13th ranked power play in the Eastern Conference at 17.0% means that if the spoked P can play their game and hold their ground, it bodes well for the overall outcome. Another major key for the Pittsburgh affiliate is whether they outshoot their opponent when they do, they are 18-14-2-2 but are 7-8-4-1 when being outshot. On the other side, the Baby B’s are 9-6-3-2 when being outshot and 21-14-5-1 when outshooting their foe.

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

Hot

Jordan SzwarzThe Providence Bruins Captain has been very good all season. On the year, the veteran forward has found the back of the net 19 times while dishing out 16 assists for 35 total points and a point per game total of 0.60. This includes netting one goal and dishing out five assists for six points in his last seven games. The next goal that the OHL product scores will be his 20th on the year and it’ll be his third season in a row with Providence with 20+ goals on the year. Szwarz would be the fifth player in Providence Bruins history to do that. It’s something to look out for coming up.

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald had found himself in the not category last week, but he’s slowly starting to find the rhythm he had at the beginning of the year. At the beginning of the year, the former Boston College Eagle was arguably the best forward for Providence. An injury partway through the season derailed his momentum, but he’s slowly starting to find his stride again. In 51 games he has found the back of the net eight times while dishing out 25 assists for 33 total points and a point per game total of 0.64. This includes netting one goal and dishing out three assists for four points in his last six games played. It’s nice to see the young forward find his scoring touch for the playoff push.

Not

Gemel Smith: Gemel Smith has been excellent since coming over to Boston in a trade with Dallas back in December. For a little while, it seemed like the OHL product found himself in the “hot” category every single week. Recently, it seems like the gritty forward has found his first real cold streak of the season. Over Smith’s last nine games he has found the back of the net once and dished out three assists for four total points. Despite the cold streak, in 37 games since joining the baby B’s he has netted 13 goals and dished out 18 assists for 31 total points and a point per game total of 0.83. Hopefully, as Providence gets closer to the playoffs, the young forward will find his scoring touch again.

Mark McNeill: Mark McNeill has proven to be streaky for Providence this season. Over his past 18 games, he’s registered three points dishing out three assists and has not scored a goal since January 26, 2019. This means the WHL product netted seven goals while dishing out 14 assists for 21 total points and a point per game total of 0.65. Since then his point per game total has plummeted to 0.48 (7-17-24 in 50 games played). Hopefully the gritty forward can find his scoring touch as the baby B’s push towards the playoffs.

My players to watch this weekend

Up Front

Zach SenyshynZach Senyshyn has proven to be very streaky for Providence this season. In 57 games this season he has netted 14 goals and dished out 10 assists for 24 total points and a point per game total of 0.42. Despite this, last weekend he scored his first goal since January 26, 2019. Sometimes, all you need is one to break the floodgates open and go on a scoring streak. I am hopeful that the young speedster is going to do just that and get back on a role. Though, many are disappointed that the young forward hasn’t gotten the opportunity to showcase his skills in Boston, if he sticks with it and continues to work hard it’ll be only a matter of time before that happens.

On the Blue Line

Cooper ZechCooper Zech recently signed a deal with Providence and played in his first professional games. In his first two games, he played around 20 minutes each game and looked very good. The 20-year-old defenseman comes to Providence from Ferris State as an undrafted college free agent. In his freshman season with Ferris State, he was the WCHA (Western Collegiate Hockey Association) top-scoring freshman, the top scoring freshman defenseman, WCHA Rookie of the Year, and the first freshman to lead Ferris State in scoring since 1987-88 netting 8 goals and dishing out 20 assists in 36 games played for the Bulldogs.  The former Bulldog also recorded his first point on Wednesday against Laval getting the primary assist on a goal. After the season he’s had, there certainly are some lofty expectations moving forward. Hopefully, he has a big weekend for Providence.

In Net

Zane McIntyre: Zane McIntyre has had an up and down season this year. On the year the veteran netminder has a record of 22-10-7 with a 2.51 goals against average and a save percentage of .901. The University of North Dakota alum has been a lot better at home than on the road this season, and when the Bruins went on their crazy point streak, he was a large reason for that. With two games at the Dunk, look for Zane to have a big weekend.

The Providence Bruins are currently sitting in playoff position by four points. A good weekend and they could pad that standing and possibly move up a spot in those standings. With 11 games remaining the team’s magic number is 20. The magic number is the number of points needed to clinch the playoff spot. The magic number goes down when it earns points either with victory, or overtime/shootout losses. The magic number also goes down when the team with the highest possible point total that isn’t currently in playoff position, loses. This means the baby B’s are sitting in a good position right now and can hopefully make that magic number dwindle down this weekend. We will catch up with you next week to let you know how the team fared but feel free to send any questions or comments to me on Twitter. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and Go, B’s, Go!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 23 Recap

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By Sam Fryman | Follow me on Twitter @sfryman20

Friday, March 15th, 2019, Providence Bruins Vs. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Road)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

Since its founding, Pennsylvania has always been known as the Keystone State. Beginning on Friday, the Bruins hoped two key victories against teams in that state would offer them the key to a playoff berth. First up were the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, a team sitting five points behind Providence after just three wins in their last ten games. The Bruins also looked much different than last weekend with Connor Clifton, Trent Frederic, and Paul Carey all up with the big club and five more players out with injuries.

First Period:

The action started just 47 seconds as Zach Senyshyn got a lucky deflection right in front of Alex Lyon. The first shot was set up by Karson Kuhlman who continues his consistent offensive play for Providence. Not even a minute later, the oldest member of Bruins proved he is still a force to be reckoned with. Lee Stempniak made it two goals on two shots and the Phantoms were quickly back on their heels. For the rest of the period, Dan Vladar came up with some huge saves, including a pair of robberies on Mike Vecchione and Justin Bailey.

Score: 2-0 Bruins

Second Period:

Special teams became the story for both Providence and Lehigh Valley as the game got to its late stages. After David Kase out the Phantoms on the board just 56 seconds in the second period with a power play, Lee Stempniak continued his brilliant night early in the third. From a good steal by Karson Kuhlman, Stempniak got the puck unchallenged and easily found the back of the net.

Score: 2-1 Bruins

Third Period:

Two minutes later, the ever aggressive Tyrell Goulbourne got sent to the box for roughing and Gemel Smith made him pay. The Bruins forward picked up his 13th goal of the season to give Providence a 4-1 lead.

As the minutes ticked down in regulation, Lehigh Valley applied a highly aggressive strategy by pulling goalie Alex Lyon with over seven minutes remaining to try to stage a comeback. The plan backfired as Peter Cehlarik put one into the empty net. A couple of garbage time goals from Connor Bunnaman and Greg Carey gave the Phantoms a glimmer of hope, but in the end, it wasn’t enough as Providence walked away with a 5-3 victory to begin the weekend.

Final: 5-3 Bruins

Saturday, March 16th, 2019, Providence Bruins Vs. The Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

First Period:

Coming off of a solid win against the Phantoms, the Bruins went a little further up the Northeast Extension to take on the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins. Through the first period of play, there were no goals to talk about although the Bruins held Wilkes Barre/Scranton to just five total shots in the period, many of them coming late.

Score: 0-0

Second Period:

The even battle was finally put to an end late in the second period with Jake Lucchini netting his first career AHL goal. He waited at the side of the net as a great two on one was started by Jimmy Hayes. Before that tally Zane McIntyre had been having one of his strongest periods of the season, turning aside many close chances from the Penguins.

Score: 1-0 Penguins

Third Period:

At the halfway point of the third period, the hard checking pressure for the Bruins finally paid off as they tied the game at one. Tristan Jarry was caught out of position and Ryan Fitzgerald found the puck on the doorstep. A three on two rush got the offense going for Providence and Karson Kuhlman was able to send in a deadly slap shot for his teammates to collect. Jakub Zboril thought he might have had the go-ahead goal with two and a half minutes to go but Jarry denied him with an aggressive, spinning save to keep the game tied.

Score: 1-1

Overtime:

Adam Johnson ended the game just over a minute into the overtime period for Wilkes Barre/Scranton. He lifted a superb forehand to backhand shot top shelf over Zane McIntyre to give the Penguins their 30th win of the season. The Bruins have one more game on the road against the Laval Rocket before returning home on Wednesday, March 22nd against the Belleville Senators. Every point will be on the line and we’ll recap every game!

