Studnicka makes good impression in Providence debut

PROVIDENCE — Jack Studnicka said he felt “more excitement than nerves” at the start of his first game as a pro.

The 19-year-old turned in a solid all-around performance, earning a pair of assists in Friday night’s 6-3 win by the Providence Bruins over the Hartford Wolf Pack.

“The boys made me feel real comfortable. Obviously they were on their game tonight so I just tried to jump on board. The older guys led the way. It’s a fast pace so it took a little adjustment. I think I adjusted to the best of my ability,” he said.

Providence coach Jay Leach was pleased with Studnicka’s work. “I liked his first shift. He just got in there and went to work. Had some polish with the puck. Clearly can make some plays,” Leach said.

Boston drafted Studnicka in the second round, 53rd overall, last June. Building on a strong rookie camp and training camp with Boston in September, the righty centerman scored 22 goals and 72 points in 66 games as captain of the Oshawa Generals this season.

Playing between Anton Blidh and Cam Hughes, Studnicka registered his first point as a pro 7:59 into the game with a secondary assist on Blidh’s goal.

“He really got up the ice well to create the two on one on Blidh’s goal. Really kept the defender off of Blidh. If he doesn’t slash up the middle, it doesn’t create the play,” said John Ferguson Jr., Boston’s executive director of player personnel.

His second helper came in the third period, when he got the puck up the ice to Austin Czarnik, who scored his 22nd goal of the season.

“He’s trying to make plays. He’s going to learn, just like anyone else, where not to try certain things. That’s part of the reason why he’s here. He’s a good young prospect for us in the middle, just getting started,” said Ferguson.

“He made good strides this year. He’s learning both ends of the ice. That’s never been an issue for him. Skates very well. Gets his head up. Makes plays. Has got some finish. Has some flair. Has some real nice attributes.”

Boston coach Bruce Cassidy liked what he saw of Studnicka in camp.

“I thought Jack had a lot of composure, yet attacked every night he played. He wasn’t bothered by, as a young guy, looking around,” Cassidy said on Thursday in Florida.

“He just played and I thought he made some really good plays. I liked his game, especially his offensive things around the top of the circles—he could dish, he could get to the net. It looked like he had something offensively. Big enough guy, played tall, straight up. I thought in the middle of the ice he was a good player and would be a good prospect going forward.”

Studnicka isn’t eligible to move up to Providence full time next season. Unless he makes the NHL club out of training camp in the fall, he’ll be headed back to Oshawa, where he’d be one of the top players in the OHL, as well as a candidate to play for Canada in the World Junior Championship.

Looking down the road, what kind of a player could Studnicka develop into?

“I don’t know if it’s comparable, but there are players that have come through the O that have had similar characteristics, some similar attributes — a two-way game with some offense,”’ said Ferguson.

“Is it a Vince Trocheck (of Florida), who is a really, really good NHL player right now and came through the OHL and got better as a pro?”

We’ll see how it plays out. Boston’s done a great job finding good young players over the last few years and Studnicka looks to be another one.

(Stick tap to Kevin Paul Dupont for the Cassidy quote from Florida.)

P-Bruins Gameday — Pro debut for Jack Studnicka

PROVIDENCE — With six games left in the regular season, a win for the Providence Bruins tonight at home against Hartford coupled with a loss in regulation time by Bridgeport at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will clinch a playoff spot for the P-Bruins for the sixth straight season.

Tonight will be the pro debut for Jack Studnicka, Boston’s second-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.

Studnicka was impressive during rookie camp and training camp in September. He put up 22-50-72 numbers in 66 games for the Oshawa Generals.

“Heady player. Makes plays. Willing to go to the dirty areas. Another player that we are excited about,” said Jay Leach.

Providence will be without Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson (concussion); Zach Senyshyn (foot); Peter Cehlarik, Josh Hennessey and Kenny Agostino (upper body); and Justin Hickman (knee).

Colby Cave was returned by Providence by Boston today but won’t play tonight.

P-BRUINS LINEUP:

Fitzgerald-Szwarz-Czarnik

Hargrove-Frederic-Payerl
Blidh-Studnicka-Hughes
Pond-Koppanen-Porter
Cross-Clifton
Breen-Zboril
Lauzon-Postma
McIntyre
Binnington is the backup.
INJURED:
Forsbacka Karlsson (concussion); Senyshyn (foot); Cehlarik, Hennessey and Agostino (upper body); Hickman (knee).
The P-Bruins play at Bridgeport on Saturday and at home against Lehigh Valley on Sunday afternoon.

