By Dakota Antelman, Managing Editor
Marlborough – As an atypical season spent playing at Marlborough’s New England Sports Center (NESC) has been full of fireworks for many Providence Bruins players, it’s been a comparatively rough ride for local hockey star Paul Carey.
That changed, March 20, though, as he walked away from another Bruins win, this time, with something personal to celebrate.
With local roots, Carey battles up and down season
Bruins Captain and Massachusetts native Paul Carey scored his first goal of the 2021 season, March 20, snapping a streak that saw frustration mounting on familiar ice in Marlborough.
Carey is one of two Bruins players, alongside rookie Matt Filipe, to have grown up in Massachusetts. Like Filipe, as a result, he knew the NESC well as a site for regular hockey pilgrimages as a young player on middle school and high school teams.
Unlike Filipe, who just scored his second assist of the season after notching his first career goal, last week, however, Carey had struggled in 2021.
He was without a goal 13 games into the season. In stark comparison, he racked up 44 goals in two previous seasons with the Bruins.
“He was battling something early,” Coach Jay Leach said of the scoreless streak, March 20. “He won’t say that. But regardless, he never changed the way he came to work every day.”
On March 20, battling the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, he hoped to change his fortunes.
With a minute left in a scoreless first period, he intercepted a pass between Bridgeport defenders and raced forward on a partial breakaway. Chased and pressured by one Sound Tiger, he rifled a wrist shot into the net.
That whole scene had Leach happy, not just for his team, but for Carey as an individual.
“Those goals that snap a streak, they’re often going in off a skate or off a guy’s back,” Leach said. “But, here he goes through a triangle, top shelf, on a breakaway…It was really nice to see. They boys were happy. He was happy.”
Season continues in familiar position
With one game left in March, the Providence Bruins haven’t lost in over three weeks.
Their win-loss record sits at 11-2-1 and they remain tied for second place in overall league standings across the nationwide American Hockey League, which serves as a primary farm system to the NHL.
Eleven games remain on the schedule, though. And Coach Jay Leach has concerns about his squad growing complacent.
“It’s a challenge for us to be able to maintain the level of play that we’ve had up until this point,” he said, March 20. “It will continue to be a challenge.”
Our Providence Bruins notebook is an ongoing roundup of activity for the Providence Bruins hockey team as they play their 2021 season in Marlborough due to COVID-19. Check back weekly for updates.