Final: 2-1 Penguins

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 22 Preview

BruinsvsBears

Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 22 of the Providence Bruins season is here and our favorite team in black and gold skate into the weekend 29-21-7-2 (67 points) and 4-4-1-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, only two points separate them and fifth place in the Conference standings. This weekend’s slate of games could not have come at a better time. The baby B’s have three games at home with two of the games coming against a team that is ahead of them in the standings. A strong week 22 could help the spoked P leapfrog a few teams in the conference as well as give them a nice cushion from teams trying to claw their way back into the playoff seeding.

The action-packed weekend kicks off on Friday, March 8, 2019, when the Hershey Bears invade Providence, Rhode Island to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. The weekend continues Saturday, March 9, 2019, when the same two teams battle it out at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center to find out once and for all which team is the better bear. Finally, the action wraps up on Sunday, March 10, 2019, when familiar adversary the Springfield Thunderbirds swoop into town to take on our boys in black and gold at the Dunk. It is going to be an exciting, jam-packed three days of hockey that you will not want to miss.

Friday, March 8, 2019, (HOME) and Saturday, March 9, 2019, (HOME) Providence Bruins vs. Hershey Bears

The Friday and Saturday games will mark the fourth and fifth times that Providence has played Hershey this season. In the first meeting between the two clubs, the Baby B’s beat the Washington Capitals’ affiliate 6-2 with the Bruins getting goals from Jordan Szwarz (2), Cameron Hughes, Anton Blidh, Kyle Cumiskey, and Tanner Pond while goalie Zane McIntyre looked great in net stopping 19 of 21 shots he faced. The second meeting saw the Providence club win 4-1 getting goals from the now departed Cody Goloubef (2), Karson Kuhlman, and Mark McNeill. Goalie Zane McIntyre was excellent in net turning away 23 of the 24 shots that were fired his way. The third battle saw the Bruins fall 2-1 getting their lone goal from Karson Kuhlman. Goalie Zane McIntyre was still great in net stopping 17 of the 19 shots that were sent his way.

The Hershey Bears skate into the weekend 32-22-1-3 (68 points) and 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. Despite being ahead of the baby B’s in the standings, the Capitals’ affiliate could be the perfect opponent to start a win streak against. Over the past five seasons, Providence is 13-7-2-1 against Hershey going 8-2 at the Dunk in that time frame. With both games being at home this bodes well for our boys in black and gold. There are a few keys to the game that if the spoked P can control, they will likely come out on top in both games.

The first key is who is leading after the first and second periods. Hershey is 18-3-0-2 when they are ahead after the first period of action. They are also 24-1-1-2 when leading after two. Meanwhile, when down after one their records dips to 4-12-0-1 and when trailing after the second it falls even further to 5-19. On the other side, the Providence Bruins are 13-5-3 when ahead after the first period and 23-3-2-1 when they are leading after two. When trailing after one, their record dips to 5-14-2 and when down after two periods it dips even further to 4-17-2. Getting a lead early and holding onto it will be a major key into winning both games.

The other major key to the game will be team defense. The Providence Bruins have one of the best defenses in the entire Eastern Conference ranked third in goals against with 165 in their 59 games played. This means they are giving up 2.79 goals a game. On the other side of things, the Hershey Bears are ranked sixth in the Eastern Conference in goals against with 171 in their 58 games played. This is 2.94 goals given up per game. The big difference is that despite their record, the Capitals’ affiliate has a goal differential of –15. This means they’ve given up 15 more goals than they’ve scored on the season. To give you an idea of just how bad that is the baby B’s differential is +25. A combination of the Bruins’ stingy defense and the Bears’ mediocre offense bodes well for our boys in black and gold this weekend.

Sunday, March 10, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (HOME)

The Sunday match-up marks the 12th time the Bruins and Thunderbirds have faced off this season. In the first meeting, Springfield beat Providence 6-3 with the Bruins getting goals from Zach Senyshyn, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Colby Cave. Meanwhile, goalie Zane McIntyre was a little off his game stopping 14 of 20 shots. The second meeting between the two teams saw a different score with the same result. The Florida Panther’s affiliate beat the Baby B’s 4-2 with the Bruins getting goals from now-departed Martin Bakos and Jan Kovar, while current goalie Zane McIntyre looked much better stopping 17 of 20 shots in net.

The third game of the season series saw the Bruins finally break through and get a win beating the Thunderbirds 5-4. The boys in black and gold got goals from Mark McNeill, Karson Kuhlman, Peter Cehlarik, Jordan Szwarz, and Connor Clifton while Dan Vladar stopped 22 of 26 shots he faced. The next installment of the season series did not go according to plan for the spoked P as they fell to the Springfield club 5-3. Bruins got goals from Zach Senyshyn, Gemel Smith, and Jordan Szwarz. Meanwhile, goalie Dan Vladar was a little off his game despite facing a barrage of shots stopping 34 of 39 he faced. Part five of the season series was a good one for the boys in black and gold. The Bruins beat the Thunderbirds 4-3 getting goals from Peter Cehlarik (2), Trent Frederic, and Paul Carey. Meanwhile, goalie Zane McIntyre continued to play well as he turned away 19 of the 22 shots he faced.

The sixth part in the season series saw the Panthers’ affiliate beat the spoked P 3-2 in overtime. The Baby B’s were able to get goals from Gemel Smith, and Cameron Hughes with Dan Vladar giving a tremendous effort in net stopping 38 of the 41 shots he faced. The seventh showdown saw the boys in black and gold win 2-1 in a shootout getting goals from Karson Kuhlman, and Trent Frederic netted the winning shootout goal. Zane McIntyre was excellent in net turning away 23 of the 24 shots he faced. The eighth throw-down between the two clubs saw the Providence hockey club win 3-2 getting goals from Mark McNeill, Gemel Smith, and Zach Senyshyn. Goalie Zane McIntyre was great in net stopping 22 of 24 shots that came his way.

The ninth meeting saw the Thunderbirds win 5-1 with the Bruins getting their lone goal from Jordan Szwarz. Goalie Zane McIntyre had a rough game in net stopping 21 of 26 shots that were fired his way. The 10th battle between the Providence Bruins and the Springfield Thunderbirds saw the baby B’s fall 4-2 getting goals from Paul Carey and Emil Johansson. Goalie Dan Vladar turned away 28 of the 31 shots that were fired his way. The most recent chapter of the long season series saw the Bruins come out on top 5-2 getting goals from Paul Carey (2), Urho Vaakanainen (2), and Connor Clifton. Goalie Zane McIntyre stopped 27 out of the 29 shots that came his way.

The Springfield Thunderbirds come into the weekend home and home series 24-24-6-5 (59 points) and 3-6-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference. Despite having a rough season against the Panthers’ affiliate this year, the Baby B’s have played well against them over the past five years going 22-12-3. They also have almost identical records at home and on the road in that time frame. This bodes well for the weekend series. Defense again will play a major role in who wins this game.

The Thunderbirds have scored 193 goals in the 59 games they’ve played this season which is 3.27 goals a game their problem is they’ve given up 194 goals in that time frame as well which is 3.28 per game. Providence’s defense, on the other hand, is quite good giving up only 2.79 goals a game. Their offense is no slouch either scoring 3.05 goals a game. The other big key is again who had the lead after two periods. Despite their position in the standings the club from Springfield Massachusetts is 19-1-1 when leading after two periods and 0-22-1-2 when down after two periods. Meanwhile, the Baby B’s are 23-3-2-1 when leading after two and 4-17-2 when trailing after the second period. It should be an exciting game that you do not want to miss.

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

Hot

Paul Carey: Paul Carey has been very good for Providence since coming over in a trade with the Senators in January. Since the trade, the former Boston College Eagle has played in 18 games finding the back of the net 11 times and dishing out five assists for 16 total points. This is a point per game clip of 0.88. To top it off the two-time NCAA Champion has six points in his last seven games, netting five goals and dishing out an assist during that time frame. The veteran forward needs to continue his hot play if the Bruins hope to have a good weekend.

