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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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 12 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Amanda Statland – The Sin Bin )

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

This weekend is the last leg of the 5-game road trip for the Providence Bruins. Our boys in black and gold currently sit at 7th in the Atlantic Division with a record of 13-13-5 (31 points) and 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. The team continues the aforementioned road trip on Friday traveling to Allentown, Pennsylvania to take on the home team Lehigh Valley Phantoms at the PPL Center. The Providence club finishes up the road trip with two games against the host Hershey Bears in Hershey, Pennsylvania on Saturday and Sunday.  

Friday, December 28th Providence Bruins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AWAY) 

The Friday match-up marks the third time the Bruins have faced the Phantoms this season. In the first meeting, Lehigh Valley beat Providence 5-4 with the Bruins getting goals from Karson Kuhlman, Cameron Hughes, Colby Cave, and Wiley Sherman. Meanwhile, goalie Dan Vladar was off his game stopping 21 of 26 shots in net. The second meeting between the two teams saw a much better result for the Bruins. The Baby B’s beat the Philadelphia Flyers affiliate 6-3 with the Bruins getting goals from Austin Fyten (2), Cameron Hughes (2), Ryan Fitzgerald, and Jordan Szwarz, while goalie Dan Vladar looked much better in net stopping 18 of 21 shots.  

The third game of the season series will not be easy for Providence. Lehigh Valley comes into the game 18-9-1-2 (39 points) and 6-3-0-1 in their last 10 games good for 3rd in the Atlantic Division with games in hand. To make matters worse, over the past five seasons the Bruins are 4-6-0-1 at Lehigh Valley and 8-11-2-1 overall in that time frame. A major key in this game will be the number of goals scored. On the year the Phantoms score 3.8 goals a game, and Providence is 3-12-5 when giving up 3+ goals in a game. Along those same lines, the Baby B’s are 10-5-2 when they score first. Grabbing the early momentum and keeping it will go a long way to shutting down the Flyers’ affiliate. Despite the uphill battle, the Baby B’s hope they can break through against the Phantoms and grab a much needed two points.  

Saturday, December 29th and Sunday, December 30th Providence Bruins vs. Hershey Bears (AWAY) 

The Saturday and Sunday games will mark the second and third time Providence has played Hershey this season. In the first meeting between the two clubs, the Baby B’s beat the Washington Capitals’ affiliate 6-2 with the Bruins getting goals from Jordan Szwarz (2), Cameron Hughes, Anton Blidh, Kyle Cumiskey, and Tanner Pond while goalie Zane McIntyre looked great in net stopping 19 of 21 shots he faced.  

These next two games are ones the Bruins should be looking forward to. Hershey comes into them 12-17-0-2 (26 points) and 3-6-0-1 in their last 10 games good for 8th in the Atlantic Division. On top of that, Providence holds a 4-4-2 record in Hershey over the past 5 seasons and a 12-6-2-1 record overall in that time frame. A few things to look at this weekend, Providence is 9-6-2 when playing on Saturday or Sunday this season, and are 10-3-2 when leading after two periods. If they can get an early lead, the home team from Hershey could melt from the pressure. These are two games the Baby B’s should win to grab a needed four points in the standings.

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

Hot 

Jordan Szwarz: Over the past 5 games the Bruins’ captain has played very well, scoring three goals and tallying two assists for five total points. Leading by example is big for Szwarz who has stats of 10-5-15 overall this year. Something to start looking for as the season progresses, if Szwarz scores 20 goals this year, he would be the fifth player in Providence Bruins history with three 20+ goal seasons. One thing the OHL product does have going for him is that he’s scoring 0.625 points per game which is higher than his AHL career mark of 0.59.

Peter CehlarikOver his past 5 games Cehlarik has netted two goals while dishing out four assists for six total points. He has looked good recently, and overall on the season, he’s posted 5-15-20 numbers. If the young forward can keep up these numbers we may see him up in Boston before the season is through.

