Providence Bruins Go Perfect This Weekend

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By Mark Allred    Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The Providence Bruins went three-for-three this weekend and continue their march closer to the Atlantic Division’s leading Wilke-Barre/Scranton Penguins who the Baby B’s now trail by six points with 20 games remaining in the regular season. The top minor-pro affiliate of the Boston Bruins has a 33-14-5-4 record with 75 points and seem to have a stranglehold on an AHL Calder Cup Playoff appearance for the fifth straight year.

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One player that continues to dominate the AHL in his second year of professional hockey is 2010 draft selection, Zane McIntyre. After a decent but troubling rookie season in the AHL Zane went 14-8-7 with a 2.68 goals-against-average and a sub .900 save percentage in 2015-16 in 31 games played to a perfect 15-0-1 record, a 1.60 GAA and .946 save% this season in 18 games of service. A huge head-turner for sure for a player that’s going to seek a contract extension this summer as he’s a restricted free agent.

In today’s win over the Springfield Thunderbirds, the 6′-2″ 206-pound Thief River Falls, Minnesota native stonewalled the Providence team to his first shutout of the season as the Baby B’s secured three goals to help out offensively. McIntyre made 25 saves as the team in front of him dominated with 42 shots on Thunderbird’s goaltender Reto Berra to continue the winning streak to four games.

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The next game for the Providence team is this Friday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island against the Albany Devils as the team look for five straight games and their fourth consecutive home victory.

Providence Bruins Steak Fry Fundraiser 

This weekend is your last chance to show support for the Providence Seventh Annual Steak Fry at the Riviera Restaurant in East Providence, Rhode Island. If you are going to the two home games this weekend please stop at the Baby B’s Fan Club Table located behind section 101 near the “Guest Services” for tickets to this great event. All proceeds go to Special Olympics Rhode Island and Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

If you can’t make it to the games this weekend to obtain tickets and still want to have a fantastic meal with the Providence Bruins players and Boston Bruins Alumni, please get in touch with Rhonda Labush at 401-529-0953 for more details.

This great event is $25 for adults and $15 for children so go have some fun for short money and feel good about donating to a great cause. The awesome members of the Fan Club who work very hard would appreciate any and all help as we all try to make better days for those that deserve it the most.

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Peter Cehlarik, Making A Name For Himself

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(Photo by AP)

By Court Lalonde (follow @courtlalonde)

When the Boston Bruins drafted Peter Cehlarik in the third round of the 2013 entry draft, we all probably thought nothing of it. The scouting report on him was high offensive potential, can score but not a sniper, makes his linemates better, and hockey sense was above average. We see scouting reports on players that look very similar that never crack an NHL line-up. Cehlarik made his National Hockey League debut on February 11th, 2017 against the Vancouver Canucks. He was on a line with David Krejci, David Pastrnak and right from the drop of the puck looked like he had played with them all year. Krejci finished that game with two assists, Pastrnak with a goal but Cehlarik was held pointless on the scoresheet.

Cehlarik started the season with the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League and was a key component to his hockey club’s success. In 40 games with Providence, he has 18 goals, 15 assists, 33 points, and a plus-nine rating. Any Providence fan would tell you they’re happy he is up with the big club but misses watching him in Providence. That’s the grind of being a fan of a farm team, you start to connect with a player and then he is gone. If he continues to play well with the big club, the odds are they have seen the last of him in Providence.
He broke out against the hated Montreal Canadiens with two assists, one of those coming on the power play. That was a huge statement game for the Bruins and Cehlarik; he let his team know that he deserved to be in the NHL with his play on the ice. The Bruins made a statement by shutting out the Canadiens, a bitter division rival and coming together as a team to win a hard game at home. That game we got to see his confidence grow every time he had the puck on his stick by not just dumping the puck but skating with it. He was making the players around him better and was complementing both Krejci and Pastrnak by creating scoring chances.

