Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins week

There was much more good than bad for the Providence Bruins as they earned four of six points on a tough road trip to Laval, Rochester and Toronto. The P-Bruins very nearly came home with at least five out of six points, if not for some bad luck. They beat Laval, 6-3, on Wednesday, won a 2-1 overtime decision in Rochester on Friday, then lost in Toronto, 4-3, on a tough bounce with 65 seconds left on Saturday afternoon.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


*** Austin Czarnik had 2-1-3 in Laval and added assists in Rochester and Toronto. He is third in the AHL in scoring with 17-38-55 in 50 games.

*** Colby Cave had a fine week with a goal in Laval and two in Toronto.

*** Cave’s linemate, Anton Blidh, scored twice in Laval and set up both of Cave’s goals in Toronto.

*** Providence rallied from down 0-2 and 2-3 to tie the game against the first-in-the-AHL Marlies.

*** Ryan Fitzgerald scored both goals in the 2-1 win in Rochester. He won an offensive zone draw in OT and went to the net to bury the rebound of a Paul Postma shot. Fitzgerald is having a good rookie season with 15 goals.

*** Anton Blidh scored twice in Laval and set up both of Cave’s goals in Toronto.

*** Jordan Szwarz had 1-2-3 in Laval. His plus-30 is third in the AHL.

*** Postma assisted on both goals in Rochester, making a strong play to the net in overtime that led to Fitzgerald’s game-winner.

*** Kenny Agostino broke a nine-game goal-less streak when he scored a breakaway power play goal in Toronto after a beautiful home-run pass from Czarnik.

*** Adam Payerl had a good game against Laval, setting up both of Blidh’s goals.

*** Zane McIntyre is tied for fourth in the league in wins with 20. After stopping 23 of 24 shots in Rochester, Jordan Binnington is tied for third in save percentage at .928.

*** Up from Atlanta, Dan Vladar stopped 23 shots in beating Laval.


*** Toronto had twice as many power plays as Providence – six to three – including five in a row. The Marlies scored the game-winner after a slashing call against the P-Bruins with 65 seconds left.

*** In Toronto, Providence was playing its third game in four nights. The Marlies were well-rested, having not played a game in five days.

*** The P-Bruins’ power play is 23rd in the AHL at 15.5 percent.


*** Toronto’s winning goal on Saturday deflected into the net off the stick of Tommy Cross.

*** Injured: Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Peter Cehlarik and Colton Hargrove (upper body), Justin Hickman (lower body)

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend


Six out of six points was within their reach, but the Providence Bruins settled for four out of six over the weekend. The P-Bruins beat Charlotte, 6-3, at home on Friday, bested Hartford, 6-2, on the road on Saturday, and lost, 2-0, to Springfield at home on Sunday.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


*** Providence’s offense was clicking in the first two games of the weekend, putting up 6 goals in each win. It was only the second and third times all season that they’ve hit 6.

*** Chris Porter, Peter Cehlarik and Austin Czarnik had 1-1-2 each on Friday.

*** Paul Postma had two assists and five shots and was plus-3 in his Providence debut on Friday.

*** Porter and Colby Cave combined for a nifty shorthanded goal on Friday night. Porter’s backhand pass was pretty.

*** Zach Senyshyn, Peter Cehlarik and Josh Hennessy all had nice tip-in goals on Saturday.

*** Anton Blidh wasn’t credited with an assist, but he pressured a Hartford defenseman to force a turnover and Brian Ward fed Adam Payerl for the P-Bruins’ first goal on Saturday.

*** Zane McIntyre recovered from a misplay behind the net to make a great save in the first period on Friday. He made what might have been his save on the year midway through the first period on Sunday, committing larceny on Dryden Hunt.

*** Kenny Agostino had a four-point weekend, all assists.

*** Jordan Binnington stopped a penalty shot by Vinny Letteri in Hartford.

*** Nice look by Colton Hargrove to find Colby Cave for the P-Bruins’ final goal on Saturday.


*** P-Bruins will put in some miles on the bus this week. They leave early Tuesday for Laval. After playing there on Wednesday, it’s on to Rochester on Friday and first-in-the-AHL Toronto on Saturday.