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins week

Facing two of the top teams in the AHL, the Providence Bruins lost two out of three games, but finished the weekend with a big win. With 10 rookies in the lineup, they lost 5-2 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Wednesday; dropped a 2-0 decision at Lehigh Valley on Friday; then bounced back with a very solid 3-1 victory at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday.

“(Lehigh Valley was) really good (Friday) night and we were very average. They caught us not at our best. Probably the way that we caught them the weekend before,’’ said coach Jay Leach.

“Saturday was a good game for us. We were up against it, looking at a tough road trip, and everybody responded really well. That’s a huge win for us.’’

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

*** The penalty kill was perfect in 10 shorthanded situations, and is up to sixth in the league at 84.3 percent.

*** With a goal and an assist, Adam Payerl played a terrific game in Saturday’s win.

*** The power play is 20th in the league, but came through big time on Saturday with two goals.

*** The P-Bruins went 9-5 in March. They went 3-2 in their last five in a brutal stretch against Lehigh Valley and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

*** Jordan Szwarz hit the 20-goal mark for the second straight season on Saturday. A day earlier, Boston signed him to a well-deserved contract extension.

*** Providence’s third goal on Saturday was beautiful as the puck went from Tommy Cross to Austin Czarnik to Ryan Fitzgerald to Szwarz for the score.

*** Jakub Zboril played a good all-around game on Wednesday. He scored a goal and an assist as well as defending and moving the puck well.

*** Jordan Binnington kept the P-Bruins in the game with 32 saves on Friday and was rock-solid with 34 stops on Saturday. He allowed only one goal in each game. His save on Danick Martel in the second period on Friday was a beaut.

*** Anton Blidh had a pretty snipe on Wednesday.

*** Providence has 10 players with 10 or more goals.

*** The P-Bruins have given up only 166 goals, third-fewest in the league.

*** Five of Providence’s last seven games are against teams that won’t make the playoffs.

BAD

*** The P-Bruins gave up three goals in 4:09 early in the second period in Wednesday’s loss. It started with a bad angle goal by Daniel Sprong on Zane McIntyre.

*** Tough couple of minutes for Zboril late in the first period on Saturday. He turned the puck over on the Penguins’ first goal, then took a slashing penalty.

*** Peter Cehlarik was injured on a hit by Andrey Pedan of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Wednesday. Pedan received two minutes for interference and was later suspended for two games by the AHL. It’s the second time this season that Pedan has injured a Providence player. He received a three-game suspension in November for a hit on Zboril.

*** The bus from the hotel to the rink for Tuesday’s 10:30 a.m. game in Bridgeport leaves at 7:45.

UGLY

*** Providence was outshot 19-1 in the second period of Friday’s loss at Lehigh Valley.

*** Injured: Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Kenny Agostino, Josh Hennessey, Cehlarik (all upper body), Justin Hickman (lower body).

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

It was an excellent weekend for the Providence Bruins. They took four points from the first-place Lehigh Valley Phantoms with a 5-4 overtime win on Friday and a 6-1 rout on Saturday, both at home.

“We bent but didn’t break on Friday. Saturday was obviously a terrific game for us. We skated well. Our rush was really good. Power play was pretty good. Our D zone was tight,’’ said coach Jay Leach.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

*** By the end of the day on Sunday, the P-Bruins had moved up to second in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the AHL with 10 games left in the regular season. Their magic number to clinch a playoff spot is eight.

*** Back from injury, Peter Cehlarik was terrific with two goals on Friday and two helpers on Saturday.

*** Ryan Fitzgerald scored the first goal of the game and the OT winner on Friday.

*** The P-Bruins jumped all over the Phantoms on Saturday, scoring twice in the first 3:21 and running up a 17-5 shot advantage in the opening period.

*** Colton Hargrove had a strong weekend. “Grover was a force,’’ said Leach.

*** Zane McIntyre’s 23 wins is fourth in the AHL. He also picked up his first assist of the season. Instead of holding on to the puck for a defensive zone faceoff in overtime, he gloved it ahead to Fitzgerald, who raced down the ice and scored the winner.

