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Providence Bruins’ season ends in double-OT loss to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 04.24.16 at 3:44 am ET
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Frank Vatrano

Frank Vatrano

PROVIDENCE — Guys were feeling good about themselves after the third period, said head coach Bruce Cassidy.

“Why wouldn’t they?”

Entering the final 20 minutes of regulation, the Providence Bruins trailed the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 4-1 in Game 3 of the Calder Cup Atlantic Division Semifinals, a best-of-five series in which the B’s were already in a 2-0 hole. They had lost the first two games on the road and needed a win Saturday to keep the season alive.

So after the “best period [they’d] had of the three games,” rallying from that three-goal deficit to tie things up with just under four minutes left in the third, they “deserved” to feel that way during the intermission prior to the start of overtime, Cassidy said.

On 20 shots in as many minutes that frame, Providence netted a trio of goals off the sticks of defenseman Chris Breen, captain Tommy Cross — both shots from the point — and centerman Austin Czarnik.

But despite a 63-37 disparity in shots favoring the P-Bruins, 33 minutes and 52 seconds worth of extra time wound up going the other way.

Pens winger Tom Kostopoulos, entering the zone on the right-wing boards, fed the puck to a streaking Jake Guentzel, who by that time was in the slot with defenseman Brett Bellemore on his tail. As Bellemore stumbled, the WBS center finished off his opportunity, beating netminder Jeremy Smith blocker side to end the series and Providence’s season.

Not only did the Penguins end up sweeping the Bruins, but they did so on three straight overtime winners.

“It’s tough when you go out like that, three overtime games, but I thought we left it all on the line,” said forward Frank Vatrano. “The hockey gods didn’t give us our bounces and it’s just a tough way to go out. We left it all out there, though, fought back, 4-1, had some chances to put the game away but sometimes that’s not how it goes.”

Much like the series, the P-Bruins found themselves down 2-0 a little more than halfway through the first period. Shots were even, 8-8, by stanza’s end, but Cassidy said he wasn’t sure the guys the team typically relies on to get going were “invested early on.” Most of the talking, then, ended up taking place after the opening period.

Cassidy gave “a little emotional speech” to get the team going and thinking, Czarnik said, and the B’s “simplified [their] game, got pucks to the net and worked [their] way back into it.”

Czarnik was one of the players challenged between periods, Cassidy said, adding that this is the time of year when you need your best players to be your best players. The forward ended up answering the call, finally getting the P-Bruins on the board 13:39 into the second.

Providence was outscored in that frame 2-1 but outshot the Pens 17-5 in the meantime.

“We’ve talked about it all year,” Cassidy said, “and Max Talbot said it in the time out, listen, you might win, you might lose, but you’ve got to go out competing and go out fighting, and that’s kind of the mentality you have to have. We bought into it and off we went.”

Then came the three-goal third. Two goals a little over three minutes apart got Providence within one with 14:30 left to play. As the clock ticked down to four minutes remaining, Czarnik took a dish from linemate Alexander Khokhlachev and one-timed it on net from the high slot past WBS goalie Casey DeSmith.

With all the momentum in the hands of the P-Bruins, Cassidy said, their best chance at winning the game likely came in those final three or four minutes. The Pens were on their heels as the B’s pressed and took shot after shot, but the intermission allowed WBS to regroup.

During OT, shots were even at 18-18, but Guentzel’s winner ended up being the difference and the cap on Providence’s 2015-16 season.

Three skaters in the top 10 in the AHL in points, one of the best home win percentages in the league, a 23-game home point streak for the team and the best record in the league since Jan. 1 were just a few highlights of the year.

“It was awesome,” Vatrano said. “It was a fun ride. We had a really great group down here and I enjoyed coming to the rink every day with these guys.”

“Where we were at in October,” Czarnik added, “worst team in the league to where we came speaks a lot about everyone in the room, their commitment to the organization, their battle level, their compete level, everything like that. So I love all of them in there, they did a great job all year, and I’m proud to be their teammate.”

Read More: Austin Czarnik, Frank Vatrano, Providence Bruins,
Seth Griffith: ‘I think after I get one, I might settle down a little bit’ 10.20.14 at 6:59 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — In the midst of a whirlwind week, Seth Griffith is just trying to soak everything in.

The 21-year-old, 5-foot-9 winger had the chance to skate with Milan Lucic and David Krejci on Monday. He was recalled Monday after scoring his second goal of the season in three games for AHL Providence on Sunday against Portland. Just two days earlier, he nearly scored against Montreal. He’s been up and down twice in the span of five days.

Griffith, who played two games with Krejci and Lucic last week, is part of the Bruins’ great early-season experiment to try and find a replacement for Jarome Iginla on Krejci’s line. Saturday night in Buffalo, it was Simon Gagne slotted in with Lucic and Krejci. But on Monday in practice it was Griffith, who has nine shots in three games with Providence but only four in three games with Boston.

