Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 11 Preview

 

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(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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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 9 Preview

 

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week nine of the AHL is here, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 12-7-1-2 (27 points) and 5-4-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for second the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a fantastic week that saw them shutout the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 5-0. They would then fall to the Springfield Thunderbirds 5-4 in overtime before beating the Hershey Bears 6-3. They would then finish the week by beating the Hershey Bears again 7-6 in a shootout. The Bruins have two big games this weekend that you don’t want to miss.

The hockey action starts on Saturday, November 30, 2019, when the Providence Bruins invade Charlotte, North Carolina, to take on the defending Calder Cup Champion Charlotte Checkers at the Bojangles’ Coliseum. The action wraps up on Sunday, December 1, 2019, when the Providence Bruins take on the Charlotte Checkers again at the Biscuit in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Saturday, November 30, 2019 (AWAY) and Sunday, December 1, 2019 (AWAY) Providence Bruins vs. Charlotte Checkers

The weekend series between the Providence Bruins and Charlotte Checkers will be the first and second of eight meetings the two teams will have. The Providence club is 6-5-1 against the Checkers over the past five seasons. Last season, the Charlotte Checkers were dominant. They would beat the Bruins in four games in the first round of the playoffs on their way to their first Calder Cup Championship. This season has been a bit of a different story.

The Hurricanes’ affiliate skate into the match up 8-8-3 (19 points) and 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference. Something that led to their dominant season last year was their defense. They only gave up 189 goals while scoring 255. That means they had a goal differential of +66. This season has been the opposite. The Charlotte club on the year has scored 51 goals while giving 55. That’s a minus-four goal differential.

To put those numbers into perspective a little bit, the Providence Bruins have played in three more games this season, scoring 74 goals and giving up 62. That’s a +12 goal differential. It’s hard to sustain success when you give up more goals than you score. This is the main reason why both clubs seem to be heading in different directions. These two games being in Charlotte should also benefit the Bruins. The Carolina affiliate is 4-3-1 at home this season. While our boys in black and gold are 8-3-1-1 away from the Dunk this year. These are two very winnable games for the spoked P this weekend.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka has been a permanent fixture in the hot category for a few weeks now, and that isn’t going to change. The young center has been excellent in his first full professional season. In 21 games for the Providence club, he’s netted nine goals while dishing out nine assists for 18 total points. The OHL product also has a five-game goal streak that has seen him net five goals while tallying three assists for eight total points. Going back even further, he’s registered a point in eight of his last 10 games. Studnicka earned himself a promotion this week with injuries and his play. In his first game against Montreal, he looked good while dishing out an assist for his first NHL point.

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic finds himself in the hot category after a cold streak. The former Wisconsin Badger had a superb weekend putting together a four-game point streak. In those four games, he netted two goals and dished out two assists for four total points. In 19 games this year, the young forward has netted two goals and dished out seven assists for nine total points. Let’s hope he can keep up his hot play.

Not

Pavel Shen: Pavel Shen has had a rough start to his first full professional season in North America. The young forward in 16 games, hasn’t found the back of the net and dished out two assists for two total points. Shen came to Providence after spending the beginning of his career in Russia, where he’s from. The good news is the former seventh-round pick is only 20, there is plenty of time for him to develop. Let’s hope he breaks out of his slump soon.

Cameron Hughes: Cameron Hughes has continued to be on a bit of a cold streak. The young forward has just two points, two assists in his last ten games played. Overall on the year, the former Wisconsin Badger has netted two goals and dished out six assists for eight total points in 22 games. This is two weeks in a row that Hughes finds himself in the not category. Let’s hope he’s able to break through this weekend against Charlotte.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald has been on a bit of a hot streak himself. Over his last five games, he’s netted three goals and dished out two assists for five total points. In 22 games this year, the former Boston College Eagle has found the back of the net seven times while tallying five assists for 12 total points. In addition to those stats, in five games against Charlotte last season, Fitzgerald potted one goal and assisted on three others for four total points. With players moving up and down between Providence and Boston frequently, look for him to pick up the slack this weekend.

On The Blue Line

Urho Vaakanainen: Urho Vaakanainen has been excellent over the past few weeks for both Boston and Providence. It’s been the best stretch of play he’s had in his professional career. The young defenseman is coming off a weekend that in two games saw him net two goals while dishing out three assists for five total points. Thanks to his big weekend, the native of Finland would be named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week. My colleague here at BNG Carrie Young wrote about that honor here. He would follow up this honor by scoring a goal against Hershey Wednesday night. In 18 games this season, Urho has netted three goals and dished out five assists for eight total points. Look for him to continue his sizzling play.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has been nothing short of excellent in his first season with Providence. With injuries to both Dan Vladar and Kyle Keyser, the veteran netminder has been a stabilizing presence in goal. On the year, he’s 9-2-2 with a 2.45 GAA and a .919 save percentage while also leading the league with four shutouts.

The Providence Bruins find themselves in a fantastic position to start the year. At this point in the season, teams usually have a good understanding of how the rest of the year will go. Our boys in black and gold currently find themselves comfortably in playoff contention. You should absolutely expect this moving forward. At the beginning of the season, I wrote that this team would be great. They are proving me right. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and has an excellent holiday. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Providence Bruins Post-Game Recap Vs. Bridgeport 11/22/19

(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By Carrie Young | Follow me on Twitter @carrieyoung512

The Providence Bruins were back in action at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Friday night for a match-up with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The Bruins had just one regulation win in their last six games and were ranked fourth in the Atlantic Division with a 9-7-0-2 record. This was the fourth game between Providence and Bridgeport this season, with the Bruins leading the season series 2-1.

Starting Lineups

Providence:

Frederic – Hughes – Lauko

Sherman – Petrovic

Lagace

Bridgeport:

Bourque – Bardreau – McDonald

Hutton – Wotherspoon

Gibson

Game Recap

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First Period

Providence started strong, looking motivated to get a win in front of the home crowd. Bridgeport struggled to possess the puck and didn’t register a shot on goal through the opening six minutes.

Bridgeport’s Kyle Burroughs was called for slashing at 2:08 of the first, and the Bruins headed to the power play.

After an offensive-zone face-off win, Alex Petrovic sent a shot in on Gibson that bounced around in the crease until it found the stick of Brendan Gaunce, who was playing the net-front role on the power play. Gaunce buried his fifth goal of the season, putting Providence up 1-0.

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With 6:41 remaining in the period, Wiley Sherman sent a long, cross-ice pass to Ryan Fitzgerald at the offensive blue line. Fitzgerald was able to control the bouncing puck and sped down the right side, beating Gibson and scoring his sixth goal of the season.

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Though the Sound Tigers didn’t record many shots in the first, Lagace made a few important saves to maintain the Bruins’ lead.

With just under a minute left in the period, Gaunce scored his second goal of the game after a great passing sequence between Peter Cehlarik, Jakub Zboril, and Robert Lantosi.

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Providence headed into the first intermission up 3-0 and leading in shots 13-6.

Second Period

Jared Coreau replaced Christopher Gibson in goal for Bridgeport to start the second.

