Friday, April 11, 2014

Providence Primed For Playoffs

Providence Defenders Buy In

April 10, 2014

Thomas Chace Jr.



It took a while, but the Providence defenders have fully bought into the Bruins system at the right time of the season.  With just five games remaining, the Boston Bruins AHL farm club is ready to make a serious run in the playoffs.  The ability to defend as a team started in training camp and is now bearing the fruits of the team believing in the system.

Head Coach Bruce Cassidy explains, “That part of the game, the guys are buying into it.  As long as we keep our transition and quick strike offense going and we’re a threat to score and keep our PP working like it can, it makes us a pretty well-rounded team.”  Specifically, regarding the defensive part of the Providence team, Cassidy says, “I like that we are defending better, I really do, the guys are buying in.”

The difference between the defense in October and November to where the team is now is quite apparent.  They have been involved in numerous low scoring games of late, with a couple of blowout victories thrown in.  Balanced scoring has also been a great asset to the club this season as well. 

As always, good defense starts with goaltending.  Boston has a plethora of solid netminders in their system.  The Bruins had enough of them that they let Anton Khudobin go to the Carolina Hurricanes where he has mostly thrived in his first NHL season.  Providence retained solid goaltending in Niklas Svedberg and first year pro Malcolm Subban.  Svedberg played most of the games early and was let down many times by the young or new Providence defense.  Subban has improved his play in the second half and at times has been outstanding.  Cassidy says that, “They are competing against one another on a regular basis now.  They are pushing each other now and it’s going to go down to the wire as to who’s going to play at the end.”

Currently Providence sits in 6th place with just five games to go in the regular season.  Albany, Hershey, and Norfolk are three to five points back.  The Bruins have a big weekend coming up as they play Albany, Norfolk, and 1st place Manchester over the course of those three days.  The Bruins are 10th in points overall in the entire AHL.  Their home and away records are almost identical which again shows the balance in their overall play.  The Bruins are 19-11-2-3 on home ice at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center and sport a 19-12-0-5 on the road.  They also lead the league in overtime games with 23 games played and a record of 2-2-11-8 in those games.  Svedberg leads the AHL with 7 shootout wins to his credit. Rookie forward Seth Griffith is second in the league in shootout goals with seven on the season thus far.  Another rookie, Anthony Camara, leads the team in game winning goals with five; three of those were in shootout wins.

Rookies have played a significant role in the Bruins season, none more than Russian Alexander Khokhlachev.  Second among rookies in scoring with 56 points in 61 games, he, along with line mates Justin Florek and Seth Griffith, has become a force on offense. Providence presently has three 20 goal scorers in Khokhlachev, Griffith, and Craig Cunningham.  On the verge of hitting 20 goals is Florek with 19, Matt Fraser with 18, and Nick Johnson with 17 tallies.

Providence, much like their big club in Boston, can play whatever style the game takes on.  If you want to mix it up, you’ll have to deal with several willing combatants, including Bobby Robins, Tyler Randell, and Captain Mike Moore.  Robins is third in the league in fighting majors with 25 and is the heart and soul of the team.  Randell does not get many takers due to his stamina and fierce punching power. Moore, as classy a player as you’ll meet, has stood up numerous times for the more skilled Providence players.

The AHL playoffs are around the corner and Providence hasn’t lost in regulation in the last six games. The team has bought into what Head Coach Cassidy and Coach Kevin Dean have been selling all year and this bodes well as they approach the AHL tournament.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Carter Camper Traded

Blue Jackets Acquire Camper

February 7, 2014

The Columbus Blue Jackets have acquired forward Carter Camper from the Boston Bruins in exchange for defenseman Blake Parlett. In addition, the Springfield Falcons traded defenseman Joe Lavin to the Providence Bruins for future considerations.

Camper, 25, has totaled 128 points (37 goals, 91 assists) in 170 career AHL games, all with Providence. In 41 games this season, the Rocky River, Ohio, native has amassed 31 points (eight goals, 23 assists), 16 penalty minutes and a minus-2 rating.