Jordan SzwarzJordan Szwarz has been great for Providence this season. The captain has found the back of the net 18 times while dishing 13 assists for 31 total points in the 52 games he’s played in. This is a point per game clip of 0.59. To top it off, recently he has scored five points in his last seven games netting three goals and dishing out two assists in the time frame. The OHL product is just two goals away from 20 on the year. Once he reaches that mark, he will be the fifth player in Providence Bruins history to have 20+ goals in three separate seasons. Be on the lookout for that.

Not

Zach SenyshynZach Senyshyn may be the most talented of all the Bruins forward prospects. Despite this, the young winger has proven to be a streaky player since coming to Providence, and right now he’s on a cold streak that’s as cold as the ice he skates on. The OHL product has netted 13 goals and dished out nine assists for 22 total points in the 51 games he has played in. This is a point per game total of 0.43. This is considerably less than his OHL days of 0.91 (114-63-177 in 195 games played). To top it off, he has scored just two points in his last 11 games dishing out two assists. He has not scored a goal since January 26, 2019. Hopefully, the speedster can find his offensive game and turn the corner this weekend.

Mark McNeill: Mark McNeill has had a good season for Providence overall. In the 46 games that he has played in the gritty forward has found the back of the net seven times while dishing out 16 assists for 24 total points. This is a point per game total of 0.52. Even though the WHL product has been good overall this season, he’s been on a big cold streak recently. He has recorded just two points in his last 14 games dishing out two assists. McNeill hasn’t found the back of the net since January 26, 2019. Hopefully, the veteran forward can turn things around and have a great weekend.

My Players to watch this weekend

Up Front

Gemel Smith: Gemel Smith has been excellent overall for Providence this year. In 31 games since being acquired from Dallas in a trade, the young forward has found the back of the net 12 times while dishing out 16 assists for 28 total points. This is a point per game total of 0.90. To top it off he has been especially good against Springfield and Hershey this season. In 11 games against the two teams this year he has found the back of the net three times and dished out eight assists for 11 total points. That means 39% of the points he has scored with the Bruins have come against this weekend’s opponents. Look for him to have a good week 22.

On the Blue Line

Urho VaakanainenUrho Vaakanainen has had a great first professional season despite missing time due to a concussion. In 25 games with the Providence Bruins, the young defender has found the back of the net two times while dishing out 10 assists for 12 total points. This is a point per game total of 0.48. This is much higher than his Liiga days in Finland of 0.21 (7-16-23 in 109 games played). As well as his offensive game is coming along, the WJC Gold Medalist’s defensive game has been just as impressive. He looks like he’s already NHL ready despite being only 20 years of age. Last weekend the young defenseman scored his first two professional goals. Look for him to continue his play and have a good weekend.

In Net

Zane McIntyre: Zane McIntyre has played well for Providence overall this year. At the turn of the new year, it was his fantastic play in net that helped solidify the backend of the Bruins’ defense. As good as his play has been, the veteran goalie has been better at home this season and been especially good against Hershey. In the three games against the Capitals’ affiliate, the netminder’s stats are 2-1 with a goals against average of 1.68 and a save percentage of .922. With all three games being home and two of them against Hershey, look for him to have a big weekend.

The Providence Bruins come into the weekend clinging to that eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. This weekend is the perfect one to gain some ground and pad their position in the standings. All of the weekend’s games are at home, and on top of that, the Providence club is playing teams they should beat. I would look for the Bruins to nab at least four of six points. This could help them leapfrog a team or two in the standings. Anything else would be a total loss for the weekend. We will catch up with you next week to let you know how the team fared but feel free to send any questions or comments to me on Twitter. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and Go, B’s, Go!

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

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 21 Preview

PBruinsvSpring

Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 21 is here, and the Providence Bruins skate into the weekend 28-20-7-1 (64 points) and 5-4-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference clinging to that final playoff spot. This past weekend the Baby B’s had an up and down one getting three out of a possible six points going 1-1-1. Even though the boys in black and gold are sitting in that last playoff position, they are only three points behind the fifth-place Marlies of Toronto. That means a lot of ground can be made up in a short period of time. Let’s hope they start to make up that ground this weekend.

The jam-packed three-game weekend starts out on Friday, March 1, 2019, when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins skate into Providence, Rhode Island to invade the Dunk. The weekend continues Saturday, March 2, 2019, when the Bruins take their show on the road to battle the home team Springfield Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. Finally, the weekend comes to a close on Sunday, March 3, 2019, when the Springfield Thunderbirds fly into Providence, Rhode Island to take on the Baby B’s at the Dunk. It is going to be an exciting weekend of must-see hockey.

Friday, March 1, 2019 Providence Bruins vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (HOME)

The Friday match-up will mark the fourth time that these two teams have played each other, and Providence has had their way with the Pittsburgh affiliate thus far. The first battle saw the Bruins beat the Penguins 2-1 in overtime getting goals from the now departed Martin Bakos, and Ryan Fitzgerald (OT). Goalie Dan Vladar was superb in net denying 27 of the 28 shots that came his way. The second installment saw the Baby B’s route Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 5-2 getting goals from the recently traded Ryan Donato (2), Martin Bakos, Joel Messner, and Zach Senyshyn. Goalie Zane McIntyre was great in net stoning 20 of the 22 shots he faced. The most recent match-up saw the boys in black and gold win 4-2 getting goals from Ryan Fitzgerald, Peter Cehlarik, Ryan Donato, and Jakub Zboril. Goal Zane McIntyre was excellent in net stopping 32 of the 34 shots that were fired his way.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins come into the game 26-22-5-2 (59 points) and 4-4-1-1 in their last 10 games played. This is good for sixth in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. The Providence Bruins have not only played extremely well against the Pittsburgh affiliate this year going 3-0, but over the past five seasons, the Baby B’s are 13-6-2-2. A major key for the boys in black and gold will be how their offense plays. The Penguins have given up a total of 164 goals on the year. Only six other teams in the Eastern Conference have given up less. Meanwhile, the Bruins have scored 172 goals this year which is the 11th most in the Eastern Conference. Hopefully, the offense is up to that task.

Special teams will also be a key in this game. The Providence Bruins are not only second in the Eastern Conference in goals given up with 157, but they are also second in penalty kill at 86%. That coupled with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton having the 11th ranked power play in the Eastern Conference at 17.6% means that if the spoked P can play their game and hold their ground, it bodes well for the overall outcome. Another major key for the Pittsburgh affiliate is whether they outshoot their opponents when they do, they are 17-13-1-1 but are 4-7-3-1 when being out-shot. On the other side, the Baby B’s are 9-5-3 when being out-shot and 17-13-4-1 when out-shooting their foe. It should be an exciting game of hockey and one that the Bruins could easily win.

Saturday, March 2, 2019 (AWAY) and Sunday, March 3, 2019 (HOME)

The weekend series will mark the 10th and 11th times the Bruins and Thunderbirds have faced off this season. In the first meeting, Springfield beat Providence 6-3 with the Bruins getting goals from Zach Senyshyn, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Colby Cave. Meanwhile, goalie Zane McIntyre was a little off his game stopping 14 of 20 shots. The second meeting between the two teams saw a different score with the same result. The Florida Panther’s affiliate beat the Baby B’s 4-2 with the Bruins getting goals from now-departed Martin Bakos and Jan Kovar, while current goalie Zane McIntyre looked much better stopping 17 of 20 shots in net.

The third game of the season series saw the Bruins finally break through and get a win beating the Thunderbirds 5-4. The boys in black and gold got goals from Mark McNeill, Karson Kuhlman, Peter Cehlarik, Jordan Szwarz, and Connor Clifton while Dan Vladar stopped 22 of 26 shots he faced. The next installment of the season series did not go according to plan for the spoked P as they fell to the Springfield club 5-3. Bruins got goals from Zach Senyshyn, Gemel Smith, and Jordan Szwarz. Meanwhile, goalie Dan Vladar was a little off his game despite facing a barrage of shots stopping 34 of 39 he faced. Part five of the season series was a good one for the boys in black and gold. The Bruins beat the Thunderbirds 4-3 getting goals from Peter Cehlarik (2), Trent Frederic, and Paul Carey. Meanwhile, goalie Zane McIntyre continued to play well as he turned away 19 of the 22 shots he faced.

