Providence Bruins Continue To Roll With Six Straight Victories

(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

On Wednesday night the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins were on the road in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for a mid-week contest against the Penguins. The top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins walked out of the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza with a significant 6-2 beatdown earning their sixth straight victory. The same two teams first faced each other in this two-game home and home series on Sunday, February 23rd, 2020, with the Providence club holding onto a 2-1 win at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

After a great start to the 2019-20 regular season campaign, the team from the smallest state in the Union went through a few bad times mid-season and many unsuccessful attempts to capture points in front of the hometown faithful. Hovering around .500 at home this season, the Bruins finally got back to winning ways at the La salle Squarefacility in the city’s capital to rise above that .500 mark at home with an impressive six-game stretch where Providence earned 11 of 12 points. During those consecutive games at the Dunk which took a better part of the month of February to complete, the Bruins now have a 15-10-2-2 home record. With last nights 6-2 road win in the state of Pennsylvania, the B’s continue to impress on the road and are in the top-five in the league with a 17-8-1-1 record away from the Dunk.

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Providence now sits in third place in the Atlantic Division and fourth place in the AHL’s Eastern Conference with a 32-18-3-3 overall record and 20 games remaining in the 2019-20 regular season. To go along with their six-game winning streak, the Providence club has actually earned seven points in the last seven games with an unfortunate 2-1 overtime loss to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers which kicked off the recent six-game homestand. The B’s are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and are starting to be a nuisance to the teams ahead of them in the Eastern Conference with the B’s having 70 points in the fourth spot and only five points away from conference-leading Belleville Senators who’ve really kicked it up a notch to begin the second half of the season.

With last nights road win, the Providence team will finish this short three-game road trip with contests against the Springfield Thunderbirds on Saturday,  February 29th, 2020 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts and wrap things up away from the Dunk on Sunday, March 1st, 2020 at the XL Center against the Hartford Wolf Pack. Speaking of the Atlantic Division foe Wolf Pack team, if the 2020 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs started today, Hartford and Providence would meet each other in the best-of-five first-round series with the Wolf Pack dominating the Providence club with a 6-0-0-1 regular-season record. As of today in this potential 2020 Calder Cup playoff matchup, the Hartford team would obviously have home-ice advantage and with their play against Providence this season it would be a tough task for the B’s as the Wolf Pack have a 21-2-1-2 record at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut but have only been able to muster up a 9-12-5-3 record on the road.

Providence Players Who Deserve Mentions As The Team looks To Clinch Their Eighth Consecutive Calder Cup Playoff Appearance

Paul Carey

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

The Providence Captain has been one of the club’s higher point producers throughout the season but as a veteran of the game, his experience and knowledge have been an asset to head coach Jay Leach’s staff away from the bench. Young Bruins prospects that get recalls often give high praise of him when asked who’s helped them along the way to get prepared for the higher level.

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The 31-year-old Weymouth, Massachusetts forward should be on the decline at his age but he never really slows down and able to keep up with the younger developing players. Carey sits in the second spot when it comes to team scoring with 20-16-36 numbers and 3-1-4 numbers in his last fours games as most Providence forwards are starting to pick up offensively. Paul who’s signed for another season will continue to serve the NHL Bruins organization as an inspirational leader at the developing depth but also a solid backup plan in case he’s needed in an emergency with Boston.

Peter Cehlarik

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

Cehlarik has missed a majority of games in February of 2020 but returned to the Providence lineup against Springfield on the 22nd and immediately got back to work offensively. Posting 1-1-2 numbers in the 7-4 victory over Atlantic Division rival Thunderbirds, the big 6′-2″ 205-pound versatile forward now has 2-2-4 in his last three games and his return and emergence couldn’t have been better timed as the Rhode Island team continues to climb the standings preparing for another postseason birth.

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So far this year the 24-year-old forward has appeared in 42 games for Providence posting 15-17-32 numbers and in his three games with the NHL Bruins in this 2019-20 campaign notched an assist before being waived for the purpose of AHL placement. Peter is another leader on a team full of good low-risk European talent and with 20 games remaining in this season, I believe he’s just getting warmed up as he’s auditioning for more time with the B’s organization as he’s a restricted free agent at the end of the year.

Trent Frederic

( Photo Credit: Team Shred Photography )

Trent possesses many attributes that you want to see in a young player that’s on the verge of starting a long NHL career. He has a good mind for the game and for a big kid has a tremendous pair of hands. He does have decent speed when needed but Frederic’s game, in my opinion, is how he grinds along the boards and in the dirty areas around the net. As many Bruins, fans already know, Trent is not afraid to mix it up or be a nuisance to an opposing team which he felt did his team wrong with liberties taken.

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Regardless of his heavy playing style, the former 2016 first-round pick of the Bruins has already passed his AHL career-high of 25 points in 55 games last season to 7-23-30 totals thus far in 53 games for his Providence club in 2019-20. Frederic who leads the AHL in penalty minutes is currently on a three-game point streak with four assists in his last three games. That hard-nosed grind it out style will be needed down the stretch and in the upcoming Calder Cup Playoffs if in fact the B’s get in and secure a spot.

Brendan Gaunce

( Photo Credit:  Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images )

Gaunce was a sneakingly smart free agent signing for the Boston Bruins when both sides agreed to a one-year two-way contract during the offseason. Brendan is another player with a heavy bag of attributes and solid plan “B” asset for the higher NHL Bruins if needed regardless of the situation. After missing almost a month in the early season with a concussion and facial lacerations from a suspendable open-ice hit from former Laval Rocket forward Michael McCarron he’s really stepped it up offensively in the second half of the year.

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Brendan is currently on a season-high seven-game point streak where he’s contributed 5-5-10 numbers in that timeframe. In his last 20 games, he’s posted 9-10-19 numbers and has been one of the veteran players that Head Coach Jay Leach can put in a multitude of situations including when a tenacious forechecker is needed. it’s hard to say if this career-high streak can be sustained but it’s been fun to watch as the club continues to gell together in hopes of a long postseason run.

Max Lagace

( Photo Credit: ProvidenceBruins.com )

Another great find for the Boston Bruins over the offseason as Legace started the year on fire and hovering at the top of the AHL’s top goaltenders when it comes to individual stats. Max signed a one-year, two-way contract last summer and not only was he going to be a solid veteran presence in the Providence crease, but he also came to the  Bruins organization with some NHL playing experience. When the AHL plays three games in three nights on a weekly schedule his athleticism and demeanor at the minor-pro level have been nothing but impressive.

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Lagace who started off like a firecracker to start the year as mentioned has appeared in 31 games thus far in 2019-20 posting a 20-7-3 regular-season record with a 2.40 goals-against-average, and .918 save percentage. The 27-year-old netminder is currently in second in the AHL in shutouts with five (Leader- Six) and riding a three-game winning streak and 7-2-1 in his last ten games. In that ten-game stretch the Quebec, Canada native has a 2.77 GAA and .908 Save%. It should be interesting to see how the goaltending will be planned out for Lagace down the stretch and potential postseason because of another Providence netminder who’s been on a tear since early December 2019.

