Hartford road trip: Good start for Providence Bruins youngsters

I made the drive to Connecticut on Sunday to watch the Providence Bruins’ 3-1 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack in the first (and most likely only) preseason game for both teams. From A (Ahcan) to Z (Zech) and everyone in between, the P-Bruins’ kids were good. Here are a few thoughts from the game.

1. THE GOALIE

Jeremy Swayman, the best goalie in college hockey for Maine last season, was solid as a rock with 29 saves against the youngish Hartford lineup. His positioning was sound and he was calm in the crease, though he did kick out a few rebounds. The Wolf Pack turned up the heat in the third period, outshooting Providence, 12-5 (if I recall correctly – haven’t seen any official stats) and Swayman stood tall, making some tough stops on close-in shots before Providence salted away the win on an empty net goal. He was selected as the No. 1 of the game and it was well-deserved. It was a promising start for the rookie heading into the opening of the regular season on Friday.

2. THE YOUNG D

Cooper Zech, Jack Ahcan and Nick Wolff – all signed as NCAA free agents — had strong showings. Zech opened the scoring, seeing a lane opening up and quickly moving in from the blue line to fire the puck past Adam Huska in the Hartford net. He retrieved pucks and moved them out of the Providence end with authority. Ahcan scored Providence’s second goal on a long wrister through traffic. He, too, moved the puck smoothly and handled it with confidence at the point on the power play. Ahcan looks to have a knack for not putting himself in a position to be overpowered by bigger players along the boards. Wolff, on the other hand, is all about using his size to muscle opponents. He defended hard and was in the thick of a couple of after-the-whistle scrums. His ability to handle fast forwards who take the puck wide will be something to keep an eye on, but opponents are going to know when he’s on the ice. He scored an empty net goal. It was a good day for all three defensemen (and for the guys who scout NCAA free agents for the Bruins).

3. THE UNHERALDED

Coming into the game, I didn’t know a lot about winger Alex-Olivier Voyer and defenseman Brady Lyle, a pair of 21-year-old free agents signed to AHL contracts out of the Canadian Hockey League. Both acquitted themselves well on Sunday. Voyer, from Sherbrooke, has good size at 6-2 and was around the puck a lot. Doesn’t appear to be a speedster, but he looks like he’ll be a solid bottom six winger for the P-Bruins. Lyle, from Owen Sound, played as advertised in this game, moving the puck with conviction and defending well. At 6-2, he wasn’t shy about using his size. All in all, neither player looked out of place. On to Friday’s regular-season opener.

Providence Bruins getting ready to launch a one-of-a-kind season

Jay Leach guided the Providence Bruins to a 38-18-3-3 record and first place in the Atlantic Division in 2019-20 before the American Hockey League season was paused. (Photo courtesy of Christopher Emerson / RI Shots Photography.)

As you’ve no doubt heard by now, it’s going to be a different kind of season for the Providence Bruins.

Is it ever.

Twenty-six games instead of 76. Three months long instead of seven-plus. Home games at the New England Sports Center in Marlboro, Mass., instead of the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, which is a COVID-19 testing site. Every game in the afternoon. And so much more.

The postseason? Well, who knows if there even will be one.

Training camp opens this week at Lynch Arena in Pawtucket, which will be the team’s practice rink.

From the start, fending off COVID-19 will be a priority. It has to be if there is to be any semblance of a season.

“First we’ve got to make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to all the protocols because if we don’t do it right, we’re going to be back where we were in March with nothing to do,’’ said Jay Leach, who is entering his fourth season as head coach.

“I say that because it’s easy to get in here, you see your buddies again, you’re used to a certain way and it’s just human nature to let up. As soon as something like that happens and you get a few cases or whatever, it could really ruin your three-month season, frankly.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re giving ourselves the best chance possible to have a productive three-plus months here.‘’

The P-Bruins will play only three teams. They’ll face Hartford and Bridgeport 12 times each, and Utica twice. There will be no back-to-back games, no three-games-in-three nights, no overnight trips. They will sleep in their own beds every night.

Player development in a winning environment will continue to be the goal. The way the schedule is structured – two games in most weeks, instead of the usual three — leaves more time for practice and off-ice work to help players get better.

