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.’’

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