*** Emil Johansson had some tough turnovers and was on the ice for all three Charlotte goals on Friday.

*** Not only did Providence go 0 for 3 on the power play in Sunday’s loss to Springfield, they gave up a shorthanded goal for the Thunderbirds’ game-winner


*** Connor Clifton took a painful-looking fall into the boards on Friday and Justin Hickman took a nasty knee-on-knee hit from Philip Samuelsson of Charlotte.

Injuries: Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson (upper body), Jakub Zboril (upper body), Justin Hickman (lower body), Clifton.

P-Bruins GameDay — A rare visit from Charlotte Checkers

PROVIDENCE – The Providence Bruins will look to widen the gap between themselves and the Charlotte Checkers tonight at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

The third-place P-Bruins are four points ahead of the fourth-place Checkers in the Atlantic Division. With 21 games left, Providence’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot is 34.

The teams split two games in Charlotte in November. The Checkers crushed the P-Bruins, 8-2, in the first game. Providence won, 2-1, in a shootout the following afternoon.

The Checkers have not played in Providence since March 4, 2011. Trent Whitfield had 2-1-3 in the P-Bruins’ 4-2 win that night. Riley Nash had a goal for Charlotte.

Paul Postma will play his first game with the P-Bruins tonight. He’ll play the right side with Tommy Cross.

Zach Senyshyn will return to the lineup after missing two games with a lower-body injury.

Jakub Zboril and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson will miss the weekend with upper body injuries.

Charlotte will be without Andrew Miller, who is injured. Miller is tied for second in scoring in the AHL with 51 points in 53 games.









McIntyre in goal, back up is Binnington

SCRATCHES: Zboril, JFK, Payerl, Acolatse

Providence visits Hartford for a 3 p.m. game on Saturday.

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend


It was a solid weekend for the Providence Bruins as they won two out of three games. They beat Bridgeport, 5-3, at home on Friday, lost at Hartford, 2-1, on Saturday, then defeated the Wolf Pack at home on Sunday, 2-0.

“For the most part, we played pretty well,’’ coach Jay Leach said of Sunday’s victory. “Obviously, we had some new energy in the lineup, a couple of additions to the back end. And some of our kids – especially (Emil) Johansson and (Connor) Clifton – played a nice game for us.’’

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


*** Barring any last-minute deals at the NHL trade deadline on Monday, it looks like the P-Bruins’ roster will remain mostly intact, though they did lose Rob O’Gara.

*** Zane McIntyre leads all AHL goalies with six shutouts. He has five shutouts in his last 12 starts.

*** Peter Cehlarik broke a 17-game goal-less streak on Saturday night. He had four shots that night and six more on Sunday. “He had a good weekend. It’s a good step for him. He’s starting to hold on to pucks and he was really skating,’’ said Leach.

*** Johansson, a very underrated prospect, had a strong weekend. He jumped into the rush to score a nice goal on Friday. He made a good entry on Sunday that culminated in a goal by Colton Hargrove. And he assisted on Providence’s only goal on Saturday.

*** Hargrove scored goals on Friday and Sunday. With 14 goals in 37 games, he’s already matched his career-best, but it took him 66 games to reach 14 in 2015-16.

*** After scoring only 5 goals in 3 games during the previous weekend, the P-Bruins put up 5 on Friday.

*** In his best game with the P-Bruins, Matt Beleskey scored a goal and set up another on Friday.

*** Josh Hennessy’s goal on Friday was the 150th of his pro career.

*** Jordan Szwarz had 1-2-3 on Friday.

*** Anton Blidh was plus-3 with an assist on Friday.

*** The Charlotte Checkers will be at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Friday, a welcome change from the usual parade of Bridgeport, Springfield and Hartford.


*** The power play went a combined 0 for 10 on Saturday and Sunday.

*** Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson had no shots on both Friday and Saturday.


*** The collision between JFK and Brendon Smith of Hartford on Sunday was scary.

*** Injuries: JFK (upper body), Jakub Zboril (upper body), Zach Senyshyn (lower body).

P-Bruins GameDay — Zboril out with upper-body injury

PROVIDENCE – After a busy morning in the front office, the Providence Bruins will finish the weekend by hosting the Hartford Wolf Pack this afternoon.

