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!

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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.

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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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Providence Bruins Prospect Player Profile: Ryan Fitzgerald

Fitzy

(Photo Courtesy of NBCSports Boston)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Ryan Fitzgerald was drafted in the fourth-round (120th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft. Expected to get picked in the second round, the young center was thought of as a great pick for the Bruins. He possessed a high hockey IQ, great vision on the ice, good defensive awareness, with some play-making abilities sprinkled in. This combination made him a good two-way player, and after being drafted, it seemed like playing in Boston was Fitzgerald’s destiny.

After playing three seasons of High School hockey at Malden Catholic and posting 76-94-170 career numbers at that level, the gritty forward would forgo his Senior season to play in the EJHL with the Merrimack Valley Junior Warriors. With the Warriors, he would go onto contribute 14-16-30 numbers and represented the United States on the US National U-18 Team where he appeared in eight games with one goal in that timeframe. Ryan would go on to play at Boston College after he left the draft podium where he spent four full seasons playing for the Eagles in the NCAA Hockey East Conference.

The 2013-14 season was Fitzgerald’s first at Boston College. Despite his small stature (5’9), the young center proved early on that he belonged in the tough Hockey East. Playing in 40 games, the fourth-round pick showed off his offensive ability netting 13 goals while dishing out 16 assists for 29 total points and a +/- rating of +8.  Not only were the 29 points impressive, but so was his defensive awareness making this a good season by any measure.

Fitzgerald’s Sophomore season wasn’t as impressive as his previous, but it still was above average. The former fourth-round pick’s play-making ability took a bit of a step back, but his goal scoring ability took a leap forward. In 38 games the Florida native potted 17 goals while tallying 8 assists for 25 total points and a –4 rating. Even though the 2014-15 season wasn’t as point filled as the previous, it was still a season that the young Eagle could build upon going forward. The 17 goals were proof that he didn’t need to get others involved in the offense to be productive. This will bode well for the young center moving forward. 

Coming into his Junior season, Fitzgerald grew into a leadership role for the Boston College Eagles. This was unsurprising given the young center’s lineage. His father is former Nashville Predators’, Captain Tom Fitzgerald. It would seem that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. In his new-found leadership role, the former fourth-round pick had his best season with the Hockey East club netting 24 goals while tallying 23 assists for 47 total points and a rating of +24 in 40 games. The Bruins were happy with the young Eagle’s 2015-16 season, and they could not wait to see what was to come.

The 2016-17 campaign was Fitzgerald’s Senior year in the maroon and gold, and the team made his leadership role official giving him an “A” on his sweater. The young center did not disappoint in his new role potting 12 goals while dishing out 19 assists for 31 total points and a rating of +14 in 34 games. As the former fourth-round pick’s college career came to an end, he signed a two-year entry-level contract and was able to suit up in 8 games for Providence. The new Bruin didn’t find the back of the net but did dish out 2 assists for 2 total points and a rating of 0. The Boston College grad did pick up his play in the playoffs netting 1 goal and dishing out 4 assists for 5 total points and a rating of +3 in 13 games. From Boston College to Providence it was a great season for Fitzgerald.  

The 2017-18 season was Fitzgerald’s first full year in Providence. The Bruins hoped that he would show off the play-making ability and defensive awareness that led Boston to draft him back in 2013. The young center certainly delivered. In 65 games wearing the black and gold, he found the back of the net 21 times while tallying 16 assists for 37 total points and a rating of +5. Providence went on to make the playoffs, and in the team’s 3 playoff games the former Boston College Eagle netted 2 goals and didn’t tally an assist for 2 total points and a rating of 0. The young Bruin had a good season showing that he did a good job driving to the net while also creating his own space and scoring opportunities. Despite his small stature, he isn’t afraid to get into the dirty areas of the ice and bang around with the big boys. This is something that will prove to be useful for the young center as his career progresses.  

This season Fitzgerald looked to improve on his play from last season and grab the attention of the big club. The former fourth-round pick has not disappointed in 29 games he’s found the back of the net 7 times while dishing out 16 assists for 23 total points and a rating of –10. The young center has certainly made a case to be called up this season. We may see him make his NHL debut at some point this year, but if we do not, I expect him to seriously contend for a roster spot next season.