Around four minutes in, Trent Frederic collided with Bridgeport rookie Oliver Wahlstrom at center ice and was challenged to a fight by Seth Helgeson. Frederic obliged, dropping the gloves for a good bout in front of the Bridgeport bench. Both players got five minutes for fighting, and Helgeson was also assessed a minor penalty for instigating and a ten-minute misconduct. Frederic was sent to the locker room after the fight as it appeared he had a cut on his forehead that needed to be stitched up. He returned later in the period.

A good forecheck by Providence led to a slashing penalty on Andrew Ladd at 8:56, and the Bruins were awarded their third power play of the night. Despite some good chances, they were unable to convert. A misplay in the offensive zone led to a shorthanded rush by the Sound Tigers, and Cehlarik was sent off for slashing.

Late in the penalty kill, Sherman was able to clear the zone after a good save by Lagace. Jakub Lauko used his speed to beat Bridgeport’s Sebastian Aho to the puck, then passed to Frederic, who was all alone in front of the net. Frederic scored his first goal of the season to put Providence up 4-0.

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The Bruins were assessed their second penalty of the game when Sherman was whistled for tripping at 18:13.

With just under 30 seconds left in the period, Bridgeport turned the puck over in the neutral zone. Alex Petrovic sent a pass into open ice, and Lauko yet again beat a Sound Tigers defender and got a great pass right in front of the net. Jack Studnicka tapped one past Coreau, giving him three straight games with a goal. Studnicka is now tied for second in points among AHL rookies with 7 goals and 7 assists in 19 games.

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Providence went to the second intermission with a 5-0 lead.

Third Period

With two more games coming up this weekend, the Bruins were wise to reduce the tempo in the third period considering their lead. Lagace continued his strong play with some big saves to keep Bridgeport off of the scoreboard. The third period was scoreless for both teams, and Providence earned a big win against a divisional opponent. Lagace got his league-leading fourth shutout of the season. He also leads the league in GAA and is ranked third in save percentage.

The Bruins are now 10-7-0-2. They play in Springfield on Saturday night and are back home on Sunday against the Hershey Bears.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 154 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 5 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson| Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week five of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins are 6-3-0-2 (14 points). This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. Our boys in black and gold are coming off a rough week in which they lost 3-2 to Laval in a shootout. The Providence club would then fall to Belleville 4-3, before finally beating Rochester 4-3. The spoked P packs their bags and heads out on the road for both games this weekend. Let’s hope that it is a fruitful road trip for our boys.

The weekend action kicks off on Friday, November 1, 2019, when the Providence Bruins invade Utica, New York, to take on the Utica Comets at the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The weekend wraps up on Saturday, November 2, 2019, when the Providence Bruins make their way down to Hershey, Pennsylvania, to take on the Hershey Bears at the Giant Center. It should be an exciting weekend of hockey that you do not want to miss.

Friday, November 1, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Utica Comets (AWAY)

The Providence Bruins kick off their weekend against the Utica Comets in a Friday night matchup. It will be the first of two meetings the two clubs will have this season. Over the past five seasons, this has been a favorable matchup for the Providence club going 7-5, including 4-2 at Utica. Despite the record, this game may not be so easy. The Utica club enters the matchup 8-0 (16 points). This is good for first in the North Division and second in the Eastern Conference.

Utica has been doing it with a good offense and suffocating defense. The Vancouver affiliate has scored 39 goals in eight games. That’s an eye-popping 4.87 goals a game, which is by far the best in the Eastern Conference. That’s not all, the Comets have only given up 14 goals in their first seven games. That means they’re only giving up 1.75 goals a game.

To compare, the Providence Bruins have scored 36 goals in 11 games, which is 3.27 scored a game. Our boys in black and gold have given up 30 goals in 11 games. This is 2.72 goals given up a game. It’ll be a tough matchup, and the Providence club will need to be on their game if they want to come out with a win.

Saturday, November 2, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Hershey Bears (AWAY)

The weekend ends with a matchup at the Hershey Bears. It’s the second of six meetings the two clubs will have this season. In the first showdown, the Bruins came out on top 2-1 in overtime. They got goals from Ryan Fitzgerald and Brendan Gaunce. Netminder Dan Vladar was superb in net stopping 21 of 22 shots he faced.

The Hershey Bears come into the game 4-3-1-1 (10 points). This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference. Providence has had success against the Washington affiliate going 15-8-1-1 over the five seasons. This includes 6-6-1 at Hershey. Whichever team can grab an early lead and hold onto it will likely win this game.

The Providence Bruins are 4-0 when winning after the first period. When up after two, they are also 4-0. The Providence club is 1-3-0-1 when trailing after one period. When down after two periods, they are 0-1-0-1. The Hershey Bears are 1-0 when leading after one. When leading after the second, they are 2-0. The Hershey club is 1-1-1-1 when down after one. They are 0-3-0-1, when down after two. Expect the Bruins to win if they can grab that early lead.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald has had a great start to his season. In 11 games this season, he has netted four goals and dished out three assists for seven total points. The former Boston College Eagle has also registered a point in four of his last six games, which includes three goals and two assists for five points. With Anders Bjork being called up to Boston, Fitzgerald has picked up the slack on offense.

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic finally finds himself in the hot category for the first time this season. In 11 games this season, he doesn’t have a goal but has dished out five assists for five total points. All five points have come in his past six games. The former Wisconsin Badger has picked up his game since the start of the season. Let’s hope the young center can keep up his play.

Not

Jeremy Lauzon: Jeremy Lauzon has had a rough start to the year. He’s playing decent enough defense but offensively hasn’t been great. In 11 games, he doesn’t have a goal and dished out three assists for three total points. The former Rouyn-Noranda Husky only has one point in his last five games. The Bruins hope the young defenseman can get out of his cold streak.

Cooper Zech: Cooper Zech jumped onto the scene last season after his freshman year at Ferris State University. The young defenseman signed an AHL contract and looked really good in limited time. That really hasn’t translated much this season. In seven games, he hasn’t scored a goal and dished out one assist for one total point. Let’s hope he can put the slow start behind him.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Jakub Lauko: Jakub Lauko came to Providence after having an excellent season with Rouyn-Noranda of the QMJHL last season. The young forward has had some growing pains, but overall looked good this season. He’s netted three goals and doesn’t have an assist for three total points in 11 games this year. I expect him to continue to develop and have an excellent season.

On The Blue Line

Alex Petrovic: Alex Petrovic has been excellent this season for Providence. In 11 games, he’s netted one goal and dished out nine assists for 10 total points. This includes one goal and six assists for seven points in his last six games. The veteran defenseman has done this all while playing good defense. Look for him to keep up his hot season.

In Net

Kyle Keyser: Kyle Keyser has played pretty well since being called up from Atlanta. In three games, he’s 1-1-1 with a 2.58 GAA and a .910 save percentage. The young netminder was called up because of injury, but he may stay in Providence if he continues this play. Look for him this weekend. He’s arguably the most talented goalie in the system.

