Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 22 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

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

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

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

 

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

The Saturday matchup will be the 10th of 14 these two teams will have. In the first meeting, the Bruins would fall 5-2, getting goals from Peter Cehlarik and Anders Bjork. Goalie Dan Vladar was subpar in net stopping 23 of the 28 shots fired his way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

The Sunday matchup will mark the eighth of 10 meetings the two teams will have this year. In the first meeting, the Bruins would fall 2-1. Providence got their lone goal from Jack Studnicka. Goalie Kyle Keyser was up to the task in net stopping 23 of 25 shots that were fired his way. The second battle saw the Bruins win 4-3 in a shootout. They got goals from Scott Conway, Jack Studnicka, and Robert Lantosi. Max Lagace was able to stop 35 of the 38 shots he faced.

The third game saw the Bruins fall 5-2. They received goals from Ryan Fitzgerald and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Kyle Keyser was able to stop 24 of 28 shots he faced. The fourth battle saw the Providence Bruins fall 4-1. They got their lone goal from Cameron Hughes. Goalie Max Lagace stopped 18 of 22 shots he faced.

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

The battle with the Hartford club is going to be challenging. The Rangers’ affiliate comes into the game 30-14-6-5 (71 points), including 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. Even though it’ll be a tough game, there is hope for the Bruins.

Over the past five seasons, our boys in black and gold have gone 22-17-4-2, including 8-10-3-1 on the road. The Wolf Pack has seen success this season thanks to a stifling defense. They’ve given up only 152 goals in 55 games. That means they are only giving up 2.76 goals a game. Providence, on the other hand, has scored 179 goals in 56 games. That’s 3.19 goals a game. It’ll be a tough battle between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

 

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

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

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

Not

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

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

 

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

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

On The Blue Line

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

In Net

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

 

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

 

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 21 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 21 of the AHL season as arrived. The Providence Bruins are looking to maintain their playoff position as teams make a final push towards the post-season. The Bruins skate into the week 29-18-3-3 (64 points) and 6-2-1-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a week that saw them beat Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 4-2. They would also beat Laval 3-0 before beating Bridgeport 3-2.

The hockey action starts on Saturday, February 22, 2020, when the Springfield Thunderbirds invade Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. The action continues on Sunday, February 23, 2020, when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins come to town to take on the Providence club at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The action wraps up on Wednesday, February 26, 2020, when the Providence Bruins invade Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pennsylvania, to take on the Penguins at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Saturday, February 22, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (HOME)

The Saturday matchup will be the ninth of 14 these two teams will have. In the first meeting, the Bruins would fall 5-2, getting goals from Peter Cehlarik and Anders Bjork. Goalie Dan Vladar was subpar in net stopping 23 of the 28 shots fired his way.

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

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

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

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

The Springfield Thunderbirds come into the game 28-23-2 (58 points) and 5-5 in their last 10 games. This is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, this is still a favorable matchup for the Providence Bruins. Over the past five seasons, the Bruins are 28-15-5 against the Panthers’ affiliate, including 14-8-2 at home.

The Thunderbirds have been winning with excellent defense. They’ve only given up 160 goals in 53 games while scoring 168. This is a plus-eight goal differential. This also means they are only giving up 3.01 goals a game while scoring 3.16. The Springfield club is 7-3 when leading after the first period. They are also 19-2 when leading after two periods. On the flip side, they are 5-10 when trailing after one period. They are also 1-17-1 when trailing after two periods.

To give some perspective to those numbers, The Bruins have given up 138 goals in 53 games while scoring 164. That is a +26 goal differential. That means they are only giving up 2.60 goals a game while scoring 3.09. The Providence club is 17-0 when leading after one period and 24-0 when leading after two. However, they are 3-11-1-1 when trailing after the first period and 1-14-1-2 when trailing after two. These two teams are evenly matched and getting and sustaining an early lead, are imperative to winning.

Sunday, February 23, 2020 (HOME) and Wednesday, February 26, 2020 (AWAY), Providence Bruins vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

The home and home series will be the fourth and fifth of six matchups these two teams will have this season. In the first meeting, the Bruins won 6-0. They got goals from Tommy Marchin (2), Pavel Shen, Robert Lantosi, Jack Studnicka, and Peter Cehlarik. Goalie Max Lagace was superb in net, stopping all 38 shots fired his way. The second game saw the Bruins get shutout 1-0. Dan Vladar stopped 19 of the 20 shots he faced.