“It’s pretty crazy how much faster and stronger it is in the NHL,” Griffith said. “Coming from the AHL just [Sunday] night, you can tell there’s a huge difference so hopefully, I got a little confidence [Sunday] night, come back here and try and bear down on one and hopefully, I get one.

“It’s an adjustment coming from the AHL up here. There’s bigger, faster, stronger guys so just little things along the wall, puck protection skills like that go a long way. You learn a lot from them. It’s not everyday guys get to come in and work with guys like this. You learn a lot of things, just in drills, little tricks you can do in the corners, stuff along the wall. It helps a lot.”

Coach Claude Julien admitted Monday after practice that he is forced into a situation of playing a young player like Griffith at the NHL level because of a lack of veteran bodies due to salary cap restrictions. Griffith is trying to take advantage of that chance by watching and listening to Lucic and Krejci during practice.
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Bruins recall goaltender Niklas Svedberg from Providence 05.24.13 at 3:52 pm ET
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Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced Friday the club has recalled goaltender Niklas Svedberg from Providence (AHL).

Svedberg will join Boston on Saturday, May 25. In his first season with the Providence Bruins, Svedberg appeared in 48 regular season games, compiling a 37-8-2 record with a 2.17 goals against average (fifth in the AHL) and a .925 save percentage (third in the AHL) with four shutouts. The netminder’€™s 37 regular season wins ranked second among AHL goaltenders. Svedberg was in net for 12 postseason games for the P-Bruins, where he racked up a 6-6 record with a 3.29 goals against average and .889 save percentage.

Svedberg was part of the nightmarish end to the P-Bruins season as the Baby B’s lost a 3-0 series lead to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and fell in seven games. He was pulled from the Game 7 5-0 loss to the Penguins on Wednesday night in Providence after allowing four goals on 19 shots.

Prior to joining Providence this year, the 23-year-old Svedberg spent four seasons in the Swedish Elite League from 2008-12. He helped lead Brynas to the SEL title in 2011-12 after registering a 1.70 GAA, .947 save percentage and four shutouts in 13 playoff games. The 6’0″, 176-pound native of Sollentuna, Sweden was signed as a free agent by the Bruins on May 29, 2012.

Read More: Boston Bruins, Niklas Svedberg, Providence Bruins,
Slumping P-Bruins pushed to Game 7 after OT loss 05.21.13 at 7:42 am ET
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While the attention of local hockey fans is on the Bruins, who visit the Rangers in Game 3 of their second-round series Tuesday night, the AHL’s Providence Bruins are in an intense battle in their own second-round series.

The P-Bruins won the first three games vs. the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins but have lost three straight, including Monday night’s 2-1 overtime loss at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Despite outshooting the Penguins 47-18 — including 33-5 over the last two periods — Providence could only score once: Craig Cunningham‘s second-period on former Northeastern standout Brad Thiessen, who has allowed just one goal in the last two games.

“Listen, we’€™re missing open nets. At some point you’€™ve got to put the puck in the net,” P-Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy told the Providence Journal. “A goalie can only do so much. We had open nets. We missed open nets or there’€™s a pad in the way. We’€™ve got to start finishing, plain and simple.”

Trevor Smith scored a wraparound goal 3:26 into overtime, beating goalie Niklas Svedberg to force a deciding Game 7 Wednesday night in Providence. This is just the fourth time in AHL history a team came back from a 3-0 series deficit to force a Game 7.

Providence was playing without winger Graham Mink, who was suspended for the final two games of the series after pounding Thiessen during a brawl in a fight-filled Game 5 Saturday night.

In the final five minutes of a chippy game Saturday, Mink was cutting across the crease when the fighting started. He started unloading punches on a turtling Thiessen before a referee jumped in to break it up.

“I didn’t say or do anything. It kind of happened and I’m not sure what provoked,” Thiessen told the Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre after recording the shutout in a 4-0 decision. “Whatever they want to do. My job’s to stop the puck.”

Here’s a look at Saturday’s brawl. The nastiness starts at the 6:30 mark of this video.

Read More: Brad Thiessen, Graham Mink, Niklas Svedberg, Providence Bruins
Bruins assign Dougie Hamilton to OHL, Jordan Caron among players headed to AHL 09.14.12 at 5:36 pm ET
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The Bruins announced Friday that they have sent 23 players to Providence, a list that is led by winger Jordan Caron. In addition to announcing the players assigned to Providence, the team also assigned defenseman Dougie Hamilton and goalie Malcolm Subban to their OHL teams.