Despite the rough week, the Providence Bruins have had a successful start to the season. Though they face some tough competition this weekend, I still think that they could come out on top in both games. This team has me excited. I think they could end up being one of the best Providence teams we’ve seen in a very long time. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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 4 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week four of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins have a record of 5-2-0-1 (11 points). This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. Our boys in black and gold are coming off a successful week. They fell to Laval 3-2. The Providence club would bounce back to beat Belleville 7-4, before shutting out Bridgeport 4-0. Week four sees the spoked P come back to Providence for the Pink in the Rink weekend at the Dunk to support breast cancer awareness. It’s an excellent weekend to catch a game.

The heart-stopping hockey action begins on Saturday, October 26, 2019, when the Laval Rocket travels to Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. The weekend continues on Sunday, October 27, 2019, when the Belleville Senators invade the Dunkin Donuts Center. Finally, week four wraps up on Wednesday, October 30, 2019, when the Providence Bruins march to Rochester, New York, to take on the Rochester Americans at the Blue Cross Arena. It’s going to be an exciting week you don’t want to miss.

Saturday, October 26, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Laval Rocket (HOME)

The Providence Bruins kickoff their Pink in the Rink weekend with a game against the Laval Rocket. It’s going to be the third of four meetings between the two clubs. The Providence club lost the first meeting 5-4 in a shootout. They got goals from Peter Cehlarik (2), Paul Carey, and Brendan Gaunce. Goalie Max Lagace was less than stellar in net, turning away 14 of the 18 shots he faced. Our boys in black and gold didn’t fare much better in the second meeting, losing 3-2. They got goals from Ryan Fitzgerald and Alex Petrovic. Goalie Max Lagace was better in net, stopping 27 of 30 shots fired his way.

The Montreal affiliate has started the season 3-5 (6 points). This is good for sixth in the North Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, the Bruins have had trouble with Laval in the past. They’ve gone 2-2-0-2, including 1-1 at the Dunk. Even with the rough luck, I still believe our boys in black and gold should win this matchup.

Team defense and goaltending will be the two keys for Providence against Laval. The Laval club is giving up 3.12 goals a game. Their offense is scoring 2.50 goals a game. This means the Montreal Affiliate is giving up a little more than half a goal a game more than they’re scoring. Their two goalies have started out on opposite ends of the spectrum. Cayden Primeau is having an excellent first season so far, going 2-2 with a 2.03 GAA and a save percentage of .933%. Charlie Lindgren has had a rough start, going 1-3 with 3.24 GAA and a .881% save percentage.

To compare, the Bruins are giving up 2.50 goals a game. They’re also scoring 3.37 goals a game. This means our boys in black and gold are scoring .87 more goals a game than they’re giving up. Veteran goalie Max Lagace has had an excellent start, going 3-1-1 with a 1.93 GAA and a .935% save percentage with two shutouts. Dan Vladar has gone 1-1 with a 2.57 GAA and a .897% save percentage. Youngster, Kyle Keyser is 1-0 with a 4.02 GAA and a .867% save percentage.

Sunday, October 27, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Belleville Senators (HOME)

The Pink in the Rink weekend wraps up in Providence when The Belleville Senators come to town. It’ll the second and final meeting between the two clubs this season. In the first meeting, the Providence club came out on top 7-4. They got goals from Oskar Steen, Jakub Lauko, Robert Lantosi, Cameron Hughes, Peter Cehlarik, Jack Studnicka, and Paul Carey. Goalie Kyle Keyser was up to the task in net, stopping 26 of the 30 shots he faced.

The Belleville Senators have started the season 2-4 (4 points). This is good for eighth in the North Division and 15th in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins have had success against the Ottawa affiliate recently. They’ve gone 3-1, including 2-0 at the Dunk. Five on Five play is going to be the biggest key to victory for our boys in black and gold.

During their first matchup, the Bruins penalty kill was horrendous, giving up four goals in five opportunities. The power-play wasn’t much better, scoring only one goal in three chances. A deep-dive reveals that special teams are a real problem for the Providence club. Our boys in black and gold have given up nine goals in 36 penalty kill opportunities. This is only good for 75%. They’ve also given up two shorthanded goals.

The Bruins have also only converted on five of 34 power-play chances. These means at five on five, the Providence club has scored 22 goals, while only giving up nine. Belleville meanwhile has scored nine goals and given up 20, in the same situation. If the spoked P can keep their special teams off the ice, they should dominate the game. In their previous matchup, they had a six to nothing advantage when it was five on five.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Rochester Americans (AWAY)

Week four wraps with a game against the Rochester Americans. It’ll be the final of two meetings these two clubs will have this season. In the first matchup, the Providence Bruins came out with a win 3-2. They got goals from Jakub Lauko, Anders Bjork, and Oskar Steen. Netminder Max Lagace was excellent, turning away 30 of 32 shots he faced.

The Rochester Americans have started out the season 4-2-0-1 (9 points). This is good for third in the North Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence Bruins have had the Buffalo affiliate’s number in the past. They’ve gone 8-1 over the past five seasons, including 3-1 on the road. Shots on goal will end up being key in this game and not in the way you may expect.

The Rochester Americans are 3-2-0-1 when outshooting their opposition. This means they’ve had the shot advantage in every game they’ve played. To combat this, the Providence Bruins are 2-0 when being outshot by the team they’re playing. This includes the game they played against each other earlier this season. Something else to watch out for is team defense.

The Rochester club has given up 20 goals on the year while only scoring 19. This is a minus-one goal differential. Our boys in black and gold have scored 27 goals and given up 20. This is a plus-seven goal differential. When a team gives up more than they score, they aren’t able to sustain success. I expect Providence to come away with two points in this game.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka is one of the top three prospects in the Boston Bruins’ system. The young center came to Providence after an excellent season in the OHL, which saw him net 36 goals and dish out 47 assists for 83 total points split between Oshawa and Niagra. He’s scored one goal and tallied four assists for five points this season with Providence. He’s registered a point in five of eight games, including four of his last five. Let’s hope he keeps this hot streak up.

Peter Cehlarik: Cehlarik almost seems like a permanent fixture here in the hot category. This is because the young forward has had an excellent start to the season. In five games, he’s found the back of the net five times while also tallying two assists for seven points. He’s registered a point in four of the first five games he’s played.  With injuries starting to pile up in Boston, we may see Cehlarik called up before long.

Not

Cooper Zech: Zech is a player that I was really excited about going into the season. The young defenseman was coming off an excellent freshman season at Ferris State University, which earned himself an AHL contract with Providence. He’s a smaller offensive-minded defenseman who I expected big things from. To start the season, he’s played in five games and only registered one assist for one total point. Hopefully, Zech bounces back and can figure it out in Providence. I still expect good things from him.

Zach Senyshyn: Senyshyn seems to be a permanent fixture in the not category to begin the season. The former first-round pick has had a less than stellar start to the 2019-2020 season. In seven games he’s played in the young speedster has yet to register a point. His scoring has been down overall since joining the AHL. He has a .36 point per game total with Providence. This is much worse than the .91 point per game total he had in the OHL. The young forward did miss a game this year with an upper-body injury, so maybe that is playing a factor early on.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald is a guy who may get lost in the shuffle when talking about prospects, but he’s had a great start to the 2019-2020 season. In eight games this season, he’s netted three goals and dished out three assists for six total points. The former Boston College Eagle is also on a three-game point streak, which has seen him score two goals and tally two assists for four total points. Look for him this weekend.

