Good, bad and ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

clean

It’s hard to imagine how things could be going any better for the Providence Bruins. At home all weekend, they started with a 4-3 shootout win over Hartford and then beat Utica twice in overtime, 3-2 and 4-3, extending their winning streak to seven games. In all three games, they came from behind in the third period.

“I don’t really like to talk much after the games, but I told them I really admire their perseverance. There’s just no quit in that room. That’s all on them. They don’t want to lose,’’ said coach Jay Leach after Sunday’s win.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

*** Kenny Agostino’s spectacular OT tally on Sunday is the standard that all other P-Bruins goals this season will be measured against.

*** Austin Czarnik scored the shootout winner on Friday, then assisted on the tying goals in the third period on both Saturday and Sunday. He has 2-6-8 in his last five games.

*** Jordan Szwarz tied the game with 40 seconds left on Saturday and won it in overtime on Saturday. He is tied for third in the AHL with plus-16 in 12 games.

*** The line of Agostino, Zach Senyshyn and Colby Cave made a pretty play on the rush that culminated in Cave’s goal on Friday.

*** Josh Hennessy’s goal in the third period on Sunday was a beauty. He just would not be denied.

*** Jakub Zboril is plus-6 in his last 5 games and is plus-13 in 21 games overall.

*** Since an 8-2 trouncing in Charlotte on Nov. 25, the P-Bruins have reeled off seven straight wins. They have won 9 of 10 since a four-game losing streak in mid-November.

*** With a .708 win percentage, they are first in the Atlantic Division, second in the Eastern Conference and third in the AHL.

*** Providence is one of the top teams in the league even with only one player in the AHL’s top 25 scorers – Czarnik at No. 25 with 8-17-25 in 21 games.

*** They are 3-0 in shootouts.

*** Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Ben Marshall had strong weekends.

*** Connor Clifton and Jesse Gabrielle scored their first pro goals.

BAD

*** The second-period boarding penalty against Chris Breen on Sunday was the worst call I’ve seen in any rink all season.

*** The next 8 P-Bruins’ games are on the road.

*** Providence went 1 for 16 on the power play over the weekend. (They made the 1 count, though, as Szwarz’ OT tally on Saturday was on the PP.) The P-Bruins’ PP is 22nd in the AHL at 15.3 percent.

*** The penalty kill gave up 3 goals on 14 shorthanded situations. The PK is 21st in the league at 80.8 percent.

*** The P-Bruins were caught napping for a moment on Friday, allowing Hartford’s Cole Schneider to sneak behind the D for a breakaway goal.

UGLY

*** Injured: Ryan Fitzgerald (knee), Jeremy Lauzon and Emil Johansson (lower body).

P-Bruins Gameday — Shooting for seven wins in a row

PROVIDENCE — In their final home game of the 2017 calendar year, the Providence Bruins face the Utica Comets this afternoon.

Zane McIntyre starts in goal for the P-Bruins.

On Saturday night at The Dunk, Providence beat the Comets in overtime, 3-2, for their sixth win in a row.

Jordan Szwarz won it with a power-play goal at 3:16 of the extra session after Connor Clifton tied the game with a shorthanded goal with 3:27 left in regulation. It was Clifton’s first goal as a pro.

The P-Bruins start the day in first place in the Atlantic Division, second in the Eastern Conference and third overall in the AHL.

After today, Providence plays eight straight on the road, starting Wednesday night in Hershey.

Today’s lines

Hargrove-Czarnik-Szwarz

Agostino-Cave-Senyshyn

Blidh-JFK-Gabrielle

Porter-Hennessey-Hickman

D pairs

Cross-Marshall

Breen-Clifton

Zboril-O’Gara

Binnington is the backup.

Healthy scratches: Acolatse, Payerl

Injured: Fitzgerald (lower body), Johansson and Lauzon (both upper body).

3 quick hits from PC-RIT

rit

PROVIDENCE — Another Saturday, another Saturday loss for Providence College.

For the fourth straight weekend, the Friars were unable to build on a Friday victory.

Last night’s 4-0 loss to the Rochester Institute of Technology — 24 hours after PC routed the Tigers, 8-3 — left a particularly sour taste.

Here are three quick hits on the game.

GROWING PAINS

PC is young — four freshmen and seven sophomores were in the lineup last night. Their  immaturity as a team is a factor in repeatedly failing to string 120 good minutes together over two nights.

“It’s disappointing again, equally as disappointing as it was last Saturday night (when PC lost to UNH, 1-0, 24 hours after beating the Cats, 5-2). Everything that we did well last night, we didn’t want to do well tonight. It’s the thing we’ve been fighting all of the first half,” a frustrated Nate Leaman said.

