P-Bruins GameDay — McIntyre vs. Vanecek

stretchPROVIDENCE — Coming off a 3-2 loss at Lehigh Valley on Wednesday night, Providence Bruins coach Jay Leach is looking for his team to get back to playing its game tonight when the Hershey Bears visit the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

“We made it easy on them,” Leach said after the morning skate today. “We got away from what made us so good Sunday and Friday, and that’s playing on the inside, supporting the puck, skating. We were sleepy early and then we’re chasing it all night. We obviously had moments when we were good. It wasn’t a consistent 60-minute effort like we’ve had previously.”

Zane McIntyre will start in goal for the P-Bruins. He will be opposed by Vitek Vanecek of the Bears.

PROVIDENCE LINEUP

Fitzgerald-Szwarz-Czarnik

Agostino-JFK-Cehlarik

Blidh-Cave-Senyshyn

Beleskey-Hennessy-Hickman

Zboril-Cross

Breen-Johansson

Lauzon-O’Gara

Binnington will be the backup.

Providence plays at Springfield on Saturday night in its last game before the AHL All-Star break.

Notebook: A positive weekend for Jay Leach & P-Bruins

PROVIDENCE – The Providence Bruins won two out of three over the weekend and the way they did it – at least in the two shutout victories at home – left coach Jay Leach feeling pretty good about his team as it prepares for the final three games before the all-star break.

Zane McIntyre’s airtight goaltending and strong team defense were the perfect formula in shutout wins over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Springfield.

“We’ve been playing these games for the last two weeks now against teams that are rested and we’re playing back to backs. We challenged (the players on Sunday) and they did a great job. We might have given up a couple of chances here and there, but I thought we were really sound, really determined,’’ Leach said.

He isn’t concerned about scoring only 5 goals in 3 games.

“I’d like to think we are getting chances that are just not going in. Friday night, that kid (Anthony Peters of the Penguins) made a bunch of saves. (Sunday), this kid (Sam Montembeault of the Thunderbirds) made a bunch of saves. Logic and history does tell that (goals will) start to come in bunches. Right now, for whatever reason, it’s a bit of a challenge for us,’’ Leach said.

“It is an opportunity, when it does go like that, for us to tighten up and play the way we want to play, identify the team we want to be. I think you could argue that the two games here, Friday and Sunday, we saw some of our identity, with regards to our puck management and the way we want to defend and forecheck and do those things. What we’re trying to do is get that identity and then hopefully the goals will fall.’’

Senyshyn scratched

The pro hockey education of Zach Senyshyn continues.

Riding a streak of 13 games without a goal, the rookie first-round draft pick was a healthy scratch on Sunday.

But don’t think of it as punishment.

“What I said to him was there’s going to be times throughout the season, as a young kid, it’s not a bad thing to just watch a game. We talked before the game and we looked at some video to kind of identify where we think he’s at. He’s got plenty of good material,’’ Leach said after Sunday’s game.

“We’re taking the day to kind of hit the reset button and get focused on Wednesday’s game. That can be done because we have so many extra bodies. It wasn’t his best game on Saturday night, but on Friday night he was pretty good.

“I said to him, ‘Does he really need to come out, is it that drastic?’ It’s really not. But it is an opportunity for a young kid to sit back for a day on a three-in-three and just focus on what he is and what he can be for this team. We’ll go into (practice on) Tuesday with that focus.’’

McIntyre shines

Leach lauded the recent play of McIntyre, the AHL’s Player of the Week, who looks to be getting closer to the form he showed last season as a second-team All-Star.

“He looks big, confident. Goaltending is so challenging. You make a mistake and there’s no one else back there. Mentally, you have to be so strong. He’s fought through some stuff this year and he’s looked terrific the last two starts, that’s for sure,’’ Leach said.

Lots of positives

Leach had nice things to say about a number of his players.

Kenny (Agostino) was really, really good. A lot of energy, on pucks and doing really nice things. (Jeremy Lauzon) was good both games (he played). Emil (Johansson) was good both games. (Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson) was really good (Sunday),’’ he said.

“(Anders Bjork), I really liked his game (on Sunday). He was a little more straightforward, simplified it a little bit, getting above pucks. All these guys are learning. (Jordan Szwarz) was consistently good. Peter Cehlarik was much better (Sunday). (Chris) Breen was excellent. Very physical.

Colby Cave, the first two games of the weekend, was our best forward. (Sunday), I thought he looked a little frustrated in the first, but it was a really good weekend for him. (Ryan Fitzgerald) had a good weekend.’’