His defensive game could be improved upon, but he is getting better every game. It was painfully obvious against the Anaheim Ducks when he gave away the puck a couple of times. We also could tell by the fact that he lost some ice time. He has averaged about 13:58 minutes a game so far but only played 11:35 against the Ducks. It’s a learning curve for him, but I believe he will get better because he has the intangibles to do so. Bruce Cassidy played him less when the game got tight last night, which is ok because he is learning. He is only 21 and has a lot of growing and maturing to do with his NHL game.

Last night we all thought he had scored his first NHL goal, only to have it called back because the play was ruled offside. It must have been a disappointment to believe you have scored your first goal and then have it taken away from you. It didn’t seem to faze him, he continued to make crisp passes and almost completed a great play over to Pastrnak, but Peter Budaj just got is leg out in time. We all have the feeling that he will score any game now but it sure is nice to watch him play.

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The Surprise Of The VHS Line

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By Court Lalonde (follow @courtlalonde)

So far in the Bruce Cassidy era, we have seen a four-game win streak, high tempo offense, Tuukka Rask standing on his head, and chemistry between Jimmy Hayes, Ryan Spooner, and Frank Vatrano. They have only played together for four games, but it has Boston Bruins fans talking all over Causeway Street. It takes a lot for a Bruin’s fan this year to admit that Hayes is playing well and I’ve seen people stick up for him on the internet lately, instead of bashing him; it’s crazy I know. The line has garnered a nickname, which is the VHS line; great name by the way.

Cassidy changed up the first three forward lines as soon as he took over the coaching duties of the Bruins. He moved David Pastrnak to the second line with David Krejci and Peter Cehlarik, forming the Central Europe line, no one has been able to come up with a clever name yet. David Backes has moved up to the first line with Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand, fitting in well with their chemistry. The big surprise is when he brought Hayes down from the ninth floor and stuck him on a line with Spooner and Vatrano.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Boston Bruins

(Winslow Townson – USA Today Sports)

We all saw the lineup card before the game and were scratching our heads. Why is Hayes back in the lineup? We all asked. Apparently, Cassidy saw something we didn’t, the line has played better with every game they play together, and the familiarity builds between them. Spooner has struggled at times this year, and it seemed like no one could find where he fit in, besides the powerplay. In the three games since forming the VHS Line, Spooner has had one goal and two assists. He has been able to play center again, use his skating and passing skills to his advantage and scoring a goal to help his club. Vatrano has had two goals and two assists since being put on this line and has looked like one of the fastest skaters on the ice, every game. Hayes had had two assists in those four games and has been able to use his size in front of the net to generate scoring chances.

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(Jeff Chiu – AP)

I feel the line has worked well so far because each player brings a different aspect that compliments the other. Vatrano has a great shot with blinding speed, Spooner has an uncanny vision on the ice with a finishing touch, and Hayes has that body presence we haven’t seen since Florida and the confidence that his line mates will get him the puck. We don’t know what the rest of the season will hold for the Bruins and this line, but one thing is for sure, it’s exciting to watch right now.

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Could Cassidy Be Named Head Coach Soon?

by Kyle Benson (@OfficialKBenson)

On Sunday, Bruce Cassidy and the reinvigorated Bruins won their fourth game in a row since Cassidy took the position from Claude Julien to become the interim head coach. The B’s defeated the San Jose Sharks in overtime, 2-1, with the team looking loose and a little more confident.

The win against the Sharks was the Bruins’ first game back from their league-mandated bye-week, a game in which around the league has not been kind to teams. After their bye-week the Bruins became just the fourth team out of 20 (4-12-4) to win coming off the break. Cassidy can certainly take some credit for this. He has changed the mindset in the locker room and the first game coming back from the bye did not phase the team, which at one time it probably would have.

Coming out of San Jose, the Bruins are back in third place in the Atlantic Division and are very much in the playoff race. While off for a week, teams chasing the Bruins in games Bruce Cassidyplayed, flopped and kept the Bruins in a safe position. Other than the Florida Panthers, who went 3-0-0, the other teams were miserable, the Toronto Maple Leafs went 1-2-0, the Philadelphia Flyers went 0-2-0, and the New York Islanders went 1-2-0. You can’t thank Cassidy for that, that is just some good luck.

