Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend


It was the best weekend of the season so far for the Providence Bruins as they earned five out of six points with two wins and an overtime loss.

They dominated Bridgeport, 5-0, at home on Friday, came from behind twice to earn a point in a 5-4 overtime road loss in Springfield on Saturday, then played very well in a 6-3 home win over Hershey on Sunday. They finished the weekend in second place in the Atlantic Division, trailing only Hartford.

“It was a good weekend,’’ said coach Jay Leach. “We obviously had a terrific game on Friday night. On Saturday, we had a terrible first period, but we rebounded, showed some character and really did a nice job.

“(On Sunday) I thought our first 35 minutes were really good. They got some life and it sounds ridiculous, but it is tough to play with a four-goal lead for an extended period of time. We knew (Hershey) would push but we did a nice job and it was awesome to see a guy like (Sean) Bonar in net get the win, which is always fun.’’

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— Jack Studnicka continued his terrific play, taking over the team scoring lead. He scored a shorthanded goal on Friday, then sent Saturday’s game to overtime with a late goal. On Sunday, he scored a pivotal shorthanded goal and added two assists.

“He was our best forward. He was outstanding,’’ Leach said on Sunday. “That’s a big-time play (on his goal). He outmuscles a couple of guys and to finish in tight like that was pretty special.’’

Studnicka has goals in five straight games and is second in scoring among AHL rookies with 9-9-18 in 21 games.

— Studnicka’s linemates, Paul Carey and Ryan Fitzgerald, also had strong games on Sunday. Carey scored once and had two assists. Fitzgerald opened the scoring. He had a goal on Friday, too.

— Playing on the wing, Trent Frederic scored his first goal of the season on Friday, then added another one on Sunday.

— Urho Vaakanainen’s game is much improved in recent weeks. He had a pair of assists on Saturday, then scored twice and added an assist on Sunday.

— Brendan Gaunce scored twice and added an assist on Friday.

— Joona Koppanen scored a goal and set up Scott Conway for another as the P-Bruins erased a two-goal deficit in the second period in Springfield.

— Max Lagace posted his league-leading fourth shutout on Friday. His eight wins are tied for second in the AHL. His .930 save percentage is third.

— Providence’s third goal on Friday was a masterpiece of puck movement. It started with a strong zone entry by Peter Cehlarik, who pulled up and passed to Jakub Zboril. He quickly passed to Robert Lantosi, who put the puck on Brandan Gaunce’s stick for the score. Beautifully done.

— With Kyle Keyser and Dan Vladar injured, Sean Bonar was recalled from Atlanta and made 25 saves on Sunday to earn his first AHL win.


— Providence came up way short in the first period on Saturday . The P-Bruins took the lead on Robert Lantosi’s goal 19 seconds in, but were outshot, 22-10, and trailed 3-1 after 20 minutes.

— Providence’s next three are on the road, at Hershey followed by two in Charlotte.


— Injured: Chris Breen, Anton Blidh, Kyle Keyser, Dan Vladar, Pavel Shen, Brendan Woods

Prospect progress report: Jack Studnicka



A quarter of the way into his first full season as a pro, Jack Studnicka is in a good place.

The 20-year-old center is playing big minutes for the Providence Bruins and his game is trending upward.

With goals in four of the last five games, Studnicka is tied with Paul Carey and Alex Petrovic for the team scoring lead with 13 points (6 goals and 7 assists) in 18 games.

“He’s been good,’’ said coach Jay Leach. “The workload we’re giving him, for a 20-year-old kid, it’s impressive that he’s been able to handle all that. He plays in every situation. Obviously, he’s getting a tough matchup most nights.’’

Making the jump from the Ontario Hockey League requires some adjustment, but Studnicka is feeling more comfortable every day.

“It took a couple of games to get used to the schedule, the speed, the maintenance. I feel like I’m in full swing now and playing to my ability,’’ Studnicka said after practice on Thursday.

“I’ve been trying to come to the rink every game and work as hard as I can and do the details and kind of let the offense take care of itself. It’s nice to see that paying off and hopefully I can continue that going forward.

“I’m really trying to protect the puck down low, create some offensive zone time with the puck on my stick, kind of trying to feel out how teams in this league play in their D zone. Spin off guys, create space and look for an open play, be a playmaker and shoot when I can,’’ he said.

Studnicka is among the team leaders in ice time for forwards, averaging from 18 to 21 minutes per game, according to Leach.

