Providence Bruins

P-BRUINS WEEK IN REVIEW: 1/3/19 – 1/9/19

Jan 9, 2019

P-BRUINS WEEK IN REVIEW: 1/3/19 – 1/9/19

While a quick look at the standings find the Providence Bruins alone in seventh place, that certainly doesn’t tell the full story. At 16-16-5-0 with 37 points, the team remains four points back of a playoff spot and will face almost exclusively the teams they chase in the second half of the season. The P-Bruins opened the calendar year with a pair of victories at the Dunk, picking up four of a possible six points. Their special teams play remains excellent, as they are fifth in the Eastern Conference in power play percentage and second in the AHL in penalty killing.


Weekend Recap


The P-Bruins kicked off their weekend of play with 4-2 victory over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Providence rattled off three goals in 1:18 to end the first period, including two in 21 seconds by Gemel Smith. Saturday the team headed to Springfield, but a tough second period in which they allowed four Thunderbird goals was too much to overcome as they fell by a final of 5-3. The team return home Sunday against Hartford and put forth a dominant effort against the Wolf Pack. The P-Bruins more than doubled Hartford’s shots on goal for the game and scored the first five goals of the day. A late goal from the Pack spoiled the shutout, but the Providence still ended the week with 5-1 win.


Smith is Superb


Since being assigned to Providence in mid-December, Gemel Smith has been an excellent source of production for the P-Bruins. This weekend was by far his best a Bruin as he scored goals in each game and led the team with four tallies. He has settled in nicely as the second line center with Peter Cehlarik on his left and Mark McNeill on his right and has seen time on the power play unit as well. He will be one of Boston’s top call-up options should they need a forward, but for now Providence will reap the benefits of having the NHL veteran in the fold.


Zane is Insane


Zane McIntyre began the year slow, but he has recently started to play up to the high standards he set. Over his last four games he is 3-1 and lowered his season goals-against-average from 3.20 to 2.87. Since December 29, McIntyre has stopped 75 of 81 shots opponents have thrown at him, a save percentage of 92.6%. His season save percentage has gone up in each of the last four contests as he looks sharper and more confident between the pipes. He also started three straight games for the first time all season and has been a workhorse for his team. Among all goaltenders in the AHL, McIntyre ranks eighth in minutes played at 1213:53.


Other Notables


Providence spread the wealth on offense this weekend as 12 players had at least two points over their three games. Szwarz took over the team-lead in goal scoring as he netted a pair of goals to bring his total to 13. He was one of four Bruins who posted at least three points, with Smith, Kyle Cumiskey and Cameron Hughes being the other three. Cumiskey played in just two of the three games, but posted three assists to tie Hughes for the weekend lead in helpers.


Roster Notes


The P-Bruins defense will get some reinforcements this week as Urho Vaakanainen returns to the team for the first time since October. Vaakanainen was promoted to NHL in early October after starting the year in the AHL, but suffered a concussion just two games into his Boston career. He returned to the ice for Team Finland during the 2018-19 World Junior Championship. He was an alternate captain for the gold medal winning squad, posting four assists in seven games. A former first round pick, Vaakanainen now will see plenty of minutes on the P-Bruins blue line along with time in all situations.


Week Ahead


The P-Bruins have another three-in-three weekend with all their games coming against division opponents ahead of them in the standings. Providence kicks off the weekend with a 7:05pm rematch against Hartford at the Dunk. They then head to Springfield to begin a home-and-home series with the Thunderbirds. After taking on the T-Birds at the MassMutual Center at 7pm on Saturday, the two teams head back to Providence for a 3:05pm Sunday matinee.

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The Providence Bruins are the American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Boston Bruins, playing their home games at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, RI. Spanning more than 25 years, the Boston/Providence affiliation is one of the longest and most successful player development partnerships in professional hockey history.

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