With the team looking a whole lot better since Julien’s departure, you’ve got to give Cassidy a look at dropping the ‘interim’ title, and promoting him to head coach. There are some veteran head coaches without a job right now, but sometimes it can be better with someone that’s been in your organization, since they already know the team and the feel in the locker room.

It has only been four games since the transition, so of course a little more time and evaluation is needed to make the decision, unless Don Sweeney and crew want to make a hurried move. If Cassidy wins at least four or five of the next six games, that is when he should be seriously considered for the actual head coaching spot. If the team suddenly made a turn for the worse in the next few games however, Cassidy could be demoted quickly in favor of a new hire. It is easier to get fired than to get hired in the NHL.

It’s a double-edged sword for him, so he has got to keep doing what he is doing because it’s working, and hope the team responds as they have been responding to him. Right now though, Cassidy and the team have to worry about all the teams trailing them by a few points, and how to keep winning.

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The Determination Of Colin Miller

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(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Court Lalonde (follow @courtlalonde)

Colin Miller’s determination can be summed up in a quote from the Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper, “I think I can, I think I can.” He has been one of the most improved players under coach Bruce Cassidy’s new system. He looks like a different player on the ice with the green light to skate with the puck, use that cannon of a shot and not just play dump and chase.

Miller has had to have a strong determination to succeed his whole hockey career. His Ontario Hockey League team, the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds didn’t even draft him. He was a walk-on and made the team to play junior hockey. Miller had three goals and nineteen assists, with a plus-two rating on one of the worst teams in the OHL in his first season.

In 2011, his first year of eligibility for the National Hockey League draft he was passed over, but in 2012 he was selected in the fifth round, 151st overall by the Los Angeles Kings. Was known as an excellent puck mover, offensive defensemen, but lacked a physical presence. He would finish out the 2013 season with the Greyhounds and have his most productive year in the OHL. Miller had 20 goals, 35 assists, and a plus 13 rating. That made him the fourth leading scorer among defensemen in the OHL that year.

The next two seasons he would play for the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League. He had two very successful seasons in the AHL, winning the Calder Cup in 2015 and being selected to play in the AHL all-star game in 2014-15 season. During that all-star game, he won the fastest skater competition as well as the hardest shot competition, registering a 105.5 mph shot.

Miller was traded from the Kings, along with Martin Jones and the 13th overall pick (Jakub Zboril) at the 2015 entry draft for fan favorite Milan Lucic. Walking around Boston being known as the guy they traded Lucic for probably couldn’t have been easy on him. Making the Boston Bruins out of training camp that year was his first big break only to be sent back down to the AHL’s Providence Bruins half-way through the season, to finish out the year. This year is looking like his first full season with the Bruins but still, hasn’t played every game. He has been a healthy scratch some nights but in the last couple of months, has played well enough to keep himself in the lineup.

At the beginning of the year, you might have said we can leave him unprotected for the expansion draft. Recently, the pair of Kevin Miller and Colin Miller have been a great balance of grit and skill. His biggest asset is his offensive ability, along with his vision of the ice and being able to make that first pass. He has worked so hard for everything in his hockey career.  I feel by the end of the year; he will be one of those guys we say we have to keep and can’t afford to lose.

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New-Look Boston Bruins

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(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Court Lalonde (follow @courtlalonde)

With the Bruins in the first bye week in the history of their franchise, it gives us time to reflect on the last three games, also look to what’s ahead.

With three games under the new coach Bruce Cassidy, the Bruins are 3-0-0. During those games, the Bruins have played a much more high tempo than previously under Claude Julien. The defense has been jumping into the play in the offensive zone, taking high percentage shots, and finishing their checks. We have the same roster they started the season with, but they’re playing a different system, which is taking more chances to move the puck up the ice.

Bruce Cassidy was with the AHL Providence Bruins for nine seasons before being given the assistant job with the Bruins at the beginning go the season. Before being in the Bruins organization, he was the coach of the Washington Capitals from 2002-2004.

Claude had been in Boston for the past ten years, and their system focused on defense first, he has coached that way every team he has coached one. Some fans might say it’s boring hockey to watch, but it worked for a period. In the past couple of years, the NHL has gotten younger and faster, and teams were beginning to outskate the Bruins with the old system. Claude is no longer with us, and maybe it was just time for a change.