Not 

Tanner Pond: Pond has produced 1-0-1 numbers in his last 5 games. Hopefully, the center can pick it up this weekend for Providence and light up the score sheet. The gritty forward has 24 penalty minutes in 13 games in his time with the Providence Club as he’s spent most of the 2018-19 season with the ECHL’s Atlanta Gladiators. Over his career in the ECHL, the former Northeastern Husky has scored at a 0.69 point per game clip with stats of 16-28-44 in 64 games. Given a little time to acclimate himself to the AHL’s talent, Pond could find himself in the hot instead of the not category.

Karson Kuhlman: Kuhlman has found the back of the net once in his last 5 games of action. The former NCAA National Champion and 2018 Tournament MVP with the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs has been a streaky player since joining the Providence club after his commitment to his college team was over. The former Bulldog is another player who may just need some time getting used to the skill level of the AHL before climbing out of the not category. With Providence, he’s scoring at a 0.33 ( 4-7-11 in 33 games) point per game clip which is less than his college days of 0.48 (39-41-80 in 166 games).

My players to watch this weekend: 

Up Front: 

Anders Bjork: Since being sent down to Providence, Bjork is scoring at a 1.00 point per game pace with 1-9-10 numbers in 10 games played thus far. Look for him to keep it up this weekend. If he plays well, we could see Boston call him up for the Winter Classic which is being played at his Alma Mater Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.

On The Blue Line: 

Connor Clifton: Clifton has played well for Providence this year posting 3-6-9 numbers in 22 games. He even saw a call-up to Boston when they needed help with injuries. Look for him to keep up his play this weekend. The young defenseman’s uptick in scoring is not as surprising as one may think. While at Quinnipiac University he was scoring 0.36 points per game (19-37-56 in 156 games). This is much closer to this season’s 0.41 points per game than last’s of 0.24. 

In Net:  

Dan VladarI would look for Vladar to have a good weekend for Providence, especially with the games against Hershey. The Bears have had a rough go of it this season, and Vladar could shine against them. Something to look for, the young goalie is 4-3-1 on the road this year stopping 212 of 234 shots for a .906 save percentage and  2.51 goals against average.

I am optimistic that the Baby B’s will find some magic this weekend before they return home. The game against Lehigh Valley will be tough. However, the two games against Hershey are ones they should absolutely win. If our boys in black and gold can skate away from the weekend with at least four points, it would go a long way to helping them climb the Atlantic Division standings. We will catch you up next week and let you know how the team fared but feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, and Go, B’s, Go!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 11 Recap

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The Providence Bruins wrapped up their weekend games going one-for-one in games two and three of the current six-game road trip. The top minor-pro affiliate of the Boston Bruins won’t return to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island until after the new year when the Lehigh Valley Phantoms come to town on Friday night January 4th, 2019. If you happen to be in the Providence area or in a city where the B’s play on the road and would like to see the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins club in action to end 2018 and in the new year, please either CLICK HERE and use discount code BNGP or go to the bottom of this article to view ticket availability from our partners over at SeatGiant!

The Providence Club started the weekend traveling to the  Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton, New York to take on the Binghamton Devils. The Bruins entered the Friday, December 21st, 2018, matchup against the top minor-pro affiliate of the New Jersey Devils winning only once in the last six games. The Bruins who sit in the in the seventh position in the AHL’s Atlantic Division were desperate to get a victory to set off the weekends action nicely, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case the Devils trounced the B’s by a score of 6-3.

Remaining on the road, the B’s headed to the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts to wrap up the weekend’s action before the holiday break to play the Springfield Thunderbirds on Saturday, December 22nd,2018. On this night in South Western Massachusetts, the team from Rhode Island faired better in the second game of the weekend with a 5-4 win over the host Thunderbirds. The players will take a break to be with family and friends ready to return to the ice when the Providence club gets back to work on Friday, December 28th, 2018, as they continue their road trip in Lehigh Valley against the Phantoms to finish the six-game roadie with three-straight games next weekend in the final days of 2018.