Matt Beleskey, traded to the New York Rangers this morning, will go down the hall and play for Hartford this afternoon.

Jakub Zboril will sit out today with an upper-body injury. Zach Senyshyn will miss his second straight game with a lower-body injury.

Chris Breen was signed to a two-way contract by Boston and is on NHL waivers, so he isn’t available today. He had been on an AHL contract.

Former Northeastern defenseman Colton Saucerman was signed to a PTO and will be in the lineup today. He has 4-32-36 in 52 games for Manchester of the ECHL.

Zane McIntyre starts in goal against Hartford’s Brandon Halverson.

Providence is coming off a 2-1 loss in Hartford last night.

“We just didn’t play very well,’’ said coach Jay Leach.









Binnington will be McIntyre’s backup.

P-Bruins GameDay — Porter in for Senyshyn

The Providence Bruins will be looking to make it two wins in a row when they face the Hartford Wolf Pack on the road tonight.

Jordan Binnington will get the start in goal for the P-Bruins.

Providence snapped out of an offensive funk with a solid 5-3 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Friday night.

“We’ll take the goals. You will not hear me complain about that,’’ coach Jay Leach said.

“For most of the game, we managed the puck well. When we didn’t, they obviously had some opportunities. We can clean up a few things, but we got some goal-scoring, which is what we were looking for.’’

Jordan Szwarz led the way with 1-2-3 and Matt Beleskey had 1-1-2 on Friday.

“He was good on the walls and obviously he had a nice goal and he set up a nice goal. It was a good game for him,’’ Leach said of Beleskey.

Zach Senyshyn will miss tonight’s game with a lower-body injury. Chris Porter will take his place.









McIntyre backs up Binnington


Senyshyn (lower body), Hickman, Payerl, Acolatse

The P-Bruins will finish the weekend on Sunday with a 3 p.m. game against Hartford at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend


The Providence Bruins had a solid weekend, earning four of six points. All three games were decided by one goal. The P-Bruins posted a 1-0 shootout win at home against Bridgeport on Friday night, a 2-1 overtime victory at Springfield on Saturday, and a 3-2 home loss to the Thunderbirds on Sunday afternoon.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


*** Brilliant work on the penalty kill by Rob O’Gara, Jeremy Lauzon, Colby Cave, Austin Czarnik and Zane McIntyre in holding Bridgeport off the board on back-to-back shorthanded situations in overtime on Friday night.

*** The give-and-go between Kenny Agostino and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson that culminated in Agostino’s OT goal on Saturday was a thing of beauty. In addition to Saturday’s goal, Agostino scored in the shootout on Friday.

*** Austin Czarnik buried the shootout winner on Friday and had three assists in three games. He is sixth in the AHL in scoring with 13-32-45 in 41 games.

*** McIntyre posted his fourth shutout in nine games on Friday night.

*** Ryan Fitzgerald continues to play well. He had goals on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

*** Josh Hennessy had a strong weekend, setting up two goals on Saturday night and scoring one on Sunday.

*** The P-Bruins got a major break when Bridgeport’s most dangerous offensive player, Josh Ho-Sang, wasn’t used in the shootout on Friday night.

*** Providence is 6-2 in shootouts. Their six wins is second in the league.

*** The P-Bruins continue to draw strong crowds and is fourth in the AHL with an average of 8,195. Providence helped fill Springfield’s building again, too, drawing 6,793 on Saturday, 2,000 above the Thunderbirds’ average.


*** Atrocious call by referee Cam Voss at the end of regulation time on Friday, whistling Tommy Cross for unsportsmanlike conduct after a scrum. It should have been matching minors on Cross and Ben Holmstrom, who started it by jabbing Cross in the midsection with his stick, then grabbing onto Cross and refusing to let go. Voss showed no feel for the game by ringing up only Cross.