“We’re obviously going to have a lot of practice time. We have to be very organized with our days and what we’re doing each day, whether it’s team work or individual skill work, whether it’s getting ready for games on the weekend, whatever it might be,’’ said Leach.

“We’re just going to have to be strategic in getting the most out of these days because they’re precious. And then when it comes to games, we’ve got to compete. We’ve got a three-team division. We want to be the best in that division and that’s going to be our goal.’’

Gone will be the Sunday afternoon slogs between teams that are playing for the third straight day. That’s a good thing. Players should have more gas in the tank for both practices and games.

“(The schedule) is very conducive to proper development because you should be getting the most rest possible. No back to backs, 1 o’clock starts. That should provide for proper rest and recovery so your games should be at a higher level and then also your practices should be at a high level,’’ said Leach.

Expect to see familiar faces in the lineup when Providence faces Bridgeport in the opener on Feb. 5.

Veterans Paul Carey, Anton Blidh, Zach Senyshyn, Josiah Didier, Brendan Woods, Cameron Hughes and Robert Lantosi are expected to start the season with the P-Bruins. Youngsters such as Jakub Lauko, Joona Koppanen and Cooper Zech and rookies Jack Ahcan, Nick Wolff, Jeremy Swayman, Samuel Asselin, and Matt Filipe will be here, too.

It remains to be seen how much time, if any, some of the players currently on Boston’s taxi squad – Dan Vladar and Urho Vaakanainen come to mind – spend with the P-Bruins to make sure they are game-ready, if needed, in Boston.

“Obviously, we’re walking the line of balancing guys playing and at the same time making sure we have all bases covered when it comes to the Boston Bruins being able to field the best team possible and giving them the best opportunity to win every night,’’ Leach said.

Providence had won 12 games in a row when the 2019-20 season was paused last March. Leach is raring to get going again and he believes the players feel the same way.

“Right now there’s nothing but excitement. I really think these kids are like, ‘I don’t want to do what we were doing before. I’m all good with the Zoom chats. I don’t want to do that. I am pumped that I can go skate every day with a bunch of other guys in a professional setting and try to get better.’

“We’re so lucky to be able to do anything right now. The players want to get better, they want to play in the NHL. This is an opportunity for them to get better every day. I really think that’s their mentality, as crazy as this scenario is,’’ he said.

Season comes to unsatisfying end for Providence Bruins

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Jack Studnicka led the P-Bruins in scoring as a first-year pro. (Photo by CHRIS EMERSON)

Unless you’ve been social distancing under a rock on the dark side of the moon,  it was not a surprise when the American Hockey League announced on Monday that it had pulled the plug on what was left of the 2019-20 season.

But the inevitability of the cancellation didn’t make it any easier to swallow for the Providence Bruins.

They’d won 12 in a row and were in first place in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference with a 38-18-3-3 record when the season was paused on March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic. If anyone had a shot to make a deep playoff run, it was the P-Bruins.

While disappointed, coach Jay Leach sees the broader picture. “Keeping it in perspective, this is something that’s a lot bigger than hockey,’’ he said.

“With regard to the season and where we were — where a lot of our prospects were going, with our older guys leading the charge and being supported by two goalies that were really on the top of their game — there’s a lot of what-could-have-been going through my head.’’

With the postseason wiped out, all that’s left is to look back on the 62 games that go into the books as the ’19-20 season.

Providence was 20-12-1-2 and battling for a playoff berth on Jan. 1, then played .500 hockey in January. After a 2-1 overtime loss at home to Bridgeport on Feb. 9, they caught fire, ripping off victories in their final 12 games. It was a big step in a season-long building process.

“We had a group this year that, as a staff, we had to figure them out a little bit,’’ said Leach. “We knew we had a lot of pieces. At the same time, it maybe took us a while to really find the right fit for some guys.

“We certainly had a good team to start, but you saw down the stretch, we were really able to find some homes for some guys that put them in the best position to succeed. You really started to see us click in the last five weeks or so (before the pause).’’