Over the past three games, Cassidy has done a little shuffling of the lines with great success. David Pastrnak is back on a line with David Krejci, and both have points in the last three games. Pastrnak has three goals and one assist and Krejci has one goal and three assists. David Backes has been move up to Patrice Bergeron’s line and has been a welcome addition to complement both Bergeron and Brad Marchand. It has allowed the Bruins to balance their attack on opposing clubs and the results have been on the score sheet.

Boston has outscored their opponents by a 14-6 margin during the three games and have recorded wins against San Jose, Vancouver, and Montreal. The win against Montreal at home, was the first win at TD Garden against the Habs since January 12th, 2012.  Two of those teams are in first place in their respected divisions, and the Bruins got a win from the backup goaltender for the second time this year. The Bruins power play has scored four goals in three games and move up to 14th in the league with a percentage of 20.1%, while the penalty kill is the best in the NHL with an 86.3% and scored a short-handed goal.

The scoring has not just come from the forwards; the defense has scored four goals in the last three games. The defense has been jumping into the rush and allowing the Bruins to catch teams off guard and create scoring chances. Colin Miller and Torey Krug have benefited from this new system by moving the puck up faster in transition and taking advantage of our winger’s speed. A big question mark was how veteran Zdeno Chara would play in this faster transition game at his age. Chara didn’t look out of place, jumped into the rush and scored a statement short-handed goal against Montreal in the 4-0 win.

In the game against Montreal, Tuukka Rask passed Frank Brimsek on the all-time list for career shutouts for a Bruins goalies to second on the list. Tiny Thompson is first on the list, with 74 and he has 36.  Rask now has six shutouts this year, with a 2.27 GAA, a .912 SV%, and 27 wins going into the break.

The break hasn’t been friendly to the teams that have had it so far this year. The bye week was an exchange for the 3-on-3 tournament for the all-star game. Players won’t have to report to practice until after 4:00 pm on the fifth day if they have a game on the sixth day. The record for teams coming off the break so far this year is 3-9 which is why this break probably came at the worst time for the Bruins. I’m sure they will poll the players at the end of the year to see if the bye week was a success and it will come back with a no.

Our hope is the Bruins start the four-game road trip with the same intensity that they have had in the previous three games. They will be in tough with games against San Jose, Anaheim, Los Angeles, and Dallas. Their new system will play well against these west-coast teams, and they know they can beat San Jose. They will take it day-by-day and now that Claude has another job that distraction should be behind them. The leaders in the room need to show it on the ice, and the players will follow.

The jury is still out on these new-look Bruins and their intern coach Bruce Cassidy. There is no way that we can say that the coaching change was a success yet, we haven’t had a big enough sample size. We will see how this team performs after the break and where the team is in the standings after as well. If they still have a playoff spot when they play the Sharks on Sunday, they should count their lucky stars. If they don’t, hopefully, they will continue the winning ways and control their destiny moving forward.

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Claude, Say It Ain’t So….

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(Gregg Forwerck/Getty images)

 

By Court Lalonde (follow @courtlalonde)

 

The Boston Bruins – Montreal Canadiens rivalry has been the most storied in the NHL since the first game they played each other on Dec 8th, 1924. The 1955 Richard Riot was because of what originally happened between the Bruins and the Canadiens. Bruins defensemen Hal Laycoe slashed Maurice Richard across the shoulder and hit him in the face with his stick. When Richard then retaliated he tried to punch Hal and instead hit the linesman Cliff Thompson in the face knocking him out. The Boston police tried to arrest Richard that night, but the Bruins made nice with the police and allowed Richard to leave the building.

Earlier today the Montreal Canadiens announced that they had hired Claude Julien as their next coach. This has never happened in the history of both franchises that a coach was fired and then hired by the other club within the same year. Pat Burns did coach both clubs, but there were years in between this happening.

Claude Julien has the most wins as a coach for the Boston Bruins in the team’s history. He helped bring the Stanley Cup back to Boston in 2011 and won the team the Presidents Trophy in 2014. In the ten years he coached this franchise, he was one of the faces that anyone would associate with the Boston Bruins.