The most recent meeting saw the Bruins win 4-2. Josiah Didier, Brendan Gaunce, Joona Koppanen, and Jack Studnicka scored goals for the Providence club. Max Lagace would go on to stop 28 of the 30 shots he faced in net.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins skate into the contest 25-20-3-5 (58 points) and 5-4-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for sixth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence Bruins have had some success against the Pittsburgh affiliate over the past five years, going 14-7-3-3.

This could be an opportunity for the Providence Bruins power-play to gain some momentum. The Penguins have taken 207 penalties in 51 games. That means they are giving up 3.98 penalties a game. They’ve also given up 38 goals out of those 207 penalty kill opportunities. That’s 81.6%, which is good for eighth in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. This seems like the perfect storm for the Providence club to gain confidence on the power-play.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is also excellent when they get an early lead and keep it. They are 12-2-1-1 when leading after the first period and 13-0-1-1 when they are leading after the second period. The home and home series should be a close one. These two games are ones the Providence Bruins need to win to maintain their playoff spot.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Brendan Gaunce: Brendan Gaunce is in his first season with the Providence Bruins. The veteran forward spent the beginning of his career in the Vancouver Canucks’ system. In 43 games this season, he’s netted 14 goals while dishing out 13 assists for 27 total points. This includes netting three goals and dishing out two assists for five total points in his last six games. He’s also coming off an excellent weekend that saw him net goals in all three games. Let’s hope he keeps it up.

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka is in his first full season with the Providence Bruins. The young forward is having an excellent season. He’s fully solidified himself as the Bruins’ top prospect. In 51 games this season, he’s netted 19 goals and dished out 20 assists for 39 total points. This includes netting five goals and dishing out four assists for nine total points in his last seven games. Studnicka is also coming off an excellent weekend that saw him record a point in all three games.

Not

Robert Lantosi: Robert Lantosi is another guy that is in his first season with the Providence Bruins. The young forward came to Providence after spending last season in Slovakia. In 44 games this season, he’s netted 10 goals while dishing out 18 assists for 28 total points. This includes dishing out three assists for three total points in his last eight games. Despite an overall excellent season, his production has slowed down. Let’s hope he can find his offensive game this weekend.

Paul Carey: Paul Carey is in his first season as the Providence Bruins’ Captain. Overall he’s had an excellent season. In 52 games, he’s netted 18 goals while dishing out 15 assists for 33 total points. This includes netting one goal and dishing out two assists for three total points in his last 10 games. Despite his All-Star season, his production has also slowed down a bit. Let’s hope the former Boston College Eagle can find his offensive game soon.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic has had an excellent season for the Providence Bruins. In 50 games, he’s netted seven goals while dishing out 19 assists for 26 total points. The 26 total points are a new career-best for the former University of Wisconsin Badger. The young forward has also played well against the Bruins’ two-weekend opponents. In 10 games against Springfield and Wilkes-Barre Scranton, he’s netted two goals while dishing out eight assists for 10 total points. Look for him this weekend.

On The Blue Line

Jakub Zboril: Jakub Zboril is a guy who has had an up and down season with Providence. In 49 games this season, he’s netted two goals and dished out 10 assists for 12 total points. Despite his offensive numbers not being there, he’s played better this year than last. In nine games against Springfield and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season, he’s netted one goal and dished out three assists for four total points. Look for him to have a big weekend.

In Net

Dan Vladar: Dan Vladar has been excellent this season. The young goalie was injured early in the year but came back strong after. On the year, he’s 8-7-1 with a 1.79 GAA and a save percentage of .936. Vladar has also played well against Springfield this season, going 3-1 with a 2.51 GAA and a .924 save percentage.

The Providence Bruins are sitting firmly in a playoff position. Their games this weekend are against teams below them in the standings. This means they should come away with at the very least four points when all is said and done. This would help cushion their spot in the Atlantic Division. It should be an exciting weekend of hockey that you do not want to miss. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 20 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 20 of the AHL season has arrived. The Providence Bruins skate into it 26-18-3-3 (58 points) and 4-3-2-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a tough week that saw them lose to Bridgeport 4-2, before losing to the same Sound Tigers’ club 2-1 in overtime. Our boys in black and gold have three games this weekend that they must win to maintain a playoff position.