Playing behind a deep, balanced team, Dan Vladar came back from an early season injury and led the AHL in save percentage and goals-against average. Trent Frederic improved his all-around game and established himself as a physical presence. Jakub Zboril was a standout in February and March.

“I was really excited to see Vladdy put the time in with (goalie coach Mike Dunham) and find his game to a point where he was really one of the top goalies in the league. I was excited to see Zboril excel in defending hard and transitioning well,’’ Leach said.

Jack Studnicka, who scored 23 goals and 49 points in 60 games while logging big minutes in all situations, was the team’s best player and one of the AHL’s top rookies.

“Jack’s a pretty special case. I know he’s a very talented player and we expect a lot from him, but for a 20-year-old kid to come in a perform as well as he did and in crucial situations for us – what did he have, seven shorthanded goals? These things don’t happen often with 20-year-olds in this league. They just don’t,’’ Leach said.

He pointed to a February win over Laval, which had Jesperi Kotkaniemi, the third overall pick by Montreal in the 2018 NHL Draft, in its lineup.

“Kotkaniemi certainly was a presence, especially on the power play. But I’d put Jack right there next to him, with his game at the American League level. And (Kotkaniemi is) a guy that’s been playing pro for a couple of years. Pretty impressive to see what Jack did this year,’’ Leach said.

“We evaluate players in certain ways and one of the criteria is whether they have swag or gamesmanship in a critical juncture, (the ability) to turn it on. Jack showed that.’’

Cameron Hughes was an unsung player, capable of contributing up and down the lineup.

“Hughesy for me is a guy that no one really talks about for whatever reason. He kind of gets lost in the shuffle. But that guy can do so much for you. You can put him on the power play one night and he can set up a couple of quality chances or score a goal. The next night he’s not even on the damn thing and he’s the best penalty killer out there. We know that about him, but at the same time we take him a little bit for granted from time to time.

“When you have success, you have to have the players that can get you there. We certainly had that this year.’’

Leadership is critical on any good team and the P-Bruins received contributions from a number of players.

“We had some guys hit their stride in that department. (Zach Senyshyn) is a terrific example. He’s a guy that everybody likes to be around. He’s always had that in him. I think he was able to take a little bit more of a leadership role this year with that,’’ Leach said.

“We were able to sign Brendan Woods, who is just a terrific character piece, along with (Brendan) Gaunce. We all know (captain) Paul Carey is like that. So you have a core group. And then you’ve got (Urho) Vaakanainen, who was a little bit more outspoken in the room. He loves hanging out with the guys. He loves playing. That showed through in his play. It became infectious in the group.’’

Shift in and shift out, Josiah Didier set the standard for competing and being hard to play against.

“There were just a lot of guys who really like playing with one another. That can happen most years, but we had a bunch of guys who were really wanting to take the lead on that. Once that happened, everybody followed and we had a close group.’’

But for all the good that was accomplished, missing out on the postseason leaves a sour taste.

“We’ve talked about this from Day One: We want to be playing meaningful games in April, May, June. It’s a critical piece for development. It’s definitely disappointing to not be able to see it through,’’ said Leach.

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

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The good times are rolling for the Providence Bruins.

They swept all their games for the third weekend in a row and have now won 11 straight games, tying the franchise record set in 1999, when the P-Bruins won the Calder Cup.

The P-Bruins started the weekend at home with a 2-1 overtime victory over the Springfield Thunderbirds. They traveled to Springfield on Saturday and returned with a 4-2 win. Back home on Sunday, they gave up a two-goal lead late in regulation time but edged the Hershey Bears, 3-2, in the shootout in one of the most entertaining games of the season.

“We bent and we almost broke, but we obviously were able to sneak one out in the shootout,’’ said coach Jay Leach. “Sometimes this game is just like that. We’re riding it right now and we’ll take it.’’

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

— Providence’s last loss in regulation time was on Feb. 8. They are 11-0-1-0 since then.

— With 80 points, they trail first-place Hershey by one in the Atlantic Division, but they are ahead in points percentage, .656 to .653.

— Night in and night out, the P-Bruins continue to get first-rate goaltending. Dan Vladar made 31 saves on Friday and was brilliant on Sunday with 35 stops, plus three more in the shootout. Vladar’s .935 save percentage and 1.83 goals against average are the best in the AHL. Max Lagace was a standout with 34 saves on Saturday. He is eighth in the league with a .919 save percentage and a 2.37 goals against average.

