Asselin Gets First Star Honors In Thrilling Victory For Bruins ECHL Affiliate

( Photo Credit: Dale Zanine / Atlanta Gladiators )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Last night the Atlanta Gladiators beat the visiting Orlando Solar Bears 5-4 in overtime at the Infinite Energy Arena. The “AA” minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins are having an up and down 2019-20 regular season in the tough South Division. With this Friday night January 17th, 2020 win the Gladiators improve to a 17-20-0-0 record with 34 points and stuck in the middle of a tough division led by powerhouse South Carolina Stingrays who have a league-leading 29-5-3-1 record with 62 points in 38 games.

Regardless of the Gladiator’s struggles and 5-5-0 record in their last ten games as a team, there are certain individuals going above and beyond in an effort to get noticed by their parent American Hockey League team. One particular Gladiator player who’s having a good season in his first year of professional hockey lead his final season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in goals during the 2018-19 season as a member of the Halifax Mooseheads with 48. After this tremendous season in the highly respected QMJHL, the Boston Bruins scouting staff were close by to pounce on this undrafted player as soon as his commitment was over in the Canadian Hockey League.

Samuel Asselin

( Photo Credit: OSC Our Sports Central / oursportscentral.com )

Samuel has been a welcome addition to the Boston Bruins organization with a low-risk “show me” first two-year AHL contract in early July of 2019 which gives him the flexibility to further his development either with the Providence Bruins or lower ECHL Atlanta team. In five games that Asselin has been recalled to Providence the undrafted free agent forward has three assists but in the coast, with Atlanta, he’s a point-per-game player with 15-14-29 numbers in 29 career games.

Last night the 21-year-old Asselin notched the second hat trick of his rookie season with two goals in regulation and a heroic ending to seal the deal for his Glads club. Samuel’s point production on this night started in the first period with the primary assist on teammate Tommy Marchin’s 13th goal of the season at the 14:12 mark of the opening frame as seen below.

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Asselin’s 13th goal and first in this game came at the 4:29 mark of the second period to give the Glads a 2-0 lead. The primary assist on this goal came from third-year Atlanta defenseman and Wilmington, Massachusetts native Zach Malatesta with the secondary helper going to Logan Nelson which can be seen below.

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The second goal of Asselin’s Trifecta came at the 5:18 mark of the third period and a 4-3 lead in the final frame. Samuel’s 14th goal of the season went unassisted when he comes in on the right side untouched for a snipe past visiting netminder and former highly regarded goalie Zach Fucale.

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Asselin’s final goal of the game and fourth point in the thrilling victory over the Solar Bears came in the extra frame as both clubs were deadlocked at four at the end of regulation. Samuel would only need 1:08 into overtime to send the Glads faithful home with a celebratory win over their South Division rival. Asselin received a behind the back pass on the cycle in the offensive zone from fellow teammate and Atlanta defenseman Joel Messner and protected the puck well working his way in-between the faceoff circles to snipe a wrister at the hash marks for the eventual game-winner and 15th goal of the season. The aforementioned Gladiators defenseman Malatesta his helper in the final Asselin goal was his second point of the night.

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Asselin is sure to garner some attention from the higher Providence Bruins club if they need some more scoring help or in case one of their AHL players come down with an injury. The 5′-9″ 181-pound forward is currently on a two-game point streak and has 3-4-7 numbers in his last five games. His longest point streak in this his ECHL rookie season came from the  October 18th, 2019, to the November 8th, 2019 timeframe where he contributed 7-7-14 numbers in his first eight games in the league.

Samuel and his Gladiators club are back on the ice tonight at the North Charleston Coliseum against the league-leading South Carolina Stingrays where the Glad could extend their winning streak to two games and Asselin could push for points in three straight games. After Asselin’s first career season-long point streak he was recalled to Providence so you never know when his talents are going to be needed with the higher parent Providence team.

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 8 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week eight of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 9-7-0-2 (20 points), including 4-5-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a week that saw them take down the Hartford Wolf Pack 4-3 in a shootout. They would then lose to the same Hartford club 5-2. The spoked P will have a tough weekend coming up with three games in three days and then a game Wednesday.

