Quick hits from Marlboro on Hughes, Studnicka & Tralmaks

The Providence Bruins picked up a point to move closer to clinching first-place in the Atlantic Division, but dropped a 2-1 shootout decision to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Thursday.

The shootout went eight rounds and Providence shooters couldn’t catch a break, hitting the post or crossbar three times before Bode Wilde scored on Dan Vladar and Oskar Steen was stopped by Ken Appleby in the Bridgeport net on the final shot.

Here are three quick hits from Marlboro.


Like Jordan Szwarz and Colby Cave before him, Hughes continues to be a dependable, all-situations center for Providence.

Hughes, who leads the team in scoring with 4-14-18 in 22 games, had another strong all-around game on Thursday. He won an offensive draw on the power play and earned an assist on Paul Carey’s goal, and put three shots on the Bridgeport net. As usual, he did a lot of the dirty work in all three zones.

Coach Jay Leach said when he sends Hughes over the boards, he knows that the fourth-year pro will try to do the right thing.

“Really he’s done that since he’s been here. As you said, those two former players – Szwarzy and Caver – were very similar, playing significant minutes in important roles throughout the game. Hughesy does that equally as well.

“Those guys are the glue guys. They keep everything together. When things go awry, like they always do in a game, they’re the first guy you look for. He’s been outstanding.’’


Studnicka’s in a dry spell when it comes to points – he has no goals and three assists in eight games with the P-Bruins – but he showed some signs of life against Bridgeport.

“I thought today he was very good. He’ll be the first to say it, he’s been in and out with the way he wants to play the game. I think the last couple of games he’s been a little frustrated, but today as the game went along especially, it was Jack Studnicka wanting to make a difference every time he’s over the boards,’’ Leach said.

“He took pucks to the net. Great net-front, had a couple of tips that almost went in. They’re going to come if he plays like that. He was really, really good today. That’s really the only thing I’m watching is the last game. We’ve talked a lot before, with these younger players, going up and down (to Boston) and all that, it’s a difficult time. He’s battling through it and I thought today was a good performance for him, one to build off of.’’


Moving up in the lineup to play on a line with Hughes and Zach Senyshyn, the rookie free agent from Maine had his feet moving and was hard on pucks all day.

“He plays that straight-line game. He’s got powerful strides to get to things and win pucks. He plays inside and certainly is willing to shoot pucks, dog them and get them back. I thought he complemented that line well,’’ said Leach.

“It was a good opportunity for him to play up in the lineup and play with some pretty good players. I thought he was just fine. We’re excited to have him in the mix for the next year, as well. I thought he did a nice job.’’

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins week

The Providence Bruins lost two games in a row last week for the first time in this short season.

After falling to Bridgeport, 4-1, in Connecticut on Tuesday, the P-Bruins were beaten by Hartford, 3-1, in Marlboro on Thursday.

Despite the two losses, Providence’s magic number to clinch first place in the Atlantic Division is down to three points with four games left.

“The way I look at these last two losses, it’s very much a challenge for us to raise our game up. We’re certainly not playing as well as we were playing during the earlier part of the season and we’ve got a week here to figure out how to get back to where we were,’’ said coach Jay Leach.

“We need to look ourselves in the mirror and say this is not where we want to be. It’s not any mystery that we’re playing two teams that have improved.’’

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— Alex-Olivier Voyer gave Providence a momentum boost by getting the better of Parker Wotherspoon in a fight late in the second period against Bridgeport. Less than two minutes later, the P-Bruins scored their first (and only) goal of the game.

— Ian McKinnon livened up the game against Hartford. He made his presence felt with a handful of hard hits and he decisioned Wolf Pack heavyweight Mason Geertsen in a fight, landing a monster right hand after the two combatants traded blows. McKinnon is tied for the AHL lead in penalty minutes with 72 in six games.

— With a goal against Hartford, Paul Carey has scored twice in the last three games.

— Boston signed Brady Lyle to a two-year entry-level contract. With six goals, Lyle is tied for the AHL lead in goals by rookie defenseman.

— Jakub Lauko appeared to be injured after he had to be helped off the ice late in the game in Bridgeport, but he was good to go for Thursday’s game.


— The P-Bruins gave up two goals in 2:31 before the game was four minutes old in Bridgeport.

— Providence was outshot, 15-5, in the second period against the Sound Tigers.

— Fifteen straight games without a goal for Joona Koppanen.

— Joel Messner was hit with a rarely seen playing with a broken stick penalty against Bridgeport.


— Injured: Josiah Didier, Matt Filipe, Brendan Woods

Quick hits from Marlboro on Lauko, Vaakanainen, Ahcan

After a lackluster loss in Hartford on April 10, the Providence Bruins rebounded with an impressive 6-2 victory over the Utica Comets on Friday afternoon at Marlboro.

Providence fell behind by a pair of goals in the first period, then scored six in a row. Robert Lantosi (2), Brady Lyle, Zach Senyshyn, Eddie Tralmaks and Paul Carey were the goal-scorers for the P-Bruins. Kyle Keyser made 25 saves in improving his record to 3-1.