— Brendan Gaunce continued his strong play, combining on a pretty play with Peter Cehlarik for the winner in overtime on Friday.

— Zach Senyshyn scored goals in two straight games.

— Jack Studnicka has a six-game point streak with 3-5-8. He posted assists on Friday and Sunday and scored an empty net goal on Saturday.

— Ryan Fitzgerald had a good weekend, scoring Providence’a first goal on Saturday on a sweet Paul Carey setup and then scoring the only goal in the shootout on Sunday.

— With a goal on Saturday, Trent Frederic broke a streak of 11 games without a goal.

BAD

— Springfield’s Danick Martel probably deserved an instigator penalty for throwing down with Trent Frederic on Saturday. Even though he is much smaller than Frederic and isn’t much of a fighter, Martel initiated the bout, during which Frederic tossed him around. Unfortunately for Frederic, it was his eighth fighting major. If he gets to 10, he’ll be suspended for one game.

— Cooper Zech took one of the hardest (but clean) hits of the season when he was absolutely trucked by 6-foot-4 Mason Marchment of the Thunderbirds on Friday night.

— In full view of the referees, Peter Cehlarik grabbed the stick out of the hands of Hershey’s Eric Bergdoefer on Sunday and threw it aside early in the third period, incurring a minor penalty. That’s not the play you’re looking for when protecting a two-goal lead.

— Hershey’s Liam O’Brien got off a good shot on his breakaway midway through the third period, so why was he awarded a penalty shot instead of Providence being assessed a minor penalty?

— Providence was outshot in overtime on Sunday, 8-1.

— The power play went 0-for-10 for the weekend. The P-Bruins are 25th in the league at 14.9 percent.

UGLY

— Injured: Chris Breen, Brett Ritchie

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins week

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The Providence Bruins are the hottest team in the American Hockey League. After sweeping three games on the road since last Wednesday, they’ve won eight in a row.

The P-Bruins beat Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 6-2, on Wednesday, defeated Springfield, 2-1, on Saturday, and edged Hartford, 3-2, on Sunday.

“The first period was an excellent period for us – probably our best of the weekend,’’ coach Jay Leach said after the win over the Wolf Pack. “We got pucks deep, skated, and made plays to get up, 2-0.

“Obviously, they came back on us to make it 2-2 to turn it into quite a game. Our power play was able to cash in in the third and we were able to hold on with some big saves from (Max) Lagace down the stretch.’’

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

— With Sunday’s win, the P-Bruins jumped over Hartford and into second place in the Atlantic Division. Providence’s points percentage is .638 to .629 for the Wolf Pack. Hershey is first in the division at .644.

— It was a good week for special teams. The power play went 3 for 14. The penalty kill was a perfect 14 for 14. The PK is now fourth in the league at 85.7 percent.

— Cooper Zech had a strong game with 1-1-2 against the Pens. The assist was a nice cross-ice pass that Peter Cehlarik  snapped into the net.

— Cameron Hughes scored twice against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and worked a nifty give-and-go that resulted in a goal by Jack Studnicka in Hartford.

— Oskar Steen continues to play well. He made two beautiful passes for goals in Springfield. He also scored a shorthanded goal against the Wolf Pack.

— Jack Studnicka has 8-12-20 in his last 16 games. He scored a flashy shorthanded breakaway goal against the Thunderbirds. He had an assist against the Penguins and 1-1-2 against both Springfield and Hartford.

— Brendan Gaunce’s game-winner in Hartford was his 17th goal of the season. He has points in nine straight games.

— Peter Cehlarik had a good week with 2-2-4 in the three games.

— The P-Bruins have given up 185 goals, second-fewest in the AHL.

— Josiah Didier’s plus-27 is the best in the league.

— Over the last 10 or so games, Jakub Zboril is playing some of the best hockey of his pro career. He had a beautiful zone entry and pass to Cameron Hughes for a goal against the Penguins.

— Both Trent Frederic and Alex Petrovic dropped the gloves in defense of teammates.