For the fans of this team, it might feel like a slap in the face because we hate the Canadiens more than any team in the NHL. The news probably came more of a shock than that of the firing of Julien the week before. As a fan of the Bruins, the firing is still a fresh wound, and then you feel like you get wounded all over again.

From the years of 1968 to 1974 the Canadiens won four cups, and the Bruins won two and lost one year in the finals to the Philadelphia Flyers. During those years the Bruins had Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, and Johnny Bucyk that were stars in the NHL. The Canadiens had Jean Beliveau, Guy Lafleur, and a young Ken Dryden. These two teams were the most dominant teams in the NHL and had to face each other in the playoffs every year. Other teams knew they would have to beat one of them to have a chance at the cup.

In 1979, Guy Lafleur scored the famous power play goal that would tie the game up after the Bruins were called late in the third period with too many men on the ice. Rick Middleton had thought he might have had the game winner moments earlier and series winner. Montreal went on to win that game in overtime and go on to win the Stanley Cup that year.

Feb 9th, 2011 the Bruins beat the Montreal Canadiens 8-6, but they do it not just on the scoreboard. During that game, there were six fights, and a goalie fight between Carey Price and Tim Thomas. March 8th of the same year Zdeno Chara is suspended for a hit on Max Pacioretty that almost ended Pacioretty’s career. It was inevitable that the Bruins would face the Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs that year but would win it in seven games with an overtime winner from Nathan Horton. The Bruins went on to win the Stanley Cup and the modern day rivalry was back on in a big way.

I’m sure we all wanted nothing but the best for Claude after he was fired by Don Sweeney last week. I read that most fans wanted to call from Sweeney’s and Neely job after they did, not for doing it but how they did it. Maybe it makes it easier that Claude is now the coach of the Canadiens because we don’t have to be happy when he comes back to coach against us. I’m sure Claude will understand that the next time we play them, he will be our enemy.

Less than a week ago I wrote an article thanking him for everything he has done for this franchise but now he is the coach of the Montreal Canadiens. I will be forever grateful for what joy he helped bring me over the last ten years, but he is now the coach of a team that I do not like and will not like.

Sorry Claude, any time your behind that bench, you’re dead to me.

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Bruins Khudobin Builds Confidence In Win Over Vancouver

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By Mark Allred   Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The Boston Bruins looked to the services of backup goaltender Anton Khudobin for this afternoon’s matchup against the Vancouver Canucks and helped his BB’s team to a 4-3 regulation win at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Today’s victory over the Canucks was the second straight since the firing of former Head Coach Claude Julien as the team is taking positive steps forward under the tutelage off intern bench boss Bruce Cassidy.

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After a terrible start to the 2016-17 season going 1-5-1,  a 3.06 Goals-Against-Average and .885 Save Percentage, the 30-year-old netminder was sent to the American Hockey League’s Providence Bruins to seemingly find his game. After a 7-3-1 record, a 2.69 GAA and .896% with the top minor-pro affiliate of the NHL Bruins, the organization found it fit to recall him to the big club for an opportunity to redeem himself while giving starting goaltender Tuukka Rask rest coming down to the final games of the season.

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In today’ss win, Khudobin stopped 29 of 32 shots on goal for his second win of the season but more importantly the organization’s second win from members who’ve occupied the backup position this year. This was certainly a confidence boost for the veteran journeyman and with the team making progression moving forward while winning these two last games it remains to be seen how much trust new coach Cassidy will install in the backup netminder. If the Bruins are going to make a serious push to get back into the playoffs that the organization has missed the last two seasons, it’s vital that Anton works hard to be the unsung hero when called upon.

