Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 14 Preview

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Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hot 

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

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

Not 

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

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

My players to watch this weekend 

Up Front 

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

On the Blue Line 

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

In Net 

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

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

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 13 Recap

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(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By Tim Richardson| Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 13 for the Providence brought their first three games of 2019, and much-needed return home to the Dunk. Our boys in black and gold came into the weekend 14-15-5 (33 points) good for seventh in the Atlantic Division. The Baby B’s had hoped week 13 would bring some much-needed wins and points so they could to claw their way back into the playoff picture. When the weekend started, they sat at 13th in the Eastern Conference, which is just out of the playoff range.  

The Providence Bruins won two of three games over the weekend which improved their record to 16-16-5 (37 points). They remain in seventh place in the Atlantic Division, however, only four points separate the Baby B’s and fourth place in the division which currently belongs to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Meanwhile, the top Boston Bruins minor league affiliated moved up to 12th in the Eastern Conference, and only 6 points separate them and the sixth place Utica Comets.  

Hopefully, the Bruins can have a strong week 14, which is jam-packed with three games over the weekend. Two of the games are at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence where the Bruins are 9-3-2 this season. The one road game will be in Bridgeport, Connecticut against the Sound Tigers where the Bruins are 1-0-2 this season, and 7-13-3 overall.  

Let’s strap in and look back at the weekend that was for the Providence Bruins with some key offensive details for the first three games of 2019.  

Friday, January 4th Providence Bruins vs Lehigh Valley Phantoms (HOME)  

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(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr)

The first of three-weekend games on the docket was at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, who currently sit third in the Atlantic Division. The Baby B’s came out with vengeance in the first period scoring three goals. The first came late in the period when Trent Frederic buried the puck in the back in the net in a goal that was assisted by Cameron Hughes and Karson Kuhlman. Less than a minute later with the Bruins on the power play, Gemel Smith was able to score to make 2-0 with assists coming from Jakub Zboril and Trent Frederic. The Providence club’s quick-strike ability struck again when less than 30 seconds later Gemel Smith found the back of the net again to make it 3-0 with the assists coming from Connor Clifton and Zach Senyshyn.  

With the Bruins ahead 3-0 going into the second period the Lehigh Valley Phantoms picked up their play. They would go on to score two goals in the frame and it would be 3-2 at the end of two periods. The score would remain that until early in the third period when Joona Koppanen scored to make it 4-2 on a goal that was assisted by Connor Clifton and Kyle Cumiskey. The 4-2 score would end up being the final with the Baby B’s getting a need two points. Goalie Zane McIntyre looked excellent in net stopping 20 of 22 shots. He improved to 6-0-1 at home with a .928 save percentage and 1.97 goals against average. Gemel Smith, who was acquired by Boston via waivers from the Dallas Stars earlier in the year has been very good in nine games since being sent down to Providence with stats of 5-2-7.  

The Providence Bruins would go on to out-shoot the Phantoms by a 34-22 margin and go one for three on the power play. The Baby B’s currently sit fifth in that category in the Eastern Conference with a 21.3% power play percentage which also ranks seventh in the entire American Hockey League. Meanwhile, the Bruins were also able to kill off both Lehigh Valley penalties. The penalty kill has been elite for the boys in black and gold which currently sits second in not only the Eastern Conference but the entire American Hockey League with 86.3%. 

Saturday, January 5th Providence Bruins vs Springfield Thunderbirds (AWAY) 

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(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr)

The second game of weekend would see the Providence Bruins travel to Springfield, Massachusetts to take on the home team Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center. The Florida Panther’s affiliate current sits at fifth in the Atlantic Division at 16-12-5-3 (40 points). The game would start out promising for the Baby B’s when they scored early in the first period to make it 1-0. The goal was scored by young prospect Zach Senyshyn his 11th on the year, and it was assisted by Austin Fyten and Chris Breen. The Bruins lead the Thunderbirds 1-0 after one period of play. 

The good news would stop there when thunder struck for Springfield and they would go on a scoring spree netting four goals in the second period to make it 4-1 after two periods of play. The Thunderbirds would score again a quarter of the way through the third period making it 5-1. This made five unanswered goals for the Panther’s affiliate in just over 26 minutes of play. The Bruins would go on to score two more goals in the third period to make it 5-3. The first third-period goal was on the power play scored by Jordan Szwarz assisted by Cody Goloubef and the second of the period was netted by Gemel Smith assisted by Chris Breen and Emil Johansson. The Baby B’s would go on to pull goalie Dan Vladar in the last few minutes of the game to try and get the extra attacker on the ice, but they still came up short losing 5-3.  

The Providence Bruins would go on to outshout the Thunderbirds 46-39, and both clubs would go one for five on the power play. Goalie Dan Vladar who’s normally sure-handed on the road, suffered the loss falling to 6-8-2 with a .897 save percentage and 2.82 goals against average overall on the season. Gemel Smith’s play stuck out again, making it two straight games with a goal.  