Fitzgerald is showing that being patient and letting a prospect develop over time can work out in the team’s favor. I think it’s preferable than calling a player up too soon. That is something that can ruin a player’s confidence and derail his career a bit. The approach with the former Boston College Eagle has been perfect, and the Boston Bruins will benefit from it very soon.  

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Providence Bruins Week 10 Begins

locker(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

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

It’s going to be a long week for the Providence Bruins as they headed out on a four-game tour of the North Division yesterday. The trip began with their first stop in Toronto, followed by tomorrow in Rochester, Saturday in Belleville and finally next Wednesday they will be in Utica. The only team of these four they had already met this season were the Rochester Americans, and that game ended up with a Providence win thanks to a goal from Ryan Donato in overtime. With Ryan back in Boston the team will have to find another lethal weapon to slay their northern foes. If they continue to use the skill, speed, coordination, and teamwork we have seen from them the past two weeks, they need look no further.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Toronto Marlies (AWAY)

marlies(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

The first stop in the great white north was to face the Toronto Marlies.  Ranked two places below Providence at eleventh in the Eastern Conference with a total of twenty-two points they were separated from Providence by only two points.  This game could have made the difference for the Marlies if it had gone their way.  The current Calder Cup champions are no doubt unhappy with where they are currently positioned in the rankings and were eager to claw their way closer to the top. So last night’s result was far from certain.

Toronto had scored eighty-six goals this season out of the 710 shots they had taken that put them at about a 12% success rate. Providence, on the other hand, was a little lower only being successful about 11% of the time. However, neither of these stats appeared to be a factor last night.  It came down to Providences strength on the Penalty Kill, the ability to take advantage of the power play opportunities in the second period, and the stellar goaltending of Dan Vladar.  This was the second shutout of the season for Vladar and a 5-0 victory for the Bruins over the Marlies.  A good start to a road trip and no matter how the rest of the week goes, they will have the support of all the fans back home who will anxiously be awaiting their arrival back at the Dunk on the 14th of December.

Friday, December 7, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Rochester Americans (AWAY)

amerks(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

The Providence Bruins travel back stateside for Friday’s game to meet up in New York with the Rochester Americans for the second time this season. With the first game being so close and finally falling Providences way, the pressure is surely going to be strong for the Americans to take this game and get a record win against the Bruins. Meeting twice a year for at least the past three years the Bruins seemed to have been charmed taking home the W in every match-up. So a win for Rochester this Friday would break a very long losing streak and dare we say it, a curse?

Rochester may have the man with the plan this year. Currently, they have a top 10 scorer, who also happens to be the overall defensive leader in goals, power-play goals, and shots on goal. That’s right Zach Redmond, the Rochester d-man, boast numbers of 13-9-22 in just 21 games. That is someone who deserves a little extra attention this Friday night if we want to be sure his numbers don’t climb higher that evening.

That is a strong player true, but one player does not make a team, and with the coordination and teamwork our boys are currently displaying they can definitely put an end to any run the Americans would like to start against the Bruins.

Saturday, December 8, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Belleville Senators (AWAY)

belle(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

Having only one year in the league the Belleville Senators and the Providence Bruins have a rather short history. They have played two games against each other one in Providence and the other in Belleville. The game in Providence was won by the Bruins in regular time while the game in Belleville took into overtime for the Senators to score the game-winning goal, but win they did. With two games in the history books, these two teams have a .500 lifetime record, and this one game will make that number swing one way or the other by .250. Funny how quickly things change when the sample size is so small.

One other set of numbers to watch is the conference position and total points. As of today, the Senators are at fourteenth with twenty-one points, and the Bruins sit at eighth with twenty-six points. With six points up for grabs this weekend and two of them being a direct battle between the two teams, they could switch positions on the table very easily.