Friday, December 21st, 2018, The Providence Bruins vs. The Binghamton Devils (Road Game)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The Bruins owned the first period from start to finish with defenseman Connor Clifton getting things started just 16 seconds into the opening frame scoring his second of the year. New Providence forward Gemel Smith got his first goal of the season on the power-play at the 18:26 mark of the opening 20 minutes entering his second game since being placed on waivers from the NHL Bruins team. Besides an unassisted goal for forward Anton Blidh who scored his sixth of the season in the second frame, the Binghamton club was too much to handle as the Devils would go onto own the last 40 minutes of the contest especially in the third period were the team from New York would go onto score four straight ending the game with the home team winning 6-3

Bruins goaltender Zane McIntyre got the start in goal on this night in Binghamton and continues to show signs of struggling the 2018-19 roller coaster season. He stopped 17 of 22 Devils shots taking the loss while taking the loss. The 2010 sixth-round selection of the Bruins is 7-7-3 on the year with a 3.20 goals-against-average, and .875 save percentage in 17 appearances this season.

Saturday, December 22nd, 2018 The Providence Bruins vs. The Springfield Thunderbirds (Road Game)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

After a tough loss in Binghamton the night before, The Providence club looked to wipe away the memory or lack of effort to the hands of the Devils to focus on the game and better results in Springfield, Massachusetts. Once again the Bruins got off to a good start with a man advantage goal from veteran forward Mark Mcneill who scored his third of the season at the 14:45 mark of the first period. Almost a minute later in action, the Thunderbirds club would tie the game at one which seemed to get the attention of the Bruins team when they got a late first frame goal by Karsons Kuhlman who scored his fourth of the year to get the B’s to a 2-1 lead.

The second period was owned by the Providence team scoring three straight starting with B’s Captain Jordan Szwarz netting his 10th of the season on the power-play at the 6:38 mark to make the score 3-1 B’s. Peter Cehlarik scored his fifth of the year at the 16:26 mark of the second to pull the Bruins away from the home Thunderbirds team with a 4-1 advantage. B’s defenseman Clifton would finish the middle period scoring his third of the year and second goal in as many nights with his own power-play goal giving Providence a 5-1 lead with 20 minutes to go.

With a significant lead over the Thunderbirds, the Bruins seemingly didn’t show up in the last frame giving up three straight but held on to win the game by the score of 5-4. Rookie goaltender and NHL Bruins third-round selection in 2015, Dan Vladar got the start in goal against the Birds on this night stopping 22 of 26 shots that came his way. Like his netminding partner McIntyre, the 21-year-old Vladar has struggled in his first year of AHL action appearing in 15 games in the 2018-19 campaign posting a record of 6-6-2 with a 2.71 GAA and .899 Save%.

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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.

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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!!!

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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.

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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!

 

Providence Bruins Name Team Captain

( Photo Credit:  BostonBruins.com / NHL.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

After longtime Providence Bruins defenseman departed from the Boston Bruins organization there’s been a vacancy at the role of the definitive team captain. Cross, who held the captaincy honor for the last three of his six seasons with the top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Bruins. The Providence club is certainly doing things the right way with addressing the vacancy, and after six games in the 2018-19 American Hockey League campaign so far it seems Bruins Head Coach Jay Leach and supporting cast have found their guy.  Earlier today veteran forward Jordan Szwarz was named the team’s thirteenth captain in franchise history.

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Szwarz, a 5′-11″ 201-pound versatile forward was originally drafted in the fourth round by the Phoenix Coyotes (Now Arizona Coyotes) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec. After a successful Canadian Junior career with the Ontario Hockey Leagues Saginaw Spirit where he appeared in 262 games posting 82-122-204 numbers. The now 27-year-old Ontario, Canada native has spent the last two seasons with the Providence club contributing 43-60-103 numbers in 121 games played with the Rhode Island franchise. His career in the AHL consists of 215 points in 368 games and when called up to the show he’s played 47 games in the NHL and has 4-3-7 numbers in 35 games with the Coyotes (4-0-4), and 12 games with the Boston Bruins (0-3-3).

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Jordan came to Providence camp before the 2016-17 season on a professional tryout agreement but would later sign a one-year two-way contract with the NHL Bruins in November of 2016. After signing with the Boston he would play the 2016-17 season with the Providence club. In his first year with Providence, he led the club in scoring with 54 points in 65 games earning another contract extension from the Bruins in March of 2018. Another impressive increase for Szwarz is his dollar value at the minor-pro level for a veteran who’s entering his eighth year in the AHL. From his minor-pro contract of $65K per season in the Coyotes system to $350K playing on a two-way contract with the Providence club this season.