Sunday, January 6th Providence Bruins Vs Hartford Wolf Pack (HOME) 

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(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr)

The final game of the weekend saw the Providence Bruins return the Dunk for some home cooking against the Wolf Pack of Hartford. Our boys in black and gold would start off the game strong scoring two goals. The first came a little over halfway through the period when Captain Jordan Szwarz pocketed a goal that was assisted by Cameron Hughes and Kyle Cumiskey. Then in the final seconds of the period, Peter Cehlarik netted a power play goal that was assisted by Kyle Cumiskey and Jordan Szwarz. The period would end with Bruins up 2-0. 

The second period of play would bring out some chippy play with old friend Matt Beleskey fighting Wiley Sherman, but the period would end with the score still 2-0 Providence. The third period would see the Baby B’s score three more times. The first came about halfway through the period when Emil Johansson netted a shorthanded goal that was assisted by Karson Kuhlman and Cameron Hughes. A few minutes later, Peter Cehlarik would find the back of the net on a goal that was assisted by Wiley Sherman. Then with a little under five minutes to play and the Hartford goalie pulled, Gemel Smith would add an empty net goal for the Bruins that was assisted by Jakub Zboril to make it 5-0. The Pack would go on to spoil the shutout netting a power play goal of their own in the final three minutes of play to make 5-1 and that would be your final.  

The Providence Bruins would go on to out-shoot the Wolf Pack by a whopping 37-16 margin with both teams going one for five on the power play. Goalie Zane McIntyre was excellent again at home stopping 15 of 16 shots. He improved to 7-0-1 at home with a .929 save percentage and 1.86 goals against average. Gemel Smith would go on to score in his third game in a row and his fourth goal of the weekend.  

Honorable Mention 

Gemel Smith: Smith had an excellent weekend for Providence with stats of 4-04. Since being sent down to the AHL he has been a spark for the offense. 

Jordan SzwarzThe Captain had a great weekend for himself with stats of 2-1-3. The two goals brought his overall total to 12 on the year. Eight more goals and he will be the fifth player in Providence Bruins history with 20+ goals in three seasons. 

Jakub ZborilZboril returned to the lineup for the first time in almost a month due to injury and had stats of 0-2-2 while playing good defense for the Bruins. It was nice to see him back and on the score sheet. 

Zane McIntyre: Zane had a phenomenal weekend for the Bruins. He went 2-0-0 stopping 35 of 38 shots for a .921 save percentage and goals against average of 1.50. 

Not So Honorable Mention 

Zach SenyshynIt was nice that Senyshyn scored and got an assist over the weekend, but those two points were his first two since December 12. Hopefully, these two points will open the floodgates a little bit. 

Anton BlidhBlidh continues to be as cold as the ice the team skates on. The gritty forward has not registered a point since December 22.  

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Boston Bruins Prospect Player Profile: Urho Vaakanainen

(Photo Courtesy of NBCSports)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Urho Vaakanainen was drafted in the 1st round 18th overall in the 2017 NHL Draft. When Vaakanainen was drafted, it was said, that he was not only the most NHL ready defenseman but also the best all-around defenseman in the entire draft. He already at a young age possessed elite skills as a stay-at-home defenseman. He was even getting compared to NHL Hall of Famer Scott Niedermayer. Now those are some giant skates to fill, so let’s dive into the player and see why he had such a lofty comparison.

The 2017-18 season was Vaakanainen’s first since being drafted. Being such a young player, he decided to stay in Finland and play for SaiPa of Finland’s top hockey league Liiga. This was important because one of the few major knocks on Vaakanainen was that he lacked experience. In 43 games with SaiPa Vaakanainen netted 4 goals while dishing out 7 assists for 11 total points and a +/- rating of +8. He also played in the teams 9 playoff games where he didn’t find the back of the net, but he did dish out 1 assist for 1 total point and a rating of +1. Overall it was a very successful season for Vaakanainen. The Bruins were very high on his defensive skills, and skating ability. So much so that they signed him to an entry-level contract, and he was slated to play the 2018-19 season in Providence.  

Coming over into his first professional season in North America there was some buzz around Vaakanainen.  Vaakanainen added to an already deep young defensive core and a prospect pool that included Charlie McAvoy, Torey Krug, Matt Grzelcyk, Jakub Zboril, and Jeremy Lauzon. Those guys are good and have a bright future ahead of them, but even with how good they currently are and could be Vaakanainen may end up being the best of the bunch. He possesses elite skills as a stay at home defender. To top that off he has great vision on the ice, is a mobile defender, and he’s also elite on the penalty-kill. His play is wise beyond its years. He doesn’t have any major glaring weaknesses either. A few things that the Bruins did want him working on was improving his shooting skills, and playmaking ability. These are things that can come with time. 

Vaakanainen impressed in preseason this season but ultimately began the year in Providence because of the depth the Bruins had at defense. How he did flash that defensive ability and showed that he was close to being NHL ready. Vaakanainen played in 6 games for the Providence Bruins. He registered 0 goals and 2 assists and a rating of 0. Even bigger than those stats, however, was the fact that he had 14 shots in those 6 games. Showing that he was trying to improve the areas of his game that the Bruins wanted him to. The Bruins were very impressed, and with early injuries to the defense, Vaakanainen was called up to Boston. He played in 2 games with Boston where he didn’t register a point and had a rating of -1.  