BAD 

— A Jack Studnicka turnover in the neutral zone led to the first goal for Wilkes-Barre / Scranton on Wednesday.

— The instigating penalty on Trent Frederic against the Penguins was a bad call.

— The P-Bruins are 22nd in the AHL in power play opportunities.

— Even with Sunday’s win, Providence is only 2-6 against Hartford.

UGLY

— Injured: Chris Breen, Brett Ritchie

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

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It was another good weekend for the Providence Bruins as they won both their games against teams they are trying to beat out for an Atlantic Division playoff spot.

The P-Bruins started with a 7-4 win on Saturday over a Springfield Thunderbirds team that packed an entire games’ worth of mistakes into a six-and-a-half-minute stretch of the second period. They followed that up with a tight 2-1 victory over the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins on Sunday. Both games were at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

“These are big points because these teams are chasing us,’’ coach Jay Leach said after Sunday’s game. “(Wilkes-Barre Scranton) plays really hard and (goalie Dustin Tokarski) always plays well against us. That was a tall task for us.

“We were beneficiaries with them being on the end of a three-in-three and that was only our second game, but we got it done, to our credit. It was a good win.’’

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

— Providence has won 5 straight and now has 31 wins. Only four teams in the league have more.

— The P-Bruins finished the weekend in third place in the Atlantic Division with a .618 points percentage. Hartford is just ahead of them with .645. Just behind are Charlotte (.603) and Springfield and Wilkes-Barre Scranton, both with .554.

— Brendan Gaunce scored twice and set up a goal on Saturday and made a good pass to Steven Kampfer for a goal with .04 on the clock in the second period on Sunday. It turned out to be the winning goal. Gaunce has 5-3-8 in his last 6 games and is tied for third in the league with 6 game-winners.

— The P-Bruins exploded for six goals in 6:36 in the second period against the Thunderbirds.

— Steve Kampfer made a smart play on his goal on Sunday. Knowing that the clock was running out and he wouldn’t be caught out of position, he busted for the net and scored with .04 left.

— Zach Senyshyn had a good weekend with two assists on Saturday and a goal on Sunday.

— Trent Frederic had two assists on Saturday and one on Sunday. He leads the team with 22 helpers.

— Max Lagace stopped 20 shots on Sunday in posting his 20th win of the season. He is tied for second in the AHL in wins.

— Both Paul Carey and Jack Studnicka scored their 20th goals of the season against Springfield. Carey had 2-1-3, while Studnicka and Peter Cehlarik had 1-1-2.

— Robert Lantosi scored on Saturday, breaking a stretch of 10 games without a goal.

BAD

— Daniel Audette of Springfield buried Zach Senyshyn with a cheap, blindside hit on Saturday.

— Providence is 24th in the AHL on the power play at 15.5 percent.

UGLY

— Injured: Jakub Lauko, Chris Breen, Brett Ritchie

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

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The Providence Bruins swept all three of their games over the weekend, firming up their hold on the fourth and final playoff slot in the Atlantic Division.

The P-Bruins started with a very solid 4-2 win over a good Wilkes-Barre / Scranton team on Friday. They beat Laval, 3-0, on Sunday, then edged Bridgeport, 3-2, on Monday. All three games were at home.

“There’s not much better than a six-point weekend,’’ said P-Bruins coach Jay Leach. “We had a really tough week. We put the work in. I think we were unhappy with the weekend before, so the guys recognized that and went to work.’’

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

— With Monday’s win, Providence has a .604 points percentage. They are just behind third-place Charlotte (.608) and ahead of Springfield and Wilkes-Barre / Scranton, both with .547.

— Josiah Didier had a tremendous game on Friday night. He scored his first goal of the season and was a rock on defense, blocking numerous shots, especially after the Penguins pulled their goalie for an extra attacker. “His effort, from the beginning of the season til now, has been the same every night. We rely on him. Our players watch him play the right way and they follow suit,” said Leach.

— Oskar Steen is playing his best hockey of the season. He had two assists on both Friday and Monday and has 2-7-9 in his last 10 games. “It’s taken him some time to get used to the league. That’s normal,’’ said Leach. “He’s clearly more comfortable. He’s not thinking, he’s playing. He’s inside. He’s a little scrappy from time to time, which is good. He works and he pays attention to detail. He’s coming along pretty nice.’’

