Conway’s Professional Climb Gets Rewarded In Providence Shootout Win

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins have a sneakingly good way of scouting talent especially with the vast amount of New England colleges and universities within driving distance. Regardless if an NCAA player was successful or not the Bruins scouting staff have found suitable players to fill gaps whether at the NHL level or with depth signings for those “show me first” American Hockey League contracts.

In the past, we’ve heard about the Bruins scouting staff practically circle the skies above like hawks waiting for the opportunity to pounce on the next hidden gem that might want to sign their first professional free-agent deal. Noel Acciari, Karson Kuhlman, Kevan Miller, Torey Krug, and Frank Vatrano all made an impact at one time in the NHL and were added by the due diligence and keen eyes of B’s management. Now small moves like these are minimal risks but they are in fact worth taking and the Bruins might’ve struck again with a recent signing who developed his game not only in North America but overseas in England of the United Kingdom.

Forward Scott Conway has taken an interesting route to professional hockey as a player born in Basingstoke, Great Britain. Conway’s father Kevin had a successful Ontario Hockey League career posting 268 points in 175 career games making appearances with the Oshawa Generals, his hometown Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, and Kingston Canadians. After leaving the Canadian Major Junior ranks Kevin would turn pro in the now-defunct International Hockey League playing with the Toledo Goaldiggers and Salt Lake Golden Eagles posting 44-41-85 numbers in 121 games played in the IHL.  Seemingly due to his body size, further advancement in the North American professional levels looked like a dead end, so it’s believed the 5′-10″ 179-pound took a popular route to keep playing landing him in Europe.

Kevin made a huge impression upon his arrival in England. During the 1980s the game was growing at a significant rate and leagues such as the British Hockey League were the cornerstone of growing the game in an otherwise difficult area with indoor facilities at a minimum. Kevin’s first season in England was spent with the Ayr Bruins where he posted an astonishing 129-98-227 numbers in only 35 games. Conway would go onto play in several different leagues while he continued to play in the United Kingdom.

Per EliteProspects.com he posted 522-430-952 numbers in the BD1 League in 152 games, posted 372-363-735 numbers in the aforementioned BHL League in 208 games, posted 60-63-123 numbers in 125 games in the BISL League, and finally posted 89-97-186 numbers in 85 games played in the EPIHL League. Father Conway was star and cult member of the Basingstoke Bison where his number 10 jersey is retired per the EliteProspects website and was inducted into the British Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004-05 as a dual citizen of Canada and England.

With all of Scott’s father’s success in the game of hockey no matter where he played in the world, that knowledge and experience was filtered down to his son who also played his youth years in England but with pro ambitions of his own heading to North America to reach professional goals might’ve been the smartest thing to do in his development. The college route seemed to be important for Scott and family so a few seasons in the Tier 1 EHL, NAHL, and USHL all got Conway prepped and ready for his freshman year at Penn State to start the 2014-15 campaign. After one season and contributing 10-16-26 numbers in 34 games, he would leave the Nittany Lions for the British Columbian Hockey League Penticton Vees junior club where he had his best year of hockey with 56-60-116 numbers before leaving to go back to the NCAA ranks with a different team.

Conway would then take his collegiate talents to Providence, Rhode Island and spend three seasons with the Providence College Friars under the watchful eye of longtime Head Coach Nate Leaman. While with the Friars, Scott posted 50-51-101 numbers in 153 career games and after joining the Providence Bruins after his NCAA commitment was over with the Friars he finished up the 2018-19 regular season in the AHL seeing now playing time to finish the year. Conway was later signed to an AHL only deal back in early July of 2019 as a free agent and attended the AHL Bruins training in late September. He would get passed over of a roster spot forcing Providence General Manager John Ferguson Jr. to place the forward in the ECHL with the Bruins “AA” minor-pro affiliate the Atlanta Gladiators to start the 2019-20 campaign.

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Conway didn’t use the demotion to hang his head and sulk but used the opportunity and acted like a seasoned veteran and swallowed his pride and reported to Atlanta with surprising results. Scott got to work right away on the scoresheet and was the ECHL’s hottest player offensively posting 7-0-7 numbers in his first five games. One of those games he posted his first career hat trick in a Gladiators victory over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. After this give game goal streak, it was just a matter of time before he and other Atlanta players that we’re producing at the lower level were going to get at least a look in Rhodes Island or road trip contest.

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Scott was recalled to the AHL’s Providence club on October 28th per theahl.com website transactions page. His transition to the higher level and pace of the game was slow to start but I thought he did very well adjusting and gaining more confidence from B’s Head Coach Jay Leach. In his third career AHL game, he got a helper in a Providence 4-1 win over struggling Bridgeport for his first-ever professional offensive contribution.

Last night the undrafted signing who worked his way through the developmental levels starting as a young man in the country of England finally made his dream come true notching his first career AHL goal. His first goal came from an unselfish effort from teammate and 2017 second-round selection Jack Studnicka who’s also been hot as of late posting 3-2-5 numbers in his last five games. The shorthanded goal for Conway came at the 14:26 mark of the first period which was the first goal of the game that was held at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in front of a crowd of 7,626.  Studnicka with a Class Act move to get the rookie his first career goal puck for the effort.

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The Providence club would go onto beat the best team in the AHL last night with a 4-3 shootout victory. The B’s had a commanding 3-1 lead late in the third period but let the foot off the gas to get the Hartford Wolf Pack team back into the game with two goals in exactly a minute of time. No goals were scored in the extra session and in the shootout forwards Jack Studnicka and Robert Lantosi were the Providence goal scorers sealing the shootout victory. Both teams are back in action tonight as the B’s travel to Hartford, Conn. as a visitor to the Wolf Packs home XL Center in the insurance capital of the world.

Check out our new Black N’ Gold Prospect Podcast episode 5 that we recorded on November 13th, 2019! Our BNG Prospects Pod can be found on the same RSS Feed as our original Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast, which can be found on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 7 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week seven of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 8-6-0-2 (18 points), including 5-4-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a week they would rather forget. Our boys in black and gold were able to down the Sound Tigers 4-1, before falling to Hartford 2-1 and Bridgeport 2-0. With only two games this weekend, we hope the Bruins get back to their winning ways.