Szwarz is off to a slow start to the 2018-19 campaign with one assist in six games, but slow starts have been an enigma for the Providence club in recent years as they seem to find team chemistry in the month of December. Even though this team has its troubles in the early going, the team has been a Calder Cup Playoff team for six straight seasons reaching the Eastern Conference Finals once, second round appearance twice, and three first-round best-of-five exits.

Although it’s early in the regular season, hopefully, this Providence team with the tutelage of Head Coach Jay Leach and Assistant bench boss Trent Whitfield can find what it takes to get the message embedded into the heads of these developing players and supporting veterans alike. The Bruins get back to work for game two of the weekend tonight at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island and try to erase the memory of last night’s overtime loss to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Providence Bruins Week 2 Preview

(Photo Credit: Heather Rose/Smoke & Honey Photography)

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

We stand at the precipice of week 2 with Providence holding a less than desirable record of 0-2-0-0, but this weekend has 3 games on tap and if the stars align, our mighty P-Bruins could skate into Week 3 with a 60%-win average. Not too shabby considering today we wallow at a big fat goose egg. To make this feat a reality the baby B’s have a steep hill to climb starting Friday; back-to-back nights against the Hartford Wolf Pack, followed by a Sunday afternoon matchup against the Springfield Thunderbirds. Let’s take a look…

groundhog(Image Courtesy of IMDB.COM)

Friday, Oct. 12: Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (AWAY)

and

Saturday, Oct: 13: Providence vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (HOME)

As if it were Groundhog Day and we were all waking up to Sonny and Cher on our alarm clocks, this Friday’s match-up is once again against Hartford in Hartford. The main difference this week is coming off a two-game loss the Baby B’s are going to be fired up and ready to take on the shaggy puppies on their home turf. As we covered prior to last week’s game, these two teams are fairly evenly matched when looking at their stats from last year. Each team a little more likely to win when they have the home-ice advantage.  The second difference between this week and last is that the Pack are following the P-Bruins home. The second match-up of the weekend will see the same two teams take the ice, but this time at the Dunk.

For the P-Bruins, the key to winning each of these games is going to be their defense.  Last week saw an abysmal display in the net by the veteran tender and a confused and disorganized effort being put forth by the rest of the team. Perhaps the most suitable phrase here is, “Patience Grasshopper.” Cliché, I know, but very appropriate, in most of these cases. With the possible exception of Zane McIntyre, the rest of the team has at least one new player they are getting used to having to rely on at every turn. With the amount of time it took to trickle the players back to the AHL from NHL training camp, no one had a chance to really mesh. I am hoping after a solid week of training the team has a little bit stronger bond and a better understanding of each other going into Friday’s “Groundhog-esque” match-up.

springfield(Image Courtesy of Springfield Thunderbirds)

Sunday, Oct. 14: Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (Away)

Sunday welcomes the first matinee game of the season and what would a matinee be without some chirping birdies. I guess the answer is, a matinee without chirping birdies, but I digress. The Springfield Thunderbirds welcome us back to their home ice after we casually swept them aside two games to none in preseason this year. Now that we meet in the matches that really matter, I have no doubt the Springfield T-Birds will be looking to even the score.

Meeting up around a dozen times each year, these two teams have developed a rivalry that Providence likes to take the winning side of.  In the ‘17-18 season, meeting up 14 times the Bruins marked up 9 wins; the previous season was about the same with 12 games played and 8 W’s for Providence. Three of the games last season ended regulation in a tie, while two of those ended in OT (1 OT Win for PRO:1 OT Win for SPR), and the last ended in a shootout that saw Providence come out on top.

In terms of Penalties, historically, Springfield tends to rack up more penalty minutes than the Bruins when head to head. Which is not quite what we saw in the preseason games, which are always a little more raucous than the typical regular season game. Of the currently active players, Jordan Szwarz leads in Points against Springfield with a career record of 21-27-48.  Little doubt he tries to topple 50 this Sunday.

Still, out of the lineup this weekend is David Broll and we haven’t heard any update on Jesse Gabrielle. Cody Goloubef is expected to be back on the ice this weekend according to Mark Divver from the Providence Journal. The other addition to the lineup will be Urho Vaakanainen, who was released from Boston last weekend. While we have no official word on starting lineups for this weekend, I wouldn’t expect the front lines to differ too much from last week, and the additions that I see coming into the defensive lines are the pairing of Vaakanainen and Goloubef.