Unfortunately, in that second game, he suffered a vicious elbow to the head and got a concussion. He has been out since October 23rd. He has skated a little bit since, but there is no timetable for his return. It was unfortunate that Vaakanainen did get injured because even in the limited sample we saw he looked good. He looked like he belonged in the NHL. Ultimately, Urho Vaakanainen has shown a reason for us as fans to be excited. The Bruins have many young, exciting defensemen either currently in the NHL or waiting in the wings in Providence. A few years down the road the Bruins could have one of the best young defenses in all the league anchored by Vaakanainen, and that is something to be excited about.   

Providence Bruins Weekend Re-cap – Week 8

45108775584_0a14212eb0_z(Photo Courtesy of the Providence Bruins)

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

Week eight was a three-game holiday week with all road games and the Providence Bruins came together like we knew they could.  The challenges of call-ups and injuries seemed to do little to damage their spirit and resolve as they came away with five of the possible six points for the week.  These five points put them even with the Hershey Bears for seventh place in the division and the communication, chemistry, and composure that are taking hold in a big can only add up to better rankings.  As we have seen in previous seasons the challenges of the early season have begun to fade and we are starting to see the real Providence Bruins shine through.

Two goalies(Photo Courtesy of Jen Stasio Coombe)

Goaltender Performance:

Dan Vladar started in net on Saturday at the PPL Center against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.  Saving 18-21 shots on goal bringing his save percentage to .893.

Zane McIntyre started in net twice this week.  Wednesday in Hartford saving 18-22 shots on goal and Sunday in Wilkes-Barre making an impressive 32-34 saves.  His save percentage is now .858.

This Weekends Scores:

WED Nov. 21 AWAY              Providence 3 – Hartford 4 OTL 

SAT Nov. 24 AWAY             Providence 6 – Lehigh Valley 3 WIN!!!

SUN Nov. 25 AWAY             Providence 4 – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 2 WIN!!!

Detailed Daily Game Re-caps:

Wednesday, November 21, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (AWAY)

hfd(Photo Courtesy of the Hartford Wolf Pack)

In the first of several Wednesday night games the Bruins have coming up they traveled to Hartford Connecticut to battle their familiar foe the Wolf Pack.  When these two pair off it is always even odds for who will be the victor of the night and just how many penalties are going to be awarded. This night was to be no different.

The first period did see its fair share of penalties, but not near as many as we have seen in the past.  The 6:38 roughing penalty called against Providences Tanner Pond put the Wolf Pack on the power-play, but Karson Kuhlman had other plans.  Taking a quick pass from Messner, Kuhlman drove the puck past the Pack’s goaltender at 7:50 and landed a shorthanded goal in the back of the net.  The Bruins were not as successful on the 12:07 hooking penalty called on Austin Fyten.  This time on the power-play Hartford’s Belesky was able to sneak by McIntyre at 13:49 and even the score at 1-1.  A level score meant everyone kicked it into high gear trying to get the lead before the end of the period.  A hooking call against Hartford gave the Bruins the power-play they needed for the extra push and at 18:28 Ryan Fitzgerald scored the power-play goal with the help of Szwarz and Cuminsky.  The score as the horn sounded was Providence 2- Hartford 1.

The second period started out with a bang, literally.  Providences Pond and Hartford’s O’Donnell came to blows at only two minutes in.  Once those two were safely in their respective penalty boxes, there was not much going for the rest of the period.  There were a couple minor penalties called, maybe just to break the boredom, and then with only two seconds left on the clock, Hartford’s Belesky was aided by Meskanen and former Bruin O’Gara to bring the score back even.  This time the horn blew with a score of Providence 2 – Hartford 2.

The third was not a repeat of the second.  Two penalties in the first five minutes one for each side.  Then at 9:36 the break the Wolf Pack were looking for, O’Donnell was able to slide a goal in behind McIntyre who had slid a little too far out of position giving them the lead for the first time all night.  Not impressed with being down by one and eager to prove his worthiness of the recent PTO signing Cuminsky worked hard and with the help of Fitzgerald and Donato was able to find the back of the net at 13:23 making it an even game once again.  The horn sounded seven minutes later signaling the end of regular time and the need for the OT.

Overtime was not a shot fest or a quick one and done as it has been in the past with these two teams.  Instead there were only two shots on goal from Providence and one from Hartford.  That one from Hartford was a good one and at 3:30 Lettieri was able to score the game-winning goal and shut the door on the Bruins hopes of an overtime victory.

Saturday, November 24th, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AWAY)

LHV(Photo Courtesy of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms)

Thanksgiving was over and the tryptophan coma had hopefully passed when the Bruins headed down to Lehigh Valley to face the Phantoms for the first time away from home this season.  The two teams battled it out last weekend here in Providence with a less than desirable result for our Bruins.  This time being away from home and fired up from a disappointing loss, the baby-b’s were there to win it.  The question was could they keep the penalty bug at bay by maintaining the level heads they needed to capture the two points.