While the transfer agreement between the NHL and CHL has expired, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said last week that he believes teams would be able to have junior-eligible players start a locked out season in junior and then come to the NHL when a new collective bargaining agreement is in place. The team intends to do that with Hamilton, who had 72 points in 50 regular-season games last season.

With the Bruins’ rookie camp cancelled and the NHL picture unclear, Hamilton joined up with his former-turned-current team this month, IceDogs coach Marty Williamson told WEEI.com Friday.

“He’s been practicing with us for the last two weeks almost,” Williamson said following the announcement. “He’s been here practicing but hasn’t played any exhibition games. Now that they’ve made the announcement, he’ll start Thursday with us and play his first game.”

The following players were sent to Providence: Matt Bartkowski, Ryan Button, Carter Camper, Jordan Caron, Colby Cohen, Tommy Cross, Craig Cunningham, Justin Florek, Michael Hutchinson, Jared Knight, Torey Krug, Kevan Miller, Adam Morrison, Tyler Randell, Max Sauve, Ryan Spooner, Niklas Svedberg, Zach Trotman and David Warsofsky. Veterans Garnet Exelby, Christian Hanson, Jamie Tardif and Trent Whitfield will also report to Providence after clearing waivers.

One notable absence from that list is forward Tyler Seguin. The 20-year-old has played in 175 NHL games (including playoffs) and is thus not exempt from the waiver process in order to send him to the AHL. However, it is Seguin’s understanding that there is a scenario in which he could play in the AHL this season.

Read More: Dougie Hamilton, Jordan Caron, Malcolm Subban, Providence Bruins
Tuukka Rask goes ballistic after losing shootout at Providence 03.21.09 at 2:03 pm ET
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Fantastic meltdown by Providence Bruins goaltender, and 22-year-old wonderboy Bruins prospect, Tuukka Rask after losing a 1-0 shootout to the Albany River Rats at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence last night. Rask had an issue with a pair of goals during the shootout session, and proceeded to slam his paddle against the crossbar and the boards before tossing a crate in a fit of pique out onto the ice in exasperation.

The first appears to be a shot that he had saved and play had stopped before the Albany skater popped the puck into the net, and the second shot appeared to ring off the post — but was also called a goal by the AHL officials.

We’ve heard — and seen — strong evidence of Tim Thomas and famous competitive temper when things don’t go his way in the game of hockey, but Rask had seemed like a pretty mild-mannered netminder. Until last night, that is, courtesy of footage from www.abc6.comvia youtube.

Read More: Providence Bruins, Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask,
Bitz, Karsums called up from Providence 01.10.09 at 7:53 am ET
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Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today that the club has recalled forwards Byron Bitz and Martins Karsums from the Providence Bruins (American Hockey League). Bitz gives the Bruins a skilled big body that can replicate a little bit of the unique size/skill set that Milan Lucic brought to the table before his injury (which will keep him out again today) and Karsums is once again called up to Boston in the never-ending carousel from Providence.

Yesterday morning Chiarelli voiced a preference to find in-house solutions capable of dealing with the potential loss of Marco Sturm for the season and Patrice Bergeron for an extended period of time, and the 22-year-old Karsums would seem to be getting his chance. Expect this to be a longer stint than the one-and-done experience earlier this season for Karsums, but Bitz is headed back for the Baby B’s once Lucic is healthy enough for a return. 

Don’t discount the chance that the B’s could make a move outside the organization (trade, free agent signing etc.) if they don’t find another reliable scoring option with both Sturm and Bergeron out for the near future.  

They will join the team today and be available for this afternoon’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Bitz has registered three goals and seven assists in 37 games for Providence this year. The 24-year-old scored 13 goals and made 14 assists in 61 games with the Providence Bruins last year. Before joining the P-Bruins in 2007, Bitz played four seasons at Cornell University with 28-60=88 totals and 155 penalty minutes in 124 career games.

The 6’5″, 215-pound Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native was originally drafted by the Bruins in the 4th round (107th overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. This is the first recall of Bitz’ professional career.

Karsums is currently the leading scorer for Providence with 16 goals and 23 assists in 38 games, and ranks 8th in points overall in the AHL. Recently named an AHL All-Star, he will play for the Planet USA team in the AHL All-Star Classic on January 26.

He was recalled by Boston earlier this year and made his NHL debut against the Atlanta Thrashers on December 13. He tallied a career-best 20 goals and 43 assists in 79 games during his second professional season with the Providence Bruins last year and joined the P-Bruins in 2006 after playing three seasons of junior hockey with Moncton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

The 5’10’€™”, 198-pound Riga, Latvia native was originally drafted by the Bruins in the 2nd round (64th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. The Bruins play the fifth game of a six-game homestand on Saturday,
January 10 when they host the Carolina Hurricanes at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Read More: Boston Bruins, Byrod Bitz, Marco Sturm, Martin Karsums
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