After tomorrow night’s game against the Montreal Canadians, the B’s set to take a six-day break as they take their turn in the league’s bye week. Although the bye week is aa time of rest with family activities, this time will not be used for organizational practices or team workouts. This is one factor that has many worried about how this team will react as they’re set to head west to play the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, Loss Angeles Kings, and Dallas Stars at the conclusion of the resting period which starts next week.

https://www.nhl.com/video/embed/khudobin-denies-horvat-in-close/t-283340282/c-49307503?autostart=false

NHL Highlight’s in link below:

https://www.nhl.com/video/t-283340282/c-49319303

 

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Bruins Prospect Frederic Adjusting Well At Wisconsin

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Above Photo Credit:  Wisconsin Athletics

By Mark Allred   Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

When the Boston Bruins selected forward Trent Frederic in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft from Buffalo, New York, It wasn’t the most popular pick for B’s fans and some popular hockey personalities alike. It would seem that Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney and scouting staff weren’t drafting the best available players in the past two seasons, but addressing positional needs for opportunities that might come sooner than expected.

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Frederic, who start the 2016-17 season as a freshman at the University of Wisconsin is playing well in his first year of NCAA Division 1 hockey in the Big Ten Conference. The 19-year-old St. Louis, Missouri native has appeared in 19 games this season and has contributed 10-15-25 numbers which are second on the Badgers team three points behind leading Luke Kunin who has 28.

The 6′-2″ 201-pound center is learning all aspects of the collegiate game but has been impressive in the special team’s department ranking him second on the team with five power play goals and second with one shorthanded goal. A very well positioned center is gaining valuable experience every game and getting high praise from many scouts and hockey writers covering the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey ranks. Frederic is currently on a three-game point streak where he’s posted 3-4-7 numbers and has produced 13 points in his last ten games (5-8-13).

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Badgers Head Coach and former National Hockey League forward Tony Granato had this to say about the skill forward and his progression in his first year of college hockey.

Granato said “For a 19-year-old kid, he’s just a remarkable hockey player,” Granato said. “He’s a competitor. He wants to get better — he’s hungry to get better. He’s a sponge for absorbing information on what he needs to do.”

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This is all good news for a developing player as he rises through the developmental leagues to the NHL and is projected to be a third-line center in the future. The depth at that particular position is seemingly stacked but if the young Frederic plays a full NCAA career at Wisconsin and doesn’t leave school early, he could be very well on track to be a bottom six or even top six forward to a Bruins team looking to rely heavily on youth in the next couple seasons.

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The number six ranked Badgers have nine games remaining in the regular season starting tonight when they play host against the surprisingly good Penn State Nittany Lions. Puck drops at 7:07 this evening from the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Last night the Badgers lost to Penn State by the score of 6-3 in front of the home crowd and look to change the outcome of tonight’s event.

 

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Bruins Prospect Senyshyn Continues Streak

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Above Photo Credit:  BSN Denver

By Mark Allred   Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Last night Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds forward Zach Senyshyn scored his 32nd goal of the season in a 7-5 victory over the Guelph Storm at the Essar Center in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The 2015 first round selection of the Boston Bruins scored the game-winning goal at the 12:16 mark of the third period to help the second-ranked Western Conference Hounds team to a 77 point 37-13-2-1 record. With the win, the Soo are only two points behind Conference-leading London Knights who have 79.

In 44 games played this season the 6′-3″ 196-pound right winger has 32-13-45 numbers with 15 games remaining in the 2016-17 season. Senyshyn is currently on a three-game goal streak and has contributed 12-2-14 totals in his last 15 games. The Ottawa, Ontario native is ranked fifth in goals and 42nd in overall points.

In 180 career games in the Ontario Hockey League all with the Greyhounds, the crafty and speedy winger has 104-53-157 numbers in his third full season in one of the highest leagues in Canadian Junior Hockey.

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The 37-13-2-1 Greyhounds are at home once again tonight when they play host to the 24-21-1-4 Flint Firebirds. Puck drops from the Essar Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario at 7:07 pm. Sault Ste. Marie looks to continue their three-game winning streak against the Firebirds who are coming off a 4-3 shootout loss to the London Knights on Wednesday night.

Last night’ss full game highlights between the Greyhounds and Guelph Storm matchup can be seen in the link provided below.

http://ontariohockeyleague.com/video-channels/highlights/feb-1017-gue-5-ssm-7

Some Videos below to give a better look at what type of player the 20-year-old forward could be for the Boston Bruins in the future.

 

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