The hockey action starts on Friday, November 15, 2019, when the Hartford Wolf Pack invades Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. To end the weekend, Providence returns the favor and heads down to Hartford, Connecticut to take on the Hartford Wolf Pack at the XL Center on Saturday, November 16, 2019. It is going to be an exciting week of hockey that you do not want to miss.

Friday, November 15, 2019 (HOME) Saturday, November 16, 2019 (AWAY) Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack

This weekend’s matchups will mark the second and third 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 home and home battle with the Hartford club is going to be challenging. The Rangers’ affiliate comes into the game 10-1-0-4 (24 points), including 6-1-0-3 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 few games, there is hope for the Bruins.

Over the past five seasons, our boys in black and gold have gone 21-12-4-2, including 13-5-1-1 at the Dunk. The Wolf Pack has seen success this season thanks to a stifling defense. They’ve given up only 33 goals in 15 games. This means they’re giving up only 2.2 goals a game. Only one other team in the Eastern Conference has given up fewer goals.

To add to their defense, the New York affiliate has only given up six goals in 51 penalty kill opportunities. That’s an excellent 88.2%, which is good for third in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. They’ve also only given up two shorthanded goals.

To compare, the Providence Bruins have given up 10 goals in 74 penalty kill opportunities. That’s 86.5%, which is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. The spoked P has also given up a league-leading three shorthanded goals.

One area the Providence club needs to work on is the number of penalties they take. They are taking 4.62 penalties a game. They cannot be giving other teams that many power-play opportunities. When a team is on the penalty kill that often, it’s difficult to build offensive momentum. It’s going to be a hard-fought weekend series. Let’s hope our boys in black and gold are up to the task.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka has had an excellent start to his first full professional season. In 16 games, the young center netted four goals and dished out six assists for 10 total points. This includes netting four goals and dishing out three assists for seven points in his last 10 games. The OHL product has been a revelation on offense and is developing exactly how the team would want. Let’s hope Studnicka can keep up his high level of play.

Paul Carey: Paul Carey has been excellent for the Providence Bruins this season. The team’s captain in 16 games has netted seven goals and dished out six assists for 13 total points. This includes netting five goals and dishing out four assists and nine total points in his last 10 games. The former Boston College Eagle and NCAA champion has not only contributed to the scoresheet but also provided excellent leadership for a young team.

Not

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald has been good overall this season, netting four goals and dishing out three assists for seven total points in 16 games. Despite this, he’s gone pointless in his last six games played. The former Boston College Eagle will hopefully break this slump soon. With players going up and down due to injuries in Boston, Providence needs Fitzgerald to pick up some slack.

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic has had an up and down season. In 15 games, the former Wisconsin Badger hasn’t netted any goals and dished out five assists for five total points. The young forward hasn’t registered a point in his last five games. Frederic is one of the better prospects in the Bruins system. Hopefully, he can turn his season around.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Peter Cehlarik: Peter Cehlarik has been excellent in his time with Providence this season. In nine games, the native of Slovakia has netted six goals and dished out four assists for 10 total points. Also of note, in seven games against Hartford last season, he netted three goals and dished out two assists for five total points. Look for him to have a big weekend.

On The Blue Line

Alex Petrovic: Alex Petrovic has been excellent for the Providence Bruins this year. It’s his first season with the club, and in 15 games, he’s netted two goals and dished out 10 assists for 12 total points. The WHL product has also played excellent defense for our boys in black and gold this season. Look for him to continue his play against Hartford.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has been excellent for the Providence Bruins net. The QMJHL product has gone 6-2-1 this season, with a 2.02 GAA and a .936 save percentage. He’s also had three shutouts this season. He’s provided leadership to the young goaltenders Dan Vladar and Kyle Keyser.

The Providence Bruins have had a superb start to their season. In previous years, they’ve started out slow and then came on hot the second half of the year. This year our boys in black and gold are bucking that trend. They have a wealth of talent and could go far this year. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend. 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 6 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week six of the AHL season has arrived, and the Providence Bruins are 7-4-0-2 (16 points). They are also 4-4-0-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. Our boys in black and gold are coming off a week that saw them beat the then-undefeated Utica Comets 2-0. The Providence club would follow that big win up with a loss to the Hershey Bears 5-3. Week six sees the Bruins end their current four-game road trip before coming home for two games to wrap up the weekend.

The weekend action starts out on Saturday, November 9, 2019, when the Providence Bruins wrap their road trip by invading Bridgeport, Connecticut, to take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Webster Bank Arena. The hockey battles continue on Sunday, November 10, 2019, when the Hartford Wolf Pack make their way to Providence, Rhode Island to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Finally, the spoked P wraps up their week on Monday, November 11, 2019, when the Bruins take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Dunk.

Saturday, November 9, 2019, (AWAY) and Monday, November 11, 2019, (HOME) Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers

The Providence Bruins bookend their week with the second and third of 12 matchups against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. In the first meeting, the Bruins shutout the Islanders’ affiliate 4-0. The spoked P got goals from Peter Cehlarik, Cameron Hughes, Robert Lantosi, and Ryan Fitzgerald. Goalie Max Lagace was superb in net stopping all 30 shots he faced.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers provide a favorable matchup for the Providence club. The Bridgeport club comes into the weekend 3-7-2-1 (9 points) and 2-6-1-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for eighth in the Atlantic Division and 15th in the Eastern Conference.  Furthermore, the Bruins are 22-16-6-3 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 0-3-1 when trailing after one and 0-6-1 when trailing after two. To add insult to injury, the Bridgeport club in 13 games has only scored 25 goals while giving up 46. Not only is this a horrendous -21 goal differential, but they’re only scoring 1.92 goals a game while giving up  3.53. They are giving up almost double what they’re actually scoring. This isn’t a winning formula.

To compare, the Providence Bruins are 5-0 when leading after one period and 5-0 when leading after two periods. They’ve also scored 41 goals while giving up only 31 in 13 games. That means, not only do they have a plus-six goal differential, but they are scoring 3.15 goals a game while only giving up 2.69. These are two games that the Providence club has to win. You have to beat teams you’re supposed to beat if you want to succeed.

