PROVIDENCE – The first game of Jan Kovar’s Bruins tryout went pretty well, all things considered.
The 28-year-old from the Czech Republic, signed to a PTO this week, looked a little rusty at times in Providence’s 5-2 win over Bridgeport on Saturday night, but was more noticeable as the game went on.
Centering Peter Cehlarik and Martin Bakos, Kovar scored a goal 41 seconds into the third period. He took a pretty pass from Jeremy Lauzon and broke in on the Sound Tigers net. Goalie Jeremy Smith turned aside the initial shot, but Kovar backhanded the rebound into the net, giving the P-Bruins a 4-1 lead.
Coach Jay Leach smiled when asked for his impressions of Kovar’s performance.
“He’s an interesting guy. I don’t know if you would call him the fleetest of foot. By the same token, he gets himself right in there. He’s not afraid of confrontation. He’s clearly a heady player, makes some plays. It was nice to see him score a goal,’’ Leach said.
“For a first game, having not really skated in the last couple of weeks, I thought it was a pretty good showing. It will be nice to get him in practice this week for a full week. He can get acclimated to the power play and his line.’’
Cave takes scoring lead
In his fourth season in Providence, Colby Cave is off to a fine start, leading the team in points with seven in six games. After scoring twice on Friday night, Cave netted his fifth goal on Saturday, tipping in a Lauzon shot to give the P-Bruins a 2-0 lead early in the first period.
“He’s really skating, I think, and it does appear he’s got a lot more confidence with the puck. He finds himself in scoring areas more than in the past and he’s been able to bury it. He looks more confident and he’s kind of leading the charge for us. He’s been good,’’ said Leach.
Even though Providence was missing captain Jordan Szwarz, Chris Breen and Emil Johansson due to injuries and illness and Urho Vaakanainen was recalled by Boston, they jumped on Bridgeport early and kept their foot on the gas.
“We needed that. It was a fast start, which was nice, with a couple of goals,’’ Leach said. “For the most part, our team played as a team and did the things we wanted to do and rebounded after a tough loss (on Friday) night.’’
Zane McIntyre stopped 25 shots for Providence.
“He was solid. When we needed a save, he made it, which is all we can ask for. It was nice to give him some support,’’ said Leach.
Strong game for Frederic
Trent Frederic was involved all night on Saturday, fighting pesky Connor Jones of the Sound Tigers just a few shifts into the game and scoring twice.
“He was obviously physical early. We talked a lot to Freddy after (Friday) night’s game. We really wanted him to become physical and also stop and start and get engaged. He was, in fact, doing that early and it was nice to see him score some goals,’’ Leach said.
Jeremy Lauzon was a scratch for last Sunday’s game in Springfield. Leach called it a “mental break.’’
Similarly, Jacob Zboril sat out a game a couple of weekends ago, and Cehlarik was a scratch on Friday.
“We’ve been doing that with some of these guys. We’re trying, A., to take advantage of when we have numbers and, B., if we think a guy needs to work on certain things in his game, that’s what we’re going to do,’’ Leach said on Saturday morning.
“We wanted to take advantage of having healthy bodies. It’s really more of an organizational approach, with the amount of three-in-threes that we have. Last year, I think we got away from it a little bit. It’s a fine line.’’
Already missing Szwarz, Breen, Johansson and David Broll, the P-Bruins lost Mark McNeill to what looked to be a leg injury in the first period. Leach said McNeill “is probably week to week.”