*** Zach Senyshyn had four shots on Friday and a goal on three shots on Saturday.

*** Kenny Agostino, Colby Cave and Anton Blidh had very good weekends.

*** Providence had eight rookies in the lineup on Friday and nine on Saturday. “They did an awesome job,’’ said Leach.

*** Trent Frederic scored his first goal as a pro on Friday and Joona Koppanen scored his first two on Saturday.

*** Austin Czarnik absolutely danced a Lehigh Valley defenseman in the first period on Saturday, but hit the crossbar.

*** Emil Johansson was plus-two on Friday and plus-three on Saturday with an assist each night.

BAD

*** The schedule ahead is tough. Providence has four straight and five of six on the road. This week they visit Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Wednesday and Saturday, with a stop at Lehigh Valley on Friday.

UGLY

***  Injured: Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson (concussion), Justin Hickman (lower body).

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

thedrop

The Providence Bruins had a good weekend, earning four of six points against strong opponents. They beat Rochester at home, 5-3; lost on the road to first-place Lehigh Valley, 3-0; and won at home against Bridgeport, 4-1.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

*** Austin Czarnik is red-hot. He had a hat trick on Friday and 1-1-2 on Sunday. He is tied for second in the league in scoring with 21-39-60 in 53 games.

“He’s feeling it. He’s shooting the puck hard. He’s buzzing pretty good. That’s the best I’ve seen him play,” coach Jay Leach said on Sunday. “He’s playing with a purpose. Very responsible defensively. He’s killing (penalties) for us. Then obviously, the contributions offensively have been great.”

*** Connor Clifton had a goal against Rochester and another against Bridgeport.

*** Adam Payerl popped the water bottle with a goal off the rush on Friday.

*** Four of Providence’s six defensemen on Friday night were rookies and all played well.

*** Joonas Koppanen, Cameron Hughes and Trent Frederic made their North American pro debuts. Hughes and Frederic registered assists on Sunday.

*** Zane McIntyre had a strong game on Sunday, stopping 44 shots. He is fourth in the AHL with 22 wins.

*** Jakub Zboril went top shelf for a goal on Sunday after nice setup from Josh Hennessey.

*** Paul Postma has six points – all assists – in six games.

*** Providence has allowed 153 goals, third-lowest in the AHL.

BAD

*** Playing at home on Friday night, traveling to Lehigh Valley for a Saturday night game, followed by a bus ride home for a Sunday afternoon game, doesn’t make for an easy weekend.

*** Since scoring three goals in three games in mid-December, Zach Senyshyn has two goals in his last 30 games.

UGLY

*** There’s a brutal five-game stretch dead ahead: Two home games against Lehigh Valley followed by two at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and one at Lehigh Valley.

*** Providence gave up two shorthanded goals within seven minutes in the loss at Lehigh Valley. The P-Bruins have allowed 11 SH goals, tied for second-worst in the AHL.

*** Injured: Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson (upper body), Peter Cehlarik (upper body), Justin Hickman (lower body), Sena Acolatse (lower body), Adam Payerl (upper body), Emil Johansson (hit in face by puck), Colton Hargrove  (upper body).

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins week

There was much more good than bad for the Providence Bruins as they earned four of six points on a tough road trip to Laval, Rochester and Toronto. The P-Bruins very nearly came home with at least five out of six points, if not for some bad luck. They beat Laval, 6-3, on Wednesday, won a 2-1 overtime decision in Rochester on Friday, then lost in Toronto, 4-3, on a tough bounce with 65 seconds left on Saturday afternoon.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

*** Austin Czarnik had 2-1-3 in Laval and added assists in Rochester and Toronto. He is third in the AHL in scoring with 17-38-55 in 50 games.

*** Colby Cave had a fine week with a goal in Laval and two in Toronto.

*** Cave’s linemate, Anton Blidh, scored twice in Laval and set up both of Cave’s goals in Toronto.

*** Providence rallied from down 0-2 and 2-3 to tie the game against the first-in-the-AHL Marlies.

*** Ryan Fitzgerald scored both goals in the 2-1 win in Rochester. He won an offensive zone draw in OT and went to the net to bury the rebound of a Paul Postma shot. Fitzgerald is having a good rookie season with 15 goals.