On The Blue Line

Alex Petrovic: Alex Petrovic initially came to Boston on a PTO during training camp as a free agent. The Bruins liked what they saw and signed to a one-year two-way contract. The veteran defenseman has been great for Providence. In eight games, he’s netted one goal while dishing out five assists for six total points. The former Edmonton Oiler has also played well on defense. Let’s hope he keeps it up for Providence.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has been excellent for Providence to start the season. The veteran netminder is 3-1-1 with a 1.93 GAA and a .935% save percentage. He’s also recorded two shutouts, including one in the team’s game Tuesday night against Bridgeport. No other goalie has that many shutouts so far this season. The Bruins’ deciding to sign Lagace was an excellent move. I think he will have a great year while being a mentor to Keyser and Vladar.

The Providence Bruins have started out hot in their first eight games of the season. With the amount of talent, our boys in black and gold have, this is not surprising. I still fully expect that the spoked P will come out with at least four of six points from this week’s games. All three games are winnable. One characteristic that all good teams possess is that they beat the teams that they should. If the Bruins want to prove they’re a good team, they need to win at least two of these next three games. 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 24 Preview

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( Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 24 of the AHL season is upon us, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 32-22-8-3 (75 points) and 4-3-1-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. Even though the Baby B’s sit firmly in a playoff spot, with a little help they could move up in the standings if they have a good weekend. With only 11 games left in the regular season, now is the time for our boys in black and gold to make their big push in the playoff standings. The weekend hopes to be fruitful as the Providence club comes home for two games before embarking on another three-game road trip.

The weekend kicks off on Friday, March 22, 2019, when the Belleville Senators invade the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The hockey action continues Saturday, March 23, 2019, when Binghamton Devils roll into town hoping to conjure up a W at the Dunk. After the weekend of home cooking, the Providence Bruins head out on the highway and take on the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins on Wednesday, March 27, 2019, at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. It should be an exciting weekend of hockey that you are not going to want to miss.

Friday, March 22, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Belleville Senators (HOME)

The Friday showdown will mark the second time the Bruins take on Belleville this season. The Senators are in the North Division, so because of that they only play each other twice a year once at home and once on the road. In the first match-up, the Bruins fell 3-2 getting goals from Connor Clifton and Zach Senyshyn. Goalie Dan Vladar was adequate in net turning away 20 of the 23 shots that were fired his way. The Belleville Senators come into the match-up 33-25-3-5 (74 points) and 6-2-1-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the North Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference. Over the past five seasons, the two teams have not played each other very much because of being in different divisions, but the baby B’s are 1-1-1 against the Ottawa affiliate in that time frame.

As with most games, situational scoring is going to be very important to whoever wins this game. When leading after two periods, the Belleville Senators are 23-0-0-1. Meanwhile, when losing after two periods, the Ottawa affiliate is 5-21-0-2. The Providence Bruins, on the other hand, are 25-3-2-2 when they have a lead after the second period, and a record of 4-18-3 when down after two. Speaking of situational scoring, special teams will also play a major role in the game. The Sens have a power play percentage of 19.2% this is good for sixth in the Eastern Conference. They’ve scored 53 power play goals and 211 goals overall on the season. This means 25.1% of their goals have come with the man advantage. On top of that, they’ve only given up three shorthanded goals on the year. Meanwhile, the Baby B’s have the third-best penalty kill in the Eastern Conference at 85.7% and have scored 10 shorthanded goals, which is fifth in the East.

The Boston affiliate, meanwhile, has a power play percentage of 17.2% which is good for 12th in the East. They’ve also given up the second most shorthanded goals in the East at 13. The Senators’ penalty kill is at 75.9% this is last in the Eastern Conference, and they’ve had eight shorthanded goals. If the Bruins can manipulate these scoring situations in their favor, they will have a fantastic chance of coming out of this game with a victory. With the Belleville hockey club sitting in eighth place in the conference, a win here would absolutely help pad the lead the baby B’s have over them.

Saturday, March 23, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Binghamton Devils (HOME)

The Saturday battle marks the second time the Bruins have played the Devils this season. The first match-up saw the Binghamton hockey club come out on top 6-3 with the Bruins getting goals from Connor Clifton, Gemel Smith, and Anton Blidh. Goalie Zane McIntyre had a game that he would probably like to forget stopping 17 of the 22 shots that were fired his way. Despite the bad game earlier this year, the baby B’s have had great success against the New Jersey affiliate over the past five years going 13-6-1-1 during that time span including 9-2 at the Dunk.

The Binghamton hockey club has had a rough go of it this year. They skate into the contest 24-35-6 (54 points) and 1-8-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for eighth in the North Division and 16th in the Eastern Conference. Team defense will be a major key in this game. The Binghamton Devils have given up 233 goals on the year. This is not only the worst in the Eastern Conference, but it is the worst in the entire AHL. This is 3.58 goals a game that they are giving up. Our boys in black and gold, on the other hand, have given up 181 goals on the season which is 2.76 goals a game. Only three other teams in the East have given up fewer goals on the year.

On the other side of the puck, the New Jersey affiliate has one of the worst offenses in the East scoring 170 goals on the year which is 2.61 goals a game. Meanwhile, the spoked P has scored 196 goals on the year which is 3.01 goals a game. These stats bode well for the Providence hockey club in this game. Despite the tough year, the Devils are 15-1-1 when they are leading after the second period. If the Bruins stingy defense can keep Binghamton from scoring, they have a fantastic chance of coming out on top.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins (AWAY)

The Wednesday match-up will mark the sixth time that these two teams have played each other, and Providence has had their way with the Pittsburgh affiliate thus far. The first battle saw the Bruins beat the Penguins 2-1 in overtime getting goals from the now departed Martin Bakos, and Ryan Fitzgerald (OT). Goalie Dan Vladar was superb in net denying 27 of the 28 shots that came his way. The second installment saw the Baby B’s route Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 5-2 getting goals from the now traded Ryan Donato (2), Martin Bakos, Joel Messner, and Zach Senyshyn. Goalie Zane McIntyre was great in net stoning 20 of the 22 shots he faced.

The third match-up saw the boys in black and gold win 4-2 getting goals from Ryan Fitzgerald, Peter Cehlarik, Ryan Donato, and Jakub Zboril. Goal Zane McIntyre was excellent in net stopping 32 of the 34 shots that were fired his way. The fourth match-up saw the Bruins lost 2-1 in a shootout getting their goal from Chris Breen. Goalie Zane McIntyre was superb in net turning away 39 of the 40 shots that came his way. The most recent battle saw the Bruins fall 2-1 in overtime getting their lone goal from Ryan Fitzgerald. Goalie Zane McIntyre was great in net stoning 26 of the 28 shots that were fired his way.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins come into the game 30-23-7-3 (70 points) and 5-2-2-1 in their last 10 games played. This is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence Bruins have not only played extremely well against the Pittsburgh affiliate this year going 3-0-1-1, but over the past five seasons, the Baby B’s are 13-6-3-3. A major key for the boys in black and gold will be how their offense plays. The Penguins have given up a total of 185 goals on the year. Only four other teams in the Eastern Conference have given up less. Meanwhile, the Bruins have scored 196 goals this year which is the 11th most in the Eastern Conference. Hopefully, the offense is up to that task.