The hockey action starts on Friday, February 14, 2020, when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins come to town to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The action continues on Sunday, February 16, 2020, when the Laval Rocket invades Providence, Rhode Island, to take on Bruins at the Dunk. The hockey fun wraps up on Monday, February 17, 2020, when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers come back town to take on the Providence club at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

Friday, February 14, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (HOME)

The Friday matchup marks the third of six these two teams will have this season. In the first meeting, the Bruins won 6-0. They got goals from Tommy Marchin (2), Pavel Shen, Robert Lantosi, Jack Studnicka, and Peter Cehlarik. Goalie Max Lagace was superb in net, stopping all 38 shots fired his way. The second game saw the Bruins get shutout 1-0. Dan Vladar stopped 19 of the 20 shots he faced.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins skate into the contest 25-18-3-5 (58 points) and 7-2-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence Bruins have had some success against the Pittsburgh affiliate over the past five years, going 13-7-3-3. This includes 7-1-1-3 in Providence.

This could be an opportunity for the Providence Bruins power-play to gain some momentum. The Penguins have taken 202 penalties in 51 games. That means they are giving up 3.98 penalties a game. They’ve also given up 37 goals out of those 199 penalty kill opportunities. That’s 81.7%, which is good for eighth in the Atlantic Division and 12th in the Eastern Conference. This seems like the perfect storm for the Providence club to gain confidence on the power-play.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is also excellent when they get an early lead and keep it. They are 12-2-1-1 when leading after the first period and 13-0-1-1 when they are leading after the second period. It should be a close game between these two division foes. This is a game the Providence Bruins need to win to maintain their playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

Sunday, February 16, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Laval Rocket (HOME)

The Sunday matchup is the fourth and final of four meetings between the two clubs. The Providence club lost the first meeting 5-4 in a shootout. They got goals from Peter Cehlarik (2), Paul Carey, and Brendan Gaunce. Goalie Max Lagace was less than stellar in net, turning away 14 of the 18 shots he faced.

Our boys in black and gold didn’t fare much better in the second meeting, losing 3-2. They got goals from Ryan Fitzgerald and Alex Petrovic. Goalie Max Lagace was better in net, stopping 27 of 30 shots fired his way. The most recent battle saw the Bruins fall 3-2 in a shootout. Peter Cehlarik and Paul Carey would score for Providence. Kyle Keyser would stop 25 of 27 shots he faced.

The Montreal affiliate is 23-20-5-2 (50 points) and 3-4-2-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fifth in the North Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, the Bruins have had trouble with Laval in the past. They’ve gone 2-2-0-3, including 1-1-0-1 at the Dunk. Even with the rough luck, I still believe our boys in black and gold should win this matchup.

Team defense and goaltending will be the two keys for Providence against Laval. The Laval club is giving up 3.12 goals a game. Their offense is scoring 2.92 goals a game. This means the Montreal Affiliate is giving up more goals than they’re scoring. Laval’s current goalies are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Cayden Primeau is having an excellent first season so far, going 12-7-3 with a 2.71 GAA and a save percentage of .899%. Keith Kinkaid is 3-7-2 with a 3.42 GAA and a save percentage of .877%.

To compare, the Bruins are giving up 2.68 goals a game. They’re also scoring 3.08 goals a game. This means our boys in black and gold are scoring .40 more goals a game than they’re giving up. Veteran goalie Max Lagace has had an excellent start, going 17-7-3 with a 2.48 GAA and a .916% save percentage with two shutouts. Dan Vladar has gone 7-7-1 with a 1.90 GAA and a .932% save percentage. This is another game Providence must win.

Monday, February 17, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (HOME)

The Monday match up will mark the 9th of 12 that these two teams will have this season. The first game saw the Bruins shutout the Sound Tigers 4-0, getting goals from Peter Cehlarik, Cameron Hughes, Robert Lantosi, and Ryan Fitzgerald. Goalie Max Lagace was excellent in net topping all 30 shots fired his way.

In the second meeting, the Providence club would win 4-1, getting goals from Joona Koppanen, Brendan Gaunce, Alex Petrovic, and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Max Lagace was fantastic in net stopping 31 of 32 shots fired his way. The most third meeting saw the Bruins lose 2-0. Goaltender Max Lagace was up to the task in net stopping 33 of 35 shots fired his way.

The fourth battle saw the Bruins win 5-0. Brendan Gaunce (2), Ryan Fitzgerald, Trent Frederic, and Jack Studnicka had goals. Max Lagace stopped all 17 shots fired his way. The fifth meeting saw the Bruins fall 2-1. Pavel Shen scored the Bruins lone goal. Dan Vladar would stop 24 of 26 shots he faced.