Sunday, November 10, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (HOME)

Week six continues when the Hartford Wolf Pack take on the Providence Bruins in a Sunday afternoon battle. It will be the first of 10 meetings the two clubs will have. This is going to be a tough game for our boys in black and gold. The Rangers’ affiliate comes into the matchup 8-1-0-3 (19 points) and 6-1-0-3 in their last 10 games. This is good for first in the Atlantic Division as well as first in the Eastern Conference.

Despite this uphill battle, there is hope for the Providence Bruins. They have seen success against Hartford in recent years. Over the past five seasons, our boys in black and gold have gone 21-11-4-2, including 13-4-1-1 at the Dunk. The Wolf Pack has seen success this season thanks to a stifling defense. They’ve given up only 27 goals in 12 games. This means they’re giving up only 2.25 goals a game.

Only one other team in the Eastern Conference has given up fewer goals. To add to their defense, the New York affiliate has only given up five goals in 44 penalty kill opportunities. That’s an excellent 88.6%, which is good for second in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. They’ve also only given up one shorthanded goal.

To compare, the Providence Bruins have given up 10 goals in 59 penalty kill opportunities. That’s 83.1%, which is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. The spoked P has also given up a league-leading three shorthanded goals. It’s going to be a challenging game for our boys in black and gold. They’ll need to be on top of their game if they want the two points.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Paul Carey: Paul Carey has been excellent for the Providence Bruins since coming to them in a trade midseason last year. Coming into this season, the former Boston College Eagle was named the team’s Captain. The veteran forward has taken the captaincy and ran with it. In 13 games this season, he’s netted seven goals and dished out three assists for 10 total points. That includes points in eight of his last 10 games, scoring six goals and dishing out three assists for nine total points in that time frame.

Robert Lantosi: This is Robert Lantosi’s first professional season in North America. The young forward has spent his entire career playing in Sweden and Slovakia. He would play all of last season for HK Nitra of the Tipsport Liga, which is Slovakia’s highest hockey league. In 56 games with HK Nitra, he netted 20 goals and dished out 38 assists for 58 total points. So far this season, in nine games with Providence, the Slovakia native has netted three goals and dished out four assists for seven total points. This includes points in six of nine games this season.

Not

Urho Vaakanainen: Urho Vaakanainen came into the season one of the Bruins’ brightest prospects. The young defenseman had an excellent first season, last year. In 13 games this season, the Native of Finland hasn’t found the back of the net and has dished out two assists for two total points. This includes not registering a point in his last 10 games. He also doesn’t look as confident on the ice as he did last season. Let’s hope he shakes off the rust soon.

Pavel Shen: This is also Pavel Shen’s first professional season in North America. The young forward comes the Providence after spending the beginning of his career in Russia. The native of Russia has had mixed reviews since coming to Providence. In nine games so far this season, he hasn’t found the back of the net and has dished out two assists for two total points. Though it’s been a tough start, let’s hope he break out of his slump soon.

My Players to Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka came into the season with a lot of hype. The young center is one of the Bruins’ best prospects, and he’s exciting the fanbase. In 13 games this season, the OHL product has netted two goals while dishing out six assists for eight total points. Not too bad for just starting his first full professional season. He also registered an assist in the first matchup against Bridgeport. Look for him this weekend.

On The Blue Line

Jakub Zboril: Jakub Zboril has had a great start to his 2019-2020 season. In 13 games, the young defenseman has netted one goal and dished out four assists for five total points. He’s also playing great defense. I believe he’s starting to look like the player they drafted. Also of note, in 18 games against Bridgeport and Hartford last season, he netted two goals and dished out five assists for seven total points. Look for him to have a big weekend.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has had an excellent start to his first season in Providence. He’s 5-1-1 with a 2.15 GAA and a .930 save percentage. The veteran netminder leads the league in shutouts with three. Lagace was also in the net when Providence shutout Bridgeport earlier this season. With two games against the Sound Tigers this weekend, I’d expect him to have a big weekend.

The Providence Bruins have had an excellent start to their season. They’ve been hovering right around the top of the standings all year. One of the biggest positives I’ve seen this year is their ability to bounce back. Whenever they’ve had a rough loss, they seem able to put it behind them before the next game. We’ve also seen them come back in a few games this year as well. That is huge for such a young team. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend. 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 4 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week four of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins have a record of 5-2-0-1 (11 points). This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. Our boys in black and gold are coming off a successful week. They fell to Laval 3-2. The Providence club would bounce back to beat Belleville 7-4, before shutting out Bridgeport 4-0. Week four sees the spoked P come back to Providence for the Pink in the Rink weekend at the Dunk to support breast cancer awareness. It’s an excellent weekend to catch a game.

The heart-stopping hockey action begins on Saturday, October 26, 2019, when the Laval Rocket travels to Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. The weekend continues on Sunday, October 27, 2019, when the Belleville Senators invade the Dunkin Donuts Center. Finally, week four wraps up on Wednesday, October 30, 2019, when the Providence Bruins march to Rochester, New York, to take on the Rochester Americans at the Blue Cross Arena. It’s going to be an exciting week you don’t want to miss.

Saturday, October 26, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Laval Rocket (HOME)

The Providence Bruins kickoff their Pink in the Rink weekend with a game against the Laval Rocket. It’s going to be the third 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 Montreal affiliate has started the season 3-5 (6 points). This is good for sixth in the North Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, the Bruins have had trouble with Laval in the past. They’ve gone 2-2-0-2, including 1-1 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 2.50 goals a game. This means the Montreal Affiliate is giving up a little more than half a goal a game more than they’re scoring. Their two goalies have started out on opposite ends of the spectrum. Cayden Primeau is having an excellent first season so far, going 2-2 with a 2.03 GAA and a save percentage of .933%. Charlie Lindgren has had a rough start, going 1-3 with 3.24 GAA and a .881% save percentage.

To compare, the Bruins are giving up 2.50 goals a game. They’re also scoring 3.37 goals a game. This means our boys in black and gold are scoring .87 more goals a game than they’re giving up. Veteran goalie Max Lagace has had an excellent start, going 3-1-1 with a 1.93 GAA and a .935% save percentage with two shutouts. Dan Vladar has gone 1-1 with a 2.57 GAA and a .897% save percentage. Youngster, Kyle Keyser is 1-0 with a 4.02 GAA and a .867% save percentage.