Special teams will also be a key in this game. The Providence Bruins are not only fourth in the Eastern Conference in goals given up with 181, but they are also third in penalty kill at 85.7%. That coupled with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton having the 13th ranked power play in the Eastern Conference at 17.0% means that if the spoked P can play their game and hold their ground, it bodes well for the overall outcome. Another major key for the Pittsburgh affiliate is whether they outshoot their opponent when they do, they are 18-14-2-2 but are 7-8-4-1 when being outshot. On the other side, the Baby B’s are 9-6-3-2 when being outshot and 21-14-5-1 when outshooting their foe.

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

Hot

Jordan SzwarzThe Providence Bruins Captain has been very good all season. On the year, the veteran forward has found the back of the net 19 times while dishing out 16 assists for 35 total points and a point per game total of 0.60. This includes netting one goal and dishing out five assists for six points in his last seven games. The next goal that the OHL product scores will be his 20th on the year and it’ll be his third season in a row with Providence with 20+ goals on the year. Szwarz would be the fifth player in Providence Bruins history to do that. It’s something to look out for coming up.

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald had found himself in the not category last week, but he’s slowly starting to find the rhythm he had at the beginning of the year. At the beginning of the year, the former Boston College Eagle was arguably the best forward for Providence. An injury partway through the season derailed his momentum, but he’s slowly starting to find his stride again. In 51 games he has found the back of the net eight times while dishing out 25 assists for 33 total points and a point per game total of 0.64. This includes netting one goal and dishing out three assists for four points in his last six games played. It’s nice to see the young forward find his scoring touch for the playoff push.

Not

Gemel Smith: Gemel Smith has been excellent since coming over to Boston in a trade with Dallas back in December. For a little while, it seemed like the OHL product found himself in the “hot” category every single week. Recently, it seems like the gritty forward has found his first real cold streak of the season. Over Smith’s last nine games he has found the back of the net once and dished out three assists for four total points. Despite the cold streak, in 37 games since joining the baby B’s he has netted 13 goals and dished out 18 assists for 31 total points and a point per game total of 0.83. Hopefully, as Providence gets closer to the playoffs, the young forward will find his scoring touch again.

Mark McNeill: Mark McNeill has proven to be streaky for Providence this season. Over his past 18 games, he’s registered three points dishing out three assists and has not scored a goal since January 26, 2019. This means the WHL product netted seven goals while dishing out 14 assists for 21 total points and a point per game total of 0.65. Since then his point per game total has plummeted to 0.48 (7-17-24 in 50 games played). Hopefully the gritty forward can find his scoring touch as the baby B’s push towards the playoffs.

My players to watch this weekend

Up Front

Zach SenyshynZach Senyshyn has proven to be very streaky for Providence this season. In 57 games this season he has netted 14 goals and dished out 10 assists for 24 total points and a point per game total of 0.42. Despite this, last weekend he scored his first goal since January 26, 2019. Sometimes, all you need is one to break the floodgates open and go on a scoring streak. I am hopeful that the young speedster is going to do just that and get back on a role. Though, many are disappointed that the young forward hasn’t gotten the opportunity to showcase his skills in Boston, if he sticks with it and continues to work hard it’ll be only a matter of time before that happens.

On the Blue Line

Cooper ZechCooper Zech recently signed a deal with Providence and played in his first professional games. In his first two games, he played around 20 minutes each game and looked very good. The 20-year-old defenseman comes to Providence from Ferris State as an undrafted college free agent. In his freshman season with Ferris State, he was the WCHA (Western Collegiate Hockey Association) top-scoring freshman, the top scoring freshman defenseman, WCHA Rookie of the Year, and the first freshman to lead Ferris State in scoring since 1987-88 netting 8 goals and dishing out 20 assists in 36 games played for the Bulldogs.  The former Bulldog also recorded his first point on Wednesday against Laval getting the primary assist on a goal. After the season he’s had, there certainly are some lofty expectations moving forward. Hopefully, he has a big weekend for Providence.

In Net

Zane McIntyre: Zane McIntyre has had an up and down season this year. On the year the veteran netminder has a record of 22-10-7 with a 2.51 goals against average and a save percentage of .901. The University of North Dakota alum has been a lot better at home than on the road this season, and when the Bruins went on their crazy point streak, he was a large reason for that. With two games at the Dunk, look for Zane to have a big weekend.

The Providence Bruins are currently sitting in playoff position by four points. A good weekend and they could pad that standing and possibly move up a spot in those standings. With 11 games remaining the team’s magic number is 20. The magic number is the number of points needed to clinch the playoff spot. The magic number goes down when it earns points either with victory, or overtime/shootout losses. The magic number also goes down when the team with the highest possible point total that isn’t currently in playoff position, loses. This means the baby B’s are sitting in a good position right now and can hopefully make that magic number dwindle down this weekend. We will catch up with you next week to let you know how the team fared but feel free to send any questions or comments to me on Twitter. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and Go, B’s, Go!

Interested in going to a Providence Bruins or Boston Bruins game? Take a look at the upcoming schedule and ticket availability from our advertising partners over at SeatGiant. Click the links below and please use discount code BNGP to save a little cash! Thank You!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 19 Recap

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The American Hockey Leagues Atlantic Division is tight with five teams in the eight-team division within 4-5 points of each other as they’ll be jockeying their way back and forth toward Calder Cup Playoff Hopes. In that mix is the Providence Bruins who’ve been red hot to start the 2019 calendar year but have come back to earth a little losing two of three during this weekends action.  The last time the team from the State of Rhode Island lost consecutive games was a 3-0 shutout to host Hartford Wolf Pack on Wednesday, December 19th, 2018 and a 6-3 beatdown the Binghamton Devils gave the Providence club on Friday, December 21st, 2018 once again on the road.

With a season record of 27-19-6-1 and sitting in the fourth position in the division and seventh in the Eastern Conference, the playoffs aren’t out of the realm, but it’s not going to be easy and dropping the last two of three in their home barn, and local fan support certainly didn’t help matters. With proper rest and practice schedule, set up by head coach Jay Leach, the B’s should snap out of this small slide in the wrong direction before they face second-place Bridgeport Sound Tigers to start next weekends three-game set on Friday, February 22nd, 2019.

Anyways, below are the ups and downs of the weekend that was for the Providence Bruins and a little better detail of the game’s action highlighted by the B’s offensive numbers. Hope you all enjoy!

Friday, February 15th, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. The Toronto Marlies (Home)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The Bruins kicked off the weekend’s festivities hosting the Toronto Marlies, and red hot B’s goaltender got the start in goal looking for his 12th consecutive victory. After being down 1-0 to the visiting Marlies team through the first 20 minutes, the B’s got on the board in the second period with a shorthanded goal for recently demoted NHL Bruins defenseman Steven Kampher assisted by another newcomer Lee Stempniak. The veteran Stempniak was signed to a professional tryout last week after spending a majority of the 2018-19 season practicing with the Boston Bruins when the team was in the Boston area as a non-roster player.