The first period of the game would test their resolve right off the puck drop.  In under a minute and a half the Phantoms had been able to score two goals on Vladar and were looking smug already.  The Bruins players kept their cool and showed remarkable restraint even waving off a taunt or two that was directed at them from their opponents.  Those level heads paid off when at 17:14 Austin Fyten was able to slide one past the Phantoms goaltender and get the Bruins back in the game.  Both teams were full steam ahead and charging the net at every opportunity.  Providence had racked up thirteen shots on goal and the Phantoms six, but when the horn sounded in the valley it was Providence 1 – Lehigh Valley 2.

Fired up from the late goal from Fyten in the first the Bruins started the second period with a goal at 2:42 by team captain Jordan Szwarz assisted by Fitgerald.  This brought the scores even, but the Phantoms were not ready to concede.  Just two minutes later they took the lead again on a goal by Bardrau assisted by Twarynski.  Perhaps this lead change just caused something to snap in the Bruins, because from here on in, they were lights out.  Scoring twice more this period, once at 9:41 when Sherman and Zboril handed one-off to Fitzy and the second was an unassisted goal by Cameron Hughes at 14:22.  The horn sounded for period two on a very different game, Providence 4 – Lehigh Valley 3.

The drive to the end continued into the third period for the Bruins as the shots on goal can attest.  The third period saw Providence with twelve shots on goal, while the Phantoms were only able to squeeze in four.  Those shots on goal did not materialize into any actual goals for Lehigh Valley, but two Providence pucks found their way to the back of the net.  At 2:59 Austin Fyten doubled his tally with the help of Emil Johannsen widening the providence lead to two goals and then at 7:14 Cameron Hughes followed suit taking help from Kuhlman to provide the final goal of the night.  When the horn finally sounded at the end of the third the score was a lopsided Providence 6 – Lehigh Valley 3.

Sunday, November 25th, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AWAY)

WBS(Photo Courtesy of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins)

With level heads prevailing the previous night and allowing the solid victory, the Bruins may have gotten the boost they needed to take on one of their hardest competitors of the weekend, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.  Having faced the Penguins the weekend before on home ice and won, they had gained a bit of confidence, but facing the top ranked team in the division is nerve-wracking at any time.  The matinée result this day was far from predetermined.

This first period began like a game of Rockem’ Sockem’ Robots.  David Broll, on his first shift back after injuring his hand in a pre-season fight, dropped his gloves and his helmet to take on the Penguins McGrath only two minutes in.  Broll and McGrath were both slapped with five minutes for fighting and another two for unsportsmanlike conduct due to the removal of their helmets.  As if that wasn’t bad enough for the Penguins Burton was called for Interference at 2:08, putting the Bruins on their first power-play of the night.  Only a minute later Kovar and Donato combined to provide the perfect ingredients for Fitzgerald to score the first goal of the night putting Providence up 1-0.  It took until the last-minute of the period for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to make a successful bid for a goal.  At 19:16 Johnson slid one in past McIntyre and was able to level the score to end the period.

The second period began with a Providence 1 – WBS 1 score and both teams wanted that to change as quickly as possible.  They challenged each other through the neutral zone and fought hard to keep the competitors away from the net.  This back and forth continued until nearly twelve minutes into the period when Cehlarik broke through the Penguins defense and scored with the help of McNeill.  The hole in the defense did not have time to mend before Fitzgerald and Szwarz passed the puck over to Donato who lit the lamp once again for the Bruins.  When the horn sounded at the end of 20 the score was Providence 3 – WBS 1.

The third period was much like the second, but this time the Penguins were scrambling to get back in the game.  Providence was also looking to score but was more intent on keeping Wilkes-Barre/Scranton away from their net.  15:56 into the period the Penguins pulled within one with a goal from Burton.  This goal amped up both sides as they desperately fought to secure the win.  Several times in the last two minutes Wilkes-Barre wanted to pull their goalie, but they just could not clear the puck far enough out to do so.  Finally, at 19:24 their chance came, the goalie scrambled to the bench and the additional man joined the play.  Unfortunately, it was just in time for Jakub Zboril to score the empty net goal and seal the end for the Penguins. Final Score at the horn, Providence 4 – WBS 2.

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Zdeno Chara Injured, Heading Back To Boston

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photo credit: Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports

By: Mandi Mahoney  |  Check Me Out On Twitter @phoneymahoney

During Wednesday night’s tilt against the Colorado Avalanche, former Bruin Carl Soderberg had just dished out the puck at the Bruins’ blue line as Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was advancing toward him. Chara made the check and hit Soderberg square on the back. As he did, the resulting impact caused Chara’s left knee to cave inward. He left the game immediately following Jake DeBrusk’s second goal of the night, a little less than 30 seconds after the incident.