Sunday, October 27, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Belleville Senators (HOME)

The Pink in the Rink weekend wraps up in Providence when The Belleville Senators come to town. It’ll the second and final meeting between the two clubs this season. In the first meeting, the Providence club came out on top 7-4. They got goals from Oskar Steen, Jakub Lauko, Robert Lantosi, Cameron Hughes, Peter Cehlarik, Jack Studnicka, and Paul Carey. Goalie Kyle Keyser was up to the task in net, stopping 26 of the 30 shots he faced.

The Belleville Senators have started the season 2-4 (4 points). This is good for eighth in the North Division and 15th in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins have had success against the Ottawa affiliate recently. They’ve gone 3-1, including 2-0 at the Dunk. Five on Five play is going to be the biggest key to victory for our boys in black and gold.

During their first matchup, the Bruins penalty kill was horrendous, giving up four goals in five opportunities. The power-play wasn’t much better, scoring only one goal in three chances. A deep-dive reveals that special teams are a real problem for the Providence club. Our boys in black and gold have given up nine goals in 36 penalty kill opportunities. This is only good for 75%. They’ve also given up two shorthanded goals.

The Bruins have also only converted on five of 34 power-play chances. These means at five on five, the Providence club has scored 22 goals, while only giving up nine. Belleville meanwhile has scored nine goals and given up 20, in the same situation. If the spoked P can keep their special teams off the ice, they should dominate the game. In their previous matchup, they had a six to nothing advantage when it was five on five.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Rochester Americans (AWAY)

Week four wraps with a game against the Rochester Americans. It’ll be the final of two meetings these two clubs will have this season. In the first matchup, the Providence Bruins came out with a win 3-2. They got goals from Jakub Lauko, Anders Bjork, and Oskar Steen. Netminder Max Lagace was excellent, turning away 30 of 32 shots he faced.

The Rochester Americans have started out the season 4-2-0-1 (9 points). This is good for third in the North Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence Bruins have had the Buffalo affiliate’s number in the past. They’ve gone 8-1 over the past five seasons, including 3-1 on the road. Shots on goal will end up being key in this game and not in the way you may expect.

The Rochester Americans are 3-2-0-1 when outshooting their opposition. This means they’ve had the shot advantage in every game they’ve played. To combat this, the Providence Bruins are 2-0 when being outshot by the team they’re playing. This includes the game they played against each other earlier this season. Something else to watch out for is team defense.

The Rochester club has given up 20 goals on the year while only scoring 19. This is a minus-one goal differential. Our boys in black and gold have scored 27 goals and given up 20. This is a plus-seven goal differential. When a team gives up more than they score, they aren’t able to sustain success. I expect Providence to come away with two points in this game.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka is one of the top three prospects in the Boston Bruins’ system. The young center came to Providence after an excellent season in the OHL, which saw him net 36 goals and dish out 47 assists for 83 total points split between Oshawa and Niagra. He’s scored one goal and tallied four assists for five points this season with Providence. He’s registered a point in five of eight games, including four of his last five. Let’s hope he keeps this hot streak up.

Peter Cehlarik: Cehlarik almost seems like a permanent fixture here in the hot category. This is because the young forward has had an excellent start to the season. In five games, he’s found the back of the net five times while also tallying two assists for seven points. He’s registered a point in four of the first five games he’s played.  With injuries starting to pile up in Boston, we may see Cehlarik called up before long.

Not

Cooper Zech: Zech is a player that I was really excited about going into the season. The young defenseman was coming off an excellent freshman season at Ferris State University, which earned himself an AHL contract with Providence. He’s a smaller offensive-minded defenseman who I expected big things from. To start the season, he’s played in five games and only registered one assist for one total point. Hopefully, Zech bounces back and can figure it out in Providence. I still expect good things from him.

Zach Senyshyn: Senyshyn seems to be a permanent fixture in the not category to begin the season. The former first-round pick has had a less than stellar start to the 2019-2020 season. In seven games he’s played in the young speedster has yet to register a point. His scoring has been down overall since joining the AHL. He has a .36 point per game total with Providence. This is much worse than the .91 point per game total he had in the OHL. The young forward did miss a game this year with an upper-body injury, so maybe that is playing a factor early on.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald is a guy who may get lost in the shuffle when talking about prospects, but he’s had a great start to the 2019-2020 season. In eight games this season, he’s netted three goals and dished out three assists for six total points. The former Boston College Eagle is also on a three-game point streak, which has seen him score two goals and tally two assists for four total points. Look for him this weekend.

On The Blue Line

Alex Petrovic: Alex Petrovic initially came to Boston on a PTO during training camp as a free agent. The Bruins liked what they saw and signed to a one-year two-way contract. The veteran defenseman has been great for Providence. In eight games, he’s netted one goal while dishing out five assists for six total points. The former Edmonton Oiler has also played well on defense. Let’s hope he keeps it up for Providence.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has been excellent for Providence to start the season. The veteran netminder is 3-1-1 with a 1.93 GAA and a .935% save percentage. He’s also recorded two shutouts, including one in the team’s game Tuesday night against Bridgeport. No other goalie has that many shutouts so far this season. The Bruins’ deciding to sign Lagace was an excellent move. I think he will have a great year while being a mentor to Keyser and Vladar.

The Providence Bruins have started out hot in their first eight games of the season. With the amount of talent, our boys in black and gold have, this is not surprising. I still fully expect that the spoked P will come out with at least four of six points from this week’s games. All three games are winnable. One characteristic that all good teams possess is that they beat the teams that they should. If the Bruins want to prove they’re a good team, they need to win at least two of these next three games. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Krejci Injured In Bruins Win. Who Steps Up?

NHL: New York Rangers at Boston Bruins

(Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

By Joe Chrzanowski  |  Follow Me on Twitter @jchrz19

Stop me if you have heard this one before. David Krejci leaves the game in the first period with the ever-ambiguous Lower Body Injury (LBI). Unfortunately, this is not the story from the September 25th preseason game versus the Devils being looped for eternity like Phil Connors in Groundhog Day. It is the current bad news coming in the aftermath of the Bruins 4-2 matinee victory over the surprising Anaheim Ducks.