“The No. 1 thing for him is he competes. Loves playing the game. He’s a really smart player. He’s shown that ability to find guys – I don’t know if I want to call it a next-level play — but he does have that ability to really see the ice well and make a play that I can’t say I’ve seen from everyone. That does set him apart,’’ said Leach.

“You can clearly tell he’s 20 years old and just growing into his body. We have to be careful with our expectations with someone like that.’’

Studnicka’s dad, who played for Maine in the 1980s, has visited twice. His mom is scheduled for a visit next month.

“This is kind of my first year living on my own. Me and Cooper Zech are living together, trying to cook, put some recipes together. We’re both in the same boat, trying to put some weight on, some good weight. We’re learning how to cook and, in our down time, watching hockey, watching movies, what any normal kid does,’’ he said.

As he works on his own game in the AHL, Studnicka naturally is paying attention to what’s going on with the parent club.

“I like to watch their games, but it’s tough when we’re playing and they’re playing (at the same time). I don’t go and rewatch or anything like that, but if they are on, I’m watching the game, for sure,’’ he said.

The goal, of course, is to be playing in, not watching, those NHL games, whether it’s later this season or next.

“No rush, in my mind. When called upon, I think I’m going to be ready, mentally and physically,’’ he said.

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend


The Providence Bruins won one and lost one in a pair of games against the first-in-the-AHL Hartford Wolf Pack over the weekend.

At home on Friday, the P-Bruins looked to be in good shape with a two-goal lead and three minutes left, but the Wolf Pack tied the game with their goalie on the bench. Providence scored twice in the shootout to earn a 4-3 win.

“We didn’t close it the way we wanted to,’’ said coach Jay Leach, “but coming away with two points against a good team was great.’’

At Hartford on Saturday, Providence jumped out to a two-goal lead six minutes into the game before giving up five straight and losing, 5-2.

“It was probably one of the better games we’ve had for the first two periods. In the third, I don’t know whether we expended all our energy in the first two periods generating chances, but we did not have the push that we were looking for and, ultimately, it cost us at least a point,’’ said Leach.

“We’ve got a lot of guys playing a lot of different roles that they probably never played before. They’re playing a lot of minutes, which is great. We’re certainly not a finished product.’’

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— After losing five home games in a row, the P-Bruins pulled out a win at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Friday.

— Scott Conway scored his first AHL goal on Friday, a nifty shorthanded tally to finish off a two on one.

— Jack Studnicka had a strong weekend and now has 6 points in the last 6 games. On Friday, he set up Conway’s goal while on the penalty kill in the first period, scored a power-play goal in the second period and then scored in the shootout. He had a power play goal on Saturday.

— Robert Lantosi scored a goal on Friday with a bomb from long range in the second period, then clinched the win with a shootout goal.

— Max Lagace stopped 35 shots, plus three more in the shootout, in Friday’s win. He is tied for third in the AHL with seven wins and his .934 save percentage is seventh in the league.

— Brendan Gaunce made a nice pass to Ryan Fitzgerald for the P-Bruins’ first goal in Hartford. Fitzgerald assisted on Providence’s second goal.


— Oskar Steen has gone 11 games without a goal.

— Kyle Keyser allowed goals on two of the first five shots in Hartford.

— After scoring twice in the first six minutes on Saturday, the P-Bruins allowed the Wolf Pack to tie the score before the game was 11 minutes old.


— After Hartford pulled its goalie for an extra attacker late in Friday’s game, the P-Bruins gave up two goals in a minute as the Wolf Pack sent to game to OT.

— Injured: Chris Breen, Anton Blidh, Brendan Woods, Kyle Keyser, Dan Vladar

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend


It was a bumpy weekend for the Providence Bruins.

They earned only two of a possible six points, finishing with a pair of home losses in which they scored a total of just one goal.

Things started on a positive note with a solid 4-1 road win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Saturday, but then went downhill at home with a 2-1 loss to the Hartford Wolf Pack on Sunday and a 2-0 loss to Bridgeport on Monday.

They’ve won just one of six games at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

Coach Jay Leach didn’t pull any punches after Monday’s loss.

“Worst game we’ve played all year, by far, from the drop of the puck. The most disappointing thing for me is they wanted it way more than we wanted it. If we were not aware of their desperation, we found out in the first three shifts of the game — and we didn’t respond,’’ he said.

“That’s where I’m disappointed. It was our first three in three (weekend) and we can go through all that stuff. I’d really rather not focus on any excuse. The facts are they wanted it more than we did and we’re going to have to learn from this and grow moving forward.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— Brendan Gaunce scored a goal and added an assist in Bridgeport in his first game back from injury.