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

The Providence Bruins scored just 5 goals in 3 games over the weekend, but thanks to Zane McIntyre and excellent team defense, they gave up only 3. That was good enough to earn the P-Bruins 4 of 6 points, with a 1-0 home win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday, a 2-0 victory over Springfield at The Dunk on Sunday, sandwiched around a 3-2 loss at Bridgeport on Saturday.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

*** McIntyre was the star of the weekend with two straight shutouts, stopping all 55 shots. He has a .977 save percentage in his last 4 games. On Monday he was selected as AHL Player of the Week.

*** Friday’s 1-0 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was the best home game of the season so far. The two teams showed why they are near the top of the league. The pace was fast and there was fine goaltending at both ends.

*** Tommy Cross had 5 shots on Friday and scored the game-winning goal.

*** Ryan Fitzgerald wouldn’t be denied on his winning goal in Sunday, batting the puck in off Springfield goalie Sam Montembeault while falling to the ice.

*** Colby Cave played a fine 200-foot game all weekend.

*** The power play is showing signs of life with goals on Friday and Saturday. And on Sunday Ryan Fitzgerald’s game-winner came 10 seconds after a Springfield penalty expired.

*** Chris Breen was a force at both ends on Sunday with 6 shots on net and some punishing hits around the Providence net.

*** Jordan Szwarz posted an empty-net goal and an assist on Sunday.

*** Kenny Agostino made things happen offensively in all three games.

*** Jeremy Lauzon returned after missing 22 games with a concussion.

*** Matt Beleskey was back after sitting out 3 games with a broken orbital bone.

BAD

*** The P-Bruins were outshot, 17-6, in the second period at Bridgeport.

*** Jordan Binnington has lost his last 3 starts, with a save percentage of .883.

UGLY

*** Providence is 1-4-0-1 against Bridgeport and still has 6 games left against them.

*** While playing 3 games in 3 nights, the P-Bruins faced teams that didn’t play the night before (Bridgeport and Springfield).

P-Bruins GameDay — Senyshyn out, Czarnik in

PROVIDENCE — Zach Senyshyn, who has gone 13 straight without a goal, will be a scratch this afternoon when the Providence Bruins host the Springfield Thunderbirds. Leading scorer Austin Czarnik,  held out as a precaution scratch last night, will return to the lineup.

Zane McIntyre, who was very sharp in blanking the Penguins, 1-0, on Friday, will start in goal.

After a win at home against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and a loss on the road versus Bridgeport, the P-Bruins are looking to finish off the weekend with a win. They beat Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday night, then lost in Bridgeport last night.

After winning five in a row — including a 5-2 victory last Sunday at The Dunk — the T-Birds blew a 3-0 lead against Binghamton on Friday. They did not play last night.

PROVIDENCE LINEUP

Fitzgerald-Szwarz-Czarnik

Agostino-JFK-Cehlarik

Beleskey-Cave-Bjork

Blidh-Hennessy-Porter

Zboril-Cross

Breen-Johansson

Lauzon-O’Gara

Binnington is the backup.

SCRATCHES: Senyshyn, Clifton, Hickman, Payerl, Acolatse, Hargrove

P-Bruins GameDay — Czarnik out, Beleskey in vs. Bridgeport

After a satisfying 1-0 win over first-place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last night, the Providence Bruins play at Bridgeport tonight.

“I like the way we kept coming. Bit of a slow first five minutes but once we got our legs going it was good. Playing (against) an older group, the kids responded,” coach Jay Leach said after Friday’s game.

Austin Czarnik won’t play tonight. It’s precautionary, Leach says, and he’s expected to be back on Sunday.

Wearing a full shield, Matt Beleskey will return tonight after missing three games with a broken orbital bone

Jordan Binnington will start in goal.

Providence is 1-3-0-1 against the Sound Tigers.

PROVIDENCE LINEUP

Cehlarik-Szwarz-Hargrove

Agostino-JFK-Bjork

Beleskey-Cave-Senyshyn

Fitzgerald-Payerl-Hickman

Zboril-Cross

Breen-Clifton

O’Gara-Acolatse

McIntyre is the backup.

SCRATCHES

Czarnik, Hennessey, Lauzon, Porter, Blidh, Johansson

Providence hosts Springfield on Sunday at 3.

P-Bruins GameDay — Streaking Penguins pay a visit

PROVIDENCE — Tonight is one of those “two teams headed in opposite directions” matchups at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have reeled off eight wins in a row, overtaking the Providence Bruins for first place in the Atlantic Division.

The P-Bruins, meanwhile, are mired in a 1-4-1-1 skid.

Zane McIntyre will start in goal for Providence and ECHL vet Anthony Peters for the Pens. The 27-year-old Peters has gone 6-0 since coming in from Cincinnati of the ECHL at the end of December.