“I asked (captain) Brian (Pinho in Saturday morning’s meeting) to be the leader and I thought Brian did a great job. I just didn’t think we had enough followers tonight. So, at the end of the day, I’m the head coach and we’ve got to figure it out.

“I thought Brian had a really good game, but we had some guys that had really good games (Friday) night that didn’t follow it up with a good game (on Saturday). It’s disappointing.”

NOT THEIR NIGHT

Defensemen Spenser Young and Jacob Bryson are both terrific skaters, two of the best in Hockey East. Within 24 seconds during the second period, both inexplicably fell down, leading directly to RIT’s second and third goals.

By that point, PC had been playing from behind for over half the game.

“Their first chance (in the opening three minutes of the game) goes in. That’s the same thing that happened at UNH. And then you’re chasing the game a little bit. We give up 18 shots and four goals,” Leaman said.

“The other thing is, I thought we lost momentum on the power play (0-for-8 with only four shots) every time tonight. You work hard, you get chances, you get a power play. We failed to execute in those situations.”

TAKING A FALL

This loss stings. The Friars fell from eighth to 13th in the PairWise. They are 10-7-1, but that record could be better.

“I think we left some (wins) out there. When we play, we can play. The ceiling for this team is a good ceiling,” said Leaman.

“We have to grow up – I think that’s the biggest thing. We have to understand what makes us tick and we have to stay with it because every time we have success, we immediately forget what gave us success. That’s what we’re frustrated about. Maybe this one stings enough that it sinks in. I thought the same thing last week about the UNH game.”

And so the Friars head into exams this week knowing they bombed Saturday night’s test. Much bigger tests on the ice are ahead: Eight of PC’s final 13 Hockey East games will be on the road.

P-Bruins Gameday — Going for 6 straight wins

wolf

PROVIDENCE – With Jordan Binnington in the net, the Providence Bruins will go for their sixth straight win tonight against the Utica Comets at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

The P-Bruins weren’t at their best in last night’s game against Hartford, but they tied it in the final minute with the goalie pulled, then won it in the shootout, 4-3, with Kenny Agostino and Austin Czarnik scoring.

“We found a way,’’ said coach Jay Leach.

“We gave them two goals — a missed coverage in the D zone and then we were sleeping on the power play. They are a team that wants to play offense. We made some ill-advised pinches on certain situations that created problems for us. At times we weren’t clean, but at the same time we did generate chances.’’

Colby Cave had a strong game with a goal and an assist. He opened the scoring for Providence in the second period, finishing off a rush with linemates Agostino and Zach Senyshyn.

“Nice play with net drive. Both Kenny and Seny making nice plays through some sticks. And that’s our game, driving to the net with some speed, getting inside people and making plays,’’ Leach said.

Cave also helped set up the game-tying tally by Jordan Szwarz with 40 seconds left in regulation.

Playing a 200-foot game, Cave is putting together a solid third season. “He’s been really good all year. He looks like he’s really found his stride, he’s skating, he’s hard on pucks, making plays,’’ said Leach.

Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, with a goal and an assist, had an excellent game, too. On defense, Ben Marshall and Connor Clifton were good.

The P-Bruins will get Chris Porter and Adam Payerl back from their one-game AHL suspensions tonight.

Providence starts the night in first place in the Atlantic Division, second in the Eastern Conference and fourth in the AHL with a .682 winning percentage. With a .500 win percentage, Utica is fifth in the North Division, 11th in the Eastern Conference and 21st in the AHL.

Tonight’s lines

Hargrove-Czarnik-Szwarz

Agostino-Cave-Senyshyn

Blidh-JFK-Gabrielle

Porter-Payerl-Hickman

D pairs

Cross-Marshall

Breen-Clifton

Zboril-O’Gara

McIntyre is the backup.

Healthy scratches: Acolatse, Hennessey

Injured: Fitzgerald (lower body), Johansson and Lauzon (both upper body).

The P-Bruins are home again on Sunday afternoon against Utica.

P-Bruins Gameday — Visit from Wolf Pack starts 3 in 3 weekend

net

PROVIDENCE — The Providence Bruins will be without Chris Porter and Adam Payerl — both suspended for one game by the AHL — when they host the Hartford Wolf Pack tonight at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

Porter boarded Colton White and Payerl cross-checked Ben Thomson, both of Binghamton, during Saturday’s game.

Zane McIntyre starts in net for the P-Bruins.

It remains to be seen who Hartford’s  starter is, but the Pack added former Milwaukee Admirals goalie Marek Mazanec this week. He started the season with Slovan Bratislava of the KHL, where he had a .899 save percentage in 23 games.