The sixth battle saw the Bruins win 3-1. Brett Ritchie (2), and Trent Frederic had goals. Max Lagace stopped 26 of the 27 shots he faced. The seventh matchup saw the Bruins lose 4-2. Jack Studnicka and Brendan Woods had the Bruins’ goals. Max Lagace stopped seven of 10 shots he faced. Dan Vladar stopped all 14 shots he faced. The most recent battle saw the Bruins lose 2-1 in overtime. Zach Senyshyn scored the Bruins lone goal. Dan Vladar stopped 25 of 27 shots fired his way.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers provide a favorable matchup for the Providence club. The Bridgeport club comes into the weekend 18-27-4-1 (41 points) and 5-5 in their last 10 games. This is good for eighth in the Atlantic Division and 16th in the Eastern Conference.  Furthermore, the Bruins are 25-19-7-3 against the Islanders’ affiliate over the past five seasons.

The biggest key to Bruins’ victory in these two games is taking an early lead and keeping it. The Sound Tigers are 2-14-2 when trailing after one and 1-19-2 when trailing after two. To add insult to injury, the Bridgeport club in 50 games has only scored 110 goals while giving up 159. Not only is this a horrendous -49 goal differential, but they’re only scoring 2.20 goals a game while giving up 3.18. They are giving up a full goal more than they are scoring. This isn’t a winning formula.

To compare, the Providence Bruins are 14-0 when leading after one period and 21-0 when leading after two periods. They’ve also scored 154 goals while giving up only 134 in 50 games. That means, not only do they have a +20 goal differential, but they are scoring 3.08 goals a game while only giving up 2.68. These are games that Providence must win. Bridgeport is not a good club at all.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka has been mentioned a lot this season. With good reason. The young forward is one of the top prospects in the Bruins’ system. He’s having an excellent first full professional season. In 48 games, he’s netted 18 goals while dishing out 18 assists for 36 total points. This includes netting four goals and dishing out six assists for 10 total points in his last eight games. Let’s hope Studnicka keeps his stellar play up.

Oskar Steen: Oskar Steen is a guy that had a lot of excitement surrounding him coming into the year. The young forward had an excellent season in Sweden last year. He was looking to build on that in Providence. Though he started out slow, in 48 games, he’s netted six goals and dished out 10 assists for 16 total points. This includes netting two goals and dishing out three assists for five total points in his last seven games. Let’s hope he keeps it up.

Not

Robert Lantosi: Robert Lantosi is another player in his first season with Providence. He came to the Bruins after spending the beginning of his career in his home country of Slovakia. In 42 games, he’s netting 10 goals while dishing out 17 assists for 27 total points. Despite those numbers, he’s only dished out two assists for two total points in his last six games. I have faith that this is nothing more than a minor bump in the road for Lantosi.

Paul Carey: The Bruins’ Captain has been excellent overall this season. In 49 games, he’s netted 17 goals while dishing out 15 assists for 32 total points. Despite this, he’s dished out two assists for two total points in his last seven games. The former Boston College Eagle will hopefully break out of this cold streak soon.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Zach Senyshyn: Zach Senyshyn has been the cause of many different arguments amongst Bruins’ fans. The young forward was playing well though points didn’t seem to indicate that. He was called up to Boston and then injured once in Boston. This was unfortunate because he was playing well with the big club. Since returning from injury, he’s played really well. In 30 games this season, he’s netted four goals while dishing out four assists for eight total points. Look for him this weekend.

On The Blue Line

Cooper Zech: Cooper Zech is another player in his first full season with Providence. The young defenseman was someone I was extremely excited about. Though he started out slow, the Ferris State University Alum has played well recently. In 35 games, he’s netted one goal while dishing out 10 assists for 11 total points. Look for him to have a big weekend.

In Net

Dan Vladar: Dan Vladar is having an excellent season for Providence. The young netminder started off slow before getting injured. Since returning from injury, he’s played on another level. He’s 7-7-1 on the year with a 1.90 GAA and a .932 save percentage. Look for him this weekend.

The Providence Bruins coming off a tough weekend where they lost two games against the worst team in the AHL. They are barely clinging to the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They will need to win all three games this weekend to build a cushion between them and the teams below them. The Providence club is better than each team they are playing. They will need to assert their dominance this weekend and come away with six points. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 19 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 19 of the AHL season has arrived. The Providence Bruins skate into it 26-17-2-3 (57 points)  and 6-2-1-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a week that saw them lose to Binghamton 3-1 before beating Syracuse 6-2. This weekend the Bruins have two exciting games that you will not want to miss.