— The P-Bruins are getting excellent goaltending. Dan Vladar, who posted his third shutout with 32 saves on Sunday, leads the AHL with a .934 save percentage and a 1.79 goals-against average. Max Lagace is ninth in the league with a .918 save percentage and a 2.44 goals-against average. His 19 wins is second in the AHL.

— Providence scored the first goal in all three games.

— Brendan Gaunce has goals in three straight games and points in four straight.

— Joona Koppanen chipped in with a big insurance goal in Friday night’s win.

— Brett Ritchie rocked a Laval player on the forecheck in the third period on Sunday, leading to a Providence goal.

— Ryan Fitzgerald has goals in two straight games and points in three straight.

BAD

— Robert Lantosi has gone 10 games without a goal.

— The P-Bruins had no power plays in Friday night’s game. Wilkes-Barre / Scranton had four.

— Zach Senyshyn has gone three straight games without a shot on goal.

— Providence was outshot, 16-6, in the third period against Laval.

UGLY

— Injured: Peter Cehlarik, Chris Breen, Jakub Lauko, Brett Ritchie

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

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It was a down weekend for the Providence Bruins as they earned just one of a possible four points in their two games.

The P-Bruins dug themselves an 0-3 hole in the first period in Bridgeport on Saturday and went on to lose, 4-2. At home on Sunday, they scraped out a point, losing in overtime, 2-1.

“Very disappointing weekend. We didn’t play well (Saturday) night for two periods, then in the third period we came along, but couldn’t bury,’’ said coach Jay Leach.

“Then (on Sunday) at times I thought we were OK, we generated, we just couldn’t score. We need to score. That’s the bottom line. Our power play needs to score. We need to bury some of these chances we’re getting or we’re going to make it really hard on ourselves.’’

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

— Jack Studnicka was very good in both games. He scored his AHL-leading sixth shorthanded goal on Saturday and did in style, pulling off the one-handed finish made famous by Peter Forsberg but also accomplished by former Bruin Rosie Ruzicka.He continues to lead the team in scoring with 18-18-36 in 48 games.

— The P-Bruins managed to hang onto the fourth and final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.

— Providence’s next five games are at home.

— After he came on in relief of Max Lagace, Dan Vladar stopped all 14 shots he faced in the final 40 minutes on Saturday.

— Brendan Woods had a good weekend. He scored a goal on Saturday and did most of the work on Zach Senyshyn’s goal on Sunday.

— Paul Carey buckled Parker Wotherspoon with one punch on Sunday.

BAD

— After going 0 for 8 on the weekend, the power play has dipped to 24th in the league at 15.6 percent.

— The P-Bruins could beat Christopher Gibson just twice on 46 shots in Bridgeport and Jared Coreau only once on 36 shots at home.

— Bridgeport scored on its first two shots and three of its first eight on Max Lagace in the first period on Saturday.

UGLY

— Injured: Peter Cehlarik, Chris Breen, Jakub Lauko

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

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Jack Studnicka is leading the Providence Bruins in scoring. (Photo by Chris Emerson)

The Providence Bruins lost one and won one on their trip to New York over the weekend.

After a 3-1 loss to the Binghamton Devils on Friday, the P-Bruins rebounded with a 6-2 victory against the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday.

The win kept Providence in third place in the very tight Atlantic Division playoff race.

“We played the way we wanted to play for the first 15 minutes of the game. It was a good response from (Friday night),’’ coach Jay Leach said after the win in Syracuse. “We got into some penalty trouble and our goaltender stood tall for us. We were able to score on the power play and I thought we had a really solid third on the road for a big two points.’’

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

— It was a very good week for Jack Studnicka. After scoring three goals at the AHL All-Star Classic on Monday, he tallied Providence’s only goal in Binghamton on Friday. The next night in Syracuse, Studnicka scored twice and added two assists. His first goal came on a nifty finish on a breakaway in the first period. His second assist was a beautiful setup to Joona Koppanen. He leads the P-Bruins in scoring with 17-18-35 in 46 games.