— The P-Bruins made a nifty three-way passing play for their first goal on Saturday night — Brendan Woods to Scott Conway to Joona Koppanen. Conway’s feed, in particular, was pretty.

— In his last three appearances, Max Lagace has stopped 98 of 101 shots for a .970 save percentage. Only two AHL goalies have more than his 6 wins.

— With 12 points in 15 games, Alex Petrovic leads all AHL defensemen in scoring.

— Providence has killed 36 penalties in a row. The PK, which was 31st in the league on Oct. 20, is now 10th at 86.5 percent.

— With 4-6-10 in 16 games, Jack Studnicka is fifth in the league in rookie scoring.

— With 6 goals on 23 shots, Peter Ceharik is scoring on 26.1 percent of his shots. Last season his shooting percentage was 10.5.


— Monday’s 2-0 loss to Bridgeport was the first time the P-Bruins have been blanked at home since Harri Sateri kicked out 30 shots in a 2-0 Springfield win on March 4, 2018.

— Providence has been shorthanded a league-high 74 times.

— Trent Frederic served an automatic one-game suspension after he instigated a fight with Bridgeport’s Kyle Burroughs in the last five minutes of Saturday’s game.

— The P-Bruins were outshot, 21-8, in the second period in Bridgeport.


— With losses on Sunday and Monday, the P-Bruins are 1-4-0-1 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. That’s the worst home record in the league.

— Injured: Anton Blidh, Dan Vladar, Brendan Woods, Jakub Lauko.

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins week


The Providence Bruins will gladly take four out of six points on the road any time they can against three of the better teams in the Eastern Conference.

The P-Bruins went into Rochester on Wednesday night and beat the Americans, 4-3. On Friday, they handed the Utica Comets their first loss of the season, 2-0. Providence’s only loss of the week was in Hershey, a game in which they came from behind twice to tie it before the Bears prevailed, 5-3.

“We were tied at three going into the third period and it was right there for us,’’ said coach Jay Leach. “We did not step up our game, so it was a disappointing loss and one we’ll have to learn from.’’

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— Max Lagace made 34 saves in shutting out Utica. One of them was a desperation glove stop while he was sprawled on the ice midway through the second period. He leads the AHL with three shutouts.

— Zach Senyshyn had strong games in Rochester and Utica. He scored against the Amerks on a beautiful setup by Cameron Hughes. In Utica, he beat a defender with a curl and drag and then roofed the puck for his third goal of the season.

— The P-Bruins went three for six on the power play against Rochester. They killed all 15 penalties during the three games.

— Cameron Hughes continued his fine two-way play. He had an assist in all three games.

— The line of Ryan Fitzgerald, Trent Frederic and Oskar Steen had an epic possession shift during the second period against Utica. They held onto the puck in the Comets’ end of the ice for one minute straight without giving it up.

— Paul Carey scored a pretty goal in Rochester that gave the P-Bruins some breathing room late in the game. He scored a goal in Hershey after an excellent pass from Jack Studnicka.

— Cameron Hughes and Jakub Zboril combined on a beautiful passing play that ended with Brendan Woods firing the puck into a nearly empty net for a goal in Hershey. Zboril had a strong game that night, notching his first goal of the season to go along with his assist.

— Joona Koppanen made a good play to score a wraparound goal against the Amerks.

— Peter Cehlarik had two assists in Rochester before being recalled again by Boston.

— Stick tap for Josiah Didier, who went to the defense of Pavel Shen after the rookie was kneed by Hershey’s Eric Burgdoerfer.


— Ahead by three goals in Rochester, the P-Bruins gave up two goals in 19 seconds in the first minute of the third period.

— You may not put any stock in plus-minus as an accurate indicator of effective play, but the numbers in Hershey weren’t pretty by any measure. Alex Petrovic, Trent Frederic and Ryan Fitzgerald were minus-three. Urho Vaakanainen, Oscar Steen and Cooper Zech were minus-two.

— In Hershey, the P-Bruins gave up two goals in 17 seconds in the first four minutes of the third period. They turned out to be the difference in the game.

— After giving up a shorthanded goal in Hershey, Providence is tied with five other teams in allowing a league-high three SH scores.

— The puck’s not going in for Trent Frederic. He has no goals through 13 games this season. Going back to last season, he has three goals in his last 24 games, and he scored all of them in one game.

— Providence was outshot, 14-2, in the first 11 minutes in Hershey.

— Ryan Fitzgerald sat out the third period as a precaution on Saturday after he was accidently clotheslined by linesman Bob Goodman.


— Injured: Brendan Gaunce, Dan Vladar, Anton Blidh