Hamilton scores first NHL goal in defeat

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Hamilton scores first NHL goal in defeat

BUFFALO Dougie Hamilton hasnt shown himself to be a very emotional hockey player in his rookie campaign with the Bruins.

But the 19-year-old couldnt help but get a little excited and treat himself to a giant pump fist after potting his first career NHL goal in the first period of Bostons 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center. The rookie defensemans parents, his aunt and uncle and a slew of his close friends all came down from the Toronto area to catch Dougie doing his thing.

That might have made it a little nerve-wracking for Hamilton, but it also added to the celebration level when he cranked a shot into an open net for a power play goal.

David Krejci had fired a shot at the net near the right post that Ryan Miller made the initial stop on, and the rebound bounced right back to Krejci in the same spot. Instead of shooting again he dropped a pass to Hamilton rushing into the slot area, and the Bruins defenseman snapped a shot into the open area of the net.

It was a big goal at the time that tied the game at 1-1 in the first period, and it made Hamilton the youngest defenseman to score a goal for the Bruins (19 years old) since Jonathan Girard did it at the same age way back in 1999.

Milan Lucic made sure to secure the puck for the rookie, so hell always have a keepsake from that first NHL goal scored Feb. 15 against the Sabres.

You cant really describe it. Its such a dream come true, said Hamilton. I was still smiling when the second period started and I was still shaking from all of the adrenaline. It was just a lot of fun and I was so happy I was able to do it in front of my friends and family.

The goal snapped a six-game pointless streak for the teenaged rookie, and Hamilton followed it up with a heady play in the second period when he fired a point shot wide right of the net. The puck caromed off the end boards to Rich Peverley waiting in front of the net, and Hamilton picked up the assist when the third line winger scored the go-ahead goal.

So it was the rookies second multi-point game of his career sandwiched into 17:51 of ice time along with five attempted shots (three of which were blocked) and two blocked shots of his own. Unfortunately it wasnt in a winning effort for his hockey club, but that didnt stop his coach from being happy for him.

It was so nice for him to get that close to him. I thought he was in the right position and it was a good power play for us. Your first NHL goal is something you always dream of, said Claude Julien. Its unfortunate that it doesnt come in a win because that certainly makes for a better memory.

Hamilton certainly did everything within his power to try to push the Bruins toward a win in his big game, and he enjoyed a cool little moment that hell always remember. But with the goal in his rear view mirror now, things for Hamilton will become all about the team goals rather than the personal benchmarks as he keeps accumulating those rookie experiences.

Czarnik 'playing bigger' while looking to secure job with Bruins

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Czarnik 'playing bigger' while looking to secure job with Bruins

It’s not difficult to see why Austin Czarnik might have been a little overlooked headed into this Bruins training camp when forecasting favorites among the forwards to win a roster spot on the big club. After all he’s only 5-foot-9 and 167-pounds coming off just one very solid season at the AHL level for the Providence Bruins, and there are bigger, stronger forwards candidates that maybe rank a bit higher on the prospect list than him.

But the 23-year-old Czarnik put together an excellent training camp last fall before finishing with 20 goals and 61 points for the P-Bruins last season, and now he’s doing the exact same thing again this time around.

“Yeah, I feel more comfortable. I think we could have been a lot better in a lot of areas. Overall I think everyone is just happy to be back on the ice,” said Czarnik, who along with Frank Vatrano was one of the real starts of camp last season. “You know that type of mentality and you know mistakes are going to happen, and you’ve just got to move forward from it so everyone’s happy to be back.”

The former Miami University star is clearly happy to be back, and it’s showing on the ice with each chance he gets to show his tenacity, withering fore-check and his willingness to crash the net despite his smallish stature.

Czarnik was one of the most dangerous forwards on the ice for the Black and Gold in their preseason opener, and collected a key assist on Boston’s first goal of the game when he pushed a puck through the neutral zone before setting up on odd man rush for Jimmy Hayes and Jake DeBrusk.

This time around Czarnik scored the game’s only goal on a nifty rush during four-on-four play through the offensive zone by Ryan Spooner, who drew in the defense and dished to Czarnik for a wide open tap-in chance.