*** Peter Cehlarik is riding a 16-game goal-less streak.

*** The P-Bruins scored only five goals on the weekend.


*** Injured: Chris Breen (lower body), Chris Porter (upper body).

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend


The Providence Bruins had a good weekend, taking five out of six points against quality opponents. They beat division-leading Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 4-0, at home on Friday, defeated Bridgeport, 3-1, on the road on Saturday, and lost in a shootout to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 3-2, back home on Sunday.

“With our schedule and our opponents, we did a really nice job this weekend, did a lot of good things,’’ coach Jay Leach said.

“Our first period (on Sunday) was our best period of the weekend. In the second period we stopped managing pucks — is that fatigue? In the third period we were able to manage that. I was really proud of the group because they really buckled down. There were a lot of excuses with the travel and the schedule, and we really dug in. For me, the weekend was a stepping stone for us and some of our younger players. It was encouraging.’’

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


*** With two goals and two fights, Adam Payerl had his best weekend of the season. He brought a lot of grit and compete to the lineup. Kudos to Payerl for fighting Mike Cornell on Saturday after the Bridgeport defenseman’s hit on Peter Cehlarik.

*** The P-Bruins kept their foot on the accelerator all night on Friday, piling up 43 shots, including 22 in the first period.

*** Jordan Szwarz had four assists during the three weekend games. He has 1-10-11 in his last nine games. For my money, he’s the best 200-foot center in the AHL’s Eastern Conference.

*** With a goal and four shots on net, Zach Senyshyn had a strong game on Saturday after missing four games with an upper body injury. The goal snapped a 15-game dry spell.

*** Matt Beleskey deserves credit. He could have sat back and collected his money last month when he was hit by a puck and broken his orbital bone, but he missed only a handful of games. On Sunday, he could have taken the rest of the afternoon off after again getting hit in the face. Instead, he put the full shield back on and returned to the game.

*** Thanks to three goals in seven minutes early in the game on Saturday, the P-Bruins forced the Sound Tigers to chase the game all night.

*** Colton Hargrove had goals on Friday and Saturday. He fought Bridgeport’s Seth Helgeson after a late hit on Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson.

*** Tommy Cross had goals on Friday and Sunday.

*** Zane McIntyre posted his second straight shutout against the Penguins on Friday.

*** Jeremy Lauzon and Ryan Fitzgerald had six shots each on Friday.

*** Jordan Binnington was good in Bridgeport, stopping 36 shots.

*** Providence scored four power play goals over the weekend.


*** JFK makes plays even if he’s not shooting the puck. Still, you’d like to see him shoot more. He had no shots on both Saturday and Sunday.

*** Bridgeport on Saturday and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Sunday both had the night off before playing Providence, which played three games in three nights.

*** The P-Bruins had only 16 shots on Saturday.

*** Lauzon got caught out of position on the second goal by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Sunday.


*** There were two dangerous hits in the Bridgeport game. Kyle Burroughs boarded Chris Porter and knocked him out of the game and Steve Bernier boarded Emil Johansson. Both were called for minor penalties, but could have been more.

*** Injured: Chris Breen (lower body), Porter (upper body).

P-Bruins GameDay — McIntyre vs. DeSmith

PROVIDENCE — Figure on a low-scoring game when the Providence Bruins and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins meet at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center tonight.

The P-Bruins are third in the AHL in goals against with 117, while the Pens are fourth with 118.

The last time the Pens were in town three Fridays ago, Providence squeaked out a 1-0 win on a Tommy Cross power play goal in the third period in a very entertaining and well-played game.

The P-Bruins haven’t scored much lately, with only 22 goals in their last 11 games.

Austin Czarnik, Providence’s top scorer, is on recall in Boston.

Three of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s top five scorers won’t be available tonight. Zach Aston-Reese and Teddy Blueger are up with Pittsburgh and Ryan Haggerty is out for a while with a lower-body injury.

The Penguins are first in the Atlantic Division with a .689 points percentage. Providence is third with .609.

Zane McIntyre (.904 save percentage) will start in goal for the P-Bruins. Casey DeSmith (.917) will start for the Pens.