*** Anton Blidh scored twice in Laval and set up both of Cave’s goals in Toronto.

*** Jordan Szwarz had 1-2-3 in Laval. His plus-30 is third in the AHL.

*** Postma assisted on both goals in Rochester, making a strong play to the net in overtime that led to Fitzgerald’s game-winner.

*** Kenny Agostino broke a nine-game goal-less streak when he scored a breakaway power play goal in Toronto after a beautiful home-run pass from Czarnik.

*** Adam Payerl had a good game against Laval, setting up both of Blidh’s goals.

*** Zane McIntyre is tied for fourth in the league in wins with 20. After stopping 23 of 24 shots in Rochester, Jordan Binnington is tied for third in save percentage at .928.

*** Up from Atlanta, Dan Vladar stopped 23 shots in beating Laval.

BAD

*** Toronto had twice as many power plays as Providence – six to three – including five in a row. The Marlies scored the game-winner after a slashing call against the P-Bruins with 65 seconds left.

*** In Toronto, Providence was playing its third game in four nights. The Marlies were well-rested, having not played a game in five days.

*** The P-Bruins’ power play is 23rd in the AHL at 15.5 percent.

UGLY

*** Toronto’s winning goal on Saturday deflected into the net off the stick of Tommy Cross.

*** Injured: Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Peter Cehlarik and Colton Hargrove (upper body), Justin Hickman (lower body)

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

itson

Six out of six points was within their reach, but the Providence Bruins settled for four out of six over the weekend. The P-Bruins beat Charlotte, 6-3, at home on Friday, bested Hartford, 6-2, on the road on Saturday, and lost, 2-0, to Springfield at home on Sunday.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

*** Providence’s offense was clicking in the first two games of the weekend, putting up 6 goals in each win. It was only the second and third times all season that they’ve hit 6.

*** Chris Porter, Peter Cehlarik and Austin Czarnik had 1-1-2 each on Friday.

*** Paul Postma had two assists and five shots and was plus-3 in his Providence debut on Friday.

*** Porter and Colby Cave combined for a nifty shorthanded goal on Friday night. Porter’s backhand pass was pretty.

*** Zach Senyshyn, Peter Cehlarik and Josh Hennessy all had nice tip-in goals on Saturday.

*** Anton Blidh wasn’t credited with an assist, but he pressured a Hartford defenseman to force a turnover and Brian Ward fed Adam Payerl for the P-Bruins’ first goal on Saturday.

*** Zane McIntyre recovered from a misplay behind the net to make a great save in the first period on Friday. He made what might have been his save on the year midway through the first period on Sunday, committing larceny on Dryden Hunt.

*** Kenny Agostino had a four-point weekend, all assists.

*** Jordan Binnington stopped a penalty shot by Vinny Letteri in Hartford.

*** Nice look by Colton Hargrove to find Colby Cave for the P-Bruins’ final goal on Saturday.

BAD

*** P-Bruins will put in some miles on the bus this week. They leave early Tuesday for Laval. After playing there on Wednesday, it’s on to Rochester on Friday and first-in-the-AHL Toronto on Saturday.

*** Emil Johansson had some tough turnovers and was on the ice for all three Charlotte goals on Friday.

*** Not only did Providence go 0 for 3 on the power play in Sunday’s loss to Springfield, they gave up a shorthanded goal for the Thunderbirds’ game-winner

UGLY

*** Connor Clifton took a painful-looking fall into the boards on Friday and Justin Hickman took a nasty knee-on-knee hit from Philip Samuelsson of Charlotte.

Injuries: Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson (upper body), Jakub Zboril (upper body), Justin Hickman (lower body), Clifton.

P-Bruins GameDay — A rare visit from Charlotte Checkers

PROVIDENCE – The Providence Bruins will look to widen the gap between themselves and the Charlotte Checkers tonight at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

The third-place P-Bruins are four points ahead of the fourth-place Checkers in the Atlantic Division. With 21 games left, Providence’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot is 34.

The teams split two games in Charlotte in November. The Checkers crushed the P-Bruins, 8-2, in the first game. Providence won, 2-1, in a shootout the following afternoon.

The Checkers have not played in Providence since March 4, 2011. Trent Whitfield had 2-1-3 in the P-Bruins’ 4-2 win that night. Riley Nash had a goal for Charlotte.

Paul Postma will play his first game with the P-Bruins tonight. He’ll play the right side with Tommy Cross.