“As a coach, what I liked about it was that their team made us play the right way,’’ said coach Jay Leach. “Early on, they were in our face, as advertised. They were on the forecheck, as advertised, and playing fast. I think we had to catch up.

“I loved our response to that. Going down 2-0, we looked like we were a little sleepy, let’s be honest, and they took it to us a bit.

“Once we started to advance pucks and play with some speed and get after it and get pucks to the net, we started to open things up. I thought it was a good last two periods, for sure.’’

Here are three quick hits from the game.


Every time the 21-year-old winger has a good game, I get questions.

Is he ready? When is he going to get called up? What is management waiting for?

Well, all I can say in response is, he’s going to be worth the wait.

I expect he’ll take a run at an NHL job in training camp next season. Maybe he makes it or maybe he needs more time in the AHL, but when he does get to Boston for good he is going to be an entertaining, exciting player.

He has tremendous straight-line speed, a wicked shot and a willingness to scrap that is going to endear him to Bruins fans.

On Friday, he was originally credited with assists on Providence’s first three goals. Upon further review, one of the helpers was taken down, but his two points leaves him in a tie for the team scoring lead with 5-12-17 in 17 games.

In the third period, Lauko took issue with a Utica hit on Jack Ahcan and engaged in a spirited bout with Will Lockwood. He is now tied with Ian McKinnon for the team lead in fighting majors with three.

“Lauks is, not a funny player, but an intriguing player. He’s very young and he’s still finding his way,’’ said Leach.

“He’s shown, now on multiple occasions, his willingness to defend teammates with fights. We talk about not wanting him to (fight) — my only fear is injury. But to be honest, he’s handled himself just fine in all of them. If that’s going to be a part of his game, I’m not going to discourage that.

“I think his teammates in our organization value that. We’re not going to push him over the boards to go fight a bunch of guys, but by the same token, when he came back to that bench, I guarantee you all 20 guys were appreciative of his efforts and very impressed by the young man, for sure.’’

I’ll say it again: Lauko’s going to be worth the wait.


Vaakanainen had a strong game, assisting on two goals for his first points of the season.

The second helper was an eye-opener as he lugged the puck into the offensive zone and then fired a backhand pass right on the tape of Tralmaks for a tap-in goal.

“He was skating well, harder on pucks. He closed well in his own end. He had some buzz offensively when he came over that blueline. It was a great play to finish there at the end of the third for that goal,’’ said Leach.

“I thought he was active and wanted to make a difference, which was great to see. We’ve certainly encouraged that out of him and we’ve seen it in the past. Hopefully it continues.’’


Ahcan was a late add from Boston after spending the last 10 days or so on the NHL taxi squad.

He picked up right where he left off in the AHL, both handling the puck and defending with authority. He earned the primary assist on Lyle’s power play goal.

“It’s a real challenge to come down from the NHL, especially this year. Usually, a player coming down from the NHL, he’s still practicing with the team, he’s still playing games, but with the extended roster, you don’t what these kids are doing on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes they’re in warmups, sometimes they’re skating, you don’t know. These guys are up against it,’’ said Leach.

“For him to come down and perform like that right out of the gate, was really impressive. I thought Senyshyn was the same thing. It’s a tough thing to do.

“Jack was excellent, both ends of the rink. He broke out pucks well, he defended well. And then obviously was very active on the offensive blueline, creating havoc for the other team. He certainly was a guy that stood out.’’

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins week

The Providence Bruins split two games last week as their season hits the home stretch.

The P-Bruins scored late to beat Bridgeport, 2-1, on April 5, then were soundly beaten, 6-1, in Hartford on Saturday.

Coach Jay Leach wasn’t happy after his team’s most lopsided loss of the season.

“The second and third (periods) were a real concern. Not a lot of juice there for us — partly, I’m sure, because of the way that Hartford was playing, but also really because our willingness to play inside, block some shots and win a couple of battles was simply nonexistent for the last two periods,’’ he said.

“It was clearly a case of two teams that were playing polar opposites of one another. One was all-in and our group was not.’’

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— Kyle Keyser was sharp in making 26 saves in the win over the Sound Tigers.

— Rookie Eduards Tralmaks scored his first goal as a pro against Bridgeport. After winning a puck battle on the boards, he went to the front of the net and shoveled a rebound over the goal line.

— Sammy Asselin’s plus-10 leads the team. Tommy Cross, who scored the P-Bruins’ only goal in Hartford, is second with plus-9.

— Brady Lyle scored his second game-winner against Bridgeport. He is tied for second among rookie defensemen with five goals.

— Providence finally faces a team other than Bridgeport and Hartford when the Utica Comets travel to Marlboro on Friday.


— Cameron Hughes got hit in the mouth by a clearing pass by Hartford goalie Adam Huska in the first minute of the second period. He left the game but later returned wearing a fishbowl. He spent some time in the dentist’s chair on Monday. He has had terrible luck since arriving in Providence when it come to getting hit in the face.