The significant items that would point toward Providence coming out on top of this battle are where the team names show up on the AHL Daily Report. Providence has players, not many mind you, scattered throughout many positive tables. Dan Vladar is a top fifteen goalie, Joel Messner leads with shorthanded assists and two players Fitzgerald and Hughes with successful penalty shots. Belleville shows up very little but does show up with the third most losing goalie, having lost eight, and a defenseman with the fifth most penalty minutes in the league with  51 PIMs in 22 games. These items do not spell victory for Providence, but they do give me a good feeling about it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Utica Comets (AWAY)

utica(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

The Utica Comets welcome the Providence Bruins for their first meeting of the year.  Providence won all four matches between these two teams last season, and the Comets are looking to change that going forward.  They come into this match with speed and the ability to aim for the net, already having taken seven hundred shots on goal this season as compared to Providences six hundred fifty number.  The number of times you shoot at the net doesn’t really matter if they never become goals. So, the question here is who actually has more goals.  The answer is, even with a much lower shot count, the Bruins have five more goals in total.

So we now know offensively who has the numbers advantage, let’s take a quick look at the defense.  We can see that Providence has allowed sixty-seven goals to slide by their goaltender in the twenty-three games so far this year.  Utica has allowed ninety-four to reach the back of the net, but they have played two additional games thus far. That’s a 2.91 and 3.76 goals against average for the two teams respectively.  Dan Vladar and Zane McIntyre have both had an amazing couple of weeks, and the defensive team has really picked up their game as well. Even if we take into account our rocky start, this looks good for the Bruins.  I don’t know about you, but I am under the impression that if the boys keep their wits about them and continue playing as they have, barring a catastrophic disaster, the Bruins should take those two points home to end their tour of the North Division.

My picks to watch this weekend:

Up Front:

Everyone – I know it seems like a cop-out, but honestly last week I could not pick a single outstanding front-runner. Everyone was working hard and pick-pocketing like they had been ripped from the pages of David Copperfield. Let’s take another week to enjoy the beauty that is/are, the Providence Bruins front lines at the moment.

On The Blue Line:

Olivier Galipeau – Overall I don’t know too much about him. He has one assist and two minor penalties in the four games he has played with Providence so far.   He was captain of his team in the QMJHL and had a +89 over a total of 308 games in 5 years. I recommend we all take a look this weekend and see what we think.

In Net:

Dan Vladar – Last week both our goalies performed stellar feats of tending. This week I thought we would focus on checking out the different style that Vlad brings to the net. His size naturally leads him to cover more of the net, but that does not end the conversation. How does he cover the correct parts of the net and how does he move that tall, lanky frame so quickly and effortlessly into position to prevent the goals that to an outsider appear unstoppable?

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

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Providence Bruins Weekend Re-cap – Week 9

31210710007_67fe59aeaa_z(Photo Courtesy of the Providence Bruins)

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

Week nine and ‘bada-bing, bada-boom’ just like that the Providence Bruins pull five points out of the possible six this weekend to move them up, up, up in the rankings.  That’s correct three ups; it was that big a move.  In one weekend the baby-b’s went from last place in the division to sixth in the division, ninth in the conference and sixteenth overall in the league.  This past weekend saw the boys facing some of their stiffest competition yet and in a three-in-three weekend to boot.  It was not a simple task, nor was it something they were willing to just give up on.  Each and every player fought through this entire weekend, gave their all and I couldn’t be more proud. The character and resilience displayed by a few of these players were to be commended.  It was obvious that the noise about the early season penalty trouble had made its way around the league, but even when taunted on several occasions, most everyone kept calm and steered clear of being baited into anything.

Goaltender Performance:

Dan Vladar started in net this Saturday on the road against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.  Vladar had a solid night saving 29-30 shots bringing his save percentage back above .900 to .902. It looks like Vlady got his groove back.

Zane McIntyre got the nod twice again this week.  Starting in-goal both times against the Charlotte Checkers.  Friday night he had an amazing performance touted even by those who aren’t his biggest fans.  That night he saved 25-26 shots on goal. Sunday’s matinee was a bit of a roller-coaster for Zane’s emotions, and emotions are not good when you are in goal under heavy fire.  Even so, McIntyre managed to save 45 of the incredible 47 shots fired at him during this hotly contested battle.  His save percentage is now .878.

This Weekends Scores:

FRI Nov. 30 HOME              Providence 2 – Charlotte 1 WIN!!! 

SAT Dec. 1 AWAY             Providence 2 – Bridgeport 1 WIN!!!