The hockey action kicks off on Friday, November 22, 2019, when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers invade Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin Donuts Center. Then on Saturday, November 23, 2019, the Providence Bruins make their way to Springfield, Massachusetts, to take on the Springfield Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center. The Bruns’ three games in three days come to an end on Sunday, November 24, 2019, when the Hershey Bears travel to Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. Finally, the Bruins wrap up week eight on Wednesday, November 27, 2019, when they travel to Hershey, Pennsylvania, to take on the Hershey Bears at the Giant Center.

Friday, November 22, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (HOME)

The Friday matchup with mark the fourth of 12 that these two teams will have this season. The first game saw the Bruins shutout the Sound Tigers 4-0, getting goals from Peter Cehlarik, Cameron Hughes, Robert Lantosi, and Ryan Fitzgerald. Goalie Max Lagace was excellent in net topping all 30 shots fired his way.

In the second meeting, the Providence club would win 4-1, getting goals from Joona Koppanen, Brendan Gaunce, Alex Petrovic, and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Max Lagace was fantastic in net stopping 31 of 32 shots fired his way. The most recent meeting saw the Bruins lose 2-0. Goaltender Max Lagace was up to the task in net stopping 33 of 35 shots fired his way.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers provide a favorable matchup for the Providence club. The Bridgeport club comes into the weekend 4-10-3-1 (12 points) and 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for eighth in the Atlantic Division and 16th in the Eastern Conference.  Furthermore, the Bruins are 23-17-6-3 against the Islanders’ affiliate over the past five seasons.

The biggest key to Bruins’ victory in these two games is taking an early lead and keeping it. The Sound Tigers are 0-5-2 when trailing after one and 0-8-1 when trailing after two. To add insult to injury, the Bridgeport club in 18 games has only scored 32 goals while giving up 59. Not only is this a horrendous -27 goal differential, but they’re only scoring 1.77 goals a game while giving up  3.27. They are giving up almost double what they’re actually scoring. This isn’t a winning formula.

To compare, the Providence Bruins are 6-0 when leading after one period and 7-0 when leading after two periods. They’ve also scored 52 goals while giving up only 48 in 18 games. That means, not only do they have a plus-four goal differential, but they are scoring 2.88 goals a game while only giving up 2.66. This is a game that Providence must win. Bridgeport is not a good club at all.

Saturday, November 23, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (AWAY)

The Saturday night matchup will be the second of 14 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 Springfield Thunderbirds come into the game 11-7 (22 points) and 7-3 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, this is still a favorable matchup for the Providence Bruins. Over the past five seasons, the Bruins are 23-15-3 against the Panthers’ affiliate, including 11-7-2 in Springfield.

The Springfield club has been winning with excellent defense. They’ve only given up 41 goals in 18 games while scoring 55. This is a fantastic +14 goal differential. This also means they are only giving up 2.27 goals a game while scoring 3.05.

The Springfield Thunderbirds are 3-1 when leading after the first period. They are also 7-0 when leading after two periods. On the flip side, they are 1-2 when trailing after one period. They are also 1-5 when trailing after two periods. Providence needs to get ahead early on in the game to have the best chance at winning.

Sunday, November 24, 2019 (HOME) Wednesday, November 27, 2019 (AWAY) Providence Bruins vs. Hershey Bears

These will mark the third and fourth of six matchups the Providence Bruins and Hershey Bears will have this season. In the first meeting, the Bruins would win 2-1 in overtime, getting goals from Ryan Fitzgerald and Brendan Gaunce (OT).  Dan Vladar was excellent in net stopping 21 of 22 shots fired his way. The most recent matchup saw the Providence club fall 5-3, getting goals from Brendan Woods, Paul Carey, and Jakub Zboril. Kyle Keyser was okay in net stopping 28 of 33 shots he faced.

