Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend


The Providence Bruins finished the 2019 portion of their schedule by splitting a pair of road games.

They earned a 4-3 win in Springfield on Friday, then fell behind early and lost, 4-1, in Hartford on Saturday.

Providence has struggled with the Wolf Pack and goalie Igor Shesterkin so far, winning only one of six games.

“It wasn’t a very good game for us,’’ coach Jay Leach said after Saturday’s game. “We played a team that is defensively structured, plays inside and boxes out. We didn’t show enough resolve in those areas to get looks at their very good goaltender.”

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— With his 14th goal in Springfield, Jack Studnicka is tied for the lead in goals among AHL rookies and is third in points with 26. He leads the team in scoring with 14-12-26 in 33 games.

— Joona Koppanen scored Providence’s only goal in Hartford and made a nice play to Pavel Shen for a goal in Springfield. Koppanen has seven goals and 13 points in 25 games after scoring only two goals in 45 games last season.

— Pavel Shen scored what turned out to be the winning goal on Friday and set up a goal on Saturday. He has 2-1-3 in his last four games.

— The P-Bruins took advantage of a two on zero in Springfield as Ryan Fitzgerald and Brendan Gaunce tossed the puck back and forth to each other before Fitzgerald put it in for Providence’s third goal.

— Cooper Zech made a gorgeous pass to Robert Lantosi, who scored on a breakaway in Springfield. Lantosi also had an assist on Studnicka’s goal.

— The Bruins sent Steve Kampfer down on Saturday and then recalled him on Sunday. As a result, Kampfer was credited with serving the first game of his two-game AHL suspension when he did not play on Saturday night.

— Jeremy Lauzon’s plus-16 is tied for third in the AHL.

— Nine of Providence’s 12 games in January are at home.


— The power play went zero for five on the weekend.

— Providence was outshot, 14-6, and fell behind by two goals in the first period in Hartford.

— The AHL suspended Steve Kampfer for two games for a hit on Hartford’s Patrick Newell on Dec. 21. No issue with the suspension, but how did the referees miss it when it happened?


— The P-Bruins will be without Jakub Lauko for an undetermined length of time after the rookie was injured on his first shift while playing for the Czech Republic in the World Junior Championship.

— Other injured players: Urho Vaakanainen, Chris Breen, Cameron Hughes, Anton Blidh

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins week


The Providence Bruins took one step forward and two steps back on the road last week.

They blew out the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 6-0, on Wednesday night. Unfortunately for them, they apparently used up their quota of goals for the week in that game.

Providence was blanked in its next two games, a 1-0 loss in the second game of their two-game set against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday night and a 3-0 defeat in Hartford on Saturday night.

“It was certainly a frustrating night for us,’’ coach Jay Leach said after Saturday’s game. “We just couldn’t get it past their goaltender.’’

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— Despite losing two in a two, Providence reached the Christmas break in second place in the Atlantic Division with a .621 point percentage.

— The P-Bruins exploded for four goals on 14 shots against Casey DeSmith in Wednesday’s 6-0 win. Peter Cehlarik and Robert Lantosi had 1-1-2. Tommy Marchin scored twice. Steve Kampfer and Trent Frederic had two assists each.

— Paul Carey is tied for fourth in the AHL in goals with 14.

— Tommy Marchin scored his first AHL goal on Wednesday as Peter Cehlarik set him up with a perfect pass for a one-timer.

— Robert Lantosi has nine points in his last nine games on two goals and seven assists.

— Max Lagace made 38 saves, including 20 in the third period, in recording his fifth shutout on Wednesday night.

— Scott Conway made a good play to set up Pavel Shen for a goal on Wednesday.

— Providence has won 12 games on the road, more than any team in the league.


— Tough break for Jeremy Lauzon and Dan Vladar on Friday night. The only goal of the game was credited to Anthony Angello of the Penguins after a centering pass from below the goal line bounced off Lauzon and into the net past Vladar.

— Steven Kampfer was suspended for two games by the AHL on Monday for “an interference incident” with 8:57 left in the third period on Saturday night. Hartford’s Patrick Newell was injured on the play. There was no call by referees Andrew Howard and Anthony Tapper. Kampfer will sit out the weekend games against Springfield and Hartford.

— Anthony Angello drove Urho Vaakanainen into the boards late in the second period on Wednesday. No penalty was called on the play, which was surprising as it was a dangerous hit.

— The P-Bruins have been shorthanded 138 times. Only two teams have been shorthanded more often.


— Providence hasn’t scored a goal in six-plus periods, 135:43 to be exact.