SUN Dec. 2 HOME             Providence 2 – Charlotte 3 OTL

Detailed Daily Game Re-caps:

Friday, November 30, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Charlotte Checkers (HOME)

In the first of match of the three-in-three weekend, the Bruins faced the best team in the league, the Charlotte Checkers.  A team stacked with solid talent, not to mention a net tended by none other than Scott Darling, formerly of the Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks.  Not an easy way to start the weekend, but Jay Leach and the entire team had the confidence and drive to not let this challenge get the better of them.  They went into this match full steam ahead skating circles around the checkers.

The first period was a challenge for both teams.  They were obviously geared up and ready to go, their feet were moving fast, and the puck was flying.  However, there was a bit of a case of the “oopsies” going around during the first half of the period with consistently missed passes or poorly handled pucks.  It took both teams about ten minutes to settle down and once they did it appeared that Providence had won the relaxation race.  They were reading the plays well and stealing the puck effortlessly over and over again.  Unfortunately pick-pocketing the Checkers never lead to any first period goals for the Bruins.  In fact, with only four minutes left to go in the period Charlotte’s McKegg was able to wrestle the puck out of the corner and make a clean pass to Poturlaski who then quickly nailed one past McIntyre high blocker. Zane was not impressed, but with a few stick taps from his teammates, appeared to brush it off.

The Bruins did not allow the lead to stand long.  Only 1:27 into the second period Bjork, fresh from Boston, rushed into the zone, passing to Fitzgerald who saw a clear path to Szwarz and that was all she wrote.  Szwarz found the back of the net right past Darling to score his 4th goal of the season.  With the score level at 1-1, the back and forth continued for the rest of the period.

It took until well into the third for Providence to find the room they needed to breathe.  On a power-play, with only four and a half minutes to play in regular time, McNeill passed to Hughes who found Cehlarik completely unguarded.  Cehlarik settled the puck and rocketed the tie-breaking goal past Darling.  Desperate to force overtime, the Checkers pulled their goalie at 3 minutes, but their effort was futile.  The Providence Bruins walked away with a huge morale-boosting win, even if the point difference was only one.  Final score: Providence 2- Charlotte 1.

Saturday, December 1st, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AWAY)

Coming off a strong victory the previous night can do one of two things to a team; leave them overconfident and prone to mistakes or get them back door and ready to take on the world.  Which Providence Bruins team would show up in Bridgeport on Saturday?  It wasn’t going to be that easy to answer.  It would take time to see the two teams match up and gain their momentum before it could really be determined.

Dan Vladar started in-goal on Saturday and was fully prepared for the challenge.  He has met Bridgeport before and knows they can be fierce competitors.  The first period in this game is very similar to many we have seen lately, a lot of feeling each other out, a fair number of half-hearted shots on goal by both sides, but altogether not much to write home about. The horn sounded with no score for anyone.

That would change for Providence five and a half minutes into the second period.  Austin Fyten attempted to score, but the rebound headed out deep into the corner.  Anton Blidh was there to dig it out and drive for the net drawing the attention of all the defenders before cleverly passing to Sherman who slid the puck in the back door to open the scoring with his second goal of the season.  The rest of the period saw both teams pushing hard toward the net, but neither capitalizing on any opportunity.  When the period closed Providence led with the one goal from Wiley Sherman.

The third period was not as kind to Providence.  The only puck that found the back of the net this period came from a Sound Tiger and slid right past Vladar.  Similar to Blidh’s play the previous period, Ho-Sang pulled the puck out of the corner and passed it to Wotherspoon in front of the net.  Wotherspoon saw the opening and took it.  The score was now level, one all.  Forcing overtime guaranteed a minimum of one point for Bridgeport in this game, but that was all Providence was willing to let them have.  After four Providence shots on goal in overtime, Fitzgerald appeared to be on the breakaway when one of the Bridgeport defenders tripped him ending the bid for a goal, or so he thought.  The referees saw it differently awarding Fitzgerald a penalty shot, which Ryan slowly took up the ice and landed solidly behind Chris Gibson the Bridgeport goaltender.  With that Penalty shot Fitzy won the game for the Bruins. Final score: Providence 2 – Bridgeport 1.

Sunday, December 2nd, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Charlotte Checkers (HOME)

This Sunday matinee promised to be a doozy, and it would not disappoint.  A rematch from Friday with the Charlotte Checkers and the last time the two teams will meet for the regular season.  There was everything you could ask for from a good matinee, happiness, sadness, anger, tears, laughter and all the bears were safely behind the glass. The perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon, well… almost perfect.