Stempniak would get his second point of the evening later in the second period with his first of the year assisted by Gemel Smith to get the B’s first lead of the night. The Providence club would seal the deal with a third-period goal from Anton Blidh who scored his eighth of the season assisted by defensemen Chris Breen and Kampher. The three stars of the night were selected from the players that produced offensively with Kampher with the first, Stempniak with the second, and finishing off the honorable mentions, Blidh with the third star.

Bruins goaltender McIntyre stopped 25 of 26 shots and extended his winning streak to 12 games in the 3-1 victory. He’s honestly been sensational in goal since the start of 2019, and with a season record of 20-8-3 and in his last 17 games dating back to December 15th the former 2010 sixth-round draft pick of the NHL Bruins has gone 14-3-0 with a goals-against-average of 2.06, and .909 save percentage in that timeframe.

Saturday, February 16th,2019, Providence Bruins vs. The Charlotte Checkers (Home)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

This particular game was the start of the weekend troubles for the Bruins team being down 3-0 to the visiting Checkers team going into the third period. The B’s did try and create a spark in the last frame but forward Paul Carey’s 11th of the season assisted by Breen and Ryan Fitzgerald and Jakub Zboril’s fourth of the season a minute later weren’t enough as the Checkers shut down the B’s effort earning the 3-2 victory.

Goaltender Dan Vladar was in goal on this night taking the unfortunate loss.  The rookie netminder is 7-10-4 with a 2.70 goals-against-average, and .903 save percentage in 22 games played. The 21-year-old Czech Republic native has only two wins in his last ten games.

Sunday, February 17th, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. The Springfield Falcons (Home)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

To finish the weekend’s action and the final game of week 17, the Providence club looked to get back on track after losing to the Charlotte club the night before, but that just didn’t happen. For the second game in a row, the Bruins were fighting an uphill battle and again being down three goals going into the third period certainly didn’t help matters at all. B’s captain Jordan Szwarz tried to create a spark offensively in the last frame, but the Springfield Falcons were just too much punching in two more goals to end the B’s effort and second consecutive loss.

Bruins netminder McIntyre got the start in goal on this night looking for his 13th consecutive victory, but it just wasn’t in the cards on this night as he took the 5-1 loss. The 26-year-old McIntyre didn’t exactly have the full support of his teammates in front of him in the loss to the Thunderbirds and will look to get on track this weekend as he’ll presumably get two of the three starts at the end of the week’s action.  He and Vladar have been on a consistent schedule of McIntyre on Friday and Sunday games while the AHL rookie Vladar gets the call on Saturday’s contests.

Interested in going to a Providence Bruins or Boston Bruins game? Take a look at the upcoming schedule and ticket availability from our advertising partners over at SeatGiant. Click the links below and please use discount code BNGP to save a little cash! Thank You!

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Bruins Prospect Ryan Fitzgerald Named To AHL All-Star Classic

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PHOTO CREDITS: (ahl.com)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

The Providence Bruins announced today, January 3rd, 2018, that forward Ryan Fitzgerald has been named to the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic on January 27-28, 2019 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Ryan Fitzgerald is in the middle of arguably his best season while in the American Hockey League. The 24-year-old North Reading, Massachusetts native has 7-19-26 totals in thirty-four games this season, leading all Providence Bruins players in assists and points. His seven goals on the year rank him fourth on the team for goals as well.

Before Fitzgerald joined Providence in the 2016-17 season, he played in four consecutive seasons in the NCAA with Boston College. In his 152 career NCAA contests, Ryan tallied 66 goals, 66 assists for 132 points. Fitzgerald’s best season came back in 2015-2016 where he scored forty-seven points (24 goals, 23 assists) in only 40 games played.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Gregory Vasil/Getty Images)

Fitzgerald was drafted by the Bruins in the 4th Round (120th Overall) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and was signed to a two-year entry-level contract in the Spring of 2017. The Bruins management liked his play with Boston College, deciding to sign him to that deal that allowed him to play in the AHL, where he has been for the past two seasons.

As fellow Black N’ Gold writer, Tim Richardson said in his Prospect Profile on Fitzgerald, the 5-foot-9 forward was expected to go in the second-round in 2013. Heading into his draft, Fitzgerald was that two-way player that almost every team would like to have in their centre core. He possessed good hockey IQ and defensive awareness on the ice but could also pitch in offensive such as he has done with Providence this season.

Entering his first All-Star game, Fitzgerald has an entire family of hockey players. Father Tom Fitzgerald played in 1097 career National Hockey League games, seventy-one of which with the Boston Bruins back in 2005-06. NHL forwards Jimmy and Kevin Kayes as well as Matthew and ex-NHLer Keith Tkachuk are Fitzgerald’s cousins according to Elite Prospects.

Many people in the Boston Bruins fanbase have urged management to try Fitzgerald in the NHL if (when) another injury hits the Bruins forward core. Fitzgerald seems to be more responsible defensively compared to some of the Bruins already on the roster and yet, he can still score goals and make plays as mentioned already.

Do you think that Ryan Fitzgerald should get a shot with the NHL Bruins at some point this season if an injury comes up again?

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 13 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of the Springfield Thunderbirds)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

The Providence Bruins come into the weekend 14-15-5 (33 points) and 3-6-1 in their last 10 games good for seventh place in the Atlantic Division. Our boys in black and gold kickoff a jam-packed three-game weekend coming home to the Dunk for the first time in five games when the Lehigh Valley Phantoms roll into town on Friday, January 4th. The Baby B’s continue the weekend on Saturday traveling to Springfield, Massachusetts to take on the home team Springfield Thunderbirds at The MassMutual Center. Finally, the Providence club finishes up the weekend with more home cooking on Sunday, when the Hartford Wolf Pack invade the Dunk. It should be an exciting hockey filled weekend for all involved.  

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

The Friday match-up marks the fourth time the Bruins have faced the Phantoms this season. In the first meeting, Lehigh Valley beat Providence 5-4 with the Bruins getting goals from Karson Kuhlman, Cameron Hughes, Colby Cave, and Wiley Sherman. Meanwhile, goalie Dan Vladar was off his game stopping 21 of 26 shots in net. The second meeting between the two teams saw a much better result for the Bruins. The Baby B’s beat the Philadelphia Flyers affiliate 6-3 with the Bruins getting goals from Austin Fyten (2), Cameron Hughes (2), Ryan Fitzgerald, and Jordan Szwarz, while goalie Dan Vladar looked much better in net stopping 18 of 21 shots. The third match-up was another tough outcome for our boys wearing the spoked P. Lehigh Valley beat Providence 3-1. With Providence getting their lone goal from Joona Koppanen with goalie Dan Vladar continuing his solid road play stopping 17 of 19 shots he faced.  

