Providence Bruins Opening Weekend Recap

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

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

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

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

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

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

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

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

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

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

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

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

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

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

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

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

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

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

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

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

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

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

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

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

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

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Prospect Podcast episode 002 that we recorded on 10-8-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Bruins Prospect Keyser Reassigned To ECHL Atlanta

( Photo Credit: Michael Penhollow / Boston Bruins )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

When the Boston Bruins signed free agent goaltender Maxime Lagace in early July of 2019, the speculation immediately gained traction on what the netminding tandem will look like in Providence for the 2019-20 American Hockey League campaign.  Many thought it was a good idea to roll with a three-headed monster in goal, but honestly, when it comes to development in the crease, playing time is of the utmost importance.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

As seen above from a tweet I sent out two days ago after hearing this Bruins related news come across my desk from a very trusted source, the National Hockey League Bruins have in fact reassigned netminder Kyle Keyser to the B’s “AA” minor-pro affiliate wth the Atlanta Gladiators per the official AHL websites leagues transactions page and below tweet from longtime Providence Bruins writer Mark Divver who also shared the news this morning.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

While Keyser is a fantastic goaltending prospect and seems to be highly regarded as the NHL Bruins next one in the near future, this demotion to Atlanta is not a knock on his talent and skills but a path that might be commonly used especially with the bottleneck in the AHL. As many of you know, goaltender Dan Vladar was selected in the third round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, and after playing a full season in the United States Hockey League with the Chicago Steel, the Bruins had him start his pro career in Atlanta.

At least to start the 2019-20 AHL Providence year, the netminding tandem will be Maxime Lagace and Dan Vladar. The 26-year-old Lagace takes over for the departed Zane McIntyre, who signed a deal to join the Vancouver Canucks organization over the 2019 summer offseason. Lagace will provide veteran leadership to the younger Vladar, who’s currently in year three and last of his entry-level contract. Vladar is set to be a restricted free agent at the end of the upcoming hockey season.

This is a solid move for the Bruins moving forward. All goaltenders will get their share of time in the crease, and who knows if Keyser actually stays in Atlanta for the whole season. From the trusted source that I mentioned above, the Bruins are going to give the ball to Vladar and let him run with it at the AHL level. I’m hearing that leash is short as he didn’t exactly have the greatest rookies season with Providence last year but did show signs that he’s getting it. I was told that placing Vladar in the ECHL where he started his pro career could mess with his head when it comes to confidence, and if he proves he can handle splitting duties with Lagace, then the B’s will keep the same tandem at the AHL level.

If, by any chance Vladar slips and cannot get a handle of his duties in his sophomore year in the AHL, he could lose that position and be demoted to Atlanta to figure out his game and give the call to Keyser who could be ready for his first AHL regular-season action. Regardless of who plays where and at what level of developmental hockey, the NHL Boston Bruins are prepared to act on any scenario when needed. If something happens up at the NHL level in the crease, Lagace will most likely get that call, and the shift upward in the goaltending system will happen and the same when all are healthy and returned to their respected teams and minor-pro systems.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Prospects Podcast episode 1 that we recorded on 10-3-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

In The Crease With Bruins Kyle Keyser

(Photo Credits: Lane Turner/Boston Globe Staff)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

Prior to Friday’s announcement of another round of cuts to the roster, the future of the Boston Bruins will come way via those that are currently playing or will play for Providence. Today’s game against Chicago will be the final push for these young players to impress, knowing full well coaches will be watching closely as they narrow down to the core Varsity group.  While some have a little more experience than others, one particular player is looking to sharpen his skills in the crease.

At just 20-years-old, Kyle Keyser is looking pretty good and perhaps his time playing with the big boys may come sooner rather than later. As Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy noted:

“He battles…It looks like he’s going to be a good one”

Signed in 2017 after participating in the Boston Bruins rookie camp (as an invite), he joined Providence during the end of his junior season in Oshawa in 2018-19. He played in the AHL during Providence’s playoff run for the Calder Cup that same year. Keyser ended up playing in the AHL’s Bruins final post-game, where they, unfortunately, lost 4-1 to Charlotte. The young Coral Gables, Florida native played four seasons of junior hockey in the OHL (Ontario Hockey League) with the Flint Firebirds and Oshawa Generals posting a 71-40-3 record.

Related image

(Photo Credits: Aaron Bell / OHL Images)

 

In 137 career games in the OHL, he also posted a 3.19 goals-against-average. Keyser had one of his best seasons in 2018-2019 with a 32-8-3 record, a 2.75 goals-against-average and a .915 save percentage in 47 games. In the 2019 World Junior Championship where he represented Team USA, Keyser had a 1-1 record with a 2.95 GAA in two games that earned him a  Silver Medal. The 20-year-old goaltender was also named to the 2018-19 OHL’s Second All-tar Team.

In the recent Bruins overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks last Saturday night, Keyser’s time came during the third period as he relieved Maxime Lagace. 18 shots were fired towards the Bruins net; all 18 were blocked. In overtime, a lucky shot that bounced off of Chicago’s Patrick Kane went behind Keyser, who had little chance to stop the rebound. Despite the loss, his play was quite impressive and it’s becoming quite clear that when the time comes for Tuukka Rask to pass the torch, the Bruins may have found their next go-to goaltender.

Image result for kyle keyser boston bruins

(Photo Credits: The Boston Globe)

Even more impressive about the young netminder is his preparedness and continued focus on the game of hockey. He recently stated that he worked closely with renowned sports psychologist Dr. Saul Miller to help deal with the mental aspect of the game:

“As I’m getting older, I’m just getting more mature with my game and taking the mental side of the game more seriously. For me, talking to my trainers and coaches, it was ‘let’s get to the next level, mentally.’ For me that was really important and something I’ve put a lot of stock in,”

“I feel like I’m playing my game and feeling good about myself and I feel like I’m jump-starting into the season with some confidence…I want to provide that stability in net and when those guys pull on the jersey they know what they’re going to get out of you every night.”

Keyser is amongst the group of players that have been currently sent down to Providence and it remains to be seen if he’ll get more time in between the pipes. What’s promising to know is that he is fully aware of what it takes to play at the next level:

“You always want to play at the highest level you’re able to…I’m going to go in and work hard and play my game. It doesn’t matter where you put me. I’m going to play my same game and I’m going to keep the puck out of the net. That’s my job.”

 

 

 

Report: Bruins Sign Goalie Maxime Lagacé

Lagace

Photo Courtesy of the Chicago Wolves

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

We learned over the weekend from The Athletic reporter Fluto Shinzawa that the Bruins would be in the goalie market come Monday. It looks like he was correct, according to TVA Sports hockey reporter Renaud Lavoie, the Boston Bruins have signed goaltender Maxime Lagacé to a one- year two-way contract worth $700,000.

Lagacé comes to the Bruins after spending most of the 2018-19 season with the Vegas Golden Knights affiliate Chicago Wolves. In 33 games with the Wolves, the netminder was 16-10-6 with a 2.43 GAA and a .914 save percentage. Lagacé’s only real significant NHL experience came in 2017-18 with the Vegas Golden Knights where in 16 games he was 6-7-1 with a 3.91 GAA and a .867 save percentage. Lagacé will likely spend most of the season in Providence, and be an emergency backup for Boston in case either Tuukka Rask or Jaroslav Halak get injured.