( Above Photo Credit: amerks .com / Rochester Americans )
By: Bob Mand Follow Me On Twitter @HockeyMand
The Boston Bruins’ prospect squad defeated their analogs from the Pittsburgh Penguins’ organization 3 to 2 in overtime at the HarborCenter in Buffalo, New York, achieving victory in their opening leg of the 2017 Third Annual Prospects Challenge. The ‘They Might Be Bruins’ showed grit, skill, and determination in resolving a 2-0 deficit after a period of play into the final 3-2 edge.
Jesse Gabrielle, the Bruins 2015 fourth rounder, scored minutes into the three-on-three action, beating the Pittsburgh goaltender short-side with a deft wrister on an odd man advantage mere seconds after positively blowing a 2-on-0 breakaway on the same shift.
Also scoring for the Bruins were much-anticipated second-rounder centers Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson and Jack Studnicka. Studnicka scored first for the Bruins in the second period, halving the Proto-Pens advantage with a settled-down slapper in the slot that appeared to wrong-foot the Pens’ goaltender, Alex D’Orio. ‘JFK’ scored his game-tying tally, capitalizing on a forced turnover near the goal-line and firing the puck home.
After a first period where the Bruins were outclassed on and off the scoreboard, the true Black and Gold emerged from the intermission as the dominant squad. Led by alternate captain and 2013 third-rounder Matt Grzelcyk, Boston’s squad rebounded from the ugliness of the first stanza to control the pace and zone play for much of the rest of the game.
Standouts included the goal-scoring trio, the aforementioned Grzelcyk; AHL signee and former Quinnipiac University captain (and Arizona Coyotes draftee), defenseman Connor Clifton; and undrafted invitee goaltender Kyle Keyser.
- Keyser made an amazing save early in period one, going left to right against Pittsburgh forward Teddy Blueger, nearly achieving a full split on the lightning-quick push-off. If Keyser had been just a little less on the ball, we’d have been talking a first-period blowout and not a comeback ‘W.’
- Emil Johansson had a very solid afternoon for the Bruins, displaying good puck control in the corners, the ability and willingness to slow down play when necessary and the capability to make crisp outlet passes. He is one of the older skaters in the event with pro experience in Sweden, so it makes sense he should be noticeable.
- Zach Senyshyn wasn’t the complete force that I’d want him to be if he plans on contending for a spot in Boston this year. However, on more than one occasion, his wheels created significant problems for the opposition – including a mad dash up the off-wing that ended uneventfully but was nonetheless fun to watch.
- Jeremy Lauzon had a few awful turnovers in the first half of the game – including a terrible no-look backhand clear directly to the opposition. He settled down and was solid but not spectacular the rest of the tilt.
- Jakub Zboril had a similarly (if less noticeable) poor game overall, though he did make one magnificent hit on Pens’ forward Jan Drozg in the third.
- Zboril’s partner (and numerical inverse 76 to Jakub’s 67), Connor Clifton, had a dynamic game and was all over my notepad. Despite one misread that led to a scoring opportunity for the Bruins’ foes and a couple of poor clears, Clifton was the Bruins’ best defenseman not born in Boston. He made several understated D-to-D chips, forced turnovers, made open ice checks, and displayed the ability to read attackers well… If he continues to play like this through training camp, don’t be surprised when some team with 49 contracts or less snaps him up.
- Studnicka came out flat like many Bruins but emerged as the team’s best forward through the entirety of the afternoon. It’s little wonder that the B’s snagged the Oshawa Generals’ captain in the second round this year when you see his motor and hockey-sense in action. If anything, the Windsor, Ontario native was trying to play too ‘fine’ throughout the game… Gripping the stick too tightly on a few shots and trying to make some difficult plays when higher-percentage ones were available.
( Above Photo Credit: Pinterest .com )
By: Mark Allred Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277
I wrote an article yesterday following a lead from Providence Journal’s Bruins Hockey writer Mark Divver about the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins signing Connor Clifton, and the top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins have struck again. Earlier today said writer Mark Divver reported on Twitter that the AHL franchise has signed an AHL contract with defenseman Taylor Doherty.
Last season the Cambridge, Ontario Canada native was up and down the minor system o of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs spending 12 games with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, 30 games with the East Coast Hockey Leagues Orlando Solar Bears before being loaned to the Baby B’s for 10 games where he earned two points. Originally drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the second round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, he’s spent a majority of time in the AHL locally with the Worcester Sharks who’s franchise was shipped out west to keep prospects close and travel at a minimum cost. In those ten games with the Providence team, he earned only two points.
The 26-year-old Doherty is a solid blueliner at 6′-8″ 236-pounds and could be that veteran minor leaguer to take the place of departed Alex Grant who I was shocked didn’t get another minor-pro contract to stay with the B’s after he had the best year of his lifetime offensively. The AHL journeyman has 43 points in 256 career AHL games. In the East Coast Hockey League, he has 32 points in 54 games and can be optioned to the NHL B’s Premier “AA” team with the Atlanta Gladiators of the ECHL to add defensive size to help Glad’s goaltenders Matt Ginn and Bruins 2015 third round pick Dan Vladar.
Regardless of minor league placement the increased amount of defensemen in the lower leagues are certainly stacking up with names with main stay name such as Chris Breen, Tommy Cross, Rob O’Gara, and Matt Grzelcyk already on the team with the additions of first-year minor-pro defensemen Emil Johansson, Jeremy Lauzon, Jakub Zboril, and the recent signings of Connor Clifton and article topic Taylor Doherty, this is certainly going to be an interesting training camp coming up within a month. With the additions of youth coming into the system for the first time, it’s almost seemingly the signings of Clifton and Doherty might be to add some strength with opposing players taking Liberties on the younger developing players.
By Mark Allred Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277
After a 4-2 first round series win over the Halifax Mooseheads in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Playoffs, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, and Boston Bruins prospect defenseman Jeremy Lauzon played game one of the Quarter Finals series against the Chicoutimi Sagueneens last night. Chicoutimi swept the best of seven first round series over the Victoria Tigres 4-0 and seemed ready for the dominant Huskies team.
The second round selection of the B’s in 2015 had 3-4-7 numbers in six games during the first round Halifax series and continued his stellar playoff showing in Friday night’s 6-2 win over the Sagueneens team where he notch two assists. With his two points in last night’s beat down the Val-d’Or, Quebec native is currently on a three-game point streak where he’s contributed a goal and five assists in that duration. In 39- games played in the 2016-17 regular season the 6′-3″ 205-pound blueliner posted 5-23-28 numbers in an injury-filled fourth year of Canadian Junior Hockey. He has 35-95-130 points in 200 career regular season games for the Huskies and 6-15-21 totals in 25 career playoff games with Rouyn=Noranda.
The Huskies ended the regular season in second place in the QMJHL overall standings with a 43-18-2-5 record (93 Points) and trailed league-leading Saint John Sea Dogs by nine points (102 Points).
The next Quarter Final game for the Huskies is tonight as they host Chicoutimi from the Lamgold Arena at 7 pm as the team looks to take a 2-0 series lead before heading on the road to play two games at the Georges-Vezina Centre in Chicoutimi, Quebec on Tuesday and Friday night of next week.
Below is a link provided by the QMJHL official website of last night’s win over Chicoutimi
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