The P-Bruins have won four straight games since their 8-2 debacle in Charlotte on Nov. 25. They are tied for first place in the Atlantic Division with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with a .667 winning percentage.

Hartford is in seventh place in the Atlantic Division with a .417 win percentage. They havent’ won a game since Nov. 18 against Utica.

Providence lines

Hargrove-Czarnik-Szwarz

Agostino-Cave-Senyshyn

Blidh-JFK-Gabrielle

Acolatse-Hennessy-Hickman

D pairs

Cross-Marshall

Breen-Clifton

Zboril-O’Gara

Binnington is the backup.

Injured: Fitzgerald (lower body), Johansson and Lauzon (both upper body).

The P-Bruins are home on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon for games against Utica.

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

It was an excellent weekend for the Providence Bruins as they banked six out of six points. At home, they beat the Binghamton Devils, 3-2 on Friday and 4-2 on Saturday, and they defeated the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 4-1, on the road on Sunday.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

***At 13-6-2-0, Providence finished the weekend in second place in the Atlantic Division, third in the Eastern Conference and fifth in the AHL.

***Ryan Fitzgerald recorded a Gordie Howe hat trick on Friday with a goal, two assists and a fight with Binghamton’s Tim Kennedy.

*** Jordan Szwarz had two goals and an assist on Saturday night and added an assist on Sunday.

*** Austin Czarnik had two assists on Saturday and two goals and a helper on Sunday.

*** Jakub Zboril recorded his first point as a pro with an assist Czarnik’s empty-netter on Sunday.

*** Sena Acolatse on Sunday and Rob O’Gara on Saturday scored their first goals of the season.

*** Colton Hargrove has 7 goals in his last 12 games.

*** The P-Bruins made gorgeous plays on power-play goals by Fitzgerald and Jacob Forsbacka Karlsson on Friday.

*** Colby Cave was not credited with an assist on Zach Senyshyn’s goal on Saturday, but he forced the turnover  that Senyshyn jumped on.

*** Zane McIntyre stopped 54 of 57 shots for a .947 save percentage.

*** If you are not a fan of fighting then feel free to move this down to the bad category:  Providence leads the AHL with 16 fighting majors, according to hockeyfights.com. Ten different P-Bruins have dropped the gloves this season.

*** The P-Bruins have won four in a row since being routed in Charlotte on Nov. 25.

BAD

*** Chris Porter could face a suspension from the AHL for a hit on Binghamton’s Colton White on Saturday.

*** The P-Bruins have been shorthanded 111 times, fifth in the league. They have had only 95 power plays, 22nd in the league.

*** The P-Bruins gave up a goal just 40 seconds into Saturday night’s game.

UGLY

*** Injured: Emil Johansson, Jeremy Lauzon (both upper body).

P-Bruins Gameday — 3 in 3 wraps up in Bridgeport

With four points already in the bank this weekend, the Providence Bruins will try to win two more in Bridgeport this afternoon.

It’s the third game in three days for both teams.

Staying out of the box would be advisable for the P-Bruins. The Sound Tigers, who swept two games at The Dunk last month, went 4-for-5 on the PP in a win at Utica on Friday night.

Zane McIntyre starts in goal for the P-Bruins.

Chris Porter, who received a five-minute major and game misconduct for a hit on Binghamton’s Colton White late in last night’s game, is a healthy scratch today. There has been no word on whether the AHL will review the hit.

Providence’s lines are expected to look like this:

Hargrove-Szwarz-Czarnik

Agostino-Cave-Senyshyn

Blidh-JFK-Fitzgerald

Acolatse-Hennessy-Payerl

D pairs:

Cross-Marshall

Breen-Clifton

O’Gara-Zboril

Binnington will be the backup goalie.

Injured: Johansson, Lauzon (both upper body)

Healthy scratches: Hickman, Porter, Gabrielle

P-Bruins Gameday — Dealing with the Devils one last time

PROVIDENCE — After a 3-2 victory over the Binghamton Devils on Friday night, the Providence Bruins will play the Devils for the final time in the regular season on Saturday night.

Jordan Binnington will start in net for the P-Bruins tonight at The Dunk.

Ryan Fitzgerald was the star on Friday night with a Gordie Howe hat trick. Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Colby Cave had strong games, too, said coach Jay Leach.

“We had a good start. Binghamton skated, they really did. They were hard on the forecheck and they were physical. There were moments where we were hemmed in because we couldn’t handle their pressure. (Zane McIntyre) did a nice job, made some big saves down the stretch,” said Leach.

“Our kid power play unit did a nice job converting a couple of chances, couple of nice goals. It was a good game – back and forth.”

In addition to the change in goal, Adam Payerl will be in for Josh Hennessy and Sena Acolatse replaces Connor Clifton.