Lineup(Image Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

My picks to watch this weekend would be:

Up Front:

Blidh/Pond/Fyten – This trio seemed to have good chemistry last week and were arguably the best line out there.  I would love to see this trend continue.

On The Blue Line:

Goloubef/Vaakanainen  – I am hoping to see Goloubef lend some mentorship to Vaakanainen that will round out the youngster’s game.

In Net:

Zane McIntyre – Having an arguably rough and rocky start, the proof will be in the pudding.  Can Zane pull a Taylor Swift and “Shake It Off” or will he be filled with “Bad Blood.”

Cheers to the challenge of a comeback weekend and best of luck to our Baby B’s.  I will catch up with you next week and until then, feel free to message me on twitter with any questions or comments and as always take some time to check out the other great articles by the incredible team here at Blackngoldhockey.com. Now Go Get Hockey With It!

Bruins Place Five On Waivers

colby-cave-providence(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

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

Only 8 more days until the regular season is here and the preseason squad has been trimmed down a few at a time, getting closer by the day to take its final form. Today’s biggest whack came by placing Jordan Szwarz, Mark McNeill, Cody Goloubef, Colby Cave, and Anton Blidh on waivers. For these five players, the next 24 hours will be telling.  They can either be picked up by another team or they can clear waivers, which would mean the Bruins could assign them to another league. In this situation, the only league available to assign them to would be the AHL, as only players on ELCs (entry-level contracts) can be loaned to an ECHL team. Szwarz, Cave, and Blidh have all spent time in Providence previously.  While Goloubef and McNeill came to the Bruins organization this year from Calgary and Dallas, respectively.

Jordan Szwarz(Photo Courtesy: Providence Bruins)

Jordan Szwarz, the 27-year-old RW/C, has been in Providence for two seasons, spending 12 games last season up with the big club but only showing them 3 assists in those 12 games. His numbers in Providence were much more promising, playing 65 games his first season posting numbers of 22-32-54 and 52 games last season walking away with 21-27-48 for numbers all while sporting an ‘A’ on his chest. Szwarz is a fan favorite at the Dunk and is a tough competitor whose presence would be missed should he be picked up by another NHL team.

colby cave(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

Colby Cave, the 23-year-old center, has graced Providence ice for three full seasons.  Playing nearly every game every season cave has worn an ‘A’ since his first full year here but has only spent 3 games up in Boston. He is consistently around 30 points per year but has never improved beyond that to show the extra drive and skill that Boston is looking for to move him up, especially in such a crowded field of players.

Anton Blidh(Photo Courtesy: Providence Bruins)

Anton Blidh, the 23-year-old winger, joined Providence the same year as Cave, but direct from Sweden. He has spent more time in the NHL than Cave, with 20 games in the past two years. Considering he came directly from a European league, where play and the actual rink size is different, it sometimes takes a bit for these players to mature to NHL readiness, so waivers are not a huge surprise here. However, Anton has a very gritty style of play that may or may not fit well in the future NHL and only time will tell for sure.

cody-goloubef-2017-2330(Photo Courtesy: HockeyDB.com)

Cody Goloubef is a 28-year-old right-handed D-man that has spent 8 seasons bouncing around the midwest and west with the AHL/NHL before joining us here in New England over the summer. Not known for his high scores or excessive penalties Cody appears to be one of those steady Eddy type players who is there primarily to fill the gaps when needed. Perhaps he could lend that veteran vibe that may be lacking now that Cross has gone.

Mark McNeill(Photo Courtesy: AHL.com)

Last for today’s waivers was Mark McNeill, a 25-year-old RW/C with history in the WHL, AHL, and NHL over the past 9 years. Having not had much opportunity to observe McNeill play I cannot comment much on what he has to offer, but it does appear that his stats have actually taken a downturn over the past couple seasons, not the upturn we would like to see in a growth candidate.