Providence’s Jeremy Lauzon returns to the lineup after missing 22 games with a concussion. Matt Beleskey (broken orbital bone) won’t play tonight, but probably will later in the weekend.

The P-Bruins and Penguins have played only once so far. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton won 4-3 in overtime in Pennsylvania on Nov. 11.

For the Penguins, East Providence native and assistant coach Tim Army will be back behind the bench for an AHL game at The Dunk for the first time since he was with Portland in 2005.

Veterans Tom Kostopoulos and Tom Sestito remain out with injuries. Coach Clark Donatelli said both are week to week.

Top players Daniel Sprong, Jean-Sebastian Dea, Dominik Simon and Casey DeSmith are on recall with Pittsburgh.

PROVIDENCE LINEUP

Cehlarik-Szwarz-Czarnik

Agostino-JFK-Bjork

Fitzgerald-Cave-Senyshyn

Blidh-Hennessey-Porter

D PAIRS

Zboril-Cross
Breen-Johansson
Lauzon-O’Gara
Binnington is the backup.
Providence is in Bridgeport on Saturday night, then back at The Dunk to play Springfield on Sunday afternoon.
SCRATCHES
Beleskey, Acolatse, Clifton, Payerl, Hickman, Hargrove, Marshall

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

The Providence Bruins had one of their worst weekends of the season, earning just 1 of 6 points. They lost at home to Bridgeport Friday on a late goal, 3-2; lost in a shootout in Bridgeport, 2-1, on Saturday; and dropped a 5-2 decision at home to Springfield on Sunday.

“We’re not burying our chances and some of their chances are going in. It’s a tough combination,’’ said coach Jay Leach.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.

GOOD

*** Zane McIntyre stopped 30 of 32 shots in four-plus periods for a .938 save percentage.

*** With a late goal to send Saturday’s game to overtime, Ryan Fitzgerald made sure the P-Bruins earned a point.

*** Average attendance at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center is over 8,000 for the first time this season. At 8,023, P-Bruins are fourth in the AHL.

BAD

*** The P-Bruins have lost 4 games in a row and have won only 1 of their last 7.

*** Providence fell to third in the Atlantic Division, sixth in the Eastern Conference and seventh in the AHL.

*** For the second Sunday in a row, Providence played its third game in three nights against a team that was playing only its second game of the weekend.

*** Refs Ben O’Quinn and David Banfield slapped Kenny Agostino with a misconduct at the end of the third period on Saturday night, so he wasn’t available in overtime.

*** Chris Breen missed the games on Saturday and Sunday after the skate of Ross Johnston of Bridgeport cut his leg during Friday’s game.

*** Plenty of tough plus-minus numbers to go around on Sunday, the worst being a minus-4 for Tommy Cross and a minus-3 for Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, who was the only Providence forward who didn’t record a shot on goal.

*** Awful luck for Matt Beleskey, who was hit in the face by a deflected puck on Friday night and suffered a broken orbital bone. The good news is he could be back as soon as next weekend.

UGLY

***Jordan Binnington posted an .872 save percentage in just over four periods.

*** Injured: Beleskey (broken orbital bone), Breen (leg), Jeremy Lauzon (concussion).

*** Providence’s power play is 28th in the AHL at 13 percent.

P-Bruins GameDay — Binnington in net vs. T-Birds

PROVIDENCE — The Providence Bruins will try to get back on the winning track this afternoon against the Springfield Thunderbirds at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

The P-Bruins have taken 11 out of 12 points from the Thunderbirds this season with 5 wins and an overtime loss.

Jordan Binnington will start in goal for the P-Bruins.

Providence again will be without Chris Breen, who is day to day with a lower body injury.

With last night’s 2-1 shootout loss in Bridgeport, Providence fell out of first place in the Atlantic Division. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is first with a .681 points percentage; the P-Bruins are second with .649. Clark Donatelli’s Penguins visit The Dunk for the first time on Friday night.

Providence is 1-3-1-1 in its last 6, with the win coming in Springfield on Jan. 6.

The Thunderbirds are coming off a 6-2 win at Lehigh Valley on Friday night. They are last in the Atlantic Divison at .436.

P-BRUINS LINES

Agostino-Szwarz-Czarnik

Cehlarik-JFK-Bjork

Fitzgerald-Cave-Senyshyn

Blidh-Porter-Hargrove

DEFENSE PAIRS

Zboril-Cross

Johansson-Clifton

O’Gara-Marshall

McIntyre is the backup.

SCRATCHES

Breen (day to day, lower body), Beleskey (broken orbital bone), Payerl, Hennessy, Acolatse, Lauzon (concussion)

P-Bruins GameDay — Beleskey, Breen out

The Providence Bruins go back to work tonight in Bridgeport, where they’ll try to figure out a way to beat the Sound Tigers.