Robert Lantosi

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

I have to give major props to the Boston Bruins scouting staff on the AHL free agent signing of forward and Czech native Lantosi. A low-risk high reward decision is certainly paying dividends in his rookie year in North America. Robert was invited to the 2019 Bruins development camp and the NHL B’s did their due diligence with scouting him up close and offering him a contract before the 2019-20 campaign started. Lantosi is an extremely fast forward that doesn’t exactly have the biggest Getty up and go stride but instead, it’s the hole-shot he creates with increased foot speed. He has really good edge work and offensive creativity to stickhandle in a phone booth.

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In his first year of AHL hockey, the 24-year-old Slovakia native has contributed 11-20-31 numbers and another player who’s earned the trust of Coach Leach and has the ability to play with anyone up and down the right side. He does have a sick one-timer in Pastrnak’s office and wish he’d use that weapon more often in key scoring situations like increased power-play time. In his last four games, Robert has posted 1-2-3 numbers as he as well needs to be strong down the stretch and in the postseason as he’s playing for another minor-pro contract after this season.

Jack Studnicka

( Photo Credit: ProvidenceBruins.com )

I know many Jack Studnicka mega fans are boiling over with the fact that’s he’s not playing regularly in the NHL yet, I believe the Boston organization is doing the right thing. By keeping a player like this in with the top-minor pro affiliate allows him to continue to develop and absorb the different aspects of the games as he’s currently in his first full year of AHL hockey. With potential departures on the NHL roster by this fall, it’s no doubt in my mind he’ll earn a spot in Boston after working hard during the offseason and providing Bruins management with no option to send him back to Providence after a solid NHL training camp in the fall of 2020.

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Jack currently leads the Providence club with 20-22-42 numbers in 54 games and when it comes to special teams play he’s contributed three goals on the power-play and leads the AHL with six shorthanded goals. After going eight games without a point from late December 2019 to mid-January 2020, the former 2017 second-round pick snapped out of that pointless funk to produce 6-10-16 numbers in his last 14 games. Jack is so fun to watch because of his tremendous hockey intelligence and the way he maneuvers effortlessly through all three zones. Be patient Bruins fans because Studnicka is coming and if you’ve had the chance to watch him play throughout his development you know what kind of special player he can be.

Dan Vladar

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

A big netminder with a ton of potential but his first few seasons of minor pro developmental hockey have been up and down as he continues to learn the pro game. I’ve always been high on Dan and can see why the Bruins selected him with the third-round selection in 2015 as the second-ranked European goaltender per NHL Central Scouting. The 6′-5″ 195-pound Czech Republic native has the size to smother any lose pucks down low and has the athleticism to be an effective butterfly style netminder. His up and down years when it comes to season records shouldn’t be any indication of his future as all hockey players go through highs and lows trying to soak so much information in while training to be a world-class athlete.

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The beginning of the 2019-20 season didn’t exactly start off the way anyone expected. The 22-year-old got his first win of the regular season giving up one goal in a 21 save effort but in his next contest he gave up five at the Dunk in Providence to go 1-1 in the early season with a 3.05 GAA and .888 Save%. His next game in Laval, Quebec he suffered a high ankle sprain and was out for a better part of six weeks. when he returned on the 1st of December, he certainly blew me away with a 36 save shutout and a return to the ice playing a style I’ve never seen him play before. During his injury rehabilitation, he worked with Bruins goaltending coaches Bob Essensa and Mike Dunham to minimize his movements in the crease.

Since coming back in the last month of 2019, Vladar has a 10-7-1 record with three shutouts, a 1.91 GAA, and .931 Save%. Dan’s goals-against -average ranks second and save percentage ranks third in the AHL. He’s currently on a three-game winning streak which has the potential to extend with an appearance in one of the road games this weekend. The young goaltending prodigy has worked very well with the aforementioned Max Lagace as both netminders look for equal regular-season playing time down the stretch.

Jakub Zboril

( Photo Credit: Tumblr )

Not a fan favorite when selected by the Boston Bruins in the first round with what talent remained on the draft board after the Boston organization had three straight selections. Regardless of fan opinion and NHL playing time, I believe Zboril has been a good soldier even though he’s spent a majority of his development with the Providence Bruins. He plays an aggressive shutdown style of defense and although he’s not considered to be much of an offensive producer from the backend, the 23-year-old has the vision and quick hands for fast outlet passes for defensive transition out of the zone. Those quick decisions have got him into trouble on several occasions throughout his pro-development but it’s not a knock as he continues to learn patience in his all-around game.

With fellow blueliner Jeremy Lauzon up with the NHL Bruins, for now, the 6′-0″ 195-pound Czech Republic native, in my opinion, is having his best season so far in his minor-pro career and has even surpassed former first-rounder Urho Vaakanainen on my depth chart. His defensive awareness and overall play with more trust from Head Coach Leach has been a pleasure to see and should bode well in contract negotiations this summer as a restricted free agent. Not saying that he’d get an extension for permanent NHL duties but could be retained and continue to develop in Providence as future roster spots become available with potential departures. In 52 games this season Zboril has 2-12-14 numbers and logs a lot of minutes as a depth defenseman with seniority.

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Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 167 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Providence Bruins Post-Game Recap Vs. Laval 2/16/20

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By Carrie Young | Follow me on Twitter @carrieyoung512

The Providence Bruins were at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Sunday for an afternoon matchup against the Laval Rocket. The Bruins were looking to continue their winning ways after defeating Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on February 14th.

Starting Lineups

Providence Bruins:

Gaunce – Woods – Senyshyn

Vaakanainen – Kampfer

Vladar

Laval Rocket:

Veilleux – Dauphin – Waked

Alzner – Fleury

Primeau

Game Recap

First Period

Laval’s Yannick Veilleux was sent to the box for boarding just 36 seconds into the game. Providence was unable to convert on their first power play. A few minutes later, Josiah Didier drew a penalty on Laurent Dauphin, but the Bruins remained scoreless. With under a minute left in the power play, The Rocket’s Alain was called for elbowing, and Steven Kampfer was whistled for holding on the same play.

The Bruins were sent to the penalty kill for the first time when Brendan Gaunce was whistled for hooking at 9:10 of the first period. Laval could not convert on their power play.

With 7:52 left in the period, Brendan Woods was given a boarding penalty. The Providence power play remained strong, going 3-for-3 in the first.

At 15:46, Matthew Peca skated into goalie Dan Vladar and got an interference penalty. Just nine seconds later, Brendan Gaunce scored to put Providence up 1-0. Brett Ritchie and Jack Studnicka provided the assists.

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The Bruins headed into the first intermission leading in shots 12-9.