The fourth installment in the season series is going to be tough for Providence. Lehigh Valley comes into the game 19-10-1-2 (41 points) and 6-3-0-1 in their last 10 games good for third in the Atlantic Division with games in-hand. That doesn’t even fully illustrate the uphill battle the Baby B’s. The Philadelphia Flyers’ affiliated has the Bruins’ number over the past five seasons going 7-3-1 in Providence during that time and 15-7-1 overall. A major key for Providence will be scoring early and keeping the game close. When tied or leading after the first period this season, the Boston Affiliate is 12-4-3. Meanwhile, for the Phantoms a major key is out-shooting their opponents, they are 6-4-0-2 when doing so.

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

This game marks the fourth time the Bruins and Thunderbirds have faced off this season. In the first meeting, Springfield beat Providence 6-3 with the Bruins getting goals from Zach Senyshyn, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Colby Cave. Meanwhile, goalie Zane McIntyre was a little off his game stopping 14 of 20 shots. The second meeting between the two teams saw a different score with the same result. The Florida Panther’s affiliate beat the Baby B’s 4-2 with the Bruins getting goals from Martin Bakos and Jan Kovar, while goalie Zane McIntyre looked much better stopping 17 of 20 shots in net. The third game of the season series saw the Bruins finally break through and get a win beating the Thunderbirds 5-4. The boys in black and gold got goals from Mark McNeill, Karson Kuhlman, Peter Cehlarik, Jordan Szwarz, and Connor Clifton while Dan Vladar stopped 22 of 26 shots he faced.  

The Springfield Thunderbirds come into the weekend 15-11-4-3 (37 points) and 3-4-2-1 in their last 10 games. Providence not only has excellent numbers against Springfield (9-5-2 in Springfield and 18-9-2 overall in the past five seasons), they’re playing at a time where the Florida Panthers’ affiliate is on a downward trend. This could bode well for the Baby B’s. A major key to the game will be who’s leading after two periods. Springfield is 12-0-1, and Providence is 10-3-2 in that scenario. Meanwhile, when down after two periods the Thunderbirds are 0-10 and the Bruins are 3-12-2.  

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

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

The third leg of the season series saw the Pack come out victorious, winning 4-3. The Providence club got goals from Zach Senyshyn, Colby Cave, and Anton Blidh. Goalie Dan Vladar had a busy game stopping 26 of 30 he faced. In game four these two clubs both fought hard, but Hartford came out on top 4-3 in overtime. The boys wearing the spoked P got goals from Karson Kuhlman, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Kyle Cumiskey. Goalie Zane McIntyre turned away 18 of 22 shots faced in the losing effort. Finally, in the fifth meeting this year, the New York Rangers’ affiliated blanked Providence 3-0. Goalie Dan Vladar played well in the game stopping 30 of 33 shots faced.  

The Hartford Wolf Pack come into the sixth game of the season series with a record of 15-15-2-2 (34 points) and 4-5-1 in their last 10 games good for sixth in the Atlantic Division. Despite this year’s misfortune, this match-up is one the Bruins should be looking forward to. Over the past five seasons, the Bruins have an 11-4-1-1 against the Pack and are 18-13-4-2 overall in that time frame. Special teams will play a major key in the outcome of this game. The Baby B’s power play against Hartford this season is at 22.7% (5/22) this is up from their overall percentage of 20.8% (30/144). Meanwhile, their penalty kill is 83.3% (3/18) against the Pack which is down from their overall penalty kill of 86.6% (20/149). Hartford’s 16.7% (3/18) power play against the Providence club is down from their overall power play of 20.7% (30/145). Their 77.3% (5/22) penalty kill against the Bruins is also down from their total season average of 80.7% (28/145).  

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

Hot 

Karson Kuhlman: Over his past five games Kulhman has stats of 3-1-4. Last week, he was in the not category for Providence, and it was stated that the former NCAA Champion and the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs was very streaky thus far for the Baby B’s. This continues to be true, but after a good weekend, the gritty forward finds himself in the hot category.  This past weekend saw him go 2-1-3 in 3 games and it raised his point per game from 0.33 (4-7-11 in 33 games) to 0.39 (6-8-14 36 games). He’s slowly getting closer to his college average of 0.48 (39-41-80 in 166 games) points per game. The former UMD captain seems to be getting more comfortable playing against AHL talent, and we could see his point per game total rise even closer to his college average this weekend.  

Mark McNeill: McNeill has found himself in the middle of a hot streak with stats of 2-5-7 in his past five games. A product of the WHL’s Prince Alberta Raiders, the gritty forward, is a career AHL player who has been very good for the Bruins this year scoring 4-13-17 in 22 games. That’s good for a 0.77 point per game clip which is closer to his WHL days of 0.88 (97-146-243 in 276 games) than his AHL career number of 0.58 (93-117-210 in 365 games).  

Not 

Anton BlidhOver his past five games Blidh has scored 1-1-2. The gritty winger has been a streaky player since coming over from Sweden’s SHL to play with the Bruins. Despite being on a cold streak, Blidh’s season point per game total of 0.41 (6-8-14 in 34 games) is higher than his career AHL total of 0.31 (37-33-70 in 223 games). Hopefully, he can get back the scoring touch this weekend and make his way out of the not category.  

Cameron Hughes: Over the past five games Hughes has scored 0-1-1. The former University of Wisconsin Badger has still adjusted well overall to AHL talent since graduating. Even though he currently finds himself in the not category on the year, he’s scoring at a 0.56 (9-10-19 in 34 games) clip which is very close to his NCAA number of 0.66 (23-69-92 in 139 games). This is very good for someone in their first full professional season. The hope is that this is just a minor bump in the road and Hughes will find himself back in the hot category very soon.  

My players to watch this weekend 

Up Front: 

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald has played very well all season, but he’s played particularly well against the three opponents the Bruins have coming up. Against Lehigh Valley, Springfield, and Hartford the young forward has played in 11 games with stats of 3-8-11. The Baby B’s will need him to carry the load for them if they want to win this weekend. If the former Boston College Eagle can keep up his play against these teams, he would remain a candidate to be called up to get a look with the big club.  

On the Blue Line:  

Cody GoloubefGoloubef has been good for Providence this season. He returned to the lineup from injury on December 29th and scored two goals against Hershey. On the year the defenseman has scored at a 0.73 (3-8-11 in 15 games) clip. Look for the former University of Wisconsin Badger to continue to regain his form coming back from injury.  

In Net:  

Zane McIntyre: Zane McIntyre has had an up and down season this year for Providence. However, at home, he’s been excellent. The young goalie has a 5-0-1 record at home stopping 160 of 172 shots for a .930 save percentage and 1.97 goals against average. These are fantastic numbers at home, and with two of the weekend’s games at the Dunk look for Zane to have a big weekend.  

The Providence Bruins have had an up and down season thus far. Being 3-6-1 in their last 10 games, I am optimistic that a little home cooking is just what the doctor ordered to turn the season around. Winning these three games would be important for multiple reasons. All three teams the Baby B’s are playing are ahead of them in the standings and are in the same division. Being able to win all three games would mean the boys in black and gold would gain ground in the division, and they could start to claw their way back into playoff contention. We will catch up with you next week to let you know how the team fared but feel free to send any questions or comments to me on Twitter. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and Go, B’s, Go! 