The Hershey Bears come into the game 8-6-2-2 (20 points) and 4-3-1-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and 10th in the Eastern Conference. Providence has had success against the Washington affiliate going 15-9-1-1 over the five seasons. The team that has the best shot generation and suppression is going to win these games.

The Hershey Bears are 6-3-0-1 when they outshoot their opponents. They are also 2-3-2-1 when they are being outshot by their opponents. The Bruins, on the other hand, are 2-5-0-2 when they outshoot opponents and 5-2 when being outshot by opponents. These are more games that the Providence club should win. The Washington affiliate has a goal differential of minus-five. This means they’ve given up five more goals than they’ve scored. It is hard to sustain success like that.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka remains hot this week. The young center had a lot of expectations and excitement surrounding him to start the year, and he’s delivered. In 18 games this season, he’s netted six goals while dishing out seven assists for 13 total points. This includes netting five goals and dishing out two assists for seven total points in his last eight games. The OHL product is one of the few players carrying the Providence Bruins offense. Let’s hope we continue to find Studnicka in the hot category.

Alex Petrovic: Alex Petrovic is another player that’s spent most of the year on a hot streak. The veteran defenseman has been excellent during his first year in Providence. In 17 games this season, he’s netted two goals and dished out 11 assists for 13 total points. This includes netting one goal and dishing out six assists for seven total points in his last eight games. The former Edmonton Oiler is providing great veteran leadership for a young team.

Not

Cameron Hughes: Cameron Hughes has had a good season overall, but has run into a cold streak recently. The young forward even received his first callup to Boston and played in a game with the big club. In 18 games this season, he’s netted two goals and dished out five assists for seven total points. However, over his past five games, he hasn’t found the back of the net and dished out one assist for one total point. Let’s hope the cold streak subsides for the former Wisconsin Badger.

Oskar Steen: Oskar Steen started out pretty hot this season, but has since skated into a cold streak. The young forward was someone I was very high on, so the cold streak is rather disappointing. In 18 games, he’s netted two goals and dished out four assists for six total points. This includes no goals and two assists for two total points in his last 10 games. Let’s hope the native of Sweden can break out of this funk soon.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Samuel Asselin: Samuel Asselin is a name you may not recognize because he’s only played in two games for Providence this season. The young forward is someone you may want to get to know. In nine games down in the ECHL with the Atlanta Gladiators, he netted seven goals while dishing out seven assists for 14 total points. Asselin signed a deal with Providence after a fantastic season with Halifax in the QMJHL. In 68 games with the Mooseheads, he netted 48 goals and dished out 38 assists for 86 total points. BNG founder Mark Allred wrote about Asselin’s call up to the AHL here.

On The Blue Line

Jeremy Lauzon: Jeremy Lauzon is sometimes a forgotten prospect when it comes to the Bruins’ defense. The young defenseman has had a pretty good year with Providence thus far. In 18 games, he hasn’t found the back of the net, but he has dished out six assists for six total points. The QMJHL product has already reached his assist total from last season and is only one point away from last year’s point total in fewer games played. Look for him this weekend.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has been excellent in his first season for the Providence Bruins. In 11 games played the veteran netminder, is 7-2-1 with a 2.10 GAA and a .934 save percentage. The former Vegas Golden Knight also has three shutouts on the season. Let’s hope he can keep it up.

The Providence Bruins have hit a bit of a cold streak as a team over their last 10 games. Despite this, they are still in a playoff spot early in the season. The Providence club is young but also talented. They’ve shown early on that they can bounce back from losses. This weekend is going to be tough. Three games in three days and four games total bunched together is difficult. The good news is that all four games are very winnable. If the Bruins can come out with six out of eight points, they’ll be in good shape. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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AHL Providence Bruins Recall Asselin From Atlanta

( Photo Credit: Dale Zanine / Atlanta Gladiators )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins announced earlier today that the top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins has recalled forward Samuel Asselin from the ECHL Atlanta Gladiators. Asselin, a 21-year-old 5′-9″ 181-pound undrafted centerman signed with Providence on a two-year AHL contract back in July of 2019 after an impressive QMJHL season with the Halifax Mooseheads where he led the league in goals with 48.