Chara traveled to Dallas with the team after Wednesday’s loss to the Avalanche in Colorado, but instead of staying for the remainder of the trip, he has returned to Boston to have his knee evaluated by team medical staff. Perhaps Bruins fans can take a little bit of comfort from the fact that Chara left the rink unaided and did not appear to be badly injured, but there’s no telling what an evaluation can reveal. Hopefully, it’s relatively minor, as injuries to the Bruins’ blue line are beginning to pile up.

Currently, the Bruins’ defense corps is decimated, with Kevan Miller out (hand), Charlie McAvoy sidelined with a concussion, and most recently, Brandon Carlo placed on injured reserve (upper body injury) and did not travel with the team. It was initially thought that Carlo’s injury was minor as he was questionable for Sunday’s home game against the Vegas Golden Knights, but it looks like it may be a little more significant than it seemed at first glance.

Injuries to these three defensemen have thrown the Bruins’ defensive pairings out of whack, and adding Chara to the list means the Bruins do not have either of their top pair available. They are also missing one from their second pair (Carlo), s well as one from the third pair (Miller). Jeremy Lauzon was called back up from Providence a week ago and played the last two games with Boston. 2015 first round pick Jakub Zboril was called up following Carlo’s injury. Should Zboril make it into the lineup (which is likely at this point), it will be his first rodeo, as he has yet to make an appearance in the National Hockey League.

The entire right side of the Bruins’ defense is injured in McAvoy, Carlo, and Miller, and with Chara out, now their top left defenseman is out as well. This leaves the Bruins with a defensive corps consisting of Torey Krug, John Moore, Matt Grzelcyk, seventh defenseman Steve Kampfer, and Providence Bruin callups Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril. After Chara left the game in the second period Wednesday, the wheels fell off, and the Bruins gave up five unanswered goals. Hopefully, with a little time to practice together and for coach Bruce Cassidy to figure out the pairings, things will come together and the defense will be less leaky than it was for the second half of Wednesday night’s game, as the Bruins will undoubtedly feel the loss of Chara.

Bruins Call Connor Clifton Up From AHL

( Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins )

By: Mandi Mahoney | Follow Me On Twitter @phonymahoney

The Boston Bruins road trip is not going according to plan. During a loss to the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center Wednesday night, captain Zdeno Chara injured his knee while checking former Bruin Carl Soderberg. Chara left in the second period, and the Bruins did not fare very well without him, dropping a two-goal lead and eventually losing 6-3 to the Avs.

As a result of Chara’s injury, the Bruins called up blueliner Connor Clifton from their AHL affiliate in Providence on an emergency basis. Clifton traveled to Dallas to meet with the team yesterday, in the midst of their road trip. It looks like the right-shot defenseman will make his NHL debut tonight, as John Moore, who has typically played on the Bruins’ second defensive pair, will not be in the lineup to play against the Stars in Dallas tonight.

Clifton was originally selected 133rd overall, in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft by the Arizona Coyotes. He and the Coyotes failed to reach an agreement in August 2017, and the Bruins signed him to a two-year entry-level deal this May. Prior to being drafted, the Long Branch, New Jersey native played for the USNTDP in juniors, and then for the U.S. National Under 18 Team, where he racked up 8 goals and 15 assists, totaling 23 points in 66 games. This put him second in scoring among defensemen on the team, only behind current New Jersey Devil Will Butcher. During that season, Clifton was a teammate of fellow Bruins prospect Ryan Fitzgerald, and former Bruin Frank Vatrano.

In 156 games at Quinnipiac, Clifton scored 56 points and was +39 during his college career. He captained the Bobcats in 2016-17, which was his senior year. Skating at 5’11” and 174 pounds, Clifton isn’t the biggest player on the ice, but he is definitely not afraid to throw his body around and play a physical game, and he does not back down from that, no matter the opponent.

Clifton has been a noticeable presence on every team he has played for, as he’s known for work ethic and compete level, on top of his energy and enthusiasm for physical hockey. He can sometimes take risks in the offensive zone, which has come back to bite him from time to time, but Clifton has learned from those mistakes and is definitely getting the hang of playing in the AHL. This season, he has played in fourteen games for the Providence Bruins, has assisted on 4 goals, and has a plus/minus rating of +4.

For tonight’s game in Dallas, expect Clifton to be playing alongside the only established veteran left in the Bruins’ defensive corps, puck mover Torey Krug. This leaves Jeremy Lauzon and Matt Grzelcyk on the second pair, and Jakub Zboril, another Providence Bruin making his NHL debut, skating on the third pair with Steve Kampfer. Tonight’s game against the Stars will be interesting at the very least, with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn going up against Grzelcyk, Krug, and four AHL defensemen.

Providence Bruins Player Profile: Jakub Zboril

( Photo Credit:  Boston Herald )

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

When Jakub Zboril was drafted 13th overall in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft defense was a major need that Bruins wanted to address. By most accounts they had. Zboril was thought of as good left shot two-way defenseman. He was not elite in any one area, but he also did not have any glaring weaknesses. He drew comparisons to NHL defenseman Keith Yandle, a top 4 defenseman that could be slotted into your lineup for many years to come. With all this praise and upside, you might be asking yourself “where is this guy, and what’s happened since being draft?” I am glad you asked because I am here to tell you just that.

