By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson
Week four of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins have a record of 5-2-0-1 (11 points). This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. Our boys in black and gold are coming off a successful week. They fell to Laval 3-2. The Providence club would bounce back to beat Belleville 7-4, before shutting out Bridgeport 4-0. Week four sees the spoked P come back to Providence for the Pink in the Rink weekend at the Dunk to support breast cancer awareness. It’s an excellent weekend to catch a game.
The heart-stopping hockey action begins on Saturday, October 26, 2019, when the Laval Rocket travels to Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. The weekend continues on Sunday, October 27, 2019, when the Belleville Senators invade the Dunkin Donuts Center. Finally, week four wraps up on Wednesday, October 30, 2019, when the Providence Bruins march to Rochester, New York, to take on the Rochester Americans at the Blue Cross Arena. It’s going to be an exciting week you don’t want to miss.
Saturday, October 26, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Laval Rocket (HOME)
The Providence Bruins kickoff their Pink in the Rink weekend with a game against the Laval Rocket. It’s going to be the third of four meetings between the two clubs. The Providence club lost the first meeting 5-4 in a shootout. They got goals from Peter Cehlarik (2), Paul Carey, and Brendan Gaunce. Goalie Max Lagace was less than stellar in net, turning away 14 of the 18 shots he faced. Our boys in black and gold didn’t fare much better in the second meeting, losing 3-2. They got goals from Ryan Fitzgerald and Alex Petrovic. Goalie Max Lagace was better in net, stopping 27 of 30 shots fired his way.
The Montreal affiliate has started the season 3-5 (6 points). This is good for sixth in the North Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, the Bruins have had trouble with Laval in the past. They’ve gone 2-2-0-2, including 1-1 at the Dunk. Even with the rough luck, I still believe our boys in black and gold should win this matchup.
Team defense and goaltending will be the two keys for Providence against Laval. The Laval club is giving up 3.12 goals a game. Their offense is scoring 2.50 goals a game. This means the Montreal Affiliate is giving up a little more than half a goal a game more than they’re scoring. Their two goalies have started out on opposite ends of the spectrum. Cayden Primeau is having an excellent first season so far, going 2-2 with a 2.03 GAA and a save percentage of .933%. Charlie Lindgren has had a rough start, going 1-3 with 3.24 GAA and a .881% save percentage.
To compare, the Bruins are giving up 2.50 goals a game. They’re also scoring 3.37 goals a game. This means our boys in black and gold are scoring .87 more goals a game than they’re giving up. Veteran goalie Max Lagace has had an excellent start, going 3-1-1 with a 1.93 GAA and a .935% save percentage with two shutouts. Dan Vladar has gone 1-1 with a 2.57 GAA and a .897% save percentage. Youngster, Kyle Keyser is 1-0 with a 4.02 GAA and a .867% save percentage.
Sunday, October 27, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Belleville Senators (HOME)
The Pink in the Rink weekend wraps up in Providence when The Belleville Senators come to town. It’ll the second and final meeting between the two clubs this season. In the first meeting, the Providence club came out on top 7-4. They got goals from Oskar Steen, Jakub Lauko, Robert Lantosi, Cameron Hughes, Peter Cehlarik, Jack Studnicka, and Paul Carey. Goalie Kyle Keyser was up to the task in net, stopping 26 of the 30 shots he faced.
The Belleville Senators have started the season 2-4 (4 points). This is good for eighth in the North Division and 15th in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins have had success against the Ottawa affiliate recently. They’ve gone 3-1, including 2-0 at the Dunk. Five on Five play is going to be the biggest key to victory for our boys in black and gold.
During their first matchup, the Bruins penalty kill was horrendous, giving up four goals in five opportunities. The power-play wasn’t much better, scoring only one goal in three chances. A deep-dive reveals that special teams are a real problem for the Providence club. Our boys in black and gold have given up nine goals in 36 penalty kill opportunities. This is only good for 75%. They’ve also given up two shorthanded goals.
The Bruins have also only converted on five of 34 power-play chances. These means at five on five, the Providence club has scored 22 goals, while only giving up nine. Belleville meanwhile has scored nine goals and given up 20, in the same situation. If the spoked P can keep their special teams off the ice, they should dominate the game. In their previous matchup, they had a six to nothing advantage when it was five on five.