The sixth part in the season series saw the Panthers’ affiliate beat the spoked P 3-2 in overtime. The Baby B’s were able to get goals from Gemel Smith, and Cameron Hughes with Dan Vladar giving a tremendous effort in net stopping 38 of the 41 shots he faced. The seventh showdown saw the boys in black and gold win 2-1 in a shootout getting goals from Karson Kuhlman, and Trent Frederic netted the winning shootout goal. Zane McIntyre was excellent in net turning away 23 of the 24 shots he faced. The eighth throw-down between the two clubs saw the Providence hockey club win 3-2 getting goals from Mark McNeill, Gemel Smith, and Zach Senyshyn. Goalie Zane McIntyre was great in net stopping 22 of 24 shots that came his way. The most recent chapter in the long season story saw the Thunderbirds win 5-1 with the Bruins getting their lone goal from Jordan Szwarz. Goalie Zane McIntyre had a rough game in net stopping 21 of 26 shots that were fired his way.

The Springfield Thunderbirds come into the weekend home and home series 22-23-6-5 (55 points) and 2-7-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference. Despite having a rough season against the Panthers’ affiliate this year, the Baby B’s have played well against them over the past five years going 21-11-3. They also have almost identical records at home and on the road in that time frame. This bodes well for the weekend series. Defense again will play a major role in who wins this game.

The Thunderbirds have scored 182 goals in the 56 games they’ve played this season which is 3.25 goals a game their problem is they’ve given up 186 goals in that time frame as well which is 3.32 per game. Providence’s defense, on the other hand, is quite good giving up only 2.80 goals a game. Their offense is no slouch either scoring 3.07 goals a game. The other big key is again who had the lead after two periods. Despite their position in the standings the club from Springfield Massachusetts is 17-1-1 when leading after two periods and 0-21-1-2 when down after two periods. Meanwhile, the Baby B’s are 22-3-2-1 when leading after two and 4-16-2 when trailing after the second period. It should be an exciting home and home series to end the weekend.

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

Hot

Gemel Smith: Gemel Smith makes his way into this category for another week, and he is on fire. He has netted a goal in each of his last three games and has scored points in 11 of his last 13 games. The 24-year old forward has netted six goals and dished out nine assists for 15 total points in that time frame. Since being traded from Dallas in December, the OHL product has been on the Bruins best players. In 28 games played he has potted 12 goals while tallying 15 assists for 27 total points. That’s almost a point per game player. Hopefully, he keeps up his scorching pace this weekend.

Lee StempniakLee Stempniak has had a long successful career in the NHL scoring 203 goals and dishing out 266 assists in 909 games. That’s a point per game total of 0.52. The veteran forward was in Providence on a player tryout and played well in the four games he’s played in. In those games, he has netted two goals while also dishing out two assists for four total points. The former Dartmouth College Captain recently signed a contract with Boston and will likely spend the rest of the year in Providence barring any injury. Hopefully, the veteran forward can continue his solid play for the Baby B’s this weekend.

Not

Mark McNeill: Mark McNeill has proven to be streaky for Providence this season. On the year he does have stats of 7-16-23 in 43 games played. This is a point per game total of 0.53. This is a bit lower than his AHL career of 0.56 (96-120-216 in 386 games played), as well as his WHL days of 0.88 (97-146-243 in 276 games played). Despite having a decent year, the gritty forward has only registered two points in his last 11 games dishing out two assists. The WHL product also hasn’t scored a goal since January 26, 2019. Hopefully, the McNeill can find his scoring touch this weekend.

Zach SenyshynZach Senyshyn is one of the most talented players on the Providence Bruins roster. His potential is sky high. However, since coming to Providence, he has proved to be a very streaky player. Currently, on the year, he has netted 13 goals while dishing out nine assists for 22 total points in 48 games played. That is a point per game total of 0.45. This is much lower than his OHL days of 0.91 (114-63-177 in 195 games played). To top it off in his last eight games played he has dished out two assists for two total points and hasn’t scored a goal since January 26, 2019. The young forward can be dynamic and has shown flashes of brilliance. Hopefully, he can find the back of the net a few times for the Bruins this weekend.

My players to watch this weekend

Up Front

Zach SenyshynDespite being on a cold streak, Senyshyn is one of my players to watch this weekend. He has played well against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Springfield this season. In 11 games against the two clubs this season he has netted four goals and dished out two assists for six total points. That means that almost a quarter of his goals have come against these two teams this season. On top of that, I believe that the young forward is extremely motivated to do well. He really wants to see a call-up to the big club and Boston. I have a feeling we may see the beginning of a hot streak this weekend.

On the Blue Line

Jakub ZborilJakub Zboril is having a pretty good season for Providence. Not only playing good defense, but he has potted four goals and dished out 11 assists for 15 points in 37 games this year. That is a point per game total of 0.40. This is much higher than his pace last season which was 0.27 (4-15-19 in 68 games played). On top of that, the young defenseman has registered a point in three of his last five games netting a goal and dishing out two assists for three points in that time frame. I would look for him to have a big weekend.

In Net

Dan VladarDan Vladar has had an up and down season this year but has also had the short end of the stick for part of it. He is 8-11-4-2 with a 2.73 goals against average, and a save percentage of .902. Having six games end in overtime or shoot out loss is a lot of tough luck. The young goaltender has played better on the road than he has at home this season. So, he is likely to only play one game barring any injury, but I would look for him to have a good game and bring home two points for Providence.

The Providence Bruins have had a rough couple of weeks since their 12-game point streak was snapped. They dropped a few spots in the Eastern Conference but remain right in the middle of the playoff picture. That being said, with the two teams they face this weekend below them in the standings, this is the perfect time for them to pad their playoff spot and possibly gain grown on teams ahead of them in the standings. I would look for the Baby B’s to get at least four out of six points. Anything less would be a major missed opportunity.  We will catch up with you next week to let you know how the team fared but feel free to send any questions or comments to me on Twitter. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and Go, B’s, Go!

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

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

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 20 Preview

BruinsvBridge

Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 20 is upon us, and the Providence Bruins come into it off the heels of their toughest weekend since the calendar turned to 2019 at 27-19-6-1 (61 points) and 7-3 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division, and they are clinging to that eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Last weekend was tough with the Baby B’s losing two of three games. It’ll be interesting to see how the boys in black and gold bounce back. I always say you can truly see the make-up of a team when they falter at some point during the season. If they can bounce back quickly, you know you have a special team, and if they don’t, it’s probably not their year. With all of that being said, there is an exciting weekend of heart-pounding hockey ahead that you do not want to miss.

The exciting hockey action starts out on Friday, February 22, 2019, when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers cross enemy lines and invade the Dunk in Providence, Rhode Island. The weekend continues when the Providence Bruins take their show on the road to take on the Hartford Wolfpack at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut. Finally, the weekend wraps up with some more home cooking when the Hartford Wolfpack make their way to the Dunkin Donuts Center. It’s going to be a jam-packed weekend of must-see hockey. Hopefully, the Baby B’s can turn their play around from the last couple games and grab at least four points this week.

Friday, February 22, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (HOME)

The weekend match-up will mark the 10th time that these two teams have met, and all the games have been closely contented games with five of the seven games going to overtime or shoot-out. The first game of the season series saw the Sound Tigers beat the Bruins 4-3 in overtime with the spoked P getting goals from the recently departed Colby Cave (2), and Jakub Zboril with goalie Dan Vladar playing well turning away 30 of 34 shots he faced. The next meeting saw the Providence club win 5-2 getting goals from Cameron Hughes, Colby Cave, Trent Frederic (2), and the now departed Jan Kovar. Goalie Zane McIntyre looked good in net stopping 25 of the 27 shots he faced.

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

The next meeting between the two teams had the puck bounce the Bruins way as they won 2-1 in overtime getting goals from Wiley Sherman, and Ryan Fitzgerald (OT). Goalie Dan Vladar was excellent in net stopping 29 of the 30 shots he faced. The sixth game of the season series saw the Baby B’s fell in overtime 4-3 getting goals from Anton Blidh, Peter Cehlarik, and Kyle Cumiskey with goalie Dan Vladar stopping 13 of 17 shots he faced. Part seven of the season series saw the Bruins fall 4-3 in a shoot-out getting goals from Jordan Szwarz, Mark McNeill, and Zach Senyshyn while goalie Dan Vladar stopped 12 of the 15 shots that came his way.