Krejci left the game with about four minutes to go in the first period and headed to the dressing room. He came back out for the second period and skated for about half a shift. He had a 2-on-1 with DeBrusk but then appeared to be laboring heading back up ice as the Bruins gave up a 3-on-1. That was it for Krejci, as he left the ice and didn’t return, leaving the Bruins a center short for the remainder of the game.

I went back and watched the first-period last night and it appeared to me that the injury occurred with a little less than eight minutes to go in the session. The Ducks were coming out of their end and DeBrusk got a piece of an outlet pass. The puck deflected in the air, Krejci reached up and gloved it down to himself. As he did and brought the puck over the blue line, Getzlaf gave him what looked like a pretty nasty short cross-check to his side/rib area.

I can’t help but wonder if this might be one of the reasons the Bruins seemed extremely annoyed with Getzlaf later in the game? I’m not a doctor and don’t play one on TV, but if I had to guess, it looked like it could have been a rib injury? Hopefully, it’s something relatively minor and Krejci is back soon. It seems like this might be the case based on comments from Bruce Cassidy on Tuesday afternoon?

One of the keys to the B’s success in the last couple of years is depth in the middle. Two years ago it was Bergeron, Krejci, Nash, and Kuraly. Last season, once they traded for Coyle, the team really began to roll. This year they start the season with the same group that went to the Finals. If Krejci is not ready to go on Thursday, or worse, if he’s out longer, what options do the Bruins have to replace him and maintain that strength at center?

If Krejci is only going to be out for a couple of games, the easiest thing for the Bruins to do would be simply to plug Par Lindholm into the lineup. He could go directly into Krejci’s spot on the 2nd line between DeBrusk and Kuhlman, leaving the other three lines intact. The other relatively “easy fix” would be to put Lindholm into the lineup, but slide Coyle up into the 2nd line center spot. That would (hopefully) allow the Bruins to generate offense from the 2nd line. Lindholm would likely center Heinen and Ritchie, creating a defensively sound Bottom Six until Krejci can return.

NHL Pre-Season: Chicago Blackhawks Vs Boston Bruins At TD Garden

(Photo Credit: Boston Globe via Getty Images)

If Krejci turns out to be more seriously hurt and out of the lineup for an extended period, the Bruins might decide they need to go in a different direction? While the first line is carrying the team right now, I don’t believe that’s a sustainable formula for winning over the long term. Depth and secondary scoring are the way to go in today’s NHL. With that in mind, I could see the Bruins reaching down to Providence for guys like Studnicka or Frederic.

I believe they would prefer to keep Studnicka in the AHL to learn how to play against pros for the majority of a season before calling him up. If Krejci were to be out for a long period of time, they might not have that luxury? Lindholm has more experience, but it appears that Studnicka has more upside and offers more on the offensive side of the puck than the Swedish veteran does. Through four games in Providence, Studnicka has yet to score his first goal, but he does have two assists and is a “plus” two, with six shots.

Jack-Studnicka

(Photo Credit: Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Frederic has NHL experience and would offer a different kind of option for the Bruins. He’s bigger and more physical than Studnicka. He could slot in with Heinen and Ritchie forming a pretty heavy group that Cassidy would likely give 4th line minutes to. After his stint with the big club last season, Frederic is probably more physically and mentally prepared than a rookie would be. The issue with him is that he appears to have gotten off to a bit of a slow start in Providence. I’m not sure how much this would factor into the front office’s decision-making process?

The last candidate on the Baby B’s is Brendan Gaunce. It’s not a name that will immediately spring to mind for most Bruins fans, but he might be the best choice. The former first-round pick looked really good in training camp. I thought he out-played Ritchie and Backes and had he been right-handed, likely would have made the team outright. He’s a big body (6’2″, 220 pounds) that can play a physical game, but moves well for his size. He also has 117 NHL games under his belt over the past four seasons, which gives him an edge over Studnicka and Fredric. Last year in Utica he had 16g/22a in 60 games, so he is not without offensive skills.

Is Gaunce the answer for Krejci if he’s out for a long period of time? Probably not, but he would be serviceable for a few games. Gaunce would actually be a much better replacement for Kuraly if he ever went down. I like him in a Bottom 6 role, but I don’t think he’s a Top 6 talent on a playoff team.

Best case scenario, Krejci’s injury is not serious, he misses little to no time, and this whole conversation is moot. If Krejci is out longer, the Bruins will have some trouble filling that spot, unless someone like Studnicka proves to be ahead of schedule. Not an ideal situation to be sure, but the Bruins dealt with injury successfully last season. It looks like they will have to do it again.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Prospect Podcast episode 002 that we recorded on 10-8-19 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!

Providence Bruins Opening Weekend Recap

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins started the 2019-20 regular season on a positive note with victories over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (3-0 Shutout) and Hershey Bears (2-1 In Overtime) both on the road. Over the weekend, the top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins held it’s annual Opening Weekend festivities with two games at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

Before I recap the first two regular-season games from the Dunk over the weekend, I’d like to take a moment to share some incredible news. Our Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast, and blackngoldhockey.com website has been granted full season press credentials from the AHL’s Providence Bruins organization. This is a tremendous opportunity for our team of 15+ Bruins writers and a group of podcasters. Acceptance from a professional organization is pure motivation to increase our prospects coverage as a team, but it also opens doors to others that want to get involved with special access. If you live in the Providence area or willing to travel there regularly, please send a cover letter to blackngoldhockeyblog@gmail.com with a sample of your writings to join our team.

Saturday, October 12th, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Rochester Americans (Home)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The first home game of the season was a much-anticipated one for the hometown Providence fans, which had a decent crowd on hand for the mid-weekend tilt. The first period was lackluster at most as the Bruins seemed to be skating in cement, trying to fight there way through the heavily tilted Rochester ice. The first period ended with the Americans leading 1-0 and leading in the shots department 14-6.

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It didn’t take long for the hometown Bruins to get on the board in the second period as AHL rookie forward Jakub Lauko notched his first professional goal at the 4:36 mark assisted by a pair of B’s defensemen in Urho Vaakanainen and Alex Petrovic. Exactly two minutes later forward Anders Bjork scored his second goal of the season on the power-play assisted by Vaakanainen and Cameron Hughes, who’s been outstanding to start the year even though his face got mashed by a skate in an NHL Bruins preseason game. Almost a minute after the Bjork goal on the man advantage, the Rochester club tied the game at two at the 7:40 mark of the second, and the score remained the same until the end of the period. The Bruins led that period in shots with an 11-8 advantage and started to be more competitive other than the first frame where they had troubles completing passes and struggled in defensive zone exits.

