By Dakota Antelman, Managing Editor
Marlborough – A local star earned praise last week from a coach who was otherwise disappointed in his team’s play before empty stands on the road.
The Providence Bruins have entered their last full month of play in an abbreviated season where they’re calling the New England Sports Center hockey complex home. This is due to ongoing COVID-19 related activities back in Providence.
As the team continues to thrive, its smattering of players with local roots are especially emerging with success.
Bruins coach heaps praise on Filipe
Providence Bruins Head Coach Jay Leach was all smiles when asked about star rookie forward Matt Filipe at a press conference, March 31.
Filipe, who is the son of Hudson High School hockey icon Paul Filipe, had just notched his first career multi-point game with a goal and an assist against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
“He’s really come along nicely and been able to provide a regular shift with good energy,” Leach said.
Filipe signed with the Bruins organization in August of last year. Having grown up playing locally and hearing about the Hudson and Marlborough hockey communities, Filipe recently told the Community Advocate that this season feels like a “full circle moment.”
Filipe started the season somewhat slowly even as he relished the opportunity to play just down the street from the school where his father’s name still holds weight.
A few weeks later, though, things have picked up as the rookie forward has now scored two goals and assisted on three others.
For Leach, Filipe has also shown up in ways not necessarily reflected on statistics sheets.
“He’s been able to be a regular for us on the penalty kill,” Leach said, then acknowledging the recent scoring. “Now he’s starting to finish a bit.”
Filipe’s entry level contract runs through the end of the 2021-2022 season. As he finishes this abbreviated COVID-19 season, Leach says he’s working to help round out Filipe’s skill set with more comfort and close range scoring chops deep in the offensive zone.
Bruins snag OT win after slow start
The Providence Bruins secured an overtime win on the road against Bridgeport, March 31.
The effort, however, wasn’t perfect according to Head Coach Jay Leach.
“I’m happy there was no one in the stands for the first period,” he said following the victory. “…Bridgeport played a pretty hard, up-and-down game. But we were asleep at the wheel.”
Still leading their division in the standings, the Bruins did stumble out of the gate against Bridgeport, getting outshot in the first frame of their game by a margin of 9-0.
Down 2-1 in the third period, the Bruins did wrestle back control of the contest to force overtime and, eventually, a victory following a goal by Oskar Steen.
“We were able to stay in the game,” Leach said. “Then obviously we were able to get the win. But by no means was it our best effort.”
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.