— Keyser was beaten by a bad-angle shot by Anthony Greco of the Wolf Pack on Saturday.

— It was a tough day for the defense pair of Nick Wolff and Joel Messner on Saturday. Both were on the ice for three goals against.


— Providence’s penalty kill struggled on Saturday, giving up three goals on Hartford’s five power plays.

— Injured: Josiah Didier, Brendan Woods

Quick hits from Marlboro on Studnicka, Keyser, Tralmaks

The Providence Bruins continued their dominance of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers with a 2-1 win on Monday.

It was Providence’s seventh victory in eight games against Bridgeport.

After Sound Tigers’ captain Seth Helgesen took a roughing penalty on Oskar Steen, Brady Lyle scored the winner with three minutes left.

Here are three quick hits from Marlboro:


Boston’s prize center prospect hasn’t seen a lot of NHL playing time lately, but Providence coach Jay Leach gave him all he could handle on Monday.

While Studnicka didn’t produce much in the way of numbers (no points, one shot on goal), I thought he had a decent game. In particular, his speed carrying the puck through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone was noticeable.

Unfortunately for him, he overskated the puck in front of goalie Kyle Keyser 12 seconds into the second period, handing Bridgeport a gift goal. It was nothing more than a bad break as the puck stopped in a puddle on the fresh sheet of ice. Could have happened to anyone.

“It’s always challenging – we’ve talked about this at length, about coming down (from the NHL). Especially for a guy like Jack, who wants to be a difference maker,’’ said Leach.

“By all means, I thought he was out there trying to make a difference, skating, and he certainly had some opportunities that didn’t go in for him. At the same time, those things (losing the puck in a puddle) happen. To be honest, there was a lot of water out there and it just happens. I’m sure he’s frustrated with it. It’s just one of those things in hockey that can occur from time to time.

“The biggest thing for me is getting Jack skating and on pucks and doing what he does. I thought he was physical, wanted to play inside. Good signs. It’s probably the first time he’s played that many minutes in a long time. So it was good for him to get out there and be exposed to that and I’m sure he’ll be looking for more next time.’’


With Dan Vladar and Jeremy Swayman up with Boston, Keyser was very sharp in making 26 saves and earning his second win in two starts. He’s stopped 55 of 57 shots for a save percentage of .964.

“He was really good. That was probably the best I’ve seen him play. He was able to pretty much locate everything. There were a couple of chances off the rush that he made look easy, in my opinion. He was out at the top of his crease,’’ said Leach.

“It was very impressive. Even his touches, they’ve certainly improved over the last two years, they were good for the most part. He certainly earned that victory.’’


The rookie free agent from Maine made his debut a memorable one as he scored his first pro goal in the second period.

Tralmaks outworked a Bridgeport player on the wall and went to the front, where he shoveled a rebound into the net from close range.

“I thought he was good right from the get-go. He was on pucks, skating in straight lines. He was under people, made a couple of plays off the wall, good defensively and then, obviously, he could have had two (goals), really. (He was) around the net, looking to shoot pucks. He was impressive,’’ said Leach.

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins week

The Providence Bruins have reached a point in their pandemic-shortened season where they have a lot of time in between games.

In fact, Providence has played only twice since March 20.

The P-Bruins split their two most recent games.

They lost to the Hartford Wolf Pack, 4-2, in Marlboro on March 26, and won, 3-2, in overtime against the Sound Tigers in Bridgeport on March 31.

“It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but it’s still a win and we’ll certainly take it,’’ said coach Jay Leach after his team came from behind in the third period for the win.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— Oskar Steen scored the game-winner in Bridgeport, beating longtime NHL netminder Cory Schneider in OT.

— Providence leads the Atlantic Division by 12 points and is third in the AHL with a points percentage of .781.

— With an assist on Steen’s goal, Jakub Lauko has 3-4-7 in his last six games.

— Rookies Matt Filipe and Alex-Olivier Voyer had a goal and an assist each in Bridgeport. Filipe has 1-2-3 in his last three games. Voyer has 3-2-5 in his last four games.

— Ian McKinnon continues to lead the AHL in penalty minutes, with 53 in only five games. He piled up 27 minutes against the Wolf Pack with a minor, a major and two misconducts.  I put him in the “good’’ category because of the energy and physicality that he brings.


— The last two first periods have been rough for Providence. They were outshot, 16-5, and gave up three goals against Hartford. They were outshot, 9-0, against Bridgeport.

— It took the P-Bruins 22:19 to get their first shot on net in Bridgeport. Chances are Providence has a had a shotless period or two during their 30-season history, but I can’t remember one.

— Lauko dropped the gloves with Hartford tough guy Mason Geertsen. It didn’t go well for Lauko.

— The game scheduled for April 3 against Utica – at last, a different opponent than Hartford and Bridgeport – was postponed because of COVID issues with the Comets.


Injured: Urho Vaakanainen, Brendan Woods