The season series continued on Friday, February 8, 2019, when the Providence Bruins beat the Sound Tigers 2-1 getting goals from Captain Jordan Szwarz, and Connor Clifton. Goalie Zane McIntyre was excellent in the net stopping 25 of the 26 shots that were fired his way. The most recent game of the season series was the very next nice and it saw the Baby B’s fall to Bridgeport 4-2 with the Bruins getting goals from Emil Johansson and Cameron Hughes. Net-minder Dan Vladar played admirably in net stopping 22 of the 25 shots that came his way. It’s been an exciting season series, and game 10 should not disappoint.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers come into the game 30-18-5-2 (67 points) and 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. The Providence Bruins had an up and down season against the Islanders’ affiliate this year going 4-1-3-1. However, over the past five years, the Baby B’s have seen success against the Bridgeport club going 24-17-5-3 including 16-6-2 at home in that time frame. This bodes well for the weekend match-up. Major keys to this game will be special teams and getting a keeping a lead early.

The Sound Tigers have the eighth-ranked power play in the Atlantic Division, and 13th ranked in the Eastern Conference at 17.4%. Meanwhile, the Islanders’ affiliate has the fifth-ranked penalty kill in the Atlantic Division, and ninth-ranked in the Eastern Conference at 80.7% On the flipside the Providence Bruins have the fifth-best power play in the Atlantic Division and the 10th ranked in the Eastern Conference at 18.0%. Their penalty kill is much stronger boasting the best in the Atlantic Division as well as the Eastern Conference at 86.3%. In terms of grabbing an early lead and keeping it, the Sound Tigers are 14-3-3-1 when leading after the first period and 15-2-4-2 when leading after two. The Baby B’s are 11-5-2 when leading after one, and 21-3-2-1 when leading after two. It should be a closely contested game between the two clubs.

Saturday, February 22, 2019 (AWAY) and Sunday, February 23, 2019 (HOME) Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolfpack

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

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

More recently, the sixth meeting of the year could not have gone better for the spoked P, winning the game 5-1. The Bruins got goals from Peter Cehlarik (2), Emil Johansson, Gemel Smith, and Jordan Szwarz. Goalie Zane McIntyre looked excellent in net stopping 15 of 16 shots he faced. The two teams seventh battle royale saw the Baby B’s score in bunches winning 6-3 getting goals from Peter Cehlarik, Jordan Szwarz, Karson Kuhlman, Anton Blidh, Mark McNeill, and Chris Breen. Zane McIntyre was up to the challenge in net for Providence stopping 15 of 18 shots he faced. The most recent throw-down saw our boys in black and gold win 5-2 getting goals from Paul Carey (3), Karson Kuhlman, and Connor Clifton. Goaltender Zane McIntyre was fantastic in net turning away 23 of the 25 shots that were sent his way.

The Hartford Wolfpack came into the weekend series 21-25-5-3 (50 points) and 2-5-2-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for eighth in the Atlantic Division and 16th in the Eastern Conference. The Baby B’s have had an up and down season against Hartford this year going 4-3-1. Despite this, the Providence club has enjoyed some success at home against the Rangers’ affiliate over the past five seasons going 21-13-4-2 overall. Getting a lead early on, and keeping it is going to play a major factor in this game. The Bruins are 12-5-2 when leading after one period, and 21-3-2-1 when leading after two periods. At the other end, the Wolf Pack are 10-2 when leading after one period and 13-2-2-2 when leading after two periods. If our boys in black and gold can grab a lead early and hold onto it, they stand a fantastic shot at coming out of the weekend series with four points.

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

Hot

Jakub ZborilJakub Zboril has had a good year so far for the Providence Bruins despite some injury. The QJMHL product has played in 34 games for the Baby B’s already matching last year’s goal total of four while also dishing out nine assists for 13 points. This is a point per game total of 0.38 which is higher than his last year total of 0.27 (4-15-19 in 68 games played). To top it off he has four points in his last 6 games played finding the back of the net once and tallying three assists in that time frame. He has done all of this while playing good defense. Hopefully, the young defenseman can keep up his play this weekend.

Gemel Smith: It seems like Gemel Smith is on the hot category for the Bruins every week, but that just shows how good the young forward has been since coming over in a December trade with Dallas. In 25 games with the Baby B’s the OHL product has netted nine goals and tallied 14 assists for 23 total points. That is a point per game total of 0.92. That is much higher than his OHL days of 0.77 (89-114-203 in 264 games played). To top it off he has registered a point in eight of his last ten games finding the back of the net three times and dishing out eight assists for eleven total points in that time frame. It’s safe to say that we should look for him to have a good weekend.

Not

Paul Carey: Paul Carey has been very good for Providence since coming over in a trade with Ottawa. He has netted six goals while tallying four assists for ten total points in 12 games. However, the former Boston College Eagle and two-time NCAA Champion have hit a cold spell only netting one goal and dishing out one assist for two points in his last six games. Hopefully, the veteran forward can find his stride this weekend.

Ryan Fitzgerald: Fitzgerald has had a good year for the Providence Bruins potting seven goals and dishing out 21 assists for 28 total points in 40 games played. That is a point per game total of 0.70. The former Boston College Eagle had a point per game total of 0.87 (66-66-132 in 152 games played) during his NCAA days. Now, he did recently come back from an injury that saw him miss about a month, but since coming back from injury, he has only tallied two assists and hasn’t scored a goal since December 1, 2018. Hopefully the young forward can snap out of it and have a good weekend for Providence.

My players to watch this weekend

Up Front

Cameron Hughes: Hughes has had an excellent first full season with Providence netting 13 goals and dishing out 15 assists for 28 total points in 52 games played. That’s a point per game total of 0.53. He’s played especially good against the two Connecticut teams Bridgeport and Hartford. In 17 games played against the two teams, the former University of Wisconsin Captain has found the back of the net five times and dished out six assists for eleven total points. That means 39% of the points he’s scored have come against these two teams. Look for him to have another big weekend.

On the Blue Line

Kyle Cumiskey: Cumiskey has had a very good season since coming over to Providence mid-season. The veteran defenseman has netted three goals while dishing out 13 assists for 16 total points in 28 games played. This is a point per game total of 0.57. The WHL product has been especially good against Bridgeport and Hartford in 11 games against the two teams this year he has found the back of the net two times while tallying eight assists for ten total points. That means an eye-popping 62.5% of the points he has scored have come against these two teams. Look for the gritty defenseman to have a big weekend for the Baby B’s.

In Net

Zane McIntyre: McIntyre was on an insane hot streak. He had won 13 starts in a row before having a bad game and losing Sunday against Springfield. The veteran goaltender has really solidified the goalie position for Providence as well as being an anchor for the defense has a whole. He is a big reason why the team is in a playoff spot. I would look for him to have a bounce-back weekend after losing his win streak.

The Providence Bruins are currently sitting in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference after having their first rough weekend in six weeks. Despite this, the Baby B’s remain only five points out of the fourth-place spot in the Eastern Conference. This weekend is an excellent chance for the boys in black and gold to gain some ground in the East. With two of the three games this weekend coming against a team that has a worse record I would look for the spoked P to at least grab four out of a six possible points. We will catch up with you next week to let you know how the team fared but feel free to send any questions or comments to me on Twitter. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and Go, B’s, Go!

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

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

Click Here for The Providence Bruins Schedule and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com

Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 19 Preview

PBruinsvSpringfield

Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 19 of the Providence Bruins season is upon us, and our favorite AHL team has a jam-packed weekend ahead. The spoked P comes into the game 26-17-6-1 (59 points) and 8-1-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. This past weekend the boys in black and gold saw their 12-point streak come to an end, but they followed that up with an impressive shutout against the Syracuse Crunch. Hopefully, that is the start of another long point streak. Let’s get into what is on tap for the Baby B’s this weekend.

The Bruins have a weekend full of home cooking ahead. It all starts out on Friday, February 15, 2019, when the Toronto Marlies come into town for their only game at the Dunk this year. The weekend action continues Saturday, February 16, 2019, when the Charlotte Checkers come to town to finish up the season series between the two clubs. Finally, the Dunkin Donuts Center is sure to be rocking on Sunday, February 16, 2019, when familiar foe the Springfield Thunderbirds make their way to Providence. It’s going to be a great weekend of fast-paced, exciting hockey that you do not want to miss.