The game began with the Bruins wanting to be the first out of the gate.  At sixty-six seconds Fitzgerald took a shot that ricocheted off Darling and headed directly for Jordan Szwarz.  Szwarz not willing to waste a good rebound sent the puck back at the recovering goaltender and slid it right by him, scoring his seventh of the season.   With the Bruins up by one, the Checkers felt the need to pummel McIntyre with pucks, twelve shots on goal in just the first period, but not a single one found its way past.

The second period got a bit chippy as the teams battled back and forth.  Charlotte appeared to be skating through molasses from time to time slow to respond and make any real progress.  Perhaps this was their aim?  Up until this point, Providence had been playing a very fast paced game driving hard, so by slowing things down maybe they hoped to disrupt the flow of Providences game.  Either way, the Checkers defender Trevor Carrick was trying to bait anyone he could into a brawl.  Believe it or not, even Anton Blidh took a pass on this guy, well for now anyway.

The third period began similarly with a fair amount of exchange between the two teams, until at a bit after six minutes when Kuhlman pulled a nifty one.  Shooting the puck straight at Darling, who was unable to control the rebound, it came straight back out and after a glance around Kuhlman passed it Frederic who was positioned perfectly to lay the puck in behind the veteran goaltender and put the Bruins up by two.  The story was far from over though as the prodding that the Checkers had been doing all night and in fact all weekend was finally wearing on the Baby-B’s.  The penalties came creeping in and at 9:33 on one of the power-play opportunities the Checkers scored a goal to bring them within one point of tying and forcing overtime.

Then things got really hairy.  A few after that power-play goal there was a flurry of activity around the Providence net; shots on goal, battles for position and so on.  In the middle of this chaos one of the Charlotte players gloves the puck out of the air and herein lies the controversy, according to McIntyre the puck went straight into the goal off the glove (illegal), according to some sources it may have been redirected off the players stick into the goal, and according to other sources it may have actually come of one of the Bruins skates into the goal.  Regardless, from McIntyre’s point of view, it was a hand goal, and he chased the referees past the blue line screaming and motioning about it.  When it was clear his input was not making a difference Zane headed back to the goal to await the result of the officials’ conference.  The result did not go his way and enraged, he busted his stick against the goal and threw what remained ‘in the direction of,’ not ‘AT’ per se, the referees.  He was lucky to get away with that I’d say.  After the game when I mentioned how lucky he was, he cracked a wry smile and said, “Noticed that did you?”  Um, yes Zane pretty sure thousands of us did.

45212221905_72899a6391_z(Photo Courtesy of the Providence Bruins)

With the score even and forced into overtime, both teams fought down to the very last seconds.  Perhaps distracted by the earlier rage or thinking ahead to the shoot-out, Zane let his guard down and with only sixteen seconds left in overtime Charlotte scored the game-winning goal.  The emotion of this moment let loose a brawl, and Anton Blidh ended up getting a ten-minute major for misconduct along with Szwarz and Charlotte’s Carrick receiving two-minute minors for roughing. Not the perfect end to the weekend, but a great weekend indeed!

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGaint for your next Providence Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket, from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows, please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You!

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Providence Bruins Week 9 Preview

38772744680_0dcac31033_z(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

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

And they’re off… no, not the Providence Bruins well, not all of them anyway.  The additional injuries with the big club have led to Donato and Kovar both heading that way for the weekend, and with both of them out of the lineup, the baby bruins are currently down to twelve healthy forwards.  If I count, correctly that is exactly four full shifts.  My guess is we may see some more visitors from Atlanta over the weekend, but one can never tell.  The limited substitution power up front could make this weekend’s agenda just a little more challenging for our boys in Black and Gold, but with the improvement, we have seen lately I have no doubt they will be giving it their all to take home as many of those six points as possible.