Second Period

After seven minor penalties were called in the first period, the second saw a lot more five-on-five play. Still, just two minutes in, Kampfer was called for delay of game. After killing that penalty, Providence went right back to being shorthanded with Jakub Zboril whistled for tripping.

With 1:38 left in a rather uneventful second period, Jesperi Kotkaniemi was sent to the box for tripping. The Bruins could not covert and went to the second intermission still up 1-0. Shots were 24-16 in favor of the home team.

Third Period

Paul Carey was able to stuff the puck past Cayden Primeau 38 seconds into the third. It was the Providence captain’s 18th goal of the season, assisted by Kampfer.

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Just a few minutes later, Ryan Fitzgerald netted his 11th goal to put the Bruins up 3-0. Urho Vaakanainen and Robert Lantosi provided the assists, giving eight different Bruins at least one point on the night.

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Charles Hudon and Cameron Hughes were each given two minutes for roughing in a confrontation after the whistle. A minute later, Lantosi was sent to the box for hooking. Laval did not score on the 4-on-3 power play.

Right after successfully killing Lantosi’s penalty, Providence found themselves shorthanded again with Zboril called for a trip. The Bruins penalty kill ended up 6-for-6 on the night.

The game got physical in the third period. Brendan Woods and Josh Brook dropped the gloves, then Laval received another penalty for slashing Vladar after he had frozen the puck. This brought the total of minor penalties in the game to 15, along with two majors.

Vladar was able to maintain the shutout and the game ended with Providence up 3-0. Laval outshot the Bruins 32-30.

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“It was a good day overall for the whole team,” Vladar said after the game, having secured his third shutout of the season. “It doesn’t really matter if [Max Lagace] or I get a shutout, it’s just those two points that we really need.”

Though he now leads the AHL in save percentage and GAA, Vladar was quick to put the team first rather than his personal accomplishments. “I just try to go into every game giving our team a chance to win, and thankfully it happened today. We just have to get ready for Bridgeport, because they beat us two times last weekend. We have lots of work in front of us.”

The Bruins will be looking to continue their winning ways on Monday, with a home game against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 3:05 pm.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 166 that we recorded 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!!

AHL Bruins Send Two To California As Providence Hits 2020 All-Star Break

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The annual American Hockey League All-Star festivities get underway this evening in Ontario, California with the 2020 Skills Competition and game tomorrow night from the Toyota Arena. This year’s mid-season event will be hosted by the Pacific Divisions Ontario Reign the top minor-pro affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings and sure to pack it’s 9,736 seat arena capacity with rabid hockey fans from near and far.

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This will be an inaugural event for the AHL as this is the first time since the league added the Pacific Division that an All-Star hoopla has been out to the new seven-team division with the inception at the beginning of the 2015-16 season. Speaking of firsts, this is will be a new experience for a Boston Bruins organizational player as a pro hockey veteran and another whos on his way to NHL stardom in his first full season of North American pro hockey. The Providence Bruins will be represented by two of the team’s best players this season and hope you enjoy the update of both players and how they’ve contributed thus far in the 2019-20 campaign respectfully.

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Paul Carey

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

The 31-year-old Weymouth, Massachusetts native has been a solid journeyman pro in his hockey career. By researching his player portfolio it seems like the Boston Bruins organization kept a close eye on him dating back to his days at nearby Boston College in the tough Hockey East Conference. Paul has had an off and on relationship in the minor-pro level when the Bruins are looking for skillful players but the never-ending need for leaders no matter in what league has a high standing value as well. Carey has been nothing but a professional waiting for his chance but in that leadership role, he’s provided enough offensive capabilities to keep a growing prospect’s mind captured with the increasing change in-game speed year-to-year. Paul’s speed is something to watch because most veterans who grid it out hard in the AHL don’t normally get better as they age.

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This is the first full AHL season the 6′-1″ 201-pound versatile forward has been with the Bruins organization with both parties being involved in trades and free-agent signings dating back to March of 2015. The minor-pro journeyman career the signings of this hockey veteran have had solid returns when considering points-per-game and a solid backup plan to have in case the glass has to be broken in an emergency situation. So far this season he’s appeared in 45 games serving as the Providence Captain this year he’s contributed offensively with 17-13-30 numbers and is a workhorse in all three zones.

Paul has 100 NHL games under his belt contributing 8-8-16 numbers. Zero of his points came with his Bruins recalls but with the Providence Bruins on three separate occasions, in his short stays in Rhode Island, Carey has posted 41-29-70 and as I said grooming the future as he’s linemates with some pretty well know Boston prospects. His AHL career numbers have him at 123-149-272 in 391 games and currently has another season under his two-year, two-way contract so another year of mentorship can be expected and ready for more NHL chances next season as well. Carey’s been a great asset to Providence Bruins Head Coach Jay Leach with the bench boss along with staff and players mentioning him as a true leader of this club and isn’t a slouch when it comes to the competitive side of the game. If this was Mystery Alaska the movie, he’s John Biebe who was played by Russel Crowe as the grizzled veteran driving a team to success.

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Carey is tied for the Providence lead in points this season and his first AHL All-Star appearance might be a fun one but a challenge to stay refreshed and dialed into a return to the regular season. The All-Star festivities will mean Paul will have skated for the fourth time in the last five days and seven times in the last ten days. The nine-year AHL pro should be ready to go and rest up when he rejoins his Providence team after the All-Star break and first game back on Friday night to end the month of January with a road game in Binghamton, New York against the top minor-pro affiliate of the New Jersey Devils the Binghamton Devils. Carey hopes to return and snap a three-game pointless streak after his All-Star appearance is over.

Depending on if the Boston Bruins finish strong, Carey is deserving of a game or two appreciation recall for his services as he’s seen a few times in his long career. He’ll definitely be in the mix of Black Ace players if the B’s do in fact go on a deep run again and serve as another solid replacement piece in an emergency situation.

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Jack Studnicka

( Photo Credit:  Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images )

In his first North American professional season, the former 2017 second-round selection of the NHL Bruins is having an outstanding rookie season at the minor-pro level and is starting to fill out his frame. We’ve all known about Studnicka’s offensive capabilities as a Bruins prospect but what I like about his game this year gradually throughout the season is his aggressive nature as a highly-skilled threat. On several occasions, he’s not been that guy to take liberties on when other AHL teams are targetting him to get him and the team off their game and boby slammed an opposing nuisance. That bit of aggressiveness has put the Providence club at a disadvantage late in games but as he develops you know he’ll harness that in the future. To clarify I’m not suggesting that he’s some kind of fighter or savior to the narrative of this NHL Bruins team needs to add an enforcer but I do like to see how he handles himself and that part of the game as he continues to build muscle mass.