Friday, February 15, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Toronto Marlies (HOME)

The Friday match-up marks the second meeting between the two hockey clubs this season. The Marlies are in the North Division, so because of that the Baby B’s only play them twice during the year. Once at home and once on the road. The first meeting between the two clubs saw the Bruins blank the Maple Leafs’ affiliate 5-0 getting goals from Jordan Szwarz, Zach Senyshyn (2), Karson Kuhlman, and Anders Bjork. Meanwhile, goalie Zane McIntyre was excellent in net turning away all 35 shots he faced. Over the past five seasons, our boys in black and gold have had some good success against the Toronto hockey club with a record of 4-2-1 overall and 2-1 at home. This bodes well for the spoked P on Friday night.

The Toronto Marlies come into the game 25-17-5-3 (58 points) and 5-2-2-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the North Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. There are going to be a few major keys to this game. The first thing is playing total team defense. Like the Bruins’ last opponent, the Syracuse Crunch the Toronto hockey club scores goals, a lot of goals. In their 50 games played they’ve scored 176 goals. That’s a whopping 3.52 goals a game. Now the reason why total team defense is going to be key for the Baby B’s is that the Maple Leafs’ affiliate has eight players with a point per game total of 0.58 or higher. This means you have shut down more than just one line. Luckily for the Boston affiliate, they have excellent team defense giving up 137 goals in 50 games which 2.74 goals a game.

Another major key to the game will be special teams. The Toronto Marlies boast the top-ranked power play in the North Division and the second-ranked in the entire Eastern Conference at 23%. Meanwhile, the Providence Bruins are equipped with the second-ranked penalty kill in the Atlantic Division as well as the entire Eastern Conference. This plays back into the first key I touched on which was team defense being essential to shutting down the Toronto Squad. Finally, it’s imperative that the Baby B’s have a lead when the second period ends. When leading after two, the spoked P is 20-3-2-1, and the Toronto affiliate is 18-0-1-1. Being on the right side of these battles Friday night will almost guarantee a victory for the boys in black and gold.

Saturday, February 16, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Charlotte Checkers (HOME) 

The Saturday match-up will mark the eighth time these two teams have faced each other, and things haven’t gone the Providence club’s way. In the first installment of the season series, the Carolina Hurricanes’ affiliate beat the Baby B’s 4-3 with the Bruins getting goals from the now departed Jan Kovar, Trent Frederic, and Jordan Szwarz. Meanwhile, goalie, Dan Vladar had a rough night in net turning away 20 of the 24 shots he faced. The second meeting did not yield better results for our boys in black and gold as the Checkers won 3-2 with the Bruins getting goals from Peter Cehlarik and Ryan Fitzgerald while goalie, Zane McIntyre played valiantly stopping 17 of 20 shots in the loss.

The third match-up between the two clubs saw the spoked P finally break through winning 2-1. They got goals from Peter Cehlarik and Jordan Szwarz. Zane McIntyre was superb in net turning away 25 of the 26 shots that were fired his way. The fourth installment between these two teams the Baby B’s fell in OT to Charlotte 3-2 getting goals from Jordan Szwarz and Trent Frederic. Zane McIntyre was great in net again, turning away 44 of the 47 shots he faced, and he pitched in with the rare goalie assist.

The fifth meeting between the two clubs saw the spoked P beat the Hurricanes’ affiliate 5-3 with the Bruins getting goals from Trent Frederic (2), Gemel Smith, Paul Carey, and Karson Kuhlman. Zane McIntyre was very good in net turning away 24 of the 27 shots he faced. In the six games of the season series, The Bruins beat the Checkers 2-1 in overtime getting goals from Ryan Donato, and Cameron Hughes (OT GW). Goalie Zane McIntyre was superb in net stopping 28 of the 29 shots he faced. The last grudge match saw the Baby B’s beat Charlotte 1-0 in overtime getting their game-winning goal from Gemel Smith. Goalie Dan Vladar was excellent in net turning away all 37 shots he faced.

The Charlotte Checkers come into the game 32-13-6-1 (71 points) and 2-4-3-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for first in the Atlantic Division as well as the Eastern Conference. The Baby B’s have had success against Charlotte not only this year but over the past five seasons. This year the spoked P is 4-2-1 against the Carolina affiliate and 6-4-1 over the past five seasons. Some major keys to this match-up are scoring early and keeping that lead. The Checkers are 16-3-1-1 when leading after the first period and 21-0-0-0 when leading after two periods. Meanwhile, our boys in black and gold are 12-5-2 when leading after one period and 20-3-2-1 when leading after two periods. Another major key is out-shooting the opponent. Both teams have great records when out-shooting the team they’re playing the Providence hockey club is 17-11-3-1 meanwhile the Charlotte team is 15-9-4-1. The season series between the two teams has been grueling, and the final game of the series will be nothing short of that.

Sunday, February 17, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (HOME) 

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

The third game of the season series saw the Bruins finally break through and get a win beating the Thunderbirds 5-4. The boys in black and gold got goals from Mark McNeill, Karson Kuhlman, Peter Cehlarik, Jordan Szwarz, and Connor Clifton while Dan Vladar stopped 22 of 26 shots he faced. The next installment of the season series did not go according to plan for the spoked P as they fell to the Springfield club 5-3. Bruins got goals from Zach Senyshyn, Gemel Smith, and Jordan Szwarz. Meanwhile, goalie Dan Vladar was a little off his game despite facing a barrage of shots stopping 34 of 39 he faced. Part five of the season series was a good one for the boys in black and gold. The Bruins beat the Thunderbirds 4-3 getting goals from Peter Cehlarik (2), Trent Frederic, and Paul Carey. Meanwhile, goalie Zane McIntyre continued to play well as he turned away 19 of the 22 shots he faced.

The sixth part in the season series saw the Panthers’ affiliate beat the spoked P 3-2 in overtime. The Baby B’s were able to get goals from Gemel Smith, and Cameron Hughes with Dan Vladar giving a tremendous effort in net stopping 38 of the 41 shots he faced. The seventh showdown saw the boys in black and gold win 2-1 in a shootout getting goals from Karson Kuhlman, and Trent Frederic netted the winning shootout goal. Zane McIntyre was excellent in net turning away 23 of the 24 shots he faced. The most recent throw-down between the two clubs saw the Providence hockey club win 3-2 getting goals from Mark McNeill, Gemel Smith, and Zach Senyshyn. Goalie Zane McIntyre was great in net stopping 22 of 24 shots that came his way.

The Springfield Thunderbirds come into the game 21-20-6-4 (52 points) and 3-6-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference. The Baby B’s have had a good amount of success against the Panthers’ affiliate over the past five years with a record of 21-10-3 and 4-3-1 this season. Defense again will play a major role in who wins this game. The Thunderbirds have scored 170 goals in the 50 games they’ve played this season which is 3.33 goals a game their problem is they’ve given up 171 goals in that time frame as well which is 3.35 per game. As I stated earlier the preview, Providence’s defense is quite good giving up only 2.74 goals a game. Their offense is no slouch either scoring 3.30 goals a game. The other big key is again who had the lead after two periods. Despite their position in the standings the club from Springfield Massachusetts is 16-1-1 when leading after two periods and 0-18-1-1 when down after two periods. It should be an exciting game to end the jam-packed hockey weekend.

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

Hot

Zane McIntyre: The recent point streak the Providence Bruins went on, and their climb in the standings was in large part thanks to McIntyre. The University of North Dakota alum has been excellent recently. Over his past 11 games, the veteran net-minder is 11-0-0 turning away 241 of the 260 shots that came his way for a save percentage of .927 and goals against average of 1.70. It cannot be overstated how he has played recently. It seems like he took the quote “new year, new me” to heart and really turned around not only his season but the Baby B’s season as well.

Gemel Smith: Gemel Smith has been nothing short of excellent since coming over to Providence. The gritty forward was acquired from Dallas in December and after three games with the big club in Boston, was sent down to Providence. Since then the OHL product has played in 22 games for the Baby B’s netting nine goals while dishing out 12 assists for 21 total points. That is a point per game total of 0.95 which is higher than his OHL days of 0.77 (89-114-203 in 264 games played). To top all of that off, he has registered a point in six of his last seven games in which he has found the back of the net three times and tallied six assists for nine total points.