After being drafted in June of 2015, Zboril finished up his second season in the QMJHL with the Saint John Sea Dogs. In 50 games had 6 goals 14 assists for a total of 20 points with a +/- rating of +10. The playoffs, however, is where he really turned it on. In 17 playoff games, he had 2 goals 8 assists for 10 total points and a +2 rating. Not a bad season for a young defenseman who had just been drafted. Zboril seemed to carry the momentum of the playoffs into the next season in 50 games with Saint John he amassed 9 goals and 32 assists for 41 total points with a rating of +19. In 16 playoff games, he continued his hot streak with 3 goals and 4 assists in 16 games with a rating of +10 which helped lead Saint John capture the 2016-17 QMJHL Championship.

The 2017-18 season was Zboril’s first the AHL. Entering his first full season in professional hockey with the Providence Bruins there were a lot of high expectations, but also some questions arose surrounding his work ethic. It was reported during his first few rookie development camps that he did not bring the necessary energy to compete at a high level. These first impressions while fair, or unfair have followed him throughout. The talent was never in question, it was just the work ethic and the ability to stay consistent. During the 2017-18 after starting off slow Zboril put together a nice season registering 4 goals and 15 assists for 19 total points and a rating of +12. He did not register a point and had an even rating in the teams 4 playoff games.

He did draw praise after his first full season with Providence. The Bruins wanted him to work on his defensive consistency during the season, and he did a pretty good job of that during the year. The offensive tools that were on display in the QMJHL were also evident during the year. Something else that came out of this year is by all accounts he adopted some good work habits on and off the ice. Zboril’s development seemed to be coming on nicely which is what you want to hear about your high draft picks.

Coming into this season the team still had high hopes for Zboril, but he may have been lost in the shuffle a little bit. 2016 first round draft pick Charlie McAvoy has played well since being drafted, and fellow 2015 defensive draft pick Jeremy Lauzon in some people’s eyes may have leaped ahead of Zboril with his play and development. To start off this year, Zboril battled a concussion in camp and had a slow start. However, recently he has played well and has 2 goals and 2 assists in his first 13 games this season. He still shows the offensive potential he had when drafted while also coming into his own defensively as well.

Zboril’s development may be coming along slower than some people and fans may like but easing a player into a role isn’t a bad thing. The Bruins have the luxury of playing the slow game with Zboril because of the play of guys like McAvoy and the development of Jeremy Lauzon. If the Bruins play this correctly and they do ease him into a role, I think it is something that will pay off huge dividends in the long run. In a year or two, the Bruins could have a young talented defense comprised of mostly players they developed on their own. When Zboril was drafted in 2015 that seemed like a pipe dream. However, if you’re patient and careful with Jakub Zboril’s development that pipe dream will be a reality, and it will be an absolute joy to watch.

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Bruins Recall Zboril, Miller Travels for Road Trip

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Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

By: Spencer Fascetta | Follow Me on Twitter @PuckNerdHockey

It appears that the litany of injury issues that have plagued the Boston Bruins is not going away any time soon. With Brandon Carlo being felled in Saturday night’s win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Bruins recalled defenseman Jeremy Lauzon on an emergency basis for the second time this season. Lauzon proceeded to then tally his first NHL goal in Sunday’s victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. The B’s have announced that Carlo will remain in Boston with his undisclosed injury for the duration of the upcoming road trip, leaving them with only 6 healthy defensemen on their NHL roster.

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Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports

To remedy this, former 13th Overall Selection Jakub Zboril has been recalled to travel with the team. Zboril, 21, is in his second professional season with the AHL’s Providence Bruins. Through 13 games, he has 2 goals and 2 assists for 4 points. His first season with the Baby B’s was rocky, to say the least, as he spent time both on the top defensive pairing and in the press box as a healthy scratch. His chances for breaking camp with the NHL team were slim, but he still looked reasonably comfortable in the games he played. This makes Zachary Senyshyn (15th Overall) the only player of the 6 the Bruins took in the first two rounds of the 2015 NHL Draft who has yet to see any time on the NHL roster. Zboril will not play this evening against Colorado, but could see action should Head Coach .Bruce Cassidy feel the lineup needs a shake-up or another injury occurs during the rest of the road trip.

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Photo Credit: Winslow Townsend/USA TODAY Sports

Should Zboril not be inserted into the lineup by the time the trip ends in Detroit on November 21st, he may not get a chance to this time around, as Kevan Miller is also traveling with the team. Miller has been out since early October with a hand injury that was expected to keep him sidelined until at least early December. The progression has come quickly enough for the B’s to take him with them, despite publicly stating that he will not play until the Detroit matchup at the earliest. If he were to play, one of Lauzon or Zboril would need to be returned to Providence in order to activate Miller off of the IR.

Both Charlie McAvoy (concussion) and Urho Vaakanainen (concussion) remain on the IR indefinitely.