“They were a hungry team. They played pretty well. It will be a test tonight. We’ll see if we can match that. It’s always hard to play a team two times in a row,” said Leach.

Providence’s lines tonight:

Hargrove-Szwarz-Czarnik

Agostino-Cave-Senyshyn

Blidh-JFK-Fitzgerald

Porter-Payerl-Hickman

D pairs:

Cross-Marshall

Breen-Acolatse

O’Gara-Zboril

McIntyre is the backup.

Injured: Johansson, Lauzon (both upper body)

Healthy scratches: Hennessy, Clifton, Gabrielle

3 quick hits on Friars’ win over New Hampshire

cowbell

PROVIDENCE — Cowbells were clanging at Schneider Arena on Friday night as No. 9 Providence College beat No. 13 New Hampshire, 5-2.

Here are three quick hits on the game.

ERIK FOLEY

The junior winger and Winnipeg draft pick, who scored two goals and an assist, is hard for opponents to contain when he’s on his game, which he has been for the past month.

“Offensively, he’s a horse. When he attacks the net and makes strong plays he gets good scoring opportunities,” Friar coach Nate Leaman said after the game.

“The play he made on Vimal Sukumaran’s goal at the end of the second was the exact same play as earlier in the second, where he walked up the wall and made a soft backhand play and it was a turnover. Instead, he went to his forehand side and made a strong play to Sukumaran. If he makes strong plays, good things happen.”

Foley — now tied for second in scoring in Hockey East with 9-9-18 in 13 games — is coming into his own as one of the best forwards in Hockey East.

“He’s a terrific player.  He can do it all,” UNH coach Dick Umile said.

THE FOURTH LINE

The Friars got a terrific game from the junkyard dog line of  Robbie Hennessey (1 assist), Sukumaran (2 goals) and Shane Kavanagh (1 assist).

“Vimal just has a knack for getting to the net. He scored 8 goals last year getting to the net. The puck seems to find him when he gets there. He struggled early on faceoffs. He got better as the game wore on, but I thought he had a pretty good game tonight,” said Leaman.

“Since those three have been together, they’ve had an identity. It’s the first time we’ve seen our fourth line have a real identify. When they play to their identity, they give us energy and they finish hits and they work. Our team needs that desperately right now.”

JACOB BRYSON

PC’s best defenseman bounced back strong after being an uncharacteristic minus-3 in last Saturday’s loss to Clarkson.

On Friday, Bryson was plus-5 with two assists. He is among the top-scoring D-men in Hockey East with 1-11-12 in 15 games.

“Bryson had a really good game, but I think (plus-5 is) kind of fluky in some ways because some of those were forechecking goals. He’s a heck of a player, without a doubt,” said Leaman.

No doubt, plus-minus is just one stat among many. But when you are on the ice for all five of your team’s goals in a game and none of the other team’s goals, well, that’s a decent night’s work.

Not to be overlooked, Tommy Davis, Bryson’s partner, was plus-4 on Friday. He is second in Hockey East with plus-10.

 

P-Bruins Gameday — A visit from the Devils

PROVIDENCE — Zane McIntyre will start in goal tonight for the Providence Bruins against the Binghamton Devils at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

The P-Bruins will finish their season series with the Devils at home on Saturday night, and then will travel to Bridgeport for a Sunday afternoon game against the Sound Tigers.

Even though McIntyre gave up eight goals in his last start in Charlotte on Saturday, he kept the P-Bruins in the game for two periods, according to coach Jay Leach. Providence trailed, 3-1, after 40 minutes before being outscored, 5-1, in the final period.

“We did not stay the course. And because we did not stay the course, he was the guy who took the fall. We talked about that after the game. We were not happy about that. Hopefully we can get him some redemption tonight,” Leach said this morning.

Providence beat the Devils twice in Binghamton, 4-1 on Oct. 27 and 2-1 in overtime on Nov. 22. There were two fights in each game.

The P-Bruins start the weekend in third place in the Atlantic Division with a .611 winning percentage. Binghamton is seventh in the North Division with a .447 winning percentage.

Brown University grad Nick Lappin leads the Devils with 10 goals. Providence College alum Kevin Rooney leads the AHL with 3 shorthanded goals.

Providence’s lines tonight:

Hargrove-Szwarz-Czarnik

Agostino-Cave-Senyshyn

Blidh-JFK-Fitzgerald

Porter-Hennessy-Hickman

D pairs:

Cross-Marshall

Breen-Clifton

O’Gara-Zboril

Billington is the backup.

Injured: Johansson, Lauzon (both upper body)

Healthy scratches: Acolatse, Gabrielle. Payerl