Not

Kyle Cumiskey: Cumiskey has been pretty good for Providence since joining the team. However, the veteran defenseman is on a bit of a cold streak. The WHL product has only registered a point in one of his last six games dishing out two assists in that time frame. He also hasn’t found the back of the net since December 15, 2018. Despite the cold streak, he still is scoring at a point per game clip of 0.55 (3-13-16 in 29 games). This is higher than his AHL career of 0.48 (25-97-122 in 253 games played) as well as his WHL career of 0.45 (12-67-79 in 177 games played).

Mark McNeill: Mark McNeill has proven to be streaky for Providence this season. On the year he does have stats of 7-15-22 in 37 games played. This is a point per game total of 0.59. This is slightly higher than his AHL career of 0.57 (96-119-215 in 380 games played) and lower than his WHL days of 0.88 (97-146-243 in 276 games played). Despite this, the gritty forward has only registered one point in his last six games. The Baby B’s offense has still been clicking recently; however, with Kuhlman getting called up to Boston, Providence will need someone to pick up the mantle in the scoring department. McNeill could help do that.

My players to watch this weekend

Up Front

Jordan SzwarzSzwarz has had a good season for Providence this year. The Baby B’s Captain has netted 15 goals while dishing 11 assists for 26 total points in 43 games played. This is a point per game total of 0.60. This is right on par with his AHL career of 0.59 (105-135-240 in 407 games played), but lower than his OHL days of 0.78 (82-122-204 in 262 games played). On top of that, the gritty forward has been especially good against Charlotte, Springfield, and Toronto this season. In 15 games against those teams this season he has found the back of the net six times while dishing out four assists good for ten points against them this year. That means 38% of his points have come against these three teams. Look for the Captain to have a big weekend.

On the Blue Line

Urho VaakanainenUrho Vaakanainen has been good in limited time for Providence this season. The young defenseman has only played in 16 games with the Baby B’s because earlier in the year he was called up to Boston and in his second game with the big club, he got an elbow to the head leaving him concussed. After recovering from the injury, he then played for Finland in the World Junior Championships where he helped lead his team to the gold medal. Not only has he played well since returning to the spoked P, but three of his eight assists on the season have come in the four games against Springfield he’s played this season. Look for the future star to have a good weekend.

In Net

Zane McIntyre: I know it was stated earlier in the preview how good Zane has been for Providence, but he’s been so good that the numbers bear repeating. He was won his last 11 games that he’s played in while stoning 241 of 260 shots faced in that time frame. That’s good for a save percentage of .927 and goals against average of 1.70. He has also been especially good at home this season. With all three of the weekend games being played at the Dunk look for the veteran net-minder to continue his scorching hot play.

The Providence Bruins had their 12-game point streak snapped last Saturday night. However, they followed that up by shutting out one of the best offenses in the AHL the very next day when they beat Syracuse. That shows the heart of this team. It is very easy after losing a long point streak to let things snowball in the wrong direction. Instead of letting that happen, the Baby B’s had one of their best games of the season right after. The three games the boys in black and gold play this weekend are winnable. The toughest one coming Saturday when they take on Charlotte. I would expect the Bruins to secure at least four points this weekend continuing their hot play. We will catch up with you next week to let you know how the team fared but feel free to send any questions or comments to me on Twitter. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and Go, B’s, Go!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 17 Recap

( Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins played two games in week 17, and both were on the road in Charlotte, North Carolina. As an avid follower and viewer of the top minor-pro affiliate of the Boston Bruins, going into this weekends action had me feeling like we were going in the bowls of hell heading into Bojangles’ Coliseum for two contests at the home of the AHL’s best Charlotte Checkers. The Checkers club has a 2018-19 season record of 31-11-6-0 sitting at the top of the Eastern Conference with 68 points in 48 games played and a home record of 13-5-4.

The team from Rhode Island as I’ve mentioned in previous weekly recaps have played tremendously better since the start of 2019 earning points in the last 11 games climbing the Conference standings with a 24-16-6-1 record in 47 games and good enough for third in the Atlantic and fifth in the Eastern Conference and in the Calder Cup Playoff picture with 29 games remaining. The B’s offense has really stepped it up, and the backend has certainly taken notice as things are seriously coming together and head coach Jay Leach finally has the chemistry he’s been looking for at the first half of the season to try and keep the playoff dreams alive with a seventh straight appearance. Notably on the backend is goaltender Zane McIntyre who’s as focused as I’ve ever seen him since landing in Providence after a successful four-year career with North Dakota University.

In my opinion, since the 2019 calendar year started, it seems like this Providence club is so dialed in that they can literally play any opposing system and evaluate quickly when down on the scoresheet or moments of even play. For instance, this Bruins team was not intimidated at all from this weekends action against the Checkers. Great goaltending from MacIntyre and rookie Dan Vladar but played a very stingy defensive style with an emphasis on not letting pucks by and quick zone transition. On the other hand, this B’s team can bury the puck when needed outscoring their opponents since the start of January going 45 for 30 in 13 games. The AHL is a complete gamble league when you operate on a three-day schedule, so I’m not going to mail in a Calder Cup Championship prediction, but as I continue to watch I’ll be optimistic because of the previous first half Jeykl and Hyde ways,

Well enough about my thoughts and onto the week that was from our Providence Bruins. Enjoy!

Friday, February 1st, 2019, Providence Bruins Vs. The Charlotte Checkers (Road)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The Bruins came into Charlotte earning points in the last nine games and even though I mentioned one the bowls of hell earlier, I was pleasantly surprised how the B’s came into the game and ready to play. In front of a really good crowd of 8,076, the B’s would be down in shots after the first period 6-8 but inspiring play with no score from either team in the opening back and forth opening frame.

In the second period, B’s prospect Ryan Donato scored his sixth of the season with excellent D-Zone transitioning from defenseman Conor Clifton and veteran forward Paul Carey who in turn had the vision and hockey IQ along the half wall to rifle a pass completely through the neutral zone to a streaking Donato. Once Donato received the pass from Carey, he crossed the line and unselfishly surveyed the offensive zone at a slow pace then took advantage of the traffic in front of goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic to snipe a top-shelf second-period 1-0 lead at the 19:45 mark.

Unfortunately, with the way MacIntyre played in this game it seemed like the B’s let up off the gas a little and let the Checkers get back in the game with a power-play goal at the 19:33 mark of the third period forcing overtime. In this game, it would be late period heroics throughout the contest, but to every game, there must be a victor!

With ten seconds remaining in overtime Bruins forward Cameron Hughes wound up making a last-ditch effort going north to south to win the game. The rookie Hughes had the smarts to move the puck to Donato who just stepped onto the ice for a new shift and crossed the blueline heading towards the opposing net. Hughes with a never quit attitude powered forward to get into the play which was a two on one that started in the neutral zone. With a pass from Donato that actually hit a Checker’s defenders stick and went through the legs of another defenseman, the puck somehow landed on Cameron’s stick for the tap in under the netminder’s pad overtime winner.

As mentioned Providence Goaltender Zane McIntyre was sensational along with counterpart Nedeljkovic at the other end of the sheet. Zane stopped 28 of 29 Checker shots for the win and his ninth straight victory. McIntyre is 17-8-3 with a goals-against-average of 2.67, and .890 save percentage. Mac’s 17 wins are ranked third in the AHL behind Nedeljkovic who leads with 21.

Saturday, February 2nd, 2019, Providence Bruins Vs. The Charlotte Checkers (Road)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

To many a scoreless game through 60 minutes might seem boring, but to me, this was a very exciting game right down to the final minutes. The third period is where I got a little concerned for the game after the first-period shots were tied at 11, the second period the B’s were up 11-10 but where I was on the edge of my seat nervous was the third period where the checkers took a 13-5 shot advantage.

Throughout the game, Providence starting goaltender Dan Vladar who hasn’t won a game in 2019 dating back to December 22nd, 2018, was absolutely on point in this game and by far the best outing of his rookie season. To compliment Vladar’s outstanding game against the best team in the AHL was the moment the game ended in 3vs3 overtime extra session.