Zach Senyshyn will return to the lineup after missing two games with a lower-body injury.

Jakub Zboril and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson will miss the weekend with upper body injuries.

Charlotte will be without Andrew Miller, who is injured. Miller is tied for second in scoring in the AHL with 51 points in 53 games.

PROVIDENCE LINEUP

Fitzgerald-Szwarz-Czarnik

Agostino-Hennessy-Cehlarik

Hargrove-Cave-Senyshyn

Blidh-Porter-Hickman

Cross-Postma

Breen-Lauzon

Johansson-Clifton

McIntyre in goal, back up is Binnington

SCRATCHES: Zboril, JFK, Payerl, Acolatse

Providence visits Hartford for a 3 p.m. game on Saturday.

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

gameon

It was a solid weekend for the Providence Bruins as they won two out of three games. They beat Bridgeport, 5-3, at home on Friday, lost at Hartford, 2-1, on Saturday, then defeated the Wolf Pack at home on Sunday, 2-0.

“For the most part, we played pretty well,’’ coach Jay Leach said of Sunday’s victory. “Obviously, we had some new energy in the lineup, a couple of additions to the back end. And some of our kids – especially (Emil) Johansson and (Connor) Clifton – played a nice game for us.’’

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

*** Barring any last-minute deals at the NHL trade deadline on Monday, it looks like the P-Bruins’ roster will remain mostly intact, though they did lose Rob O’Gara.

*** Zane McIntyre leads all AHL goalies with six shutouts. He has five shutouts in his last 12 starts.

*** Peter Cehlarik broke a 17-game goal-less streak on Saturday night. He had four shots that night and six more on Sunday. “He had a good weekend. It’s a good step for him. He’s starting to hold on to pucks and he was really skating,’’ said Leach.

*** Johansson, a very underrated prospect, had a strong weekend. He jumped into the rush to score a nice goal on Friday. He made a good entry on Sunday that culminated in a goal by Colton Hargrove. And he assisted on Providence’s only goal on Saturday.

*** Hargrove scored goals on Friday and Sunday. With 14 goals in 37 games, he’s already matched his career-best, but it took him 66 games to reach 14 in 2015-16.

*** After scoring only 5 goals in 3 games during the previous weekend, the P-Bruins put up 5 on Friday.

*** In his best game with the P-Bruins, Matt Beleskey scored a goal and set up another on Friday.

*** Josh Hennessy’s goal on Friday was the 150th of his pro career.

*** Jordan Szwarz had 1-2-3 on Friday.

*** Anton Blidh was plus-3 with an assist on Friday.

*** The Charlotte Checkers will be at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Friday, a welcome change from the usual parade of Bridgeport, Springfield and Hartford.

BAD

*** The power play went a combined 0 for 10 on Saturday and Sunday.

*** Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson had no shots on both Friday and Saturday.

UGLY

*** The collision between JFK and Brendon Smith of Hartford on Sunday was scary.

*** Injuries: JFK (upper body), Jakub Zboril (upper body), Zach Senyshyn (lower body).

P-Bruins GameDay — Zboril out with upper-body injury

PROVIDENCE – After a busy morning in the front office, the Providence Bruins will finish the weekend by hosting the Hartford Wolf Pack this afternoon.

Matt Beleskey, traded to the New York Rangers this morning, will go down the hall and play for Hartford this afternoon.

Jakub Zboril will sit out today with an upper-body injury. Zach Senyshyn will miss his second straight game with a lower-body injury.

Chris Breen was signed to a two-way contract by Boston and is on NHL waivers, so he isn’t available today. He had been on an AHL contract.

Former Northeastern defenseman Colton Saucerman was signed to a PTO and will be in the lineup today. He has 4-32-36 in 52 games for Manchester of the ECHL.

Zane McIntyre starts in goal against Hartford’s Brandon Halverson.

Providence is coming off a 2-1 loss in Hartford last night.

“We just didn’t play very well,’’ said coach Jay Leach.

P-BRUINS LINEUP

Fitzgerald-Szwarz-Czarnik

Agostino-JFK-Cehlarik

Blidh-Cave-Payerl

Hargrove-Hennessy-Hickman

Johansson-Clifton

Lauzon-Acolatse

Cross-Saucerman

Binnington will be McIntyre’s backup.