There you have it.  Five men on waivers and 24 hours to think about it. Assuming they all clear waivers, the Bruins have the option of assigning them to their AHL affiliate in Providence. If any of them don’t clear waivers, we will be waving them farewell by this time tomorrow.images

Providence Bruins Playoff Primer (Round One vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms)

Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins Official Twitter Account @AHLBruins

By: Josh B.   |   Follow Me On Twitter @ToCauseway

April 13th, 2018 the Providence Bruins fell apart in the 3rd period against the Charlotte Checkers and lost 3rd place in the Atlantic playoff standings. Over the next two days, they were able to claw back to within a few points but were hoping for the Checkers to lose to the Sound Tigers on Sunday, April 15th. The Checkers prevailed, and Providence stayed in 4th place. On a brighter note, Providence is 7th in the 30-team AHL standings with a healthy 45-26-5 record through 76 games.

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With the regular season ended, Providence has drawn the first place in the Atlantic Division (2nd AHL-wide) Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the Atlantic Division Quarterfinals. In 2017-2018, Providence went 1-4-1 against the Phantoms in the regular season. Their only two wins came at home. In most outings against the Phantoms, the team has scored 3 or fewer goals, including a couple shutouts where no Bruin could solve the Phantoms goaltender.

This doesn’t faze Providence Head Coach Jay Leach.

“You’re going to have to beat them all,” Leach said postgame on April 15th. For what it’s worth, on the same day, one of the Springfield Thunderbirds added Wilkes-Barre Scranton would be a tougher pull for Providence. “They’re a heavier team, built for the playoffs.”

Side note: Josh Ho-Sang who I met at the Bridgeport Game in Bridgeport on April 7th said almost the exact quote word for word about Providence. Either a coincidence or maybe it’s a generic quote the players are given to say about other teams.

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Anyways, Providence opens up the best of 5 game series at home in the Dunkin Donuts Center on Friday, April 20th. Game 2 is played the following night also at the Dunk. After opening the series at home, Providence will travel to Allentown, PA, for the remaining 3 games played on April 27, 28, 30th respectively. Providence will need to win both games at home to have success in the series. With Providence’s only wins against Lehigh Valley coming at the Dunkin Donuts Center, the first two games may decide the outcome. Regardless, winning at least one at home is an absolute must. Fortunately, the regular season isn’t always a barometer for how a playoff matchup will go.

Providence’s Austin Czarnik (25G, 44A) and Lehigh Valley’s Phil Varone (23G, 47A) occupy the 3rd and 2nd spots respectively in AHL scoring for 2017-18. Both are slightly undersized centermen with excellent hands and vision capable of taking over a game at the AHL level. Czarnik, to his credit, has more games at the NHL level than Varone does and could be playing himself into a raise and NHL roster spot come next season. The next highest point getter for either team is Kenny Agostino, who his far removed from his AHL MVP season with (16G, 37A) and 29th overall; Providence’s Jordan Szwarz with (21G, 27A) comes in next at 47th overall. Lehigh Valley’s Nick Aube-Kubel (18G, 28A) is next at 60th overall, and teammate T. J. Brennan (14G, 31A) rounds out the top point-getters at 67th. Honorable mention here to Lehigh Valley’s Danick Martel at 100th overall, with the highest goal total of everyone mentioned (25G, 15A). For a complete rundown of the Providence Roster (as of April 18th), here’s the AHL’s site.

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Between the pipes, the goaltending tandem of Zane McIntyre (16th, 2.52 GAA, 0.914 SV%) and Jordan Binnington (2nd, 2.05 GAA, 0.926 SV%) is better on paper than Lehigh Valley’s netminders. The Phantoms goaltender duo Dustin Tokarski (24th, 2.65 GAA, 0.915 SV%) and Alex Lyon (31st, 2.75 GAA, 0.913 SV%) have won more games, however. In their two wins, Providence thumped Lehigh Valley with a 5 and 6 goal game respectively. In their two losses that weren’t shutouts, Providence posted 2 and 3 goal games to Lehigh Valley’s 3 and 5 goals respectively.