— After scoring a goal and two assists against Syracuse, Oskar Steen has 5 points in 5 games.

— Nice work by Dan Vladar in Syracuse. After coming in cold when Max Lagace left the game with an injury with 17:18 left, Vladar stopped all seven shots that he faced.

— The power play went two-for-four on Saturday.

— Stick tap for Josiah Didier, who was signed to a two-year contract extension. Didier stood up for Dan Vladar after Binghamton’s Nathan Bastian collided with him.

— Steven Kampfer was hit in the upper body with a slapshot in Syracuse, but returned to the game and scored his first goal of the season. Stick tap for the equipment staff, which quickly handed Kampfer a new stick after he snapped one. He has 1-4-5 in 8 games.

BAD

— A pileup in the corner that grew out a big hit by Josiah Didier late in the game in Binghamton somehow resulted in 36 minutes in penalties. Seems like three or four minor penalties would have covered it.

— Despite a four-point game in Syracuse, Jack Studnicka was not selected as one of the three stars of the game.

— Providence gave up 21 shots in the first period on Saturday.

— Not sure if it was missed assignments or a bad bounce off a defensive zone draw, but the puck ended up in Providence’s net for Binghamton’s first goal on Friday.

— The P-Bruins gave up a power play goal and a shorthanded goal in the loss to Binghamton.

— A power play goal by Providence was taken off the board in the second period in Binghamton because the net was off its pegs, but it appeared to be Devils’ goalie Gilles Senn who knocked it off.

UGLY

— Injured: Cameron Hughes, Chris Breen, Peter Cehlarik, Jakub Lauko

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins week

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The Providence Bruins hit the AHL All-Star break on a positive note, earning five out of six points at home.

They started the week by beating the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Wednesday, coming from behind in the third period and winning in a shootout, 3-2.

They beat the Phantoms in regulation time on Friday, 4-3, scoring three times in just under 12 minutes in the second period.

On Saturday, the P-Bruins rallied from a goal down in the third period to take the lead against Hershey, but gave up a late goal, then lost in a shootout.

“I didn’t like our game in the first two periods,’’ coach Jay Leach said after Saturday’s game. “I thought they competed harder than we did in those two periods. However, I liked our response in the third. We responded and played the way we need to play.’’

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

— The P-Bruins are 6-1-0-1 in their last eight games for 13 out of 16 points.

— It was the best week of the season so far for Zach Senyshyn. With Providence trailing by one in the third period on Wednesday, he picked the perfect time to snap a streak of 12 games without a goal as he tied the game on a breakaway. He assisted on two goals on Friday, including one where he made a good play to win a puck along the boards, carry behind the net and then feed Karson Kuhlman for the score.

— Peter Cehlarik scored the only goal in the shootout on Wednesday, then scored twice in the third period on Saturday. Credit to Brett Ritchie for doing the heavy lifting on Cehlarik’s first goal. His second goal against Hershey was a very well-executed power play set up with Trent Frederic and Cooper Zech.

— Karson Kuhlman, who will undoubtedly be recalled by Boston after their bye week, scored two shorthanded goals on Friday. The first one came on a picture-perfect feed from Jack Studnicka. The P-Bruins lead the AHL with 14 shorthanded goals.

— Good stick by Oscar Steen, freeing up the puck on Brendan Gaunce’s goal on Friday. Steen scored a goal in a deflection on Wednesday.

— Brendan Woods made a spectacular pass to Ryan Fitzgerald for a goal on Friday.

— Max Lagace was a rock in the shootout against Lehigh Valley on Wednesday. Dan Vladar made some big stops in the third period to protect a one-goal lead against the Phantoms on Friday.

BAD

— With Jack Studnicka in the penalty box for cross-checking, Providence gave up the game-tying goal against Hershey.

— Hershey outshot Providence in overtime, 7-2.

— Announced attendance for Wednesday’s 6 p.m. game was 6,102, but  there looked to be under 1,500 people in the building,

— The P-Bruins don’t have another home game until Feb. 9.

UGLY

— Injured: Cameron Hughes, Jakub Lauko, Chris Breen, Brendan Woods