— Injured: Chris Breen, Anton Blidh, Cameron Hughes

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins week


After losing their second game in a row last Wednesday, the Providence Bruins got back on track by sweeping the Springfield Thunderbirds over the weekend.

The P-Bruins looked tired in a 4-1 home loss to Syracuse to start the week, beat Springfield in overtime, 5-4, on the road Saturday, and followed that with a 5-0 victory over the Thunderbirds at home on Sunday.

“We addressed some things this week and the guys took it upon themselves to own their game and the way we want to play,” said coach Jay Leach.

“We’re just trying to find our identity. This week we tried to do that. We were cleaner on our breakouts. We want to establish the defensive zone structure that we’ve traditionally had here. We want to exploit what makes us good, which is our speed through the neutral zone, our defensive zone play and our forecheck.

“We did a nice job of that this weekend. Getting points and getting ahead of teams in this division is a luxury. Every night is going to be a battle. We’ll take as many points as we can get,’’ he said.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— Providence finished the weekend in second place in the Atlantic Division with a .650 win percentage. They are fourth in the Eastern Conference and seventh in the league.

— Jack Studnicka continues to thrive in his first pro season. He scored his AHL-leading fifth shorthanded goal on Saturday and added an assist. He scored a goal on a nice move on Sunday. Studnicka is tied for the team lead in scoring with 12-12-24 in 28 games. He is second in rookie scoring in the league.

— Paul Carey undressed a defender and went bar down for the OT winner on Saturday and scored a power play goal on Sunday.

— Moving Trent Frederic back to center from the wing has revived his offensive game. He has two goals and three assists in his last three games. His linemates had productive weekends, too. Peter Cehlarik had 1-1-2 on Saturday and two assists on Sunday. Robert Lantosi had a goal and an assist in Springfield and made a slick pass to Paul Carey for a goal on Sunday.

— Max Lagace moved across the crease to make a brilliant stop on Tommy Cross 7:15 into the third period on Saturday. He is second in the AHL in wins with 12.

— Jeremy Lauzon scored his first goal of the season on Sunday.

— The P-Bruins fired 50 shots on the Thunderbirds net on Saturday.

— Providence is tied for the AHL lead in goals with 103.

— Dan Vladar made 42 saves in shutting out Springfield on Sunday. He is 3-1 with two shutouts and a .968 save percentage since missing six weeks with a high ankle sprain.


— Cameron Hughes was injured on a crushing hit by Springfield’s Tommy Cross on Sunday afternoon. Cross was assessed a match penalty for a hit to the head. “Tommy was coming with a full head of steam and Hughsie, unfortunately, didn’t see him,’’ said Jay Leach.

— Springfield’s Aleksi Saarela danced Urho Vaakanainen to score the game-tying goal midway through the third period on Saturday.

— Announced attendance for Wednesday’s 6 p.m. start was 4,768, but there couldn’t have been more than 1,500 fans in the building.

— The P-Bruins are heading into a tough stretch of five straight road games against good opponents. They will face Wilkes-Barre Scranton and Hartford twice and Springfield once before their next home game on Jan. 3.


— Injured: Cameron Hughes, Jakub Lauko, Chris Breen, Anton Blidh

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend


The ending could have been better, but on balance the Providence Bruins had a good weekend, earning four out of six points in three home games.

They blitzed the Binghamton Devils, 6-2, on Friday and edged the Utica Comets, 3-2, in a shootout on Saturday, before losing, 4-1, to the Hartford Wolf Pack on Sunday.

“We’ve had a good run the last couple of weeks,’’ said coach Jay Leach. “I’m not by any means going to get down on it, but (Sunday’s outcome is) certainly a bit of a reset button for us. ‘’

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— Providence finished the weekend in second place in the Atlantic Division.

— Dan Vladar shut down Reid Boucher, the AHL’s leading goal scorer, in the shootout on Saturday, wrapping up the win.

— It was a strong weekend for Robert Lantosi. He scored the winner in the shootout against Utica and had two assists on both Friday and Saturday.

— It was good to hear that Jakub Lauko was feeling better on Sunday after being knocked out of the game when he apparently ran into the elbow of Utica’s Justin Bailey on Saturday.

— Max Lagace made a terrific save on Ben Street’s bid for a shorthanded goal halfway through the first period against Binghamton. Lagace is tied for second in the league with 11 wins.

— Josiah Didier is plus-16 in 26 games. That’s third in the AHL.

— Peter Cehlarik snapped a streak of 11 games without a goal when he scored on Friday.