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Both teams entered the third and final frame of the contest tied at two apiece, and after a second period that saw some physicality and a little bit of hatred for one another, both teams battled until the final moments with positive results at least for the hometown Providence crowd. With 57 seconds remaining in the game Bruins forward, Oskar Steen broke the 2-2 deadlock scoring his first professional goal assisted by forward Ryan Fitzgerald and defenseman Jeremy Lauzon.

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New goaltender Maxime Lagace was in goal against the Amerks and stopped 30 of 32 shots for his second win in the early season. Lagace is 2-0-0 so far in 2019-20 with a 3-0 shutout in his first game and currently has a 1.00 goals-against-average and .967 save percentage. Maxime is the fifth-ranked goaltender in the AHL thus far and has looked sensational since being a sneaky free agent steal when he signed over the summer offseason.

In this game, Rochester led the way in shot totals with a 32-30 advantage. Special teams for both sides had the visiting Americans going 1/2 on the power-play while the home Bruins went 1/5. Forward Cameron Hughes and newcomer Josiah Didier had team-highs with four shots apiece. On this night, 9,722 faithful fans were in attendance at the Dunk for game one of Opening Weekend.

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Sunday, October 13th, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (Home)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The second leg of the Providence Bruins Opening Weekend games didn’t exactly live up to Saturday night’s heroics as the cross-state Atlantic Division rival  Springfield Thunderbirds came to play. Much like Saturday nights game, the first-period scoring had the visiting Thunderbirds up 1-0 after the opening frame, but this time the B’s were the ones doing the outshooting in this particular period having a 13-3 advantage.

Down 1-0 in the middle frame, the Bruins only needed 20 seconds to tie the game at one apiece with a power-play goal from forward Peter Cehlarik, who scored his first of the year assisted by Anders Bjork and Cooper Zech. The 24-year-old Cehlarik who slipped through the wavier wire on his way down from his time at the NHL Bruins training camp got injured shortly after his arrival in Providence, and this was his first game back in action which he didn’t disappoint. The B’s would once again give up the lead to Springfield on the man advantage at the 7:37 mark of the second period and again at 15:59 on the power-play to end the middle frame for the Thunderbirds and their 3-1 lead. The Hometown Providence club had 13 penalty minutes vs. the seven that Springfield had. Both teams were showing signs of frustration for each other, and this will continue no doubt with both clubs facing each other 11 more times in the 2019-20 regular season.

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In the third period, the Bruins seemingly took matters into their own hands, tilting the ice to stay in this game, and Providence Head Coach Jay Leach relied heavily on his veteran core for heavy minutes and a grind’em down style. In this final period, the Bruins club showed impressive signs of diligence staying out of the penalty box for the entire period, but the Thunderbirds got to a commanding 4-1 lead with a shorthanded goal at the 11:51 mark. Providence forward Anders Bjork scored his second goal of the weekend (3rd Of Season) assisted by forward Jack Studnicka and forward Paul Carey at 14:47 of the final frame as the B’s were pushing hard to at least tie the contest. The last desperation effort just wasn’t enough as the Thunderbirds added another at the 17:54 mark capping off the 5-2 road victory for their second win of the season.

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Providence goaltender Dan Vladar took the loss in this one stopping 23 of 28 shots giving him a season record of 1-1 with a 2.91 GAA and .880 Save%. I thought Vladar showed signs of greatness with some exceptional saves, especially down low with his big frame but also was left out to dry with defensemen and backchecking forward missing assignments. This is not all on his teammates as he’s a work in progress and has to keep working hard to correct those small mishaps.

Some positive mentions in this lopsided loss for the Bruins. Anders Bjork was the only “plus” player in this game with a +1 and five shots to accompany his two-point afternoon. Forward Cameron Hughes also had five shots in the contest giving him 10 shots on goal in his last four games, one behind Bruins leader Bjork with 11 on goal.

To finish, I once again have to mention our Black N’ Gold writing team on the threshold crossing achievement this season with press access. This is a huge step for us and looking forward to the challenge of bringing you the readers our opinions and insight of this Providence Bruins team. Please give fellow BNG team members below a follow as they’re truly the ones that make this Bruins related platform happen, and without them, this couldn’t continue. Thanks, to everyone for the continued support and hope you all enjoy the content from all levels of the NHL’s Boston Bruins organization throughout this 2019-20 season.

BNG Team Members To Follow For B’s Coverage From The NHL Down To The Prospects Playing Worldwide: Thomas Nystrom ,  Mike Cratty , Max MainvilleEvan Michael , Garrett HaydonLiz St. PierrePatrick DonnellyTim RichardsonYanni Latzanakis , Joe Chrzanowski , Lucas PearsonScott DelanoJamara Wakefield

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Prospect Podcast episode 002 that we recorded on 10-8-19 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 1 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Welcome everyone to the first preview of the Providence Bruins season. I hope you’re as excited as I am to get this year started. Just to quickly recap last season, the Providence Bruins ended up 38-27-8-3 (87 points) which was good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. They would go on to lose in the first round of playoffs to the eventual Calder Cup Champion Charlotte Checkers in four games. This season looks to be even better with Providence’s loaded roster.

The season kicks off on Saturday, October 5th, 2019 when the Providence Bruins head down to invade the PPL Center to take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Bruins continue their tour of the Keystone State when they head to Hershey, Pennsylvania to take on the Hershey Bears at the Giant Center on Sunday, October 6th, 2019. It should be an exciting first weekend of divisional matchups that you do not want to miss.

Saturday, October 5, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AWAY)

The Providence Bruins start off the regular season on the road playing against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The matchup marks the first of what will be six games against the divisional foe this season. Last year, our boys in black and gold were 3-3 against the Flyers’ affiliate. Despite the record, all of the games were close as both teams had a similar style of play.

Historically, the Providence club has had trouble with Lehigh Valley going 9-13-2 over the past five seasons including 4-7-1 on the road. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms were 39-30-4-3 (85 Points) which was good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference. Despite being eighth in the conference, they missed the playoffs because the top four teams in each division go on to the postseason.