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Since leaving the Ontario Hockey League where posted career numbers of 80-153-233 and career .92 points-per-game percentage he transitioned his game nicely as he seeks permanent placement in the NHL in the near future. Studnicka is an absolute sponge when it comes to learning and applies that very knowledge to produce an intelligent 200-foot game. Jack is a master of creativity in my opinion and a pleasure to watch live with the way he controls the game much like current Bruins center David Krejci.

This season Jack’s addition up the middle and occasionally elsewhere on a line has benefited both the player and the organization when it comes to development. Head Coach Leach has strategically placed Jack in situations where his game sways with his game on and away from the puck. A demotion to a lower line is not a bad thing for a player continuing to learn the craft of a man’s game at a higher level. In 44 games thus far in his rookie year with the AHL Providence club “Captain Jack” has contributed with 14-16-30 numbers and a .71 PPG% with 30 regular-season games remaining before a hopeful 2020 Calder Cup Playoff appearance and long postseason run.

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As mentioned with his Providence teammate above, Studnicka could get another look in the remaining 31 games in the NHL B’s regular season. Although Jacks gone through some offensive struggles lately without a goal in his last 12 games he does have four points in his last four games and has displayed an incredible amount of creativity doing so with helpers to fellow linemates. His roller coaster offensive production is no indication of taking steps behind and if you really want to gauge his game for yourselves I highly suggest getting a regular season subscription to end the year and prepare for some AHL Calder Cup Playoffs by going to watchtheahl.com today!

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Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 163 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 17 Preview

ProBru4

(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 17 of the AHL season has arrived. The Providence Bruins skate into it 24-16-2-2 (52 points) and 4-5-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a challenging week that saw them lose to the Sound Tigers 2-1 before beating the same Bridgeport club 3-1. The Bruins would then go on to lose to Springfield 6-5 in overtime before beating Lehigh Valley 3-2 in a shootout.

This weekend’s hockey action starts on Friday, January 24, 2020, when the Lehigh Valley Phantoms travel to Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The action wraps up on Saturday, January 25, 2020, when the Hershey Bears invade Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. It should be exciting hockey you do not want to miss.

Friday, January 24, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (HOME)

The Friday meeting will mark the third of six the two teams will have this season. In the first meeting, the Bruins would go on to win 3-0. The now in Boston Anders Bjork, Brendan Gaunce, and Paul Carey would score goals. Max Lagace would stop all 28 shots he faced in what would be his first game as a Bruin. The most recent matchup saw the Bruins win 3-2 in a shootout. Oskar Steen and Zach Senyshyn scored goals. Max Lagace stopped 26 of 28 shots he faced.

Historically, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms have given the Providence Bruins fits. Over the past five seasons, the Providence club is 11-13-2. This includes 6-6-1 at home. This game, however, should not reflect that. The Philadelphia affiliate skates into the matchup 18-19-1-5 (42 points) and 6-3-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 13th in Eastern Conference.

The only real positive thing that you can say about the Lehigh Valley club is that their defense is not horrible. They’ve given up 118 goals in 43 games. This means they are only giving up 2.74 goals a game. The problem with that is they’ve only scored 103 goals this season. This means they have a -15 goal differential, while also only scoring 2.39 goals a game. Scoring less than you give up is not how you consistently win hockey games.

Some other stats of note for the Phantoms, they are 9-4-0-1 when leading after the first period. 11-0-0-1 when leading after the second period. They are 3-10-0-1 when trailing after the first period. The Lehigh Valley club is 3-15-0-3 when down after the second period.

To give some perspective to those numbers, The Bruins have given up 117 goals in 44 games while scoring 138. That is a +21 goal differential. That means they are only giving up 2.65 goals a game while scoring 3.13. The Providence club is 13-0 when leading after one period and 19-0 when leading after two. However, they are 2-10-1-1 when trailing after the first period and 1-12-0-1 when trailing after two.

Saturday, January 25, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Hershey Bears (HOME)

The Saturday battle will mark the fifth of six matchups the Providence Bruins and Hershey Bears will have this season. In the first meeting, the Bruins would win 2-1 in overtime, getting goals from Ryan Fitzgerald and Brendan Gaunce (OT).  Dan Vladar was excellent in net stopping 21 of 22 shots fired his way.

The second matchup saw the Providence club fall 5-3, getting goals from Brendan Woods, Paul Carey, and Jakub Zboril. Kyle Keyser was okay in net stopping 28 of 33 shots he faced. The third meeting saw the Bruins win 6-3. Ryan Fitzgerald, Paul Carey, Urho Vaakanainen (2), Jack Studnicka, and Trent Frederic scored goals. Sean Bonar, who has since been sent to the ECHL, stopped 25 of 28 shots he faced.

The most recent battle saw the Bruins win 7-6 in a shootout. Brendan Woods, Joona Koppanen, Urho Vaakanainen, Paul Carey, Jakub Lauko, and Oskar Steen had goals. Max Lagace stopped 17 of the 23 shots that were fired his way. The netminder would also contribute with an assist on the scoresheet.

The Hershey Bears come into the game 25-14-2-3 (55 points) and 6-4 in their last 10 games. This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and second in the Eastern Conference. Providence has had success against the Washington affiliate going 17-9-1-1 over the five seasons. Including 10-2-0-1 at home.

The Hershey Bears are 17-7-0-1 when they outshoot their opponents. They are also 7-7-2-2 when they are being outshot by their opponents. The Bruins, on the other hand, are 11-11-2-2 when they outshoot opponents and 8-5 when being outshot by opponents. The Washington affiliate is 7-1-0-1 when leading after the first period and 14-0-0-1 when leading after the second. However, they are just 4-6-2-1 when trailing after the first and 3-11-0-1 when down after two.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic is a guy who started off slow, but is having a good season. In 41 games this year, he’s netted six goals while dishing out 17 assists for 23 total points. This includes netting two goals and dishing out four assists for six total points in his last six games. The former University of Wisconsin Badger is only two points away from his total of all last season. This year the young center has really rounded out his game in all zones.

Brendan Gaunce: Brendan Gaunce is in his first season with Providence. He came to the Bruins after spending his entire professional career in the Vancouver Canucks system. In 34 games this season, he’s netted 10 goals while dishing out 11 assists for 21 total points. This includes netting three goals and dishing out three assists for six total points in his last seven games. The veteran forward has been a great addition to the Providence forward crop.

Not

Josiah Didier: Josiah Didier is also in his first season with the Providence Bruins. The veteran defenseman came the Bruins after spending last season with the Calder Cup Champion Charlotte Checkers. In 44 games this season, he hasn’t netted a goal while dishing out eight assists for eight total points. This includes registering two assists for two total points in his last 18 games. Hopefully, the University of Denver alum can provide some offense soon.

