The Providence Bruins beat the Hartford Wolf Pack, 5-2, in Marlboro on Friday afternoon in a game spiced by hard feelings.
Some of the P-Bruins – Sammy Asselin, Oskar Steen and Anton Blidh, in particular – really irritated the Wolf Pack, who were playing Providence for the sixth time, with six still to come. If the score hadn’t been close until the end, the lid might have blown off.
Cameron Hughes led the way for Providence with a goal and two assists and six shots. He is first on the team in scoring with 4-8-12 in 12 games.
Here are three quick hits:
DOWN GOES LAUKO
Jakub Lauko is often the last Bruin to come out for pregame warmup. When he stepped on the ice on Friday, he went down like a squirt who forgot to remove his skate guards.
In fact, that’s pretty much what happened.
Don’t know if maybe one of his teammates set him up with the old clear-tape-on-the-skate-blade trick or what, but the pratfall brought a smile to the face of everyone who saw it.
Then the high-spirited Lauko got up, dusted himself off, and went out and scored a pair of goals once the game started.
His offensive talent is there for all to see. But what about the rest of his game? I asked coach Jay Leach about Lauko’s play without the puck.
“There’s times where I think it’s good, and there’s times when it needs some work. I think we have to remember he’s 20. He’s a young, young professional. He certainly has offense. He certainly has speed, some physicality – you saw that in the first (period) as well,’’ said Leach.
“And then there are definitely times, we talk regularly on it, where he’s able to do the good things in the D zone and other times where we have to look at it and work on it. It’s a work in progress but at the same time, by no means is it something that can’t be corrected.’’
STEEN SNAPS (HIS STICK)
Steen’s competitiveness, his refusal to give in, is part of what makes him such a good player.
While battling along the boards with Hartford veteran Paul Thompson early in the third period, Steen cross-checked Thompson in the back, snapping his stick in two.
As you might expect, Thompson immediate cornered Steen and started firing punches.
Steen didn’t suffer any damage and somehow went unpenalized, while Thompson received a minor, a major and a game misconduct. Providence scored on the power play, with Steen earning an assist on the goal.
“He’s feisty as it gets,’’ Leach said of Steen. “It starts in the faceoff circle. He wants to win every single one of those faceoffs. That can lead to some jabs and some pushes and shoves and it begins from there.
“He’s just a competitive guy by nature. He’s always been that way, ever since we saw him a couple of years ago. And he’s very effective with his speed and his inside game. It’s tough to play against guys like that.’’
Greg McKegg was a welcome addition to the lineup. After being sent down by Boston, he played at center between Asselin and Karson Kuhlman, recording a pair of assists.
“He adds a lot (to the lineup). He was pretty good. Really hard on the puck. He’s got speed. He’s smart. Plays in all situations. Terrific in the faceoff circle. I thought that line was excellent.
“I remember him, obviously, when he was with Charlotte and watching him play with New York last year. Just a terrific hockey player at this level.’’