IT’S FRIDAY AND THE SEASON OF GIVING, PLUS THE PROVIDENCE BRUINS FAN CLUB WANTS TO GIVE BACK TO YOU! DON’T FORGET TO BRING IN YOUR GENTLY USED CLOTHING AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND DONATE TO THE PBFC’S FALL CLOTHING DRIVE!  IT’S THE LAST NIGHT TO DONATE, AND EVERYONE WHO DOES WILL BE ENTERED TO WIN A PAIR OF GLASS SEATS FOR A HOME GAME IN JANUARY!  STOP BY THEIR TABLE BEHIND SECTION 104, SAY HI AND TELL THEM JEN SENT YOU!

Friday, November 30, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Charlotte Checkers (HOME)

39872416764_5efc914738_z(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

Only facing the Charlotte Checkers twice a year usually in two game weekends leaves very little room for error if you don’t want a losing record. Last year the Checkers moved from the central division to the Atlantic, so it was the first time we had the opportunity to play them.  Last year the games were evenly split, two for the Bruins and two for the Checkers.  The teams have already met for their first round of games this year on November 2nd and 3rd in Charlotte.  Both of those games ended with a loss for Providence only by one point, but still, it was a pointless weekend for the B’s.

The teams have already met three times on Fridays and this week will bring that total to four.  Charlotte has taken two of the three W’s available on those nights.  One of the wins for Charlotte came in Providence and one at their home arena.  The one win the Bruins had, came at home.  With all of this in mind, Providence will need to take this game in order to have any hope of getting a Friday head-to-head record of .500.

Saturday, December 1, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AWAY)

39737032434_7794f6d0fc_z(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

The Providence Bruins welcome in December by traveling to Bridgeport to take on the Sound Tigers.  Games between these two teams are never boring. The rivalry is real.  These two teams have a fifty-fifty split going for the past five years running. Last year Providence took five wins in regular time and one in a shoot-out, and as if to make it comical the Sound Tigers did the same.  This year it has not been quite so even with game results, but each team is tied with two wins apiece.  The two-game that Providence won were by three or more goals.  The two games they lost were by one goal that was scored in overtime.

Currently, the Sound Tigers are ranked second in the division directly below the Bruins another foe of the weekend, the Checkers.  One thing is for sure, the Baby-B’s don’t do anything the easy way.  Friday night and Sunday afternoon meeting the first ranked team and sandwiching an “easier” game with the second-ranked team in between just to mix it up.  It should be a fun weekend to be a Providence Bruins fan.

Sunday, December 3, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Charlotte Checkers (HOME)

39040905000_a6b7990802_z(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

Charlotte returns to Providence Sunday perched at the top of the division staring down at the Providence Bruins and Hershey Bears forming the solid base.  Looking to get out from that base position and climb nearer the ranks of the Checkers, the Bruins will no doubt be using every ounce of their newly found coordination and chemistry to try and win both matches this weekend to bring not just the season record but the historical record of these two teams to .500.

The teams have only met once before on a Sunday.  That Sunday fell on November 26, 2017, and the game was played in Charlotte.  Regular time ended with a level score of 1-1 and overtime yielded no goals either.  The game came down to the shoot-out and a long one at that.  Both goaltenders stopped the first three shots and allowed the fourth shot in.  This sent them into sudden death, Jordan Binnington stopped the first shot from Charlotte and then it was Providences turn with the puck.  Ryan Fitzgerald took a hard line and nailed a solid shot right past the Charlotte goaltender to score the game-winning goal and take home the two-points for Providence.  No matter how this Sunday’s matinee shapes up, there is no doubt that the Bruins are playing for the same outcome as that Sunday.

My picks to watch this weekend:

Up Front:

Everyone – Seriously, the team is down to twelve, possibly 13 is Bjork in the line-up. Take some time to check out the chemistry they have built through the first month and how much they have grown together.

On The Blue Line:

Wiley Sherman – The Wall of Sherman will be a critical piece of defense this weekend against these two tough competitors.  Keep an eye on how well Wiley positions himself and reads the plays coming his way.

In Net:

Zane McIntyre – Zane had two nights in goal last week, and one of those nights he stood on his head to get Providence the victory.  Can he repeat this or will he repeat his up and down pattern of previous seasons?

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

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGaint for your next Providence Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket, from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows, please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You!