With a faceoff to the right of goaltender Vladar in the defensive zone, Jakub Forsbacka Karlsson won the draw and got the puck to Urho Vaakanainen who was behind the play and ready for a quick transition.  The rookie Vaakanainen dished the puck up to JFK who was on the right side in the neutral zone with veteran Gemel Smith hustling up the left side to get into the play. JFK crosses the blueline and slows up when he notices he’s got a two on one and quickly sauced a pass under the defenders stick to Smith who wristed it past goaltender Scott Darling at the 1:36 mark of OT to win the game and sweep the weekend’s action in North Carolina.

Vladar, as mentioned, was stellar against the AHL’s best stopping all 37 Checkers shots that came his way. The 21-year-old netminder is now 7-8-4 on the season with a 2.67 goals-against-average, and .903 save percentage. This was Vladar’s second shutout of the season with his last coming back on December 5th, 2018, on the road in Toronto, Ontario against the Toronto Marlies.

Below are Mark Allred’s Top Three Goals Of Week 17!

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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 is upon us for the Providence Bruins. They come into it with a record of 22-16-6-1 (51 points) and 7-1-1-1 in their last 10 meetings. That includes a nine-game point streak in which the Baby B’s are 7-0-1-1. This has catapulted them into fourth place in the Atlantic Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. That spoked P is playing great hockey right now which is backed by the outstanding play of Karson Kuhlman and Zane McIntyre. They have another short weekend playing just two games for the second week in a row. I can assure though; these games are ones you will not want to miss.

The action kicks off on Friday, February 1, 2019, when the Providence Bruins travel down to Charlotte, North Carolina to take on the home team Eastern Conference-leading Checkers at Bojangles’ Coliseum. The weekend the wraps up on Saturday, February 2, 2019, with the Baby B’s staying in Charlotte to invade the Bojangles’ Coliseum once again to take on the Checkers for the second night in a row. It’ll be a tough test for the boys in black and gold, but I think they will be up for the challenge.

Friday, February 1, 2019, and Saturday, February 2, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Charlotte Checkers (AWAY)

The weekend series will mark the six and seventh times these two teams have faced each other, and things haven’t gone the Providence club’s way. In the first installment of the season series, the Carolina Hurricanes’ affiliate beat the Baby B’s 4-3 with the Bruins getting goals from the now departed Jan Kovar, Trent Frederic, and Jordan Szwarz. Meanwhile, goalie, Dan Vladar had a rough night in net turning away 20 of the 24 shots he faced. The second meeting did not yield better results for our boys in black and gold as the Checkers won 3-2 with the Bruins getting goals from Peter Cehlarik and Ryan Fitzgerald while goalie, Zane McIntyre played valiantly stopping 17 of 20 shots in the loss.

The third match-up between the two clubs saw the spoked P finally break through winning 2-1. They got goals from Peter Cehlarik and Jordan Szwarz. Zane McIntyre was superb in net turning away 25 of the 26 shots that were fired his way. More recently the Baby B’s fell in OT to Charlotte 3-2 getting goals from Jordan Szwarz and Trent Frederic. Zane McIntyre was great in net again, turning away 44 of the 47 shots he faced, and he pitched in with the rare goalie assist. The last meeting between the two clubs saw the spoked P beat the Hurricanes’ affiliate 5-3 with the Bruins getting goals from Trent Frederic (2), Gemel Smith, Paul Carey, and Karson Kuhlman. Zane McIntyre was very good in net turning away 24 of the 27 shots he faced.

The Charlotte Checkers come into the weekend 31-11-4 (66 points) and 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for first place in the Atlantic Division as well as first place in the Eastern Conference. The Checkers moved to Charlotte in 2010 from Albany, NY where they were the River Rats. Since making North Carolina their home, the Hurricanes’ affiliate has a record of 5-3-0-1 against our Bruins including a 3-0-0-1 record at the Biscuit. It should be a big test for the Baby B’s who have played extremely well recently. Their nine-game point streak has seen them jump into a playoff spot. These games could measure how far the Providence club has come since the start of the season.

There are a few major keys to the games this weekend that we should keep a lookout for. First, as with most match-ups, special teams are going to be key. The Providence Bruins boast the fifth best power play unit in the Eastern Conference with 20.7%. On top of that, they have the second-best penalty kill unit in the Eastern Conference at 86.6%. The Checkers, on the other hand, have the 13th best power play unit in the Eastern Conference at 17.6% and the third-ranked penalty kill at 84.2%. Another key is going to be which team is going to be able to out-shoot the other. The Baby B’s are 15-11-3-1 when they out-shoot their opponent and Charlotte is 15-7-3.

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

Hot

Zach SenyshynSenyshyn has had an up and down season. He’s been streaky ever since coming to Providence from the OHL. Recently though, he’s played a lot better and has really been able to show his speed and play-making ability. Over his past four games, he has netted two goals while dishing out two assists for four points. Overall on the season, he has stats of 13-7-20 in 40 games played. This is a point per game average of 0.50 which is down from his OHL career of 0.91 (114-63-177 in 195 games played), but it is up from his career AHL total of 0.43 (25-21-46 in 106 games played).

Gemel Smith: Smith was acquired by Boston and sent down to Providence back in December. Since then he has been excellent for the Baby B’s. He has played in 17 games and netted eight goals while dishing out 8 assists. That’s 16 points in 17 games for a point per game total of 0.94. This includes two goals and two assists in his last four games. The young forward’s point per game total is closer to his OHL playing days of 0.77 (89-114-203 in 264 games) than it is to his AHL career of 0.50 (43-59-102 in 203 games played)

Not

Austin FytenFyten has skated into a bit of a cold spell recently. The gritty forward has not registered a point since January 5, 2019. So far on the year, the WHL product has netted three goals while dishing out six assists for nine total points in 40 games. This is a point per game total of 0.22. This is much lower than his WHL days of 0.63 (55-67-122 in 193 games played). It’s also much lower than his ECHL days of 0.72 (32-45-77 in 107 games played). Hopefully, the veteran forward can pick up his play and find himself in the hot category sometime soon.

Dan VladarThe young goalie has had an up and down season for Providence. He seems to be a streaky goalie who is on a cold streak right now. In his last five games, he has a record of 1-2-2. In the time frame, he has turned away 123 of the 140 shots he faced for a .878 save percentage and goals against average of 3.33. With Zane McIntyre up in Boston because of injury, the Baby B’s may need to rely on Vladar to find his game for the near future.

My players to watch for the Bruins

Up Front

Paul Carey: Carey has had an excellent season in the AHL this year. He was acquired from Ottawa on January 12, 2019, and the former Boston College Eagle and two-time NCAA Champion has not disappointed. In seven games with the Baby B’s the veteran forward has netted five goals and dished out three assists for eight total points. He has been especially good against the Charlotte Checkers this year. He has played in five games against them this season. The first four were for the Ottawa Senators’ affiliate, Belleville. In those five games, he has netted two goals and dished out three assists for five points. This includes one goal and one assist for Providence their last meeting with Charlotte. Look for him to have a big weekend.

On the Blue Line

Jakub ZborilZboril has had a pretty good season for Providence thus far. He has stats of 3-8-11 on the year while playing good defense. In the team’s last game against Springfield, he dished out two assists getting on the score sheet for the first time January 6,2019. That game against the Thunderbirds is the type of game that can catapult players into a hot streak. I have a feeling with how Zboril has played this season for the Baby B’s that it will do just that. Look for him to have a big weekend.

In Net

Dan VladarWith Zane McIntyre in Boston on an emergency basis because of a Tuukka Rask concussion we may see Vladar in both games this weekend. As stated earlier his last five games have not been pretty going 1-2-2 with a .878 save percentage and 3.33 goals against average. If these Bruins want to continue their point streak, Vladar is going to have to find his game and play well against Charlotte. Luckily this year, the young goalie has been better on the road than at home.

The Providence Bruins have a tough task ahead of them this weekend playing the Eastern Conference-leading Charlotte Checkers in back to back games on the road. It will be a chance for the team and our fans to see where the Baby B’s truly are in terms of being contenders for the Calder Cup. I think if the boys in black and gold can come out of the weekend with at least one win then it will bode well for their chances moving forward. We will catch up with you next week to let you know how the team fared but feel free to send any questions or comments to me on Twitter. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and Go, B’s, Go!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 14 Preview

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Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hot 

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

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

Not 

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

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

My players to watch this weekend 

Up Front 

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

On the Blue Line 

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

In Net 

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

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

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