The hockey action starts on Saturday, February 8, 2020, when the Providence Bruins travel to Bridgeport, Connecticut, to take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena. The weekend wraps up on Sunday, February 9, 2020, when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers invade Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

Saturday, February 8, 2020 (AWAY) and Sunday, February 9, 2020 (HOME), Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers

The weekend home and home series with mark the seven and eighth of 12 that these two teams will have this season. The first game saw the Bruins shutout the Sound Tigers 4-0, getting goals from Peter Cehlarik, Cameron Hughes, Robert Lantosi, and Ryan Fitzgerald. Goalie Max Lagace was excellent in net topping all 30 shots fired his way. In the second meeting, the Providence club would win 4-1, getting goals from Joona Koppanen, Brendan Gaunce, Alex Petrovic, and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Max Lagace was fantastic in net stopping 31 of 32 shots fired his way.

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

The fifth meeting saw the Bruins fall 2-1. Pavel Shen scored the Bruins lone goal. Dan Vladar would stop 24 of 26 shots he faced. The most recent battle saw the Bruins win 3-1. Brett Ritchie (2), and Trent Frederic had goals. Max Lagace stopped 26 of the 27 shots he faced.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers provide a favorable matchup for the Providence club. The Bridgeport club comes into the weekend 16-27-4-1 (37 points) and 3-7 in their last 10 games. This is good for eighth in the Atlantic Division and 16th in the Eastern Conference.  Furthermore, the Bruins are 25-18-6-3 against the Islanders’ affiliate over the past five seasons.

The biggest key to Bruins’ victory in these two games is taking an early lead and keeping it. The Sound Tigers are 2-14-2 when trailing after one and 1-19-2 when trailing after two. To add insult to injury, the Bridgeport club in 48 games has only scored 104 goals while giving up 156. Not only is this a horrendous -52 goal differential, but they’re only scoring 2.16 goals a game while giving up 3.25. They are giving up a full goal more than they are scoring. This isn’t a winning formula.

To compare, the Providence Bruins are 14-0 when leading after one period and 21-0 when leading after two periods. They’ve also scored 151 goals while giving up only 128 in 48 games. That means, not only do they have a +23 goal differential, but they are scoring 3.14 goals a game while only giving up 2.66. These are games that Providence must win. Bridgeport is not a good club at all.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: If it seems like I’ve written a lot about Studnicka this season, it’s because I have. How good he has been cannot be stated enough. This is the young forward’s first full season in Providence. In 46 games this season, he’s netted 17 goals and dished out 18 assists for 35 total points. This includes netting three goals and dishing out six assists for nine total points in his last six games.

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic is another guy that has had an excellent season for the Providence Bruins. In 45 games the season, he’s netted seven goals while dishing out 19 assists for 26 total points. This includes netting two goals and dishing out four assists for six total points in his last seven games. The 26 points are a new career-high for the former University of Wisconsin Badger.

Not

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald has had an up and down season for the Providence Bruins. In 47 games, he’s netted 10 goals and dished out 12 assists for 22 total points. This includes netting two goals and dishing out two assists for four total points in his last 13 games. The former Boston College Eagle has had trouble finding his offensive game recently. Let’s hope he finds his game soon.

Brendan Gaunce: Brendan Gaunce is in his first season with Providence. The veteran forward spent the beginning of his career in the Vancouver system. In 38 games this year, he’s netted 11 goals while dishing out 12 assists for 23 total points. This includes netting one goal and dishing one assist for two total points in his last five games. I hope the veteran forward can find his offensive game soon.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Jack Studnicka: I know that I sound like a broken record, but Studnicka is that good. The young forward had a stellar showing at All-Star weekend. He’s taken the confidence from that and run with it. In the two games since the All-Star break, he’s netted three goals while dishing out two assists for five total points. Studnicka also has two goals and an assist for three total points against Bridgeport this season. Look for him to continue his hot play.

On The Blue Line

Alex Petrovic: Alex Petrovic is in his first season in Providence. He spent last season with both the Florida Panthers and the Edmonton Oilers. In 41 games this year, he’s netted two goals and dished out 17 assists for 19 total points. However, the veteran forward hasn’t registered a point since December 18, 2019. The good news is that in four games against Bridgeport, he’s netted one goal and dished out four assists for five total points. Let’s hope this weekend jumpstarts his game.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has had an excellent first season in Providence. The Veteran goalie is 17-6-3 with a 2.39 GAA and a .919 save percentage. He also has a league-leading five shutouts. Lagace is also 4-1 with a 0.81 GAA and a .972 save percentage against Bridgeport this season.