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Providence Bruins Weekend Re-cap – Week 8

45108775584_0a14212eb0_z(Photo Courtesy of the Providence Bruins)

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

Week eight was a three-game holiday week with all road games and the Providence Bruins came together like we knew they could.  The challenges of call-ups and injuries seemed to do little to damage their spirit and resolve as they came away with five of the possible six points for the week.  These five points put them even with the Hershey Bears for seventh place in the division and the communication, chemistry, and composure that are taking hold in a big can only add up to better rankings.  As we have seen in previous seasons the challenges of the early season have begun to fade and we are starting to see the real Providence Bruins shine through.

Two goalies(Photo Courtesy of Jen Stasio Coombe)

Goaltender Performance:

Dan Vladar started in net on Saturday at the PPL Center against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.  Saving 18-21 shots on goal bringing his save percentage to .893.

Zane McIntyre started in net twice this week.  Wednesday in Hartford saving 18-22 shots on goal and Sunday in Wilkes-Barre making an impressive 32-34 saves.  His save percentage is now .858.

This Weekends Scores:

WED Nov. 21 AWAY              Providence 3 – Hartford 4 OTL 

SAT Nov. 24 AWAY             Providence 6 – Lehigh Valley 3 WIN!!!

SUN Nov. 25 AWAY             Providence 4 – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 2 WIN!!!

Detailed Daily Game Re-caps:

Wednesday, November 21, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (AWAY)

hfd(Photo Courtesy of the Hartford Wolf Pack)

In the first of several Wednesday night games the Bruins have coming up they traveled to Hartford Connecticut to battle their familiar foe the Wolf Pack.  When these two pair off it is always even odds for who will be the victor of the night and just how many penalties are going to be awarded. This night was to be no different.

The first period did see its fair share of penalties, but not near as many as we have seen in the past.  The 6:38 roughing penalty called against Providences Tanner Pond put the Wolf Pack on the power-play, but Karson Kuhlman had other plans.  Taking a quick pass from Messner, Kuhlman drove the puck past the Pack’s goaltender at 7:50 and landed a shorthanded goal in the back of the net.  The Bruins were not as successful on the 12:07 hooking penalty called on Austin Fyten.  This time on the power-play Hartford’s Belesky was able to sneak by McIntyre at 13:49 and even the score at 1-1.  A level score meant everyone kicked it into high gear trying to get the lead before the end of the period.  A hooking call against Hartford gave the Bruins the power-play they needed for the extra push and at 18:28 Ryan Fitzgerald scored the power-play goal with the help of Szwarz and Cuminsky.  The score as the horn sounded was Providence 2- Hartford 1.

The second period started out with a bang, literally.  Providences Pond and Hartford’s O’Donnell came to blows at only two minutes in.  Once those two were safely in their respective penalty boxes, there was not much going for the rest of the period.  There were a couple minor penalties called, maybe just to break the boredom, and then with only two seconds left on the clock, Hartford’s Belesky was aided by Meskanen and former Bruin O’Gara to bring the score back even.  This time the horn blew with a score of Providence 2 – Hartford 2.

The third was not a repeat of the second.  Two penalties in the first five minutes one for each side.  Then at 9:36 the break the Wolf Pack were looking for, O’Donnell was able to slide a goal in behind McIntyre who had slid a little too far out of position giving them the lead for the first time all night.  Not impressed with being down by one and eager to prove his worthiness of the recent PTO signing Cuminsky worked hard and with the help of Fitzgerald and Donato was able to find the back of the net at 13:23 making it an even game once again.  The horn sounded seven minutes later signaling the end of regular time and the need for the OT.

Overtime was not a shot fest or a quick one and done as it has been in the past with these two teams.  Instead there were only two shots on goal from Providence and one from Hartford.  That one from Hartford was a good one and at 3:30 Lettieri was able to score the game-winning goal and shut the door on the Bruins hopes of an overtime victory.

Saturday, November 24th, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AWAY)

LHV(Photo Courtesy of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms)

Thanksgiving was over and the tryptophan coma had hopefully passed when the Bruins headed down to Lehigh Valley to face the Phantoms for the first time away from home this season.  The two teams battled it out last weekend here in Providence with a less than desirable result for our Bruins.  This time being away from home and fired up from a disappointing loss, the baby-b’s were there to win it.  The question was could they keep the penalty bug at bay by maintaining the level heads they needed to capture the two points.

