The Providence Bruins would open up their brief three-game preseason schedule with a bang on Wednesday, toppling Eastern Conference rival Springfield by a 4-1 score at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, MA.
Things really got out to a fast start in the opening frame for Providence, who was quite clearly the more physically dominating team, as they would pin the Falcons deep within their own zone for long periods of time. After a bit of strong forechecking from highly-touted Boston prospect Jared Knight, forward Jamie Tardif would be able to take advantage of a Falcons’ turnover and whip a wrist shot over the glove of goaltender Curtis McElhinney to open up the scoring.
Early in the second period, 2011 American Hockey League all-star Carter Camper would double the Providence lead after shoveling home the rebound of a David Warsofsky point shot on the P-Bruins’ third power-play opportunity of the evening. Shortly after, young Matthew Pistilli would find the back of the net for the first time in his Providence career after a brilliant cross-ice pass from linemate Kelsey Wilson, securing a 3-0 P-Bruins’ lead. Towards the end of the period, we would see the second of the game’s three fights break out, as P-Bruins’ enforcer Tyler Randell would absolutely hammer Falcons’ forward Nathan Moon just outside the Springfield blueline.
First-year AHLer Justin Florek would finish off the scoring for Providence early in the third frame after his wrist shot would deflect off the glove of new Springfield goaltender Mike Clemente and trickle into the goal. Forward Patrick Kennedy would get the Falcons on the board with just less than three minutes to go in the game, but it was far too little, too late for Springfield, as Providence would hold on for a 4-1 victory to successfully open the preseason.
Who Stood Out?
Ryan Spooner - The vision and hockey-IQ of 2010 Boston Bruins’ second round draft choice Ryan Spooner is truly something to behold. Watch closely and you’ll see Spooner open up his stance as he skates into the offensive zone with possession of the puck to give himself a wider variety of options on where to make a play. It’s these types of subtleties that really separate the good players from the great players. Spooner’s ability to use this vision and create plays with the man advantage was on full display on Wednesday evening, often setting up teammates with great scoring chances on the power-play. A skillful playmaker on the halfwall is undoubtedly a welcome addition to any team’s power-play and something head coach Bruce Cassidy hopes will improve his team’s man-advantage.
“Our power-play struggled last year and we definitely missed a bit of that, a guy that can get easy goals with his vision. It will be very important. (Chris) Bourque will help us tremendously there, too. They will probably play together once we get started here so it’ll be interesting to see how they click. They’ve been pretty good in practices and they’ve been good in the scrimmages.” – Bruce Cassidy
Jared Knight - Perhaps the greatest play of the night on either end of the ice was made by another former Bruins’ second round draft choice, Jared Knight, who showed his remarkable dedication to the two-way game by returning to block a shot after just ringing the post on a breakaway mere seconds earlier. A play like this doesn’t often go unnoticed, and head coach Cassidy was tremendously pleased with Knight’s effort in Wednesday’s game.
“I liked him tonight. He attacks well on his off-side. Those are NHL plays to me, when you beat a guy wide, create a little separation, use your body and he went backhand-forehand and off the bar. Those are things he’s going to have to do when he gets to Boston. And he has the ability to do so. It was good to see that tonight and hopefully we see a lot more of it. Defensively, I thought he was fine, he gets in shooting lanes, he’s got a pretty good stick. He played for Dale Hunter, so that’s going to be expected. He’s learned well there.” – Bruce Cassidy
Ryan Lowery - Coming into camp as a non-roster invitee, not much was expected out of 24-year-old defenseman Ryan Lowery. At just 5’11″ and 190 pounds, Lowery isn’t exactly the most intimidating man that you’ll find patrolling an AHL blueline. However, his ability to rush the puck and make the first pass were truly incredible on Wednesday night. Perhaps even more impressive was the confidence with which he handled the puck in the neutral zone, creating offense for his team. If he doesn’t make the Providence roster out of camp, look for a big year out of Lowery down in Charleston with the B’s new ECHL affiliate, the South Carolina Stingrays.
Carter Camper - After an impressive rookie campaign in the AHL that included his first career all-star appearance, young forward Carter Camper was given the honor of an alternate captain “A” sewn atop his sweater in the Providence preseason opener.
“I didn’t even notice until when I was warming up, I was skating around and looked down and saw that. I guess coach felt it was good for me to have the ‘A’ on my jersey.” – Carter Camper
Skating on the P-Bruins’ top line for the night, Camper would be paired with Jared Knight for the first time in each of their careers. Though the two did not combine for any tremendous feats of offense on Wednesday, Camper was quick to compliment his linemate and was happy with the way the two were able to play together.
“He’s extremely fast and I like to dish the puck. When I’m in the middle, I try and look for him flying down the sides, then I have to try and find a way to get open.” – Carter Camper
Ben’s Three Stars:
1) Jamie Tardif (2 Goals)
2) Justin Florek (1 Goal)
3) Jared Knight
– The P-Bruins will be back on the ice of the New England Sports Center on Thursday evening against the AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Thanks For Reading!
“LIKE” Us On Facebook: HockeyIndependent Bruins
Give Me A Shout On Twitter! : @_BWoodward
Or You Can E-Mail Me At BWoodward.HI@gmail.com
About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Have written for The Hockey Guys and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com.