The Providence Bruins are currently sitting comfortably in a playoff position. The two games this weekend should help add some padding to their point lead. The Bridgeport club has had a rough season. This means it should be an easy four-point weekend for our boys in black and gold. It should be exciting hockey that you will not want to miss. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Bruins Prospect Lauko Is Starting To Skate After Mid-Season Injury

( Photo Credit:  Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Per RinkSideRhodeIsland.com founder Mark Divver below, Bruins prospect forward Jakub Lauko attended a pre-practice skate session presumably for the first time since his mid-season knee injury. Lauko, a former 2018 third-round selection of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins only managed to appear in one shift for his native Czech Republic U-20 team that happened to host this year’s 2020 IIHF World Junior Championships from the beautiful cities of Ostrava and Trinec. It honestly doesn’t matter what time of any game or everyday life an injury happens it’s certainly unfortunate but 53 seconds into the game was all that was needed before being taken off the ice seeking medical attention.

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Lauko’s development since he was selected in the summer of 2018 has been exciting to watch but it’s also come with a few unlucky times concerning the injury bug. Now I’m not saying this is trending into a prone situation or to be high alerted by my opinions but he did get banged up in his rookie year in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League scoring 41 points in 44 games. During his first full season of North American hockey and smaller ice sheet the game comes, quicker and he did see time on the IR during the regular season and 2018-19 Memorial Cup Championship year for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. Lauko has the capabilities to be a crafty fast forward and offensive threat on the scoresheet but his game also comes with a considerable amount of jam incorporated into his heavy style game.

This season with the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins the top minor-pro affiliate of the NHL’s Boston Bruins the 19-year-old versatile forward has appeared in only 18 games posting 4-4-8 since his return from NHL training camp. In his AHL rookies season, Jakub played some hard minutes learning the professional game grinding it out on the third and fourth line left side as higher seniority players get top-six roles. had an upper-body injury (shoulder) early in the campaign to return and spend another stint on the IR with another upper-body injury (concussion) in the video provided below that he suffered just before reporting to his Czech Republic team for the mentions WJC tourney.

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It’s good to hear that he’s back on the ice taking the appropriate steps to make a healthy return and his timing might be perfect as he tries to catch a Providence club who seems destined to make an eighth straight Calder Cup Playoff appearance.  This playoff consistency came off of three straight years without a postseason appearance but has certainly been a player dating back to when current Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy and now Providence bench boss Jay Leach hope to bring the city’s second Calder Cup since being organized in 1992. The franchises first and only AHL league championship came in the 1998-99 campaign.

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The Providence club sits in the third position in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 25-16-2-3 record and 55 points. The B’s only trail Conference-leading Hartford Wolf Pack by four points with 30 games remaining in the 2019-20 regular season. Judging by Divver’s “timeline” of a potential return of Lauko would put him back with the team around the middle of February and a little more than a month and a half of regular-season games to stretch the legs and regain some chemistry. Jakub is a tremendously fast player with high intelligence of making plays in tight areas and the offensive ability to possess the puck in full stride and break away cleanly with some pretty filthy hands at times finishing it off is always a welcome wagon offensively.

Lauko is currently on year one of his three-year entry-level contract so there’s plenty of time to mold this young man to gain a little muscle and round out his overall game. Although, I heard he was tough to teach the North American two-way style game in the early season of his rookie year in the “Q” his knowledge grew stronger and how to be an effective 200-foot game forward was absorbed like a sponge leading him cracking the AHL roster after his time in the B’s NHL training camp. Jakub’s NHL expectations for me if you’re asking is at least two years away as this Boston organization has seemingly been comfortable at the patients of prospects and no rush tom insert said talent into the NHL lineup as soon as they leave the draft podium.

The Providence club gets back to work tomorrow night on the road in Binghamton, New York so get everything you need to know from our very own AHL Bruins writer Tim Richardson in his weekly Providence Bruins preview articles. Click HERE to read this week’s edition!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 163 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 18 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 18 of the AHL season has arrived. The Providence Bruins skate into it 25-16-2-3 (55 points) and 5-3-1-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a week that saw them net three of four possible points. They would beat Lehigh Valley 4-3 before falling to Hershey in a shootout 3-2. Our boys in black and gold come out of the All-Star break with two games on the road.

The hockey action starts on Friday, January 31, 2020, when the Providence Bruins invade Binghamton, New York, to take on the Binghamton Devils at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena. The action wraps on Saturday, February 1, 2020, when the Providence Bruins make their way to Syracuse, New York, to take on the Syracuse Crunch at the Upstate Medical University Arena at Onondaga County War Memorial.