— Paul Carey scored twice against Binghamton, then had a goal and an assist the next night against Utica. On his Saturday night goal, he made two very crafty plays. First, he went cross-corner with a long dump-in, knowing Robert Lantosi would beat the Utica defense and negate the icing. Lantosi did just that and fired the puck on the Comets’ net. Carey then caught up to the rebound near the boards on the left wing and, seeing that goalie Richard Bachman hadn’t recovered after the Lantosi shot, Carey quickly fired the puck into the net from a sharp angle for a goal. Later on, Carey had his stick in the passing lane and disrupted Utica’s breakout, leading to a goal by Brendan Gaunce. It’s fun to watch a player with Carey’s smarts.

— The P-Bruins were 3 for 11 on the power play in the three games.

— Joona Koppanen scored twice against Binghamton. With six goals in 17 games, he is much-improved from last season.

— Ryan Fitzgerald did a nice job on the forecheck, setting the stage for Providence’s first goal on Friday.

— The P-Bruins made two good skill plays within a minute against Binghamton, both resulting in goals. First, Jakub Lauko made a nice pass through a seam in front to Peter Ceharlik for a goal, then Jakub Zboril made a nifty one-touch feed to Joona Koppanen for a score.

— After a stretch of games where it looked like his confidence was fading, Cooper Zech has his swagger back. He had a goal and three assists against Binghamton and an assist against Hartford.


— That was some shoddy refereeing by Mike Dietrich late in regulation time against Utica. First, he made a very soft interference call against Oskar Steen of the P-Bruins for bumping Comets’ goalie Richard Bachman. Then, a minute later, he evened things up, whistling Utica’s Justin Bailey for a phantom hooking call.

— Trent Frederic is on pace for a six-goal season. He’d gone three straight games without a shot before recording two on Sunday.

— A failed clear by Peter Cehlarik led to Utica’s tying goal late in the third period.

— Cooper Zech had a strong weekend overall, as noted, but he had a tough turnover right in front of his own net on Sunday that handed Hartford its fourth goal.


— It’s hard to watch a player being wheeled off on a stretcher, as Jakub Lauko was on Saturday.

— Injured: Chris Breen, Anton Blidh, Jakub Lauko

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins week


The Providence Bruins went on the road last week and won all three of their games.

They started with a scintillating 7-6 shootout victory in Hershey on Wednesday. The P-Bruins trailed, 3-0, 4-2 and 5-3, but kept coming back. They finally pulled out the win on shootout scores by Robert Lantosi and Jakub Lauko.

On Saturday in Charlotte, Providence broke open a one-goal game in the third period and came away with a 4-1 victory. On Sunday, they finished the trip with a 4-0 win in Charlotte.

“The season is really long and it doesn’t necessarily matter if the goalie gets the shutout or not. The most important part is those two points,’’ said Dan Vladar, who pitched a 36-save shutout in his first start after returning from injury. “We got six out of six (points) this week and that’s huge for our group.’’

Here’s the good, bad and ugly (actually, there’s very little bad and ugly).


— The P-Bruins finished the weekend in first place in the Atlantic Division and third in points in the league. They’ve won four in a row, their longest win streak of the season.

— The P-Bruins scored three shorthanded goals in Sunday’s win and now lead the AHL in that category with eight. The PK, which was last in the league early in the season, is now seventh at 86.4 percent. They’ve killed the last 10.

— Urho Vaakanainen continues to play his best hockey of the season. He scored twice and now has seven points in his last five games.

— Brendan Woods is on fire with goals in three straight games and has 5-2-7 in his last five games.

— Providence leads the AHL with five shutouts – four by Max Lagace and one by Dan Vladar.

— After playing well in his first two NHL games with Boston, Jack Studnicka returned on Sunday and scored an empty-net goal and an assist. He has goals in six straight games.

— The fourth line had an excellent week. Joona Koppanen had 1-2-3 in three games, Sam Asselin has assists in three straight and Scott Conway scored a goal on Saturday.

— Max Lagace made a 10-bell save on Garrett Pilon in overtime in Hershey, allowing the P-Bruins to get to the shootout.

— Jakub Lauko blew past a Hershey defender to score a big goal on Wednesday, then won the game in the shootout.

— Oskar Steen broke a 14-game dry spell with a goal in Hershey.

— Pavel Shen scored  his first AHL goal on Sunday.


— Max Lagace allowed goals on four of the first seven shots in the second period in Hershey.


— Injured: Chris Breen, Kyle Keyser, Anton Blidh