Before beginning his professional career, Camper played four seasons at Miami University from 2007-11. The 5-foot-9, 173-pound forward totaled 183 points (69 goals, 114 assists) in 156 games, including 57 points (19 goals, 38 assists) in 39 games during his senior season.

Parlett, 24, has recorded 18 points (four goals, 14 assists) in 37 games with Springfield this season. In 192 career AHL games, the Bracebridge, Ont., native 76 points (18 goals, 58 assists) with the Falcons and the Connecticut Whale.

Lavin, 24, has not appeared in a regular season game with the Falcons this season. In 24 games with the ECHL’s Evansville IceMen, the Shrewsbury, Mass., native has totaled 10 points (three goals, seven assists), 20 penalty minutes and a +1 rating. Lavin spent the previous two seasons with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs, totaling 27 points (four goals, 23 assists) in 112 games.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Spooner and Trotman Back in Providence

Ryan Spooner and Zach Trotman Assigned to Providence
Tuesday - January 28, 2014
Boston Bruins Press Release

BOSTON, MA - Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today, January 28, that the team has activated Chris Kelly from injured reserve and assigned forward Ryan Spooner and defenseman Zach Trotman to the Providence Bruins (American Hockey League). Kelly will be eligible for Tuesday’s game against the Florida Panthers.

Spooner has appeared in 22 games with Boston this season, racking up 11 assists. In total, the forward has played in 28 NHL games for Boston (2012-14).

Spooner will rejoin Providence where he has skated in 21 games earlier this year, earning five goals and 18 assists for 23 points with six penalty minutes.

In total, the 21-year-old Spooner has skated is 88 AHL games with Providence from 2010 to 2014, accruing 25 goals and 62 assists for 87 points.

The 5’10’’, 180-pound native of Kanata, Ontario was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the second round (45th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Trotman has skated in 32 games for Providence this season and recorded four goals and eight assists with a +13 rating (tied for second on the team).

Trotman made his NHL debut earlier this season against the Senators in Ottawa on December 29, where he registered three shots on net in 16:41 time on ice. The defenseman skated in his second game with the Bruins on January 20 against the Los Angeles Kings in Boston, where he registered one shot on goal.

Prior to joining Providence, Trotman played three seasons at Lake Superior State University (2009-12) where he racked up 19 goals and 20 assists in 114 games.

The 6'3", 219-pound defenseman hails from Noblesville, Indiana and was drafted by Boston in the seventh round (210th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Manchester Monarchs at Providence Bruins

December 6, 2013
Dunkin Donuts Center
Providence, RI

Photographs by Thomas Chace Jr.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Providence Gets First Win on Home Ice

Bruins Beat Undefeated Springfield in Shootout
Warsofsky With Game Winner
October 25, 2013

Providence Bruins Press Release

Providence, RI-- The Providence Bruins defeated the Springfield Falcons 4-3 in a shootout Friday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts CenterNick Johnson scored twice and Justin Florek added a goal in regulation, while Ryan Spooner and David Warsofsky tallied goals in the shootout.  Niklas Svedberg recorded 36 saves.

After a scoreless opening period where both teams had many scoring chances, the P-Bruins took a 1-0 lead 4:29 into the second when defensemen Zach Trotman took a hard shot from center ice which tipped off Johnson and into the net.  For Johnson it was his third goal of the season and Carter Camper got the second assist.  Springfield bounced back quickly at the 8:10 mark when a rush up the ice led to a crowd of players in front of the net, which helped Falcons forward Sean Collins flip the puck into the net for his first goal of the season.  Jake Hansen and Patrick McNeill recorded the assists.  Springfield took its first lead of the night, while on the power play at the 10:23 mark.  Defensemen Jean-Francois Jacques scored a power play goal, his first goal of the season, with Collins and Darryl Boyce getting the assists.  The Falcons led 2-1 going into the second intermission.