The first period of the game would test their resolve right off the puck drop.  In under a minute and a half the Phantoms had been able to score two goals on Vladar and were looking smug already.  The Bruins players kept their cool and showed remarkable restraint even waving off a taunt or two that was directed at them from their opponents.  Those level heads paid off when at 17:14 Austin Fyten was able to slide one past the Phantoms goaltender and get the Bruins back in the game.  Both teams were full steam ahead and charging the net at every opportunity.  Providence had racked up thirteen shots on goal and the Phantoms six, but when the horn sounded in the valley it was Providence 1 – Lehigh Valley 2.

Fired up from the late goal from Fyten in the first the Bruins started the second period with a goal at 2:42 by team captain Jordan Szwarz assisted by Fitgerald.  This brought the scores even, but the Phantoms were not ready to concede.  Just two minutes later they took the lead again on a goal by Bardrau assisted by Twarynski.  Perhaps this lead change just caused something to snap in the Bruins, because from here on in, they were lights out.  Scoring twice more this period, once at 9:41 when Sherman and Zboril handed one-off to Fitzy and the second was an unassisted goal by Cameron Hughes at 14:22.  The horn sounded for period two on a very different game, Providence 4 – Lehigh Valley 3.

The drive to the end continued into the third period for the Bruins as the shots on goal can attest.  The third period saw Providence with twelve shots on goal, while the Phantoms were only able to squeeze in four.  Those shots on goal did not materialize into any actual goals for Lehigh Valley, but two Providence pucks found their way to the back of the net.  At 2:59 Austin Fyten doubled his tally with the help of Emil Johannsen widening the providence lead to two goals and then at 7:14 Cameron Hughes followed suit taking help from Kuhlman to provide the final goal of the night.  When the horn finally sounded at the end of the third the score was a lopsided Providence 6 – Lehigh Valley 3.

Sunday, November 25th, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AWAY)

WBS(Photo Courtesy of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins)

With level heads prevailing the previous night and allowing the solid victory, the Bruins may have gotten the boost they needed to take on one of their hardest competitors of the weekend, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.  Having faced the Penguins the weekend before on home ice and won, they had gained a bit of confidence, but facing the top ranked team in the division is nerve-wracking at any time.  The matinée result this day was far from predetermined.

This first period began like a game of Rockem’ Sockem’ Robots.  David Broll, on his first shift back after injuring his hand in a pre-season fight, dropped his gloves and his helmet to take on the Penguins McGrath only two minutes in.  Broll and McGrath were both slapped with five minutes for fighting and another two for unsportsmanlike conduct due to the removal of their helmets.  As if that wasn’t bad enough for the Penguins Burton was called for Interference at 2:08, putting the Bruins on their first power-play of the night.  Only a minute later Kovar and Donato combined to provide the perfect ingredients for Fitzgerald to score the first goal of the night putting Providence up 1-0.  It took until the last-minute of the period for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to make a successful bid for a goal.  At 19:16 Johnson slid one in past McIntyre and was able to level the score to end the period.

The second period began with a Providence 1 – WBS 1 score and both teams wanted that to change as quickly as possible.  They challenged each other through the neutral zone and fought hard to keep the competitors away from the net.  This back and forth continued until nearly twelve minutes into the period when Cehlarik broke through the Penguins defense and scored with the help of McNeill.  The hole in the defense did not have time to mend before Fitzgerald and Szwarz passed the puck over to Donato who lit the lamp once again for the Bruins.  When the horn sounded at the end of 20 the score was Providence 3 – WBS 1.

The third period was much like the second, but this time the Penguins were scrambling to get back in the game.  Providence was also looking to score but was more intent on keeping Wilkes-Barre/Scranton away from their net.  15:56 into the period the Penguins pulled within one with a goal from Burton.  This goal amped up both sides as they desperately fought to secure the win.  Several times in the last two minutes Wilkes-Barre wanted to pull their goalie, but they just could not clear the puck far enough out to do so.  Finally, at 19:24 their chance came, the goalie scrambled to the bench and the additional man joined the play.  Unfortunately, it was just in time for Jakub Zboril to score the empty net goal and seal the end for the Penguins. Final Score at the horn, Providence 4 – WBS 2.

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGaint for your next Providence Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket, from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows, please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You!

—> Get Your Providence Bruins Tickets Here! <—