Providence Bruins Weekend Recap – Week 3

43643067160_c61e7efca6_z(Photo Courtesy of the Providence Bruins)

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

It is still early, but there was something to smile about this weekend for Providence Bruins fans.  Colby Cave extended his scoring streak to 5 goals in 4 games and the team saw some marked improvements all around. The back-to-back games against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers finished with an overtime loss on Friday and a runaway win on Saturday.  This gave our team 3 points for the weekend bringing the total for the season up to 5, still just ahead of the Hershey Bears in the division.

As a team, they did a better job of keeping on the puck and making a more consistent effort throughout the game and not just in the third period.  Our power play effort was once again an area for concern as we went 0 for 6 this weekend, but the penalty kills were a success, preventing the Sound Tigers from sinking even a single shot in their 9 power play opportunities.  One area Jay Leach will undoubtedly be reviewing with the lads this week is the excess of penalties we are handing over.

30519924417_f2a8026a9c_z(Photo Courtesy of the Providence Bruins)

Goaltender Performance:

Dan Vladar manned the net on Friday in Bridgeport and stopped 30 of the 34 shots on goal bringing his save percentage down to .896.

Zane McIntyre stood guard on Saturday in Providence and stopped 25 of the 27 shots on goal bringing his save percentage up to .813.

This Weekends Scores:

FRI Oct.19 AWAY              Providence 3-Bridgeport 4 OTL 

SAT Oct.20 HOME            Providence 5-Bridgeport 2 WIN!!!

45406719092_63832a5347_z(Photo Courtesy of the Providence Bruins)

Detailed Daily Game Re-caps:

Friday, October 19, 2018, Providence Bruins Vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AWAY)

Webster Bank Arena came alive Friday for the first meeting of the Sound Tigers and the Providence Bruins.  The crowd of 3,065 who attended to see the grudge match would not be disappointed as it was a tight one throughout with multiple lead changes and an overtime to boot.

The first period saw Bridgeport come out in a whirlwind, as Toews and Rathgeb set up Dal Colle to score only 3:15 into the period.  Not impressed, Colby Cave answered back with an unassisted goal at 7:20 for Providence bringing the score level. Three penalties, 2 to Providence and 1 to Bridgeport, were handed out before the horn sounded to mark the end of the period. Not a six-penalty period as we saw last weekend, but we could be nearing the 24-penalty minute average per game if they keep it up.

45406719612_cf78f2662f_z(Photo Courtesy of the Providence Bruins)

The first half of the second period was one that you could watch while standing in line at the concessions.  There was a lot of back and forth, a few scrambles for the puck and several shots on goal, but nothing to write home about.  Until the 18th minute when Jakub Zboril took the help from Martin Bakos and Cameron Hughes and sent one home to put the Baby-B’s in the lead by a score of 2-1.  Three more penalties issued this period.  This time 2 to Bridgeport and 1 for Providence and we are only at 12 PIMS for this game…looks like that average could be in danger of coming down a notch or two.

Not satisfied with ending the period behind by a goal, the Sound Tigers came out to open the third period with a goal at 0:42 to bring them level again.  This time Rathgeb got the point, and Aho and Dal Colle were there with the apples. That goal was followed by 3 Providence penalties and finally a Providence goal at 17:49 from Colby Cave assisted by Jacob Forsbacka Karlsson to once again put Providence back on top (3-2).  The lead would not stand though as with 41 seconds left in regulation Wotherspoon, assisted by Chris Bourque and Seb Aho, was able to tie it up for the Sound Tigers and force the game into overtime.

Overtime was but a blink of an eye when at 0:32 Sislo placed the final nail in the coffin for the night and sent the Providence Bruins home with their first OTL of the year.  The loss was even more heartbreaking after having led twice in regular time and having not trailed since the third minute of the first period. Perhaps, the greatest loss of all for the team this night was that of their Captain, Jordan Szwarz, who was later diagnosed with a concussion after hitting his head on the ice when his skates were kicked out by Bridgeport’s Wotherspoon.

Saturday, October 20, 2018, Providence Bruins Vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (HOME)

Still feeling the sting of the overtime loss the previous night in Bridgeport, the Providence Bruins came out with a renewed vigor that we have not seen in our Baby-B’s this year.  Judging by the ferocity of the game the Sound Tigers were also a little charged up due to their win.  Whatever numbers were lacking in penalty minutes last night were surely made up for tonight, with a whopping 38!

The first period saw Providence get on the board first with a goal by Cameron Hughes assisted by Jakub Zboril at 1:51. Ensuring his scoring streak would not end, Colby Cave nailed one home less than 2 minutes later with the help of Jeremy Lauzon and Anton Blidh at 3:13.  Apparently, this back to back goal pair did not sit well with Bridgeport’s Jones as he threw down with Trent Frederic at 3:26 and both received 5 minutes for fighting. Other than three more minor penalties that period, no other action was had, and the horn sounded the end of the first with Providence in the lead 2-0.