Bobby Robins returned to action for Providence after missing the first six games of the season and recorded his first point of the season with an assist on the P-Bruins goal at the 15:56 mark of the third period.  He fed a long pass from Warsofsky to the front of the net where Florek flipped it into the net. The scoring was not over when Collins tallied his second goal of the night to put the Falcons up 3-2 at the 17:34 mark.  St. Denis and Hansen picked up the assists.  The P-Bruins would again match their rival when Johnson scored his second goal of the game off a shot from the point by Joe Morrow at the 18:27 mark.  Camper had the second assist as the game went into overtime tied at three.

After a scoreless overtime the game went into a shootout.  In the shootout, Spooner scored in the first round to give the P-Bruins a 1-0 lead.  Springfield answered back in round four with a goal from Jonathan Marchessault to tie the shootout at one.  Providence grabbed the victory when Warsofsky scored in the sixth round to give the P-Bruins the 4-3 victory. 

Svedberg stopped 36 of 39 shots for the P-Bruins, while Jeremy Smith made 32 saves for the Falcons.  Providence was 0-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Providence Team Has a Lot to Learn

Young Squad Needs Time
October 16, 2013
Thomas Chace Jr.
With just four games played and a couple of wins it’s no time for Providence Bruins fans to cast too much judgment on this year’s team.  The one home game they played on Friday October 11th did not end well, as the B’s gave away a two goal lead and were beaten in a shootout by the Manchester Monarchs.  The season is long and there are many young players on the roster that will be learning along the way about the professional style of play in the AHL.

The current roster for Providence includes just seven players that were born in the 1980’s.  Defenseman, Mike Moore, will be 29 years old in December and is the elder statesman of the group.  Injured forward, Bobby Robins is 31 years old, but is recuperating from a knee injury suffered in an exhibition game vs. the Washington Capitals in September and as of yet has no return date.

One of Boston’s last assignments to Providence after training camp was 27 year old Nick Johnson, who has picked up where he left off in Boston, tallying 3 goals and an assist in their four contests so far.  No one else on the team was born before 1985.

Most of the team is 23 years old or younger and will have to learn to adjust to the AHL’s weekend heavy series of games and what to do on their own, during the week when meetings and practices conclude.  It’s an adjustment for anyone in that age group, but to play a professional game with men takes some getting used to.

The Boston Bruins philosophy of how to play the game filters through all their levels of play in the minor leagues.  Many times during the season a player from Providence seemingly fits seamlessly into the Boston line-up while filling in for an injury or as a reward for solid two-way play in Providence. 

The biggest job asked of the Providence Bruins is to develop players for the big club in Boston and hopefully win along the way.  Last year that happened in big fashion.  Providence finished with a flurry and got to the Conference Semi-finals against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins where they took a 3-0 lead in their best of seven series.  However, after Game 2, both defensemen, Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug, were now summoned to Boston for their playoff run.  Leaving Providence with no blue line scoring and facing a hot goalie, the P-Bruins caved and eventually lost in seven games to the Pens.  The team lost and it was heartbreaking but the big picture showed Providence coaches and staff getting it done in preparing the players for Boston. Bartkowski and Krug are both integral parts of the Boston defensive corps today.

Ryan Spooner, due to his position at center was a tough cut for the Boston club.  He played well enough on offense but needs to work better along the wall and be stronger on his stick.  Battling for a job with Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Chris Kelly and Greg Campbell was a no win situation for Spooner.  His future is bright because he is such a great skater.  Forwards, Nick Johnson, Matt Lindblad, and Craig Cunningham battled to the end of Boston’s camp and should excel in Providence.

