Over the weekend, selected Boston Bruins prospects descended upon Buffalo, New York to participate in the Prospect Challenge tournament. Let’s take a look at how some of the Black and Gold’s most promising rookies did.
On Friday, Sept. 8, the Bruins faced off against the rookies of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The first period was atrocious as the Penguins went in front 2-0. Pittsburgh outshot Boston during the first period by a margin of 14 to 4. In the second period, the script was flipped and the Bruins scored their first goal of the tournament. The tally was scored by Jack Studnicka with assists from Matt Grzelcyk and Jeremy Lauzon. The play during the third period was evenly matched and with time running out for the Bruins in this first game, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson came through with only a minute left on the clock to tie things up at 2-2, and in the process sent this game to overtime. With three minutes left in the frame, Jesse Gabrielle and Joona Koppanen broke free for a two-on-one with Gabrielle opting to keep the puck and shot low glove side to give the Bruins a 3-2 come-from-behind victory.
The game on Saturday versus the Buffalo Sabres was tilt that the rookies would rather forget. Buffalo got on the board first with a power-play goal, but Justin Hickman tied it up 1-1 with 3:39 to go in the first. The game went back and forth, with a 3-3 tie heading into the third period, with goals credited to Sean Kuraly and Ryan Fitzgerald. The third period got chippy, with nine penalties called including. In the process, the Sabres went up 6-3. Anders Bjork added the final tally for the Bruins who in this game failed to kill a penalty, which resulted in a 7-4 loss.
On Monday, the Bruins completely obliterated the New Jersey Devils. In the first period, the Bruins scored a total of five goals while allowing one to the Devils. The game ended by the mark of 9-3. Boston’s goals were scored by Justin Hickman, Victor Berglund, Studnicka, Heinen (two), Jake DeBrusk, Jesse Gabrielle and Bjork.
Some of the players who excelled were Gabrielle and Studnicka.
Gabrielle had a point in two of the three games, a player whose speed and physicality match perfectly with his frame, scored a big goal in OT, and got to play in both the penalty kill and power play. Look for this young man to make the jump sooner or later.
The two-way center Studnicka had points in all three games and spent plenty of time on the penalty kill. Patrice Bergeron 2.0? Maybe.