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The Repentigny, Quebec native was with the Providence Bruins for their annual training camp but was passed over for a roster spot to start the 2019-20 campaign. B’s General Manager John Ferguson Jr. had no choice but to send him down to the ECHL to begin his pro career. This was pure motivation for the young forward that @BruinsNetwork on Twitter describes as a hard-nosed, gritty two-way forward with an advanced defensive game and doesn’t shy away from contact and plays hard around the net.

The crafty forward didn’t use this demotion to hang his head and dwell but instead got right to work in game one of the 2019-20 ECHL campaign with Atlanta and would notch at least one point in every game ending his career-high streak at eight games. In those eight games, he would tear up the league producing one assist in his first four contests, then would release the goal fury in his next ultimately getting serious recollection from the higher Providence club posting 7-3-10 in his last four games before heading north to the state of Rhode Island.

The Providence Bruins have two big games coming up this weekend against the AHL’s Atlantic Division-leading Hartford Wolf Pack, who the Bruins faced earlier this week losing a 2-1 battle to the pack at the Dunk on November 10th. The second game of the home-and-home has the Providence club traveling to the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut, to wrap up the weekend festivities. Providence sits in third place in the Atlantic with an 8-6-0-2 record with 18 points while the front running Hartford club sits comfortably in first with a 10-1-0-4 record earning a league-best 24 points.

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Check out our new Black N’ Gold Prospect Podcast episode 5 that we recorded on November 13th, 2019! Our BNG Prospects Pod can be found on the same RSS Feed as our original Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast, which can be found on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Bruins Announce First Training Camp Cuts

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(Photo: Angela Spagna)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced the first round of cuts from Boston’s training camp this afternoon. Axel Andersson and Wiley Sherman have been assigned to Providence while Cooper Zech, Samuel Asselin, Chris Breen, Alexey Solovyev, and Brendan Woods will report to Providence training camp. Andersson and Sherman were “assigned” to the P-Bruins since they are on NHL entry-level contracts compared to the others, who are all on AHL deals.

The 21-year-old Andersson was selected by Boston with the 57th-overall pick in the second round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft and will likely play his first season in North America this year, whether he skates with Providence or with Moncton of the QMJHL remains to be seen. However, returning overseas is also still an option for the Swedish defenseman.

Sherman was drafted by the Bruins in the fifth round of the 2013 entry draft (150th-overall). The Harvard product inked his ELC in the spring of 2018 and played his first full professional season last year, posting  2-3-5 totals with Providence as well as a minus-seven rating. The 6-foot-7 defenseman 33 total points (seven goals and 26 assists) in 137 NCAA contests.

Asselin (21) signed with Providence after a standout year with the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL where he totaled 48 goals and 38 assists for 86 points in 68 games. Breen has been a mainstay on the Providence blue-line over the last five seasons, donning an “A” during each of the last four campaigns. During his tenure with the P-Bruins, the 30-year-old has 49 total regular season points as well as seven playoff points.

The Bruins won the bidding war for Zech, signing him to an AHL deal after the 20-year-old registered 8-20-28 numbers in 36 NCAA games during his first season with Ferris State. After joining the P-Bruins at the tail-end the season, the defenseman notched four assists in 12 games before tallying two goals in four playoff contests.

Woods, selected in the fifth round in 2012 by Carolina (129th-overall), has been a career AHL-er, posting 85 points in 262 regular season games between the Charlotte Checkers and the Utica Comets. The 27-year-old forward has seven penalty minutes in seven NHL games. Solvyev spent the last four years at Bentley University, where he recorded 46 points in 109 career NCAA games. The 25-year-old Russian is un-drafted.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 146 that we recorded on 9-22-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Providence Bruins Get A Gem In Asselin

( Photo Credit: Vincent Ethier/LHJMQ )

By: Michael Robert |  Follow me on Twitter: @b_blackandgold

The Bruins have remained fairly steady the last couple years when it comes to making any big changes, whether that be adding through free agency or looking to bring a change through any trades that would make an immediate impact. They have stuck to their guns and have been trusting the process of building from within, by drafting and developing players that slot into the roles they want to inject into the lineup.

Look no further than the way off-board pick of Trent Frederic at 29th overall in the 2016 entry draft as a prime example. They were so brazen as to even publicly state that they picked him there with the intention and of his projection to be a bottom-six player in their lineup. Why you would take someone you think is a bottom-six that high is beyond me, but I digress. And it turns out the young man continues to get better, faster, and stronger, almost like he has something to prove. Maybe this was their divine plan all along? We could go back to the hotly debated 2015 draft as well, where they took players that were projected far lower than where the Bruins snagged them. Regardless, they have shown time and time again to build the big league team through their system ranks instead of making any big splashes.

The odd time, they, as well as other clubs, take a chance on some players that linger on the outskirts, because why not? Worst case scenario they don’t progress into anything, and best-case scenario, they grow as a player under the tutelage of good coaching and trainers, and as they become men, they turn into an impact player. This is not a common happening. But, if there is a player I would put my money on to be one of the players in a small sample size to break the mold, it is Samuel Asselin.

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Asselin was picked up this year by the Bruins as an undrafted overage player coming out of the QMJHL, playing his final season with the Halifax Mooseheads where he was also tagged with an “A” on his jersey for awesome. Well, an assistant captain, but this kid has skills as you saw in the video above. He is a smaller player coming in at 5’9 and 180 pounds, but in today’s game, this doesn’t tell the full story. This kid is quick, gritty, has great hands, attacks the net, is relentless on the puck, can make the plays, and has a great shot. Yes, he is a bit of all things good.

This description got me thinking of another player with the Bruins actually…..#63. I hate making comparisons because it isn’t fair to drop that on him thinking he will produce in the same way, but I believe the sky is the limit here with him, and he certainly can do great things. What remains to be seen is if he can translate it to the NHL level. He is currently on a contract that has him sticking in the AHL only, but what an opportunity to show what he can do and earn himself something better when this runs out.

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Asselin has some impressive accomplishments coming with him to the Bruins. He was the leading goal scorer in the ‘Q’ in his final year, was a Memorial Cup Champion in 2018, and made it back to the Mem Cup finals again in his last season coming up just short while being the most dominant player in the tournament by far. He was also a member of the Titan when they were the QMJHL Champions and served as captain of the Cataractes in his third season in the league. Some other accolades he holds with him are being named to the CHL All-Star Team in 2017-18 and in 2018-19 was named to the QMJHL Second All-Star Team. He has also been leaving his mark on the recent Prospects Challenge in Buffalo. I can’t help but see some Marchand-Esque zip to his game.

Asselin is very self-aware and knows what he brings to the table:

“I can score, I can pass the puck, I think I’ve got pretty good vision but I can always play both sides [of the puck], I can play in my zone. I’m a good two-way forward. I think that’s my biggest asset,” Asselin described himself 10 months back.

In his first three seasons with Shawinigan, he put up 30 – 73 – 103 numbers in 167 games played. In that third season, he was moved to the Titan and played 10 games with them there posting 4 – 7 – 11 totals. The following season he was moved quickly to Halifax, where one could say he had a coming-out party of sorts, putting up an impressive 48 – 38 – 86 in 68 games. He had some solid players surrounding him there as well, like LaVoie, who went in the second round of this year’s draft to the Oilers.

This is very promising. While not having the prestige that some of these top prospects have, he most certainly is a gamer. I will go down as saying he is one of the best players in years to go undrafted and also has huge potential to make it to the NHL. Again, can he translate it to the NHL? If he can make this leap in the next couple years, with Marchand and some of the current core getting older, it would be perfect timing.

To wrap this up, and something all of us Bruins fans can love, Montreal was interested in signing him as well. Being the good and smart francophone that he is, he made the smart decision and chose the Bruins. A couple more things to leave you with just to make you smile.

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Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 144 that we recorded on 9-8-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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