On the defensive side, Zach Trotman, Tommy Cross, Joe Morrow, Kevan Miller, Chris Casto, Mike Moore, and David Warsofsky anchor a strong defense.  Warsofsky was expected to improve to the point that he would get the recall to Boston last year but he watched Krug skate past him into the Boston line-up.  Mike Moore, a Princeton graduate, is the veteran as mentioned earlier, who is a solid d-man and unafraid to drop the gloves when needed.  Miller was essentially the 8th defenseman in Boston’s camp and plays a style like Adam McQuaid.  He played over 60 games last year for Providence and along with the other Providence defensemen has good size and understands the Bruins systems.

Jared Knight was injured most of last year but is in great shape this season and it shows already.  Knight, a left wing, has already scored two goals and is playing a solid game thus far.  Younger players like Russian Alexander Khokhlachev, rookies Seth Griffith, Alexander Fallstrom, Anthony Camara, and Justin Florek are expected to improve on last year or gain knowledge this year to give them a chance down the road to see NHL action.

Carter Camper, Rob Flick, Matt Fraser and enforcers Bobby Robins and Tyler Randell round out a very young club in Providence which is ultimately backed up by two stalwart goaltenders in Niklas Svedberg and rookie Malcolm Subban.  Thus far Svedberg has played in three of the four games and playing time as always in Providence is based on how the week goes in regards to practice, preparation, and attitude.

Scoring looks like it should be balanced among several lines; the defense appears to be pretty solid but lacks the offensive creativity Bartkowski and Krug provided.  Warsofsky and others need to step up their games in that regard.  Toughness is covered by Moore, Randell, Flick, and Robins.  The Providence Bruins are capable of playing several styles of hockey but they all involve a work ethic and a philosophy developed by the Boston brass and carried out by Head Coach Bruce Cassidy and Asst. Coach Kevin Dean.

Make no mistake; these young guys have much to learn about professional hockey and playing against grown men but the blueprint is written.  Keep learning, take direction, and follow instructions and you’ll get a chance like Krug and all those before him, who got to wear the spoked “B”.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Providence Wins First Game of Season

Johnson Scores In OT, Svedberg 40 Saves
October 4, 2013

Providence Press Release:

The Providence Bruins won their season opener 4-3 in overtime over the St. John’s IceCaps Friday evening at the Mile One Centre.  The P-Bruins got a goal from Matt Fraser and Jared Knight and two goals, including the game-winner in overtime from Nick Johnson. Niklas Svedberg made 40 saves in the winning effort.The IceCaps came out strong in the first period, outshooting Providence early, but it was the P-Bruins taking the 1-0 lead at the 14:28 mark of the opening period.  Fraser scored off his backhand, his first goal of the season, while Johnson and Ryan Spooner recorded the assists.  The P-Bruins led 1-0 going into the first intermission.

The P-Bruins doubled their lead at the 13:13 mark of the second period.  Johnson tallied his first goal of the game and of the season with help from a behind the back pass from Spooner.  Fraser picked up the second assist.  Providence led 2-0 going into the second intermission. 

St. John’s got on the board at the 9:18 mark of the third period.  Adam Lowry scored his first goal of the season, while Patrice Cormier and Jordan Hill had the assists.  Providence retook their two-goal advantage at the 12:47 mark, when Knight notched his first goal of the season, with Alexander Khokhlachev grabbing the lone assist.  The IceCaps battled back with two goals in less than a minute.  At the 18:11 mark, J.C. Lipon tallied his first goal of the season, while Brenden Kichton and Jason Jaffray had the assists.  It was Eric O’Dell tying the game at three at the 19:03 mark, his first goal of the season.  Kael Mouillierat and Jerome Samson picked up the assists on the goal.  The game went into overtime tied at three.

At the 2:04 mark of overtime, Johnson’s second goal of the game gave the P-Bruins the victory as he skated in on a breakaway and beat St. John’s net minder Eddie Pasquale on the backhand.  Khokhlachev recorded his second assist of the night and the lone assist on the game winning goal.  Providence went onto the 4-3 victory.

Svedberg stopped 40 of 43 shots he faced for the P-Bruins, while Pasquale made 26 saves for the IceCaps.  The P-Bruins were 1-for-2 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill.