Rookie Camp began yesterday, as a host of players from all over the map descended on Warrior Ice Arena, and eventually got on a bus to play in Harbor Center against Buffalo, New Jersey, and Pittsburgh over this weekend. This is the first time we get to see many of these players face off against non-Bruins prospect related hockey players in a controlled environment. It’s very exciting!
So here are the results!
Game 1, vs. Pittsburgh: Bruins Prospects win 3-2 in Overtime
The B’s prospects kinda hit a snag in the first period. In that they were lit the hell up to the lopsided tune of 14-4 in SOG and lucky to leave that period down only 2-0. It wasn’t great.
5 minutes into the Second period however, the comeback began, with Jack Studnicka opening the scoring from a Grzelcyk feed! but that was it in terms of scoring for the period. They did however turn around the shots by limiting Pittsburgh to only a pair.
The third went without much incident, neither side gaining an inch and time quickly becoming an enemy of the B’s prospects when Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson came through with only a minute left on the clock, and to OT we go!
And then Jesse Gabrielle got a two on one chance...and the puck shanked off his stick. But then he got it back and he got the shot he was looking for! shoutouts 2 Marina please go follow her.
Shaky defense by Pittsburgh but man, to have a rough first and come back like that can only say good things about their effort in the next two games!
Player’s praised: Gabrielle, obviously. Overtime is one of those places where players can either earn a good reputation or create consternation. Gabrielle made it clear he wasn’t a big fan of how that initial chance went and he wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice. Jay Leach also had positive thoughts about JFK, stating he played smart and was very responsible in his own end, but would’ve liked to see him shoot more.
Game 2 vs. Buffalo: Baby B’s and Sabres have a goalscoring derby, Boston loses 7-4 because penalty killing is hard.
Boy. That was a trip the defensemen might as well have just stayed out of.
Both teams went absolutely ballistic on scoring, one team scored, the other team responded. One team would leave a wide-open player, the other would get a shortie, and so on and so on, but Boston would keep up the pace with Buffalo up until the 3rd Period where...the wheels fell off. At least on special teams. The defense was continually hemmed in due to several penalties the rookies had to kill, and the invite goalies couldn’t quite shut the door for them. Boston did not successfully kill one penalty.
Also, Jake DeBrusk fought an ECHL goon who kinda caught him with his helmet/gloves still on. Got wrestled to the ice.
It wasn’t a great end to what was otherwise a fun, back and forth game that kept the eye interested the whole time. The scorers were Justin Hickman (off his body), Anders Bjork (from JFK!), Ryan Fitzgerald, and Sean Kuraly from a Jesse Gabrielle feed.
Players praised: Mark Divver from the Providence Journal and RinksideRhodeIsland.com commended a number of players, singling out Jakub Zboril’s bounceback game where he was a much more physical presence. Coach Leach discussed the same thing and also praised Jesse Gabrielle for his confrontational style of play and Ryan Fitzgerald’s serviceability and flexibility on the puck.
Game 3 vs. New Jersey: Bruins dismantle New Jersey 9-3
The fact that the first period ended 5-1 in favor of Boston and never...ever got worse for them should tell you everything you need to know.
Boston just set NJ on fire and watched them burn. They pulled the Devil’s heart right out of their chest and crushed it as their last few seconds of consciousness floated away. It was a clobbering that got started so early and so thoroughly it feels pointless to recap, but here we are.
Thankfully it was a day where almost everyone who’d already scored got a chance to up their point totals and almost everyone who didn’t score got on the scoreboard. Justin Hickman got a goal, Victor Berglund, Studnicka got his second of the challenge, Heinen had two goals, DeBrusk got a tally, Gabrielle got a tally, Anders Bjork had another “before the game ended” kind of goal...
And unsurprisingly the Devils were pissed, as Rob O’Gara had to lock horns with Brandon Baddock after presumedly he went nuts and cross checked a player. Even that didn’t go the devils way.
When you win games by 6 goals, I don’t think you can point to any one thing and say it wasn’t a total team domination. The Baby B’s brought home a carcass and we’re just trying to find a place to bury it.
Prospect Challenge Standouts:
Jesse Gabrielle: Gabrielle had a point in almost every game, was a combative little player whose speed and physicality looked like a match made in heaven, got to be the clutch player in OT, and got to play PK and PP situations. It’s clear this kid wants a spot on the main roster and he’s doing everything he can to make it happen.
Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson: Had a point in every game, played a solid two-way game for Boston and found himself doing a little bit of everything. Just a good center with no clear weaknesses during this challenge.
Jack Studnicka: Studnicka tended to be 1st or 2nd line center depending on the day, and he rewarded the team with goals in two games and points in all three and playing plenty of PK time (even getting a shortie from the mix!). It’s clear this young man has a bright future ahead of him if he keeps this up over the next year!
Jakub Zboril: Had points in two games, and was a player coach Jay Leach seemed to like, getting ice time in all three games, and rewarding that with physicality (he has stated outright he’s enjoyed the hitting part of the game since he was 10), and assists. Can’t ask for much more than that really.