Joona Koppanen: Joona Koppanen is in his second season with Providence. The young forward came to the Bruins after spending the beginning of his career in Finland. In 33 games this year, he’s netted seven goals while dishing out seven assists for 14 total points. This includes registering one point, an assist in his last seven games. Hopefully, the former fifth-round pick can pick up his offensive game soon.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Paul Carey: Paul Carey is having an excellent season with Providence. In 44 games this year, he’s netted 17 goals while dishing out 13 assists for 30 total points. This includes netting three goals and dishing out three assists for six total points in four games against Hershey this season. The Bruins’ Captain has played so well that he earned himself a spot on the AHL All-Star Team.  The success Carey has had both this season and against Hershey makes him a prime candidate to have a big weekend.

On The Blue Line

Urho Vaakanainen: Urho Vaakanainen came into the season has one of the Boston Bruins’ top prospects. The young defenseman has had an excellent season overall. In 39 games this season, he’s netted four goals and dished out seven assists for 11 total points. This includes netting three goals and dishing out an assist for four total points in four games against Hershey this season. Look for him to have a big weekend.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has had an excellent first season with Providence. On the season, he’s 16-6-2 with a 2.43 GAA and .917 save percentage. This includes a league-leading five shutouts. The veteran netminder has provided stability at the back end of the Bruins’ defense. Look for him to have a big weekend.

The Providence Bruins have had a rough six weeks after starting the year so hot. The Providence club currently sits in a playoff spot by two points. These two games this weekend are both very winnable and ones the team needs to win to push towards the playoffs. I expect the Bruins to win both games this weekend. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Weekend Recap (Week 14)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins played their second three-game series of the 2019-20 regular season at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island over the weekend earning (Add Total Weekend Points Here). Heading into the weekend’s action the top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins sat in the second position in the Atlantic Division with a 20-12-1-2 record with 43 points in 35 games played only trailing division-leading Hartford Wolf Pack by two points.

Looking at the big picture in the AHL’s Eastern Conference the Providence club was in the fourth spot with a .614 winning percentage and 5-5-0 in their last ten games. Although the B’s are in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference Calder Cup Playoff picture, the Ocean State team has struggled at home with a record of 7-6-0-1 while having a record away from the Dunk of 13-6-1-1. Leading the club in points so far this season leading into the weekend’s action has rookie and 2017 second-round pick Jack Studnicka leading the team with 14-12-26 numbers in 33 games. Veteran forward and Weymouth, Massachusetts native Paul Carey is second on the club with 14-11-25 totals in 34 games and rounding off the top-three is AHL rookie Robert Lantosi who’s contributed 9-14-23 numbers in 31 games.

Goaltending for the Providence team has been one of the key factors in the AHL clubs’ success with the addition of veteran netminder Max Lagace who signed a one-year, two-way free-agent contract over the 2019 offseason. Lagace has a record of 13-5-2 with a 2.44 goals-against-average, a .916 save percentage and leading the AHL in shutouts with five. Dan Vladar who struggled to get off on the right foot to start the 2019-20 campaign suffered a high ankle sprain early in the year returned to the crease on December 1st, 2019, and has been outstanding in his return thus far leading into the new 2020 calendar year. Vladar has a season record of 5-3-0 with a 1.67 GAA, a Save% of .940, and two shutouts on the season. Now let’s get you updated on the weekend games and how the Providence team did in the three straight contests at the dunk. Enjoy!

Friday, January 3rd, 2020, Hartford Wolf Pack vs. The Providence Bruins (Home)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

Trailing the visiting Hartford Wolf Pack by a mere two points for the top position in the Atlantic Division this was a huge game against an opponent that the Providence club has certainly had a tough time against all season. Leading up to the action on Friday night the visiting Wolf Pack club has outscored the B’s 21-9 in six previous matchups in the 2019-20 regular season and it was important the home team came out on the right foot against a Packs netminder that has absolutely had their number for a majority of those games.

In the first period, the Bruins got off to a good start against a Wolf Pack team that they’ve been jockeying back-and-forth all season for the Division Lead. Captain Paul Carey got the first Bruins goal of the game scoring a shorthanded goal, his 15th of the year which was unassisted at 6:51 of the opening period. Hartford would only need three minutes after the Carey goal to tie things up at one on a goal from Tim Gettinger who scored his 8th of the year. Shots on goal to end the opening frame had the home Bruins team at an 11-7 advantage leading into the second period which was a tight battle in the middle of the game without either team putting the puck past the games netminders.

Jumping to the third period the scoring would all go to the visiting Wolf Pack. Pack leading goal scorer Vinni Lettieri would add his 12th of the year at the 19:34 mark of the final frame and to seal the deal for the visitors, winger Gettinger would get his second goal of the game with an empty netter at the 19:55 mark to end the game. Shots on goal in this game had the Wolf Pack with a 31-28 shot advantage

Bruins goaltender Dan Vladar got the start in goal on this night stopping 28 of 30 shots on goal and was a major reason the Wolf Pack club didn’t add several goals to make things worse. Regardless of this loss, the Bruins third-round selection in 2015 continues to play well since his return to the B’s lineup and will most likely get the call on Sunday against the Charlotte Checkers with the way Providence Head Coach Jay Leach has the rotation going. The Bruins have lost their last two games and look to snap out of this funk against a hot Checkers club that’s won their last three games before heading to the state of Rhode Island.

Saturday, January 4th, 2020, Charlotte Checkers vs. The Providence Bruins (Home)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The Bruins looked to change their recent misfortunes against an AHL team they’ve had recent success earlier this season. Providence has outscored the Checkers club 8-1 in the previous two games with one of the contests being a 36 save shutout in a 4-0 victory in Vladar’s return from injury. This night in game two of three on the weekend at the Dunk the end result would be very different.

After the Providence club commanded close to four minutes of the opening frame but that excitement was quickly deflated at the 3:59 mark when Checkers forward David Gust got the first goal of the game. Although there were times when the Bruins looked like they were getting back into the game the visiting Charlotte club just added more pressure holding the lead. At the 3:45 mark of the second period, the Checkers scored their second goal of the game on Steven Lorentz 9th of the season making things more difficult for the home Providence team.

The third period was a chippy affair as the Bruins started to show frustrations in being down on the scoreboard and were penalized four times putting themselves in a difficult situation. The Checkers club would score two goals in the final frame one from Julien Gauthier who scored his 15th of the season at the 1:54 mark of the third and sealing the deal on the night was an empty netter from Spencer Smallman who notched his third of the season at 16:48. The final tally on the shots on goal from both combatants had the visiting Checkers team finishing with a 43-25 advantage.

As mentioned above about the goaltending rotation, Providence Head Coach Leach did, in fact, go with Max Lagace in the second night of the weekend’s action. Lagace who’s been one of the best netminders in the AHL has had a recent run of bad luck giving up nine goals in his last three games and is on a three-game losing streak. Max stopped 39 of 42 Checkers shots on this night and did the best he could but ultimately the support in front of him didn’t do enough on the scoresheet to help out. Lagace suffered his sixth regulation loss of the year and will most likely have to wait until next Saturday, January 11th to try and snap his season-long losing streak.