Zach Senyshyn, who has been out with an upper body injury, is expected to return on Saturday night in Bridgeport. Chris Breen (lower body) will miss his third straight game.











Binnington is the backup

SCRATCHES: Senyshyn, Porter, Acolatse, Breen

Bruins draft pick Swayman off to strong start with Maine

PROVIDENCE – Jeremy Swayman is making a splash in his freshman season at Maine.

With a Hockey-East-leading save percentage of .926, the 19-year-old goalie from Anchorage, Alaska, is making the Boston Bruins look smart for drafting him in the fourth round last June.

“A lot of it has to do with the teammates around me — blocking shots, making plays to get the puck out of our end. A lot of my success has been team success. It’s been a team effort the entire way. All that matters to us is the two points at the end of the game,’’ he said over the phone this week.

Swayman and the Black Bears will be in Rhode Island on Friday night to play Providence College. They dropped a 3-0 decision to the Friars in Belfast, Ireland, in November as Swayman stopped 35 shots.

PC assistant coach Kris Mayotte coached Swayman — who is 6-foot-2 and 183 pounds — with the U.S. team at the World Junior Championship last month in Buffalo.

“Big, strong, athletic kid. Competes. Hard-working. Likes to be coached,’’ Mayotte said.

Swayman played for Sioux Falls of the USHL last season, where he was a teammate of Friar Jason O’Neill.

In the 2015-16 season he made the jump from Alaska high school hockey to the U-18 Pikes Peak Miners. That wasn’t the plan heading into the season, but it ended up working out well for him.

“It was a pretty crazy deal. I tendered to the Kenai River (Alaska) Brown Bears in the NAHL. I ended up not making the team, so I was kind of in a scramble to find a team. I was still set on playing juniors, but there was kind of a pipeline from Alaska going to this team in Colorado that I’d heard of a little bit in Pikes Peak,’’ Swayman said.

“I got a hold of the coach and told him my situation. In Alaska hockey at that time, there weren’t any legit U-18 teams. (Moving) to Colorado was one of the best decisions of my hockey career. The coach, Greg Vanover, took me under his wing and really gave me every opportunity to succeed. I learned what hard work was, that’s for sure. It’s definitely a reason why I’m here today.’’

Swayman has adjusted well to Hockey East, posting a 12-7-3 record for the surprising Black Bears. He said he is always working to simplify his game.

“It’s a positioning game. You learn to relax during games and get your positioning down. It helps you see the puck a lot better. I’m always working on that every game, getting your angles and your positioning down and getting your feet set to stop the puck,’’ he said.

Swayman has assistant coach Alfie Michaud, who backstopped Maine to the 1999 NCAA title, working with him in Orono. Another former Maine great, 1993 NCAA champ Mike Dunham, is keeping a close watch, too, as goalie development coach for the Bruins.

“They’ve got a young team and, playing in Hockey East, there are going to be some learning curves. He’s handled it well and he seems to be enjoying it, which is the key. It’s a good fit up there for him.

“He works hard. He wants to learn. He studies the game. His skating ability around the crease is very strong. Obviously, he’s going to need to gain more experience, as a young kid playing at the Division I level. He’s got the right mindset and the right attitude. He’s quick, he’s square to the puck. It’s just gaining experience, at that age,’’ said Dunham who was in Orono last Friday when Swayman stopped 36 Merrimack shots in a 4-3 overtime win.

“Gave his team a chance to win. That’s what you want.”

Swayman appreciates Dunham’s input.

“Mike Dunham has been really instrumental in helping me as a player. He’s been to several of my games and he’s always been right there asking what I need help with and giving me pointers. I’ve picked his brain quite a bit and I’ve used a lot of his tools and put them into my game.

“He’s telling me to enjoy the process. He’s been there and told me some pretty good stories. To get that connection right off the bat with a guy like him has been a really good thing. It’s been cool to create a relationship with him,’’ Swayman said.

When the Black Bears were in Providence to play Brown in early January, the team attended a P-Bruins game at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, where Swayman could be playing down the road.

“It was really cool. It was definitely a pro atmosphere. The game was fast and the rink was amazing. It gives me more motivation to get to that next level,” he said.