Special teams are going to play a big part in this game. Last season both teams had exceptional penalty kill at 85% for Providence and 85.1% for Lehigh Valley. On the flipside, both had mediocre power play with 18.8% for the Phantoms and 17.7% for the Bruins. The Flyers’ affiliate is sure to come out strong for their home opener, but with the loaded roster for our boys in black and gold, I expect Providence to get the two points.

Sunday, October 6, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Hershey Bears (AWAY)

The Pennsylvania road trip continues as the Providence Bruins take on the Hershey Bears. This too will be the first of six meetings the two teams will have this season. Last season, the spoked P was 4-2 against the Capitals’ affiliate and they’ve had good success against them in recent years. Over the past five seasons, the Boston affiliate has a 15-8-2-1 record against Hershey including 5-6-2 on the road.

Last season, the Hershey Bears were 43-25-4-4 (94 Points) which was good for third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. They would go on to beat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in five games in round one of the playoffs and go on to lose to Charlotte in round two getting swept in four games.

Special teams are also going to play a big part in this game. As I stated earlier the Bruins had an excellent penalty kill at 85% last season. The Bears, on the other hand, had a rather pedestrian 79.6% penalty kill. With four of the six games, last season decided by just one goal and two of them going to overtime this is something that will play a major role in the matchup’s outcome. I expect the game to be close, but coming out with a win is certainly doable for the Providence club.

Players to Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Jack Studnicka: Studnicka is arguably the best prospect the Boston Bruins have in their system. The young center starts his first full season with Providence and it should be an exciting one. He did get a taste of the AHL last year playing in the team’s four playoff games netting a goal and dishing out an assist for two total points. The forward group is sure to be loaded for the spoked P and I expect big things from Studnicka. Look for him to have a big first weekend of the season.

On the Blue Line

Cooper Zech: Like Studnicka, Zech is starting his first full season with Providence. After signing an AHL contract last March, he played in 12 games with the spoked P he didn’t find the back of the net himself, but he did dish out four assists for four total points. In the team’s four playing games he would net two goals without dishing an assist for two total points. Zech also managed to net two goals in the team’s final preseason game. The young defenseman is offensive-minded, and I expect him to have a big weekend.

In Net

Kyle Keyser: Kyle Keyser comes to Providence after having an excellent season and playoffs with the Oshawa Generals in the OHL. This will be the young netminder’s first full professional season as well. The 20-year-old was excellent for the Boston Bruins in the preseason and played really well in Providence’s last preseason game. It’s pretty clear that he’s the best goalie prospect the team has, and if given the chance to play in the AHL he will be awesome.

It’s an exciting time when hockey returns to our lives. This season should be a thrilling one for the Providence Bruins. They are loaded with many of the system’s top prospects. I expect them to make the playoffs again this year, and at least make it passed the first round. This season has all the makings of being something special and I cannot wait to bring you coverage of this team. Also, for any of you interested in prospects, I will be doing a prospect podcast with the Black N’ Gold founder Mark Allred. You can find any podcast updates on Twitter @BNGProspectsPod. I hope everyone enjoys the first weekend of the season and 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!

Report: Bruins Send Players To Providence; Place Cehlarik on Waivers

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

According to veteran freelance writer, Mark Divver, (@MarkDivver on Twitter), the Boston Bruins have assigned the following players to the American Hockey League as they joined the Providence Bruins’ practice today, September 30th. The move comes on the final day that NHL teams around the league can place players on waives for purpose of AHL assignment and have that player clear according to CapFriendly. 

  • F Anders Bjork
  • F Jack Studnicka
  • F Cameron Hughes
  • F Trent Frederic

On Saturday, the Bruins played their final preseason game of the 2019 off-season, defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 8-2 the final score. David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk each scored a hat-trick while Charlie Coyle and Karson Kuhlman potted goals of their own to add to the large victory.

Today, the Bruins hosted one of their final practices before the regular season officially begins this Thursday against the Dallas Stars in Dallas, Texas. Not present – David Krejci and Joakim Nordstrom. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy re-iterated on Saturday post-game that he does expect Krejci to be ready for the season-opener and that his lower-body injury is not that serious. In regards to Nordstrom, his availability for Thursday is still in question.

For the players that have been sent down according to Divver, none of them are a huge surprise. Anders Bjork is one of the most hyped Bruins prospects in the system and many want to see him get playing time with Boston to start the 2019-2020 campaign, but Cassidy feels that he could use some additional time in Providence to improve his skills and earn that spot in the NHL. Studnicka, Hughes, and Frederic were all expected considering the lack of roles available for them with the main club.

One player that remains with the team for practice is defenceman Jakub Zboril, who with Steven Kampfer, are the only spare defensemen with Boston for practice according to Boston Globe writer Kevin Paul Dupont, (@GlobeKPD on Twitter). It is likely that once John Moore and Kevan Miller return to the lineup further into the season, he will be re-assigned to the P-Bruins.

The other big news piece today for the Bruins organization was the news that forward Peter Cehlarik has been placed on waivers by Boston in order to be sent down to the AHL.

Cehlarik played in 53 games for the Baby Bruins in 2018-19, scoring 12-28-36 numbers along with one goal in four playoff games. The 24-year-old winger also scored four goals and two assists for six points in 20 games with the Boston Bruins last season.

For the latest Boston Bruins news, updates, and injury reports, make sure to follow me on Twitter (@tkdmaxbjj) and stay locked on the Black N’ Gold Hockey website for articles from all our staff writers.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 147 that we recorded on 9-29-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Boston Bruins Announce More Cuts As Preseason Nears Conclusion

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NBC Sports)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

As the Boston Bruins prepare for their final preseason game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, the management staff have officially announced another round of cuts from the training camp, leaving only a few “bubble” players remaining as the roster for opening day on October 3rd begins to take shape.

In addition to the already-released news about the one-year contract signing of defenceman Alex Petrovic, the Bruins have sent down the following players for purpose of assignment to the American Hockey League affiliate of Boston – the Providence Bruins.