Sunday, January 5th, 2020, Charlotte Checkers vs. The Providence Bruins (Home)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The final game of the Bruins weekend at the Dunkin Donuts Center came to a screeching halt with another loss in front of the Providence crowd. The Checkers club was again just too much to handle for the B’s outscoring the home team 8-1 in two of the three games in this weekend set and are now on a four-game losing streak.

The Checkers owned all-three periods leading up to a 4-0 lead with their fourth goal on a Brian Gibbons empty-netter at the 17:26 mark of the third. Providence broke the shutout bid for Anton Forsberg on a goal from B’s rookie Robert Lantosi who scored his 10th of the season at the 19:04 of the final frame. Shots advantage in this game went to the visiting team for the third straight contest in the weekend’s action this time giving the Checker a 33-27 total at the end of 60 minutes.

The AHL Bruins get back to work on Saturday, January 11th, 2020, in Springfield, Massachusetts with a tilt against a hot Springfield Thunderbirds team. The Thunderbirds are currently on a four-game winning streak and only one point behind the Providence club to tie for third place in the Atlantic Division. Springfield is 11-7-1-0 at the MassMutual Center and 53-3-2 in their last ten games. The Bruins wrap up the week’s action on Sunday against the same Thunderbirds team to finish up a home-and-home on Sunday, January 12th, 2020, at the Dunk in Providence Rhode Island.

The AHL’s Atlantic Division is very tight as rivals are starting to play better gearing up fro Calder Cup Playoff runs. In this said “tight” division the Providence team has an 8-8 record since December 1st, 2019 and is slowly going in the wrong direction as they started the year as one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. With almost a full week of practice B’s Head Coach, Leach and assistants behind the bench should have an interesting week of work addressing key areas that opposing teams have exposed in their game. Still, a lot of season left and keep in mind that this Providence team has gotten hot in previous years around this time of year and made the postseason debuts so I’m not giving up on this club just yet.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 160 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 13 Preview

providence

(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

It’s week 13 of the AHL season, and the Providence Bruins are 19-11-1-2 (41 Points) and 6-4 in their last 10 games. This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a tough week that saw them get shutout by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 1-0 and then be shoutout again by Hartford 3-0. After the holiday, the team has two games on the road that you don’t want to miss!

The hockey action starts on Friday, December 27, 2019, when the Providence Bruins invade Springfield, Massachusetts, to take on the Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center. The action concludes on Saturday, December 28. 2019, when the Providence Bruins make their way to Hartford, Connecticut, to take on the Wolf Pack at the XL Center.

Friday, December 27, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (AWAY)

The Friday night matchup will be the fifth of 14 these two teams will have. In the first meeting, the Bruins would fall 5-2, getting goals from Peter Cehlarik and Anders Bjork. Goalie Dan Vladar was subpar in net stopping 23 of the 28 shots fired his way. The second game saw the Bruins losing 5-4 in overtime while getting goals from Robert Lantosi, Joona Koppanen, Scott Conway, and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Max Lagace stopped 30 of the 35 shots fired his way.

The third meeting saw the Providence club come out on top 5-4 in overtime. They would get goals from Jack Studnicka, Trent Frederic, Robert Lantosi, Peter Cehlarik, and Paul Carey (OT). Veteran netminder Max Lagace stopped 24 of the 28 shots he faced. The most recent battle saw the Bruins come out on top 5-0. Jeremy Lauzon, Jakub Zboril, Jack Studnicka, Paul Carey, and Oskar Steen had the goals for Providence. Dan Vladar was out of this world in net stopping all 42 shots fired his way.

The Springfield Thunderbirds come into the game 16-15-2 (34 points) and 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, this is still a favorable matchup for the Providence Bruins. Over the past five seasons, the Bruins are 25-15-4 against the Panthers’ affiliate, including 12-7-3 in Springfield.

The Thunderbirds have been winning with excellent defense. They’ve only given up 91 goals in 33 games while scoring 95. This is a plus-four goal differential. This also means they are only giving up 2.75 goals a game while scoring 2.87. The Springfield club is 4-2 when leading after the first period. They are also 9-2 when leading after two periods. On the flip side, they are 3-6 when trailing after one period. They are also 1-10-1 when trailing after two periods.

To give some perspective to those numbers, The Bruins have given up 83 goals in 33 games while scoring 109. That is a +26 goal differential. That means they are only giving up 2.51 goals a game while scoring 3.30. The Providence club is 10-0 when leading after one period and 15-0 when leading after two. However, they are 2-6-1-1 when trailing after the first period and 1-8-0-1 when trailing after two. These two teams are evenly matched and getting and sustaining an early lead, are imperative to winning.

Saturday, December 28, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (AWAY)

The Saturday matchup will mark the sixth of 10 meetings the two teams will have this year. In the first meeting, the Bruins would fall 2-1. Providence got their lone goal from Jack Studnicka. Goalie Kyle Keyser was up to the task in net stopping 23 of 25 shots that were fired his way. The second battle saw the Bruins win 4-3 in a shootout. They got goals from Scott Conway, Jack Studnicka, and Robert Lantosi. Max Lagace was able to stop 35 of the 38 shots he faced.

The third game saw the Bruins fall 5-2. They received goals from Ryan Fitzgerald and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Kyle Keyser was able to stop 24 of 28 shots he faced. The fourth battle saw the Providence Bruins fall 4-1. They got their lone goal from Cameron Hughes. Goalie Max Lagace stopped 18 of 22 shots he faced. The fifth battle was a bad one, the Bruins would lose 3-0. Goalie Max Lagace was up to the task in net stopping 18 of the 20 shots he faced.

The battle with the Hartford club is going to be challenging. The Rangers’ affiliate comes into the game 17-7-2-5 (41 points), including 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for first in the Atlantic Division and second in the Eastern Conference. Even though it’ll be a tough game, there is hope for the Bruins.

Over the past five seasons, our boys in black and gold have gone 22-15-4-2, including 8-9-3-1 at the XL Center. The Wolf Pack has seen success this season thanks to a stifling defense. They’ve given up only 81 goals in 31 games. That means they are only giving up 2.61 goals a game. Providence, on the other hand, has scored 109 goals in 33 games. That’s 3.30 goals a game. It’ll be a great battle between the two teams.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka has been excellent for the Providence Bruins this season. It’s his first full season in Providence, and while there have been some growing pains, on the whole, the young center has developed nicely. In 31 games this season, he’s netted 13 goals while also dishing out 12 assists for 25 total points. This includes three goals and one assist for four total points in his last five games.

Robert Lantosi: Robert Lantosi is another player who is in his first full season in Providence. In 29 games, the young forward has eight goals while dishing out 13 assists for 21 total points. Lantosi came to Providence after signing an AHL deal in the summer. He spent most of his career in Slovakia before coming to the Bruins. He’s someone who could battle for a two-way NHL deal if he keeps up his play.