So it’s a couple of big plays in each of the first two preseason games that led to goals, and a genuinely excellent level of play throughout both contests. It’s something the Bruins coaching staff has taken note of along with his skating speed and hardnosed mentality, and now they have to figure if it fits in with their other NHL pieces.

“We were just talking about it. Everybody has that same feeling. He’s playing well. He moves well. He’s on the puck. He competes, and that’s the thing you’re looking for really,” said Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco. “Like right now, we know there’s going to be mistakes made by a lot of our players, especially the younger ones.

“We’re looking to see who’s got that competitive, you know, that competitive fire. [We’re looking for] who’s going to go out there and who can compete at a high level. I know he’s not big in stature, but he plays bigger than he is. He’s had two pretty good games so far.”

Czarnik had a couple of good games early in B’s camp last year before flat-lining a bit at the end when the NHL jobs were seriously on the line, and the 23-year-old wants that story to change endings this time around. It remains to be seen where he’s going to fit as yet another center among Boston’s group of training camp players this month, but Czarnik might just force the Bruins to make a tough decision if he keeps playing at his current high level.   

Talking Points: Veteran Red Wings torch Bruins

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Talking Points: Veteran Red Wings torch Bruins

GOLD STAR: Take your pick: Steve Ott, Drew Miller and Luke Glendening torched the Bruins with veteran savvy and toughness against a very young defensemen unit trying to survive in the second preseason game. Ott and Glendening each scored a goal and finished with three points, and Miller finished with a goal and two points while all three forwards had a plus-3 rating for the night. All of their goals came off winning battles, crashing the net and taking advantage of defensive miscues. The goals provided a good lesson to the young kids that have a ways to go before they’re NHL ready at this point in their careers. It certainly must have been a kick to the stones to many Bruins fans when “Brave” Steve Ott was named the No. 1 Star of the game after it was all over, but that was certainly appropriate.

BLACK EYE: Adam McQuaid was the most experienced defensemen out on the ice for the Bruins on Wednesday night, and it was a rough night for him with so many young guys around him on the back end. McQuaid finished a minus-2 in 17:41 with a couple of hits and got a little better as the game was going on, but was on ice for two of the first three goals allowed to Detroit in a really lackluster middle section of the game. In general, it was about more than just one player, though. There were blown assignments in the D-zone and some really noticeable lost battles leading to scoring chances for a Red Wings group that aggressively took it to the Bruins. This is a game that will leave the Bruins coaches with plenty of video material moving forward.

TURNING POINT: The real slippage came early in the game when the Bruins failed to score on some good power play chances for Peter Mueller and Matt Beleskey, and then allowed two goals within 19 seconds of each other in the first period. The first goal was a PP one for the Red Wings with Ryan Spooner whistled for a face-off infraction, and the second was simply the Bruins falling asleep at the wheel just seconds after the first goal was scored. Lost battles led to a bang-bang play in front with Steve Ott scoring as Malcolm Subban was turned around looking for the puck, and the B’s were reeling headed into the first intermission. Only a Subban shoulder save kept it from being 3-0 at the end of the first, and that was something the B’s never seemed to rebound from.

HONORABLE MENTION: Austin Czarnik scored the B’s only goal off a nice play from Ryan Spooner driving toward the net, and continues to put together another strong training camp after doing the same thing last season. Czarnik finished with the goal, three shots on net and six shot attempts in 17:38 of ice time, and battled back from a rough start to go 6-for-12 in the face-off circle while centering an extremely young line with Sean Kuraly and Zach Senyshyn. While Czarnik might not have been a big name when talking about an open roster spot with the Bruins a couple of weeks ago, he’s pushed toward making himself a part the conversation with his heart-filled, high effort energetic performances for the Black and Gold.

BY THE NUMBERS: 4-for-16 was the final tally for Ryan Spooner in the face-off circle as he continues to be a work-in-progress on the draw.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Maybe I was a little bit shocked first going out there. The speed of the game is noticeably faster, but I think as time went on I got more comfortable out there. Hopefully I can build off that moving forward.” – Bruins rookie D-man Matt Grzelcyk on his first NHL preseason game being a bit of a big wakeup call.