Providence will be without Matt Beleskey for the forseeable future. He suffered a broken orbital bone when hit in the face by a deflected puck in the first period on Friday.

The P-Bruins are 1-3 against Bridgeport after last night’s 3-2 loss at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on a late, bad-angle goal by Casey Bailey. Providence’s only win came on Dec. 3 in Bridgeport.

Coach Jay Leach liked the P-Bruins’ good start on Friday night, jumping ahead on a Peter Cehlarik goal, but Bridgeport’s first goal left a sour taste.

“We really just gave them a 3 on 1 because one of our defensemen (Rob O’Gara) decided to join the rush on a 2 on 0 on the penalty kill. Ultimately, (that goal) got them right back in the game. After that, we chased the game,” Leach said.

“We probably played a good 30 minutes in that game and 30 minutes when we did not.”

Zane McIntyre will start in net tonight.

Jordan Binnington had an uncharacteristically leaky night on Friday. “I’m sure those are a couple of goals that Binner would like to have back. The third one looked like it deflected off of something. The first one hit one of our guys’ sticks,” Leach said.

PROVIDENCE LINES

Agostino-Szwarz-Czarnik

Cehlarik-JFK-Bjork

Fitzgerald-Cave-Senyshyn

Blidh-Porter-Payerl

DEFENSE PAIRS

Zboril-Cross

Johansson-Clifton

O’Gara-Acolatse

Binnington is the backup.

Scratches: Breen (lower body, day to day), Beleskey (broken orbital zone), Lauzon (concussion), Hennessey, Hickman

Providence finishes the weekend with a home game against Springfield on Sunday afternoon.

P-Bruins Gameday — Binnington starts vs. Bridgeport

PROVIDENCE – Zane McIntyre usually starts in goal on Friday night when the Providence Bruins kick off a 3-games-in-3-nights weekend, but tonight Jordan Binnington gets the call when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers come to town.

The numbers so far this season clearly tilt in favor of Binnington, who is on loan from the St. Louis Blues. Along with a 10-1-1 record, he has an AHL-leading 1.55 goals-against average; his .940 save percentage is second. He was selected to play in the AHL All-Star Classic in Utica at the end of the month.

With losses in his last three starts, McIntyre is 11-8-2-1 with a save percentage of .893.  Those numbers are way down from last season when McIntyre was a second-team AHL all-star with a .930 save percentage and a 21-6-2-2 record.

“Binner has had a heck of a start to the season. He’s earned the start tonight. Obviously, Mac hasn’t been able to find the wins that he was seeing last year and early on this season,’’ coach Jay Leach said this morning.

“By no means are we turning our back on Mac. It’s an opportunity for Binner to get a win tonight. At the end of the day, we’re in this business to win. The last one we had was Binner, and that’s why we’re going with him tonight. We’ll evaluate after that,’’ he said.

Anders Bjork won’t play tonight, but will be in the lineup on Saturday. He didn’t practice all week, as Boston gave him time off for the bye week.

PROVIDENCE LINES

Agostino-Szwarz-Czarnik

Cehlarik-JFK-Fitzgerald

Beleskey-Cave-Senyshyn

Blidh-Hennessy-Hickman

DEFENSE PAIRS

Zboril-Cross

Breen-Acolatse

Johansson-O’Gara

McIntyre is the backup.

Scratches: Porter, Payerl, Hargrove, Bjork, Lauzon, Clifton

Providence is 1-2 against Bridgeport this season, with both losses at home.

The Sound Tigers have lost 4 in a row. In their most recent game, they were beaten by Hartford, 2-1, in a shootout on Wednesday.

Islanders prospect Josh Ho Sang, Bridgeport’s most dangerous forward, was a healthy scratch in that game.

“He has to learn to manage the puck better and play away from the puck. Too many turnovers,”  coach Brent Thompson told Michael Fornabaio of The Connecticut Post. “It’s a team game. It’s making sure all five guys are on the same page. He’s got to learn to play that team game, which will help him be successful in the NHL.”

Said Ho-Sang: “They’re going to treat me however they want to treat me. At the end of the day, whatever they say is, kind of, law. It doesn’t really matter what I want to say about it or how I feel.

“I think they just want me to be the best version of me possible. That’s what everyone wants. They’re trying to figure it out.’’

The Sound Tigers will be without Sebastian Aho, Michael Dal Colle and Anthony Beauvillier. They’ve been recalled by the Islanders.

The P-Bruins visit Bridgeport on Saturday night before finishing the weekend with a home game against Springfield on Sunday.