Not

Cooper Zech: Cooper Zech is another person in his first full season with the Providence Bruins. He came to the Providence club after signing an AHL contract last year. In 21 games this year, he’s netted one goal while dishing out five assists for six total points. After a stellar weekend that saw him grab five points, he’s come back down to earth and hasn’t registered a point in his last four games. Let’s hope he gets back to his scoring ways.

Brendan Gaunce: Brendan Gaunce has had an up and down season for Providence this year. In 23 games this season, he’s netted seven goals and dished out seven assists for 14 total points. This overall is great. However, over his past seven games, the veteran forward has only registered one point an assist. Let’s hope he gets back to scoring soon.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Paul Carey: Paul Carey has been excellent in his first season as the Providence Bruins’ Captain. In 32 games, the veteran forward has netted 14 goals and dished out 11 assists for 25 total points. The former Boston College Eagle has also provided valuable leadership to a young team. Look for him to continue that this week.

On The Blue Line

Urho Vaakanainen: Urho Vaakanainen has been very good overall for Providence. After a rough stretch to start the year, he was called up to Boston because of injury. Since returning to Providence, he’s been excellent both offensively and defensively. Overall on the year, the young defenseman has netted four goals and dished out seven assists for 11 total points in 29 games. Look for him this weekend.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has been excellent in his first season with Providence. He holds a 13-4-2 record with a 2.36 GAA and a .919 save percentage. The veteran netminder has also recorded a league-leading five shutouts. Lagace has provided leadership for the young goalies as well.

The Providence Bruins find themselves in a favorable position coming out of the holiday. They are in a playoff spot comfortably. If the Providence club continues playing the way they have been, they will make a strong push towards the post-season after the New Year. I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday and has a great New Year. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 11 Preview

 

probru4

(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 11 of the AHL season is here. The Providence Bruins are 16-9-1-2 (35 points) and 7-2-1 in the last 10 games. This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a week that saw them beat the Binghamton Devils 6-2 and the Utica Comets 3-2 in a shootout. They would then fall to the Hartford Wolf Pack 4-1 before falling to the Syracuse Crunch 4-1. This week sees the Bruins have a home and home with a familiar foe before traveling to Pennsylvania for a game.

The hockey action starts on Saturday, December 14, 2019, when the Providence Bruins invade Springfield, Massachusetts, to take on the Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center. The Springfield Thunderbirds would return the favor on Sunday, December 15, 2019, when they take on the Bruins at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. Finally, the week wraps up on Wednesday, December 18, 2019, when the Providence Bruins travel to Wilkes-Barre Township, Pennsylvania, to take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Saturday, December 14, 2019 (AWAY) and Sunday, December 15, 2019 (HOME) Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds

The weekend home and home will be the third and fourth of 14 games these two teams will have this season. In the first meeting, the Bruins would fall 5-2, getting goals from Peter Cehlarik and Anders Bjork. Goalie Dan Vladar was subpar in net stopping 23 of the 28 shots fired his way. The second game saw the Bruins losing 5-4 in overtime while getting goals from Robert Lantosi, Joona Koppanen, Scott Conway, and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Max Lagace stopped 30 of the 35 shots fired his way.

The Springfield Thunderbirds come into the game 14-13 (28 points) and 4-6 in their last 10 games. This is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, this is still a favorable matchup for the Providence Bruins. Over the past five seasons, the Bruins are 23-15-4 against the Panthers’ affiliate, including 11-7-3 in Springfield and 12-8-1 in Providence.

The Thunderbirds have been winning with excellent defense. They’ve only given up 72 goals in 27 games while scoring 80. This is a plus-eight goal differential. This also means they are only giving up 2.66 goals a game while scoring 2.96. The Springfield club is 4-2 when leading after the first period. They are also 8-1 when leading after two periods. On the flip side, they are 2-5 when trailing after one period. They are also 1-9 when trailing after two periods.

To give some perspective to those numbers, The Bruins have given up 75 goals in 28 games while scoring 93. That is a +18 goal differential. That means they are only giving up 2.67 goals a game while scoring 3.32. The Providence club is 9-0 when leading after one period and 12-0 when leading after two. However, they are 2-6-1-1 when trailing after the first period and 1-5-0-1 when trailing after two. These two teams are evenly matched and getting and sustaining an early lead, are imperative to winning.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AWAY)

The Wednesday matchup will mark the first of six the two teams will play. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins skate into the contest 13-9-3-1 (30 points) and 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence Bruins have had some success against the Pittsburgh affiliate over the past five years, going 12-6-3-3. However, they are only 5-5-2 in Wilkes-Barre Scranton during that time.

This could be an opportunity for the Providence Bruins power-play to gain some momentum. The Penguins have taken 110 penalties in 26 games. That means they are giving up 4.23 penalties a game. They’ve also given up 22 goals out of those 110 penalty kill opportunities. That’s 80%, which is good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. This seems like the perfect storm for the Providence club to gain confidence on the power-play.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is also excellent when they get an early lead and keep it. They are 6-1-1 when leading after the first period and 7-0-1 when they are leading after the second period. It should be a close game between these two division foes. I expect the Providence club to come out on top in this one. It’s one of those games they need to win to assert themselves atop the Eastern Conference.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Cooper Zech: Cooper Zech is in his first full professional season with the Providence Bruins. The young defenseman came to the Bruins when he signed an AHL deal after an excellent freshman season at Ferris State University. It’s been an up and down season for Zech. In 18 games, he’s netted one goal and dished out five assists for six total points. However, in his last five games, the young defenseman has found the back of the net once while dishing four assists for five total points. Let’s hope he keeps it up.

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald has had a good season for the Providence Bruins thus far. In 28 games, he’s netted seven goals and dished out nine assists for 16 total points. The former Boston College Eagle has been even better over his past 12 games netting three goals while dishing out six assists for nine total points. The veteran forward has been a stabilizing force on offense. It’s needed due to players moving up and down from Providence and Boston because of injury. Let’s hope he keeps it up.

Not

Oskar Steen: Oskar Steen is also in his first professional season here in North America. The young forward has taken time adjusting to the smaller ice. In 28 games on the year, the Sweden native has netted three goals while dishing out seven assists for 10 total points. Despite this, Steen hasn’t registered a point in his last six games. Hopefully, he can adjust to the North American ice and shake off the rust soon.

Jeremy Lauzon: Jeremy Lauzon has had an up and down year for Providence. In 28 games this year, he has seven points, all assists. While the young defenseman has matched his point total from the last two seasons, he still hasn’t registered a point over his past six games. Let’s hope the former Rouyn-Noranda Husky can turn it around and get back on the scoresheet.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Paul Carey: The Providence Bruins Captain Paul Carey has had an excellent season. In 27 games, he’s scored 12 goals while dishing out 10 assists for 22 total points. He’s also provided leadership that a young team needs. With injuries and call-ups, the former NCAA Champion has been a big constant that the offense has needed. Watch for the Captain to have an excellent weekend.