Friday, January 31, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Binghamton Devils (AWAY)

The Friday night matchup marks the second and final of two that these two teams will have this season. In the first meeting, the Bruins would win 6-2. Paul Carey (2), Joona Koppanen (2), Cooper Zech, and Peter Cehlarik had goals. Max Lagace would stop 21 of the 23 shots he faced in net.

The Binghamton Devils have had a rough season. The New Jersey affiliate skates into the game 20-19-4 (44 points) and 8-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for seventh in the North Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference. Not only have the Devils had a bad year, but they’re also facing a Providence club that has their number over the past five seasons. Our boys in black and gold are 14-5-1-1 against the Binghamton club during that time, including 8-2 on the road.

Binghamton’s defense has really let them down this season. This is why the Binghamton club is at the bottom of the conference this season. The New Jersey affiliate has surrendered 141 goals in 43 games this year. That means they’re giving up a terrible 3.27 goals a game. In comparison, the Providence Bruins have let in 123 goals in 46 games this season. That’s a stingy 2.67 goals a game given up.

If that isn’t bad enough for the Devils, their offense isn’t great either. They’ve scored 126 goals in 43 games. That means they’re scoring 2.93 goals a game. They also have a goal differential of -15. The Bruins, on the other hand, have scored 144 goals in 46 games. That means they’re scoring 3.13 goals a game. The Providence club has a goal differential of +21. This is a game the Bruins should absolutely win.

Saturday, February 1, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Syracuse Crunch (AWAY)

The Saturday matchup will mark the second and final of two meetings the two teams will have. In the first meeting, the Bruins would fall 4-1. Trent Frederic would score the Providence club’s lone goal. Old friend Gemel Smith would score three for Syracuse. Dan Vladar would stop 20 of the 22 shots fired his way.

The Lightning affiliate skate into the matchup 20-19-3-3 (46 points) and 3-4-1-2 in their last 10 games. That’s good for sixth in the North Division and 12th in the Eastern Conference. The two clubs haven’t played each other much over the past five seasons. Providence holds a 3-4 record, including 1-2 on the road.

This has the makings of being a trap game for Providence. Even though the Syracuse club is out of a playoff spot, they’ve been a good team for the last few years. Special teams are keeping the Tampa Bay affiliate afloat. On the power play, they’ve scored 42 goals in 195 opportunities. That’s 21.5%, which is good for second in the North Division and third in the Eastern Conference. Their Penalty kill is also strong. They’ve given up 34 goals in 195 opportunities. That’s a stifling 82.6%, which is good for second in the North Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference.

The Providence Bruins’ penalty kill is also stellar. They’ve given up 32 goals in 196 opportunities. That’s 83.7%, which is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference.  The Providence club also has a league-leading 14 shorthanded goals. The power play, on the other hand, is not good. They’ve scored 26 goals in 166 opportunities. That’s 15.7%, which is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Peter Cehlarik: Peter Cehlarik has been great so far this season for Providence. In 37 games, he’s netted 13 goals while dishing out 15 assists for 28 total points. This includes netting four goals and dishing out two assists for six total points in his last eight games. The 13 goals on the year eclipse his total from last season. Let’s hope the veteran forward can keep up his offensive game.

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic has had an excellent season for Providence. In 43 games this season, he’s netted six goals while dishing out 19 assists for 25 total points. This includes netting two goals and dishing out six assists for eight total points in his last eight games. The 25 points on the year also match his total from last season. The former University of Wisconsin Badger has really rounded his entire game out this season. He’s playing well in every zone. Let’s hope he keeps it up.

Not

Alex Petrovic: Alex Petrovic has had a good season overall, but has been struggling a bit as of late. In 39 games this season, he’s netted two goals while dishing out 17 assists for 19 total points. This includes dishing out two assists for two total points in his last 16 games. This is the veteran defenseman’s first season in Providence. Let’s hope the former Florida Panther can turn on his offensive game soon.

Jakub Zboril: Jakub Zboril has had an up and down season for Providence. In 42 games, he’s netted two goals while dishing out 10 assists for 12 total points. This includes not registering a point in his last six games. When in the QMJHL, Zboril had offensive upside scoring at .65 points per game (28-66-94 in 144 games). That hasn’t translated much in the AHL. The young defenseman is scoring at .30 points per game (10-40-50 in 166 games). Let’s hope that changes soon.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka is arguably the top prospect in the Boston Bruins’ system. The young center has had an excellent first full professional season. In 44 games this season, he’s netted 14 goals while dishing out 16 assists for 30 total points. He also has five shorthanded goals on the season. Studnicka is coming off an excellent display at the All-Star game. Look for him to continue that confidence into the second half of the year.