Wednesday, October 30, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Rochester Americans (AWAY)
Week four wraps with a game against the Rochester Americans. It’ll be the final of two meetings these two clubs will have this season. In the first matchup, the Providence Bruins came out with a win 3-2. They got goals from Jakub Lauko, Anders Bjork, and Oskar Steen. Netminder Max Lagace was excellent, turning away 30 of 32 shots he faced.
The Rochester Americans have started out the season 4-2-0-1 (9 points). This is good for third in the North Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence Bruins have had the Buffalo affiliate’s number in the past. They’ve gone 8-1 over the past five seasons, including 3-1 on the road. Shots on goal will end up being key in this game and not in the way you may expect.
The Rochester Americans are 3-2-0-1 when outshooting their opposition. This means they’ve had the shot advantage in every game they’ve played. To combat this, the Providence Bruins are 2-0 when being outshot by the team they’re playing. This includes the game they played against each other earlier this season. Something else to watch out for is team defense.
The Rochester club has given up 20 goals on the year while only scoring 19. This is a minus-one goal differential. Our boys in black and gold have scored 27 goals and given up 20. This is a plus-seven goal differential. When a team gives up more than they score, they aren’t able to sustain success. I expect Providence to come away with two points in this game.
Who’s Hot and Who’s Not
Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka is one of the top three prospects in the Boston Bruins’ system. The young center came to Providence after an excellent season in the OHL, which saw him net 36 goals and dish out 47 assists for 83 total points split between Oshawa and Niagra. He’s scored one goal and tallied four assists for five points this season with Providence. He’s registered a point in five of eight games, including four of his last five. Let’s hope he keeps this hot streak up.
Peter Cehlarik: Cehlarik almost seems like a permanent fixture here in the hot category. This is because the young forward has had an excellent start to the season. In five games, he’s found the back of the net five times while also tallying two assists for seven points. He’s registered a point in four of the first five games he’s played. With injuries starting to pile up in Boston, we may see Cehlarik called up before long.
Cooper Zech: Zech is a player that I was really excited about going into the season. The young defenseman was coming off an excellent freshman season at Ferris State University, which earned himself an AHL contract with Providence. He’s a smaller offensive-minded defenseman who I expected big things from. To start the season, he’s played in five games and only registered one assist for one total point. Hopefully, Zech bounces back and can figure it out in Providence. I still expect good things from him.
Zach Senyshyn: Senyshyn seems to be a permanent fixture in the not category to begin the season. The former first-round pick has had a less than stellar start to the 2019-2020 season. In seven games he’s played in the young speedster has yet to register a point. His scoring has been down overall since joining the AHL. He has a .36 point per game total with Providence. This is much worse than the .91 point per game total he had in the OHL. The young forward did miss a game this year with an upper-body injury, so maybe that is playing a factor early on.
My Players To Watch This Weekend
Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald is a guy who may get lost in the shuffle when talking about prospects, but he’s had a great start to the 2019-2020 season. In eight games this season, he’s netted three goals and dished out three assists for six total points. The former Boston College Eagle is also on a three-game point streak, which has seen him score two goals and tally two assists for four total points. Look for him this weekend.
On The Blue Line
Alex Petrovic: Alex Petrovic initially came to Boston on a PTO during training camp as a free agent. The Bruins liked what they saw and signed to a one-year two-way contract. The veteran defenseman has been great for Providence. In eight games, he’s netted one goal while dishing out five assists for six total points. The former Edmonton Oiler has also played well on defense. Let’s hope he keeps it up for Providence.
Max Lagace: Max Lagace has been excellent for Providence to start the season. The veteran netminder is 3-1-1 with a 1.93 GAA and a .935% save percentage. He’s also recorded two shutouts, including one in the team’s game Tuesday night against Bridgeport. No other goalie has that many shutouts so far this season. The Bruins’ deciding to sign Lagace was an excellent move. I think he will have a great year while being a mentor to Keyser and Vladar.
The Providence Bruins have started out hot in their first eight games of the season. With the amount of talent, our boys in black and gold have, this is not surprising. I still fully expect that the spoked P will come out with at least four of six points from this week’s games. All three games are winnable. One characteristic that all good teams possess is that they beat the teams that they should. If the Bruins want to prove they’re a good team, they need to win at least two of these next three games. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!