On The Blue Line

Urho Vaakanainen: Urho Vaakanainen has had an up and down season for Providence. Initially, the young defenseman didn’t seem like himself on the ice. He was then called up to Boston because of injury and played really well for the big club. Since being reassigned to Providence, he’s been on another level. He’s playing well in all three zones and controlling the overall play when he’s on the ice. In 24 games this year, Vaakanainen has netted four goals while dishing out six assists for 10 total points. Look for him this weekend.

In Net

Dan Vladar: Since coming back from injury, Dan Vladar has been excellent for Providence. On the year he is 3-2 with a 1.84 GAA and a .928 save percentage. Look for him to continue his hot play this weekend.

The Providence Bruins are in a good position this holiday season. The Providence club sits comfortably in a playoff seed. This is what you expect from a team looking to compete for a championship. Let’s hope they can keep up their play over the weekend. These are three games that they should be able to win. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Providence Bruins Post-Game Recap Vs. Utica 12/7/19

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By Carrie Young | Follow me on Twitter @carrieyoung512

The Providence Bruins faced off against the Utica Comets on Saturday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The Bruins were looking to extend their five-game winning streak, while Utica aimed to bounce back from a shootout loss to Bridgeport on Friday. Providence entered the game ranked first in the Atlantic Division with a 15-7-1-2 record.

Starting Lineups

Providence Bruins:

Cehlarik – Studnicka – Fitzgerald

Vaakanainen – Didier

Vladar

Utica Comets:

Bailey – Camper – Lind

Brisebois – Rafferty

Bachman

Game Recap

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First Period

The game started slow, with neither team able to capitalize on any scoring chances. Providence out-shot Utica 13-3 through the first 14 minutes, but both goalies looked sharp and the game remained scoreless. Bruins defenseman Cooper Zech looked strong coming off of a 4-point night against Binghamton on Friday.

With around 5:50 left in the first period, Providence’s Jakub Lauko collapsed to the ice after skating in to hit a Utica player in front of the benches. The medical staff was quick to attend to him, but it was a scary moment as Lauko remained down on the ice for several minutes. He was eventually taken off on a stretcher. The 19-year-old gave a thumbs-up to the crowd before he left the ice.

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Utica was given a power play with 3:46 remaining in the period but was unable to convert. The game remained tied at zero heading into the first intermission.

Second Period

Just over a minute into the second period, Paul Carey scored his 12th goal of the season. Robert Lantosi surprised Utica’s goalie Richard Bachman with a strong shot, and Carey was able to convert on the rebound.

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The Bruins were given a power play 8:59 into the period when Olli Juolevi was called for interference. Providence was unable to score, but Zech drew another penalty after a nice play in the offensive zone. The Bruins went scoreless on their second man-advantage of the night.

Robert Lantosi was whistled for tripping with 3:48 remaining. Just seconds into the power play, Utica’s Justin Bailey tipped the puck past Vladar and tied the game.

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At the end of the second period, Providence was out-shooting Utica 35-13.

Third Period

Providence got its third power play of the night as Zech was tripped up at Utica’s blue line. The Bruins couldn’t convert, going 0-for-3 with the man-advantage.

With 12:42 left, Brendan Gaunce beat Bachman with a terrific shot to put Providence up 2-1. Carey forced a turnover in the neutral zone, and Lantosi was able to send the puck to Gaunce on the rush. It was Gaunce’s seventh goal in 16 games.

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Though the Bruins played a strong defensive game throughout the night, a turnover in their own zone led to Utica tying the game at 2 with 2:49 left in the period. Then, at 18:55, Oskar Steen was sent to the box for goaltender interference.

Providence’s penalty kill kept the game tied. With just 7 seconds to go, Utica committed a hooking penalty. The game headed to overtime.

Overtime

Despite multiple scoring chances and a short power play for Providence, overtime was scoreless. The game went to a shootout with the Bruins having out-shot the Comets 43-21.

Shootout

Lantosi scored to open the shootout. Francis Perron was unable to beat Vladar.

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In the second round, Carey and Sven Baertschi both failed to convert.

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The Bruins needed a goal or a save to get the win. Brendan Gaunce came close to ending it, but his shot hit the post. Vladar made a flashy glove save on Reid Boucher to secure a Bruins victory.

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Vladar got his second win in two games since he returned from injury.

“It was a long six weeks for me,” Vladar said after the game. “I feel relieved that I can play right now and that I can do my best. I appreciate it more because as I said, those six weeks were so long. I’m so happy that I got four out of four [points] so far.”

The Bruins have six straight wins and have lost just two games in regulation in their last 11. They host the Hartford Wolf Pack on Sunday afternoon.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 157 that we recorded on 12-8-19 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 Place Torey Krug on IR, Recall Paul Carey from Providence

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( Photo Credit: USA Today Sports )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

The Boston Bruins announced that the team has placed defenseman Torey Krug on injured reserve and has recalled forward Paul Carey from the Providence Bruins. The news comes after the Bruins defeated the Maple Leafs in Toronto 4-2 on Friday night and ahead of the club’s big tilt against the Washington Capitals at TD Garden tonight.

Torey Krug left the game before the start of overtime in the Bruins 3-2 shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on November 10th. Krug has missed the last two games against the Florida Panthers and the Toronto Maple Leafs and will be out tonight against the Capitals. In 17 games this season, Krug has two goals and 11 assists and a minus-four rating with all of his assists coming on the potent Bruins power-play. Krug adds to the list of banged-up Bruins including Brett Ritchie, David Backes, Jake DeBrusk, and Karson Kuhlman.

Paul Carey leads the Providence Bruins in scoring with seven goals and six assists for 13 points in 17 games. The 31-year-old forward is a Weymouth, MA native and has played 99 career NHL games notching eight goals and eight assists for 16 points.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 153 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 7 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

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

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

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

This weekend’s matchups will mark the second and third of 10 meetings the two teams will have this year. In the first meeting, the Bruins would fall 2-1. Providence got their lone goal from Jack Studnicka. Goalie Kyle Keyser was up to the task in net stopping 23 of 25 shots that were fired his way.

The home and home battle with the Hartford club is going to be challenging. The Rangers’ affiliate comes into the game 10-1-0-4 (24 points), including 6-1-0-3 in their last 10 games. This is good for first in the Atlantic Division and first in the Eastern Conference. Even though it’ll be a tough few games, there is hope for the Bruins.

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

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

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

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

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

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

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

Not

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

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

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

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

On The Blue Line

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

In Net

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

The Providence Bruins have had a superb start to their season. In previous years, they’ve started out slow and then came on hot the second half of the year. This year our boys in black and gold are bucking that trend. They have a wealth of talent and could go far this year. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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