On The Blue Line

Cooper Zech: Cooper Zech is a guy that came to Providence as college free agent after his freshman season at Ferris State. Coming into this season, I was really excited about his ability as a player. After a slow start in his first full professional season, he’s played well as of late. In 31 games, he’s netted one goal and dished out eight assists for nine total points. The young defenseman has a lot of offensive ability, look for him this weekend.

In Net

Dan Vladar: Dan Vladar has had an excellent season for Providence. The young netminder suffered an injury early in the year and has been a wall since returning. He’s 7-6 on the year with a 1.94 GAA and a .932 save percentage. Look for him to have a great weekend.

The Providence Bruins come out of the All-Star break third in the Atlantic Division. Three points ahead of rival Springfield, and four points ahead of Charlotte. They are currently riding a five-game point streak as they make a push for the playoffs. Only eight points separate a total of six teams battling for four playoff spots. It should be an exciting second half of the year. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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

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

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

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

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

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Paul Carey

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

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

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

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

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

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

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Jack Studnicka

( Photo Credit:  Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images )

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

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

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

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

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Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 163 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 16 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Sunday matchup will be the eighth of 14 these two teams will have. In the first meeting, the Bruins would fall 5-2, getting goals from Peter Cehlarik and Anders Bjork. Goalie Dan Vladar was subpar in net stopping 23 of the 28 shots fired his way.

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

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

The sixth battle would prove to be a good one. The Bruins won 5-2. Trent Frederic, Brendan Gaunce, Ryan Fitzgerald, Anton Blidh, and Karson Kuhlman would score goals. Dan Vladar stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced in net. The most recent matchup would also be a good one. The Bruins would win 5-3. Brendan Woods (2), Peter Cehlarik, Karson Kuhlman, and Anton Blidh would net goals. Max Lagace would go on to stop 21 of the 24 shots he faced in net.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

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

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

Not

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

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

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

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

On The Blue Line

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

In Net

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

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

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 15 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

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

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

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

The weekend home and home series will be the sixth and seventh meetings of 14 these two teams will have. In the first meeting, the Bruins would fall 5-2, getting goals from Peter Cehlarik and Anders Bjork. Goalie Dan Vladar was subpar in net stopping 23 of the 28 shots fired his way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

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

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

Not

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

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

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

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

On The Blue Line

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

In Net

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

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

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 14 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

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

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

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

The Friday matchup will mark the seventh of 10 meetings the two teams will have this year. In the first meeting, the Bruins would fall 2-1. Providence got their lone goal from Jack Studnicka. Goalie Kyle Keyser was up to the task in net stopping 23 of 25 shots that were fired his way. The second battle saw the Bruins win 4-3 in a shootout. They got goals from Scott Conway, Jack Studnicka, and Robert Lantosi. Max Lagace was able to stop 35 of the 38 shots he faced.

The third game saw the Bruins fall 5-2. They received goals from Ryan Fitzgerald and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Kyle Keyser was able to stop 24 of 28 shots he faced. The fourth battle saw the Providence Bruins fall 4-1. They got their lone goal from Cameron Hughes. Goalie Max Lagace stopped 18 of 22 shots he faced.

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

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

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

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

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

The second matchup saw the Bruins shutout the Checkers 4-0. They got goals from Brendan Woods, Urho Vaakanainen, Pavel Shen, and Jack Studnicka. Dan Vladar was a wall, stopping all 36 shots he faced. The Providence Bruins are 8-5-1 against Charlotte over the past five seasons. This includes 3-2-1 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

Last season, the Charlotte Checkers were dominant. They would beat the Bruins in four games in the first round of the playoffs on their way to their first Calder Cup Championship. This season has been a bit of a different story. The Hurricanes’ affiliate skate into the match up 16-13-3 (35 points) and 7-3 in their last 10 games. This is good for sixth in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference.

Something that led to their dominant season last year was their defense. Their defense only surrendered 189 goals, while they scored 255. That’s a +66 goal differential. This season has been the opposite. The Charlotte club on the year has scored 94 goals while giving up 87. That’s a plus-seven goal differential. This isn’t very good if you want to sustain longterm success.

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

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

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

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

Not

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

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

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

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

On The Blue Line

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

In Net

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

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

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