43641803920_a1c80bf720_z(Photo Courtesy of the Providence Bruins)

The second period began with a minor penalty to Bridgeport followed at 9:11 by another round of fisticuffs.  This time Bridgeport’s Helgeson took on Wiley Sherman.  Once these two hooligans were locked away for their respective 5 minutes, Frederic took the opportunity to raise the Bruins’ lead by one with the help of Karson Kuhlman and Atlanta Gladiator call-up, Joel Messner. Bridgeport was down, but not out and scrambled to make the plays they needed to get a point on the board. Finally, at 13:22 Dal Colle assisted by Hitchcock ended McIntyre’s bid for a shut-out and got their first point on the board.  Unfortunately, being charged with a penalty for roughing was the only other call the Sound Tigers would get before the second period ended with the Bruins up 3-1.

As the third period began, it seemed like the Bruins were making up for lost time, with two goals again being scored nearly back to back.  Lauzon assisted Kovar at 0:41 with the first goal and 30 seconds later Frederic made it 5-1 Providence with assists from Cehlarik and Clifton.  However, the Sound Tigers were not done yet, like a cat being cornered they clawed and fought and were able to capture one more goal at 8:59 from Sislo assisted by Wotherspoon and Casto.  As hard as they fought and as much as they tried, they could not overcome the determination that lay behind our Providence Bruins on Saturday Night.  The Bruins walked away with a 5-2 victory their first regular season win at home this year, extending their “at-home win-streak” against the Sound Tigers to four!!!  Keep it up Baby-B’s, We are behind you all the way!

 

Bruins Prospect Pare Is Off To A Great Start With New Team

(Photo Credit: MARC GRANDMAISON/AGENCE QMI)

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Boston Bruins prospect forward Cedric Pare has certainly been through the trials and tribulations when it comes to the roller coaster ride of developmental hockey in the Canadian Major Junior Leagues. A former first-round selection of the QMJHL  Saint John Sea Dogs as a rookie in the 2016-17 campaign he along with talented teammates such as B’s defensive prospect Jakub Zboril, along with blueliner Thomas Chabot and forward Joe Veleno had an outstanding regular season to set themselves up to be serious players for a long playoff run.

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After that successful regular season (2016-17) that captured 102 points in the 68 games, Pare and his Sea Dogs team would also have the energy and the will to truck through the 2017 playoffs. The Sea Dogs swept the Rimouski Oceanic in the first-round best-of-seven, swept the Val-d’Or Foreurs in the second-round best-of-seven, lost two games to the Chicoutimi Sagueneens in that best-of-seven, to sweeping the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada in the Conference final to capture the Presidents Trophy as the QMJHL Champions. With the league championship in hand, Cedric and Saint John organization punched their ticket to the 2017 Memorial Cup making it to the semifinal game after having a 1-2 record in the previous round-robin tournament.

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The Sea Dogs just couldn’t keep up with the better-skilled Otters club, losing 6-3, sending the team home after a noble effort. The 2017-18 season where many thought the Sea Dogs club could possibly come close to having the similar success of the year prior came back to earth when the team finished last place on the whole earning 39 points in 68 games. For Cedric, it was tough to see so many talented players that he got along with leave the organization, but he had the mindset to stay focused and work harder as he earned a top-six role with departing talent. Although the team struggled for the rest of the season, and six players traded away including talented forward and 2018 NHL Red Wings draft pick Joe Veleno, the Sea Dogs were in a rebuilding and it was just a matter of time before Pare — one of the highest players of value on the team — was to be moved as well.

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On June 1, it became official that Pare was in fact traded as the Sea Dogs continued to look for future sustainability through upcoming drafts and rebuild the squad properly to be back in contention as one of the best teams on the “Q” for years to come. Cedric was traded to the Rimouski Oceanic, who already were building up for something good and after the Bruins released him from NHL training camp on Sept. 19, he went to his new junior team with a mindset of a fresh start without sulking or a failed attitude. The Bruins sixth-round selection in 2017 instead went into the 2018-19 season on a mission to not only impress new fans and management in Rimouski but also make a statement in his development showing that he deserves a roster spot next season as he’ll be eligible to play in the American Hockey League full time as he’ll turn 20 in January of 2019.

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I strongly believe Pare is in a better place to succeed with the Oceanic club, and he’s certainly on pace to have a better year offensively than he did with the Sea Dogs. Last season the 6-foot-3, 210-pound center in his second full season in the QMJHL had 13-24-37 numbers in 60 games which offensively speaking was doubled from his rookie season in 2016-17 when he contributed 16 points in 64 games. What sticks out to me this season above previous years is his start and determination with his new team. Players can be streaky, but if you watch his game this season, he just looks different and engaging in all different scenarios. For instance, if you look at his year-to-year stats, he had one point in his first eight games in his rookie season, two points in his first eight games in his second season to this year with a new Oceanic team having eight points in his first seven games.

Unfortunately, Cedric snapped his longest point streak of the season tonight but as humble as a player he is I’ll bet from interacting with him over the last two development camps and rookie camps he’s more happy with the big Canadian Thanksgiving win today. Pare and the Oceanic beat the Shawinigan Cataractes by the score of 8-1 on the road and get back on the ice on Wednesday night October 10th at home against Chicoutimi and Saturday night Oct. 13 to round out the week again at home against Cape Breton.