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 12 Recap

( Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Week 12 for the Providence Bruins brought three straight games to end the 2018 calendar year. The top minor-pro affiliate of the Boston Bruins certainly hope they can turn the 2018-19 campaign around and show better results in the new year. At about the half-way point of the current hockey season, the team from Rhode Island sits in the second to last spot in the seventh position in the Atlantic Division and outside the American Hockey Leagues, Calder Cup Playoff picture holding the 13th spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Providence club has a 14-15-5-0 season record after 34 games played accruing 33 points and 18 points away from catching division front-running Charlotte Checkers who have a 24-8-3-0 and 51 points. The B’s have given up 102 goals while scoring 105 needs to tighten up as a team and come to the rink with a 60 minute a night effort regardless of the up and down season thus far. The first game of 2019 is Friday night which ends a six-game road trip that saw the B’s go 2-4 and the club has gone 3-6-1-0 in their last ten games.

Hopefully, Providence is ready as the workload for week 13 isn’t going to be easy with another three-straight game schedule this weekend with two of those games at the Dunkin” Donuts Center in Providence where the B’s are 7-3-2-0. The one roadie of the weekend is in nearby in Springfield, Massachusetts against the Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center where the Bruins are 1-2 and have a season road record of 7-12-3-0.

Let’s take a look back at the weekend that was for the Providence Bruins and some key details to who got involved offensively in the three games that ended the season-long road trip.

Friday, December 28th, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Road Game)

( Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The first of the three started at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania against the Phantoms who sit in the Atlantic’s third position. The Lehigh club owned a majority of the game scoring goals in the first and third periods being up 2-0 and outplaying the visiting Bruins team until the half-way point of the last frame where the B’s started showing signs of life. Bruins prospect forward Joona Koppanen scored his first goal of the season and third of his career at the 12:39 mark of the third period assisted by rookie forward Karson Kuhlman and veteran defenseman Chris Breen.

Koppanen who started the 2018-19 season with the ECHL Atlanta Gladiators took advantage of a Phantoms turnover in their own zone to come in on Lehigh Valley goaltender Alex Lyon all alone to wrist one home for the first and only Bruins goal of the contest. The Phantoms would put the dagger in the hearts of the visiting Providence club with a shorthanded empty-netter with 30 seconds remaining in the game to seal the 3-1 victory over the B’s. Bruins rookie goaltender Dan Vladar got the start in goal stopping 17 of 19 shots in the loss. Vladar is 6-7-2-1 on the season and holds a 2.67 goals-against-average, and .889 save percentage in 16 games in this his rookie campaign.

The Providence Bruins would outshoot the Phantoms in the game by a 34 to 20 margin and would go zero for five on the man advantage. The Bruins currently sit in the 9th position when talking about the leagues best powerplay at 20.8%. This was the first time in two previous games the B’s didn’t score on the man advantage but also have to mention the exceptional play on the other side of the special team’s spectrum concerning the penalty kill. The Bruins are ranked second in the league with an 86.6% and ranked third in the league on the road with a man down.

Saturday, December 29th, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. The Hershey Bears (Road Game)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The first of two games against the Hershey Bears would have the Providence club travel to the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania to play the division dwelling 14-18-0-2 Hershey Bears. As in most night’s this season, the Bruins would come from behind after the Bears scored the first goal of the game late in the second period. After being down one for the first forty minutes of play, It seemed the message in between the second and third intermission lit a fire under the asses of the Bruins squad.

During the last period of the game, the B’s would, in my opinion, have their best late game heroics of the year posting four straight goals to end the night against the team from the chocolate city. Veteran defenseman Cody Goloubef scored two straight in the period to leap over the Hershey team by the score of 2-1 notching his second and third goals of the season with his third of the year coming on the powerplay. Both of Goloubef’s goals on this night we assisted by forwards Peter Cehlarik and Mark McNeill. Late in the game Providence rookie forward Karson Kuhlman would take advantage of the empty net after the Bears goaltender was pulled to score his 5th of the year and a shorthanded tally.

After a 3-1 Providence lead late in the third, Hershey Bears Head Coach Spencer Carbery would pull his netminder once again with pretty much the same results. Veteran forward McNeill would seal the win with his own empty net goal in the yawning cage for a 4-1 B’s victory. Zane McIntyre got the win in goal against the Bears stopping 23 of 24 shots for his eighth victory of the season. Zane now sits at 8-8-3 with a 3.02 goal-against-average, and .880 save percentage.

Sunday, December 30th, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. The Hershey Bears (Road Game)

  ( Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The final game of the weekend and the seasons longest road trip thus far had the Providence and Hershey teams meet once again at the Giant Center, but on this night there would be different results. The Bruins continued the trend of coming from behind as the Bears got on the board at the 5:06 mark of the first period. In the second period, the B’s would get closer by tying the score at one on a sweet backhand goal from rookie Kuhlman who accepted a heads-up pass from Trent Frederic at the side of the net. A big part of this goal from Kuhlman was the hard work and forechecking abilities of prospect Cameron Hughes who turned over the puck and brought it back of the net where a fortunate Frederic was there and quick to read the play to the crashing Kuhlman at the 11:16 mark of the second period.

Almost as soon as the puck was dropped after Kulman’s sixth goal of the year in the second period, the momentum quickly changed for the Hershey team and instantly fired back over a minute later to go ahead 2-1. Providence just didn’t have what it took as the Pennsylvania team clamped down defensively not giving the Rhode Island club any offensive opportunities ending the game with the same score mentioned above. McIntyre got his second straight start of the weekend taking the 2-1 loss stopping 17 of 19 Hershey shots and suffering his eighth defeat of the season. This was the first time this season McIntyre started consecutive games in as many nights.

Honorable Mentions

F Peter Cehlarik – Peter the great has played very well as of late posting 2-9-11 numbers in his last 12 games.

F Mark McNeill – In the last seven games, the rugged AHL veteran has 2-6-8 numbers. He has a total of 17 points in 22 games in his first year as a Providence player.

F Karson Kuhlman – After going a season-long five game stretch without a point, the former NCAA National Champion has 3-1-4  numbers in a four-game point streak.

D Cody Goloubef – After missing a majority of the December 2018 month, the veteran defenseman came back from an injury on December 29th to score two goals and continue a six-game point streak to have that foiled in Sunday’s loss to Hershey where he went pointless.

Not So Honorable Mentions

F Ryan Fitzgerald – The Providence leading point getter has been off the scoresheet for the last three games. Not saying he’s playing bad but this is the longest pointless stretch since he went five games from October 19th to November 2nd, 2018.

F Anders Bjork – After going the first seven games since his demotion to Providence where he went 1-8-9 in that timeframe has only produced one assist in this last six games. In my opinion from the games I’ve watched him play this season in the AHL, his game hasn’t gotten much better than what Bruins fans saw from him in his limited time in the NHL.

F Trent Frederic – The former first-round selection of the NHL Bruins has 1-2-3 numbers in his last 16 games. In 26 games in his first full season in the AHL Frederic has contributed 6-2-8 numbers and would like to see him get a little more offensive numbers moving forward with the skill set he brings to the team.

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