Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bruin Blueliner and Former Buckeye Bartkowski Going Back Home

One of the Boston Bruins will be going home in the next round. Literally.

Pittsburgh native Matt Bartkowski will be facing his hometown Penguins in the Eastern Conference final, after the Bruins dispatched the New York Rangers on Saturday, 2-1, in the fifth game of that matchup.  Bartkowski, who has played a regular role on a depleted Bruins blueline, has a goal and an assist in seven Stanley Cup Playoff outings this spring.

Prior to turning pro with Providence (AHL) in 2010-11, Bartkowski played two years at Ohio State University. The 6-1, 196-pound defenseman tallied 11 goals and 27 assists for 38 points in 79 career collegiate games, along with 145 penalty minutes. As a freshman, he put up 5-15—20 points in 41 games as OSU finished 23-15-4 overall and also earned its most recent NCAA Tournament berth. The Buckeyes fell to eventual NCAA champion Boston University in the Northeast Regional final, with Bartkowski scoring a goal in an 8-3 loss.

Bartkowski, 24, who starred in junior hockey with Lincoln (USHL) before going to Columbus, was originally drafted by the Florida in the seventh round in 2008, but wasn’t signed by the Panthers. He registered 5-18—23 points in his first 69 AHL games with Providence in 2010-11. He played in nine NHL games with the parent Bruins over the next two years, and skated in 11 contests this shortened NHL season, while playing in 106 AHL games with Providence since late 2011.

He had two assists in his call-ups to the Bruins this season, and had five assists in five Calder Cup playoff contest with Providence before being summoned to Boston, where he tallied his first career NHL goal in a 5-4 win over Toronto on May 13.

Now Bartkowski’s going back to where it all began for him—with a berth in the Stanley Cup Final resting in the balance this time.

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