Predictions that will horribly go wrong: I see Providence bowing out in 5 games. They’re loaded with prospects and talent, but the Phantoms have played Providence enough to know where and how to expose the Bruins’ defense and weaknesses. The only way for the Bruins to win is by consistently good starts or winning the first 20 minutes. Otherwise, the Phantoms will run right over you before the midway point of regulation. I would like to see Providence exercise revenge on the Phantoms in this series as Boston has done to Toronto thus far in their playoff series. The NHL Bruins lost their season series with Toronto, yet are making a stand in the Atlantic division quarterfinals. Hopefully, the farm team of the Black and Gold will follow the same pattern and surprise me by defeating the Phantoms.

Breaking: Bruins’ Lose David Backes to 3 Game Suspension

cut.jpgPhoto: nhl.com

By Thomas Nyström | Follow on twitter @nahstrom

The National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today that Boston Bruins RW David Backes has been suspended for three games the hit Tuesday on Detroit’s Frans Nielsen. The suspension is without pay and under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and based on his average annual salary Backes will forfeit nearly $97,000.

The incident took place with 16 seconds left in the first period. At the time, Backes was assessed a minor penalty for roughing and served the majority of the penalty at the start of the second period.

If the organization decides to recall a right-winger from Providence for depth, one would think it could be either Zach Senyshyn or Jordan Szwarz.


Thomas Nyström, Contributor.

Follow me on Twitter @nahstrom

What’s Next For Bruins Austin Czarnik?

cutPhoto: nhl.com

By Thomas Nyström | Follow on twitter @nahstrom

Twenty-five-year-old Austin Czarnik has seen his share of I-95 in his young career. Having signed a one-year two-way contract on July 17, 2017, Czarnik knew what he would likely be asked to do — and to his credit, he has handled his role in the organization with class as well as production. In his 10 games with Boston this season he has 4 points off of 4 assists. During his most recent call-up in early February, he registered two assists in a total of 43:21 of ice time thru 59 shifts in games against Toronto, Detroit, New York Rangers, and Buffalo. His short stay with Boston ended with a -1 rating for the stretch. Comparatively, Czarnik has played 44 games thus far in Providence this season with 14 goals, 33 assists for a +/- rating of +20.

Czarnik has benefited greatly from stable playing time at the AHL level and therefore has been serviceable in his NHL call-ups. His value is arguably higher than ever, and the 5’9 C/RW will likely make himself more on his next contract than the $675,000 he’s currently signed for. An RFA at year’s end, Czarnik is out of options for his two-way deal this season, and the acquisitions at the deadline of Rick Nash and Tommy Wingels will certainly play into whether or he see’s another call-up this year.

Should Czarnik resign with the organization this off-season there is a good chance he cracks the Bruins’ top nine, the question is for how long. There are other center prospects in the pipeline with arguably higher ceilings such as Ryan Fitzgerald and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson both of whom are younger and likely to get NHL minutes. Behind that comes even more prospects at the position worth a good look such as Ryan Donato who will almost certainly see time in Boston next season.

Though a longshot at this point, Jack Studnicka has been lighting it up in the OHL for the Oshawa Generals to the tune of 60 points in 58 appearances this season. The 19-year-old will likely see Providence time at the very least. Trent Frederic was a piece the Bruins didn’t want to move at the deadline. This doesn’t even include the wingers in the system as Czarnik has also lined up at RW and there is youth behind him there as well: Jordan Szwarz, Zach Senyshyn, Alexander Khoklachev, Peter Cehlárik, the list goes on. This team is as deep in the system as it has been in a long time.

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Regardless of where he lines up, the future at forward appears crowded, and Czarnik may find himself the odd man out unless the minds monitoring his development see improvement on some of the downsides of his game. This includes his attempted shot totals as he sits around 10 attempts per 60 minutes. While he inserts himself well in playmaking situations, he is more of a possession center than a true goalscorer.

Ideally, the team retains him with 2-3 year contract at a reasonable cost and should Bruce Cassidy find himself struggling to find him a consistent spot then Don Sweeney will be in a better position to address his future (or lack thereof) with the organization. Make no mistake: they made the right decision to send him down to Providence before the contract got more complicated and risked having some level of control at year’s end regarding free agency.  He is without question a valued asset, and many (including myself) would be disappointed to see him go elsewhere, but this is crunch time for Austin Czarnik if he wants to stick with the club going forward.

Thomas Nyström, Contributor.
Follow me on Twitter @nahstrom