  • F Ryan Fitzgerald
  • G Kyle Keyser
  • F Joona Koppanen
  • D Jeremy Lauzon
  • F Zach Senyshyn
  • F Pavel Shen
  • F Oskar Steen
  • D Urho Vaakanainen

As well, forward Robert Lantosi will report to the P-Bruins according to the Bruins’ press release today, September 26th. Along with Petrovic, forwards Paul Carey and Brendan Gaunce were placed on waivers for purpose of AHL assignment and will be likely that they do not get claimed and will join Providence shortly.

As for the list of prospects that were sent back down to the minors, there are not any real surprises. In a few short years, players such as Kyle Keyser, Jeremy Lauzon, Oskar Steen, and Urho Vaakanainen are more likely to join the Boston Bruins as they all show promise to compete in the National Hockey League one day soon. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy has said some good things over the course of the past week for Pavel Shen and others listed, but with an already log-jammed roster in Boston – it is not much of a shock to see these specific players sent down.

As many users on Twitter have already mentioned, some key names in the Boston Bruins organization were not included in this round of cuts – leading us to believe that there is a true chance that they may see some NHL time at the beginning of the 2019-20 season, or the Bruins want to see them play in the final preseason contest against Chicago.

Forward Jack Studnicka, forward Trent Frederic, forward Anders Bjork, forward David Backes, defenceman Jakub Zboril, and forward Karson Kuhlman have all survived the cuts, making for a very important game on Saturday. Look for any one of these players to play some of their best hockey to date to fight for one of those final spots on the roster or to, at the very least, impress the bosses to earn a shot at playing in Boston when the inevitable injuries come about.

For the latest on the Boston Bruins regarding injuries, news, and all of the most recent updates – make sure to give me a follow on Twitter (@tkdmaxbjj ) and stay locked on the Black N’ Gold Hockey website for articles from all our staff writers.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 146 that we recorded on 9-22-19 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!

Many Questions Face The Bruins Before Regular Season Begins

NHL: New York Islanders at Boston Bruins

(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

Hockey is oh so close to being back. The Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo contracts have been signed, and the Bruins are beginning to play actual hockey again. But even with the regular season less than two weeks away, many questions still face the Bruins entering the year.

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(Photo Credit: Paul Sancya/AP Sports)

How Healthy Is The Team Going to Be?

It seems like the Bruins, and the injury bug are becoming synonymous terms. Following the long and grueling playoffs, it’s not a major surprise that health is a concern, but the Bruins already have multiple regulars that are questionable to begin the year healthy. On the back-end, John Moore and Kevan Miller are already confirmed to be out for the season opener, and Zdeno Chara is questionable for the opener due to the jaw injury he suffered in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Patrice Bergeron has been practicing in a non-contact sweater and is also questionable for the opener. Luckily depth on defense isn’t a real issue for the Bs, but if the Bergeron and Chara injuries take a wrong turn, the Bruins may be in trouble.

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(Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer-Getty Images)

What Kids Can Make The Team?

The Bruins have a plethora of NHL-ready prospects that are fighting for a spot on the team. They have talented players like Jack Studnicka, Oskar Steen and Zach Senyshyn looking for their first extended looks in the NHL as well as Anders Bjork, Trent Frederic and Karson Kuhlman who are looking to add to their previous stints in the big-leagues. Obviously, the Bs just don’t have room for all of these guys with their already impressive roster, but I would not be surprised to see two or three cracks the opening night roster (as you will see me get more into later).

On defense, it’s unlikely that any youngsters can have an extended stay, but if Chara does end up missing some time, we may get to see a few games. Urho Vaakanainen has looked very comfortable in the pre-season and seems to be NHL ready. Jeremy Lauzon is another NHL ready defenseman we got to see last year and again, looked very comfortable in his 16 game stint last year.

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(Photo Credit: NHL.com)

Who Starts To Krejci’s Right?

So it seems Bruce Cassidy is sticking to his guns and keeping the top line of Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Bergeron together so we should see a revolving door of players auditioning on that second line. Cassidy has said that Brett Ritchie, David Backes, Anders Bjork, and Danton Heinen will all get looks on the line, but it seems that Karson Kuhlman, who had some success with the duo of Krejci and Jake Debrusk in the playoffs, may get the nod to begin the year. After four seasons (and one championship win) at Minnesota Duluth, Kuhlman was a bit of a surprise call-up last season but had a good amount of success in both the regular season and the playoffs.

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(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

How Does the Bottom Six Shake-Up?

The trio of Anders Bjork, Charlie Coyle, and Danton Heinen have played together in this pre-season and looked to already have developed some chemistry (all three tallied a point in the game). Albeit a very small sample size, but if the group continue to play well, they are a very strong candidate to begin the season as the third line. If Kuhlman ends up on line two and line three stays as it looks to be, that leaves a sea of players still vying for 4th line roles.

If previously mentioned young players like Frederic, Senyshyn, and Steen can’t crack the top nine, I see no reason to give them minimal minutes on the 4th line, eating up a lot of minutes in the AHL would be a far better alternative. The one kid that is the biggest wildcard is Peter Cehlarik. Unlike the other fringe-NHL prospects, Cehlarik is the only player that is not waiver exempt, meaning that if the Bruins want to send him to the AHL, he would need to pass through waivers. While he isn’t a game-changer, losing a guy with the skill and size for Cehlarik for nothing would hurt. Maybe that pushes him over the edge over players like Kuhlman or Bjork who don’t have to go through waivers but all we can do it wait and see.

That leaves David Backes, Brett Ritchie, Joakim Nordstrom, Chris Wagner Sean Kuraly and Par Lindholm all looking for 4th line minutes. Nordstrom, Kuraly, and Wagner partnered up to be one of the most effective 4th lines in the entire league last year, and are certainly a very good bet to start the season as the line.

Ritchie and Lindholm were both brought in this offseason as low risk, high(ish) reward players. Ritchie is a former 16 goal scorer and will certainly look to return to that form after two very lack-luster seasons. Lindholm was just under a point-per-game in his final season the SHL and will look to replicate that after a solid rookie year in the NHL.

Finally, we have David Backes, who I really think will come back and have a solid year. He’s obviously not the player he used to be in St. Louis. He is still an outstanding veteran presence with a lot to prove this season after the disappointing end of the playoffs. Both Bruce Cassidy and Don Sweeney still have their work cut out for them.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 146 that we recorded on 9-22-19 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!