PROVIDENCE - In his first full year of professional hockey, Jack Studnicka has been a force for the Providence Bruins all season long. The 20-year-old center currently sits in third place amongst AHL rookies with 46 points, trailing only Josh Norris and Alex Formenton of the Belleville Senators, who have tallied 58 and 52 points, respectively.
Studnicka leads the P-Bruins in nearly all scoring categories this season, including goals (22), assists (24, tied with Trent Frederic), points (46), and, of course, shorthanded goals (7).
Studnicka's ability to generate offense on the penalty kill has turned heads, not only with the P-Bruins, but around the league as well. The seven shorthanded tallies lead the AHL, with former P-Bruins captain Jordan Szwarz sitting in second place with four. Thirteen players are tied for third place with three shorthanded goals this season.
Studnicka's most recent shorthanded effort came last Saturday against the Springfield Thunderbirds, a divisional opponent that Providence will have faced 14 times when the regular season concludes.
It was a huge goal for Providence, which currently find itself in the thick of a playoff race and riding an eight-game winning streak. With the game tied at 1 nearly halfway through the third period, Studnicka took a pass from Oskar Steen before coming in alone on a breakaway and scoring a beautiful goal with a backhand toe drag move that would eventually go down as the game-winner.
Video: Studnicka's shorthanded goal highlights
Studnicka's most recent shorthanded goal before Saturday came in early February against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. After forcing a turnover at the blue line, Studnicka used his speed to separate from the defenseman before finishing with a one-handed move on the backhand.
Earlier in the season, Studnicka recorded three shorthanded goals in just four games. The first of the three goals also came against the Sound Tigers when fellow rookie Jakub Lauko used his speed to chase down a puck in the offensive zone, before feeding a pass through the crease to Studnicka who was waiting on the back door.
Just two games later, the P-Bruins took on another division rival in the Hershey Bears. Similar to the one-handed goal against Bridgeport, Studnicka forced a turnover at his defensive blue line before using his speed to separate himself from two defenders and finish on the breakaway.
After selling a shot on the backhand, Studnicka pulled the puck over to his forehand and finished the play before the Hershey goaltender could get over to the far post. The goal gave Providence a 5-2 lead against the Bears and sealed the victory.
In the following game against Charlotte, Studnicka scored another shorthanded goal, this time into the empty net to put the nail in the coffin and close out another divisional win for Providence.
Since representing the Atlantic Division at the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic, Studnicka has been on a tear in hopes of helping to secure a playoff spot for Providence. The Tecumseh, Ontario, native has played in 12 games since the All-Star Break, scoring eight goals and adding eight assists for 16 points.
Overall this season, the rookie has recorded at least one point in 33 of 56 games played and has collected nine multi-point games. With 18 game remaining in the regular season for Providence, Studnicka's offensive production will be counted on as the team looks to make a deep run in the Calder Cup Playoffs.