By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson
Week 19 of the AHL season has arrived. The Providence Bruins skate into it 26-17-2-3 (57 points) and 6-2-1-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a week that saw them lose to Binghamton 3-1 before beating Syracuse 6-2. This weekend the Bruins have two exciting games that you will not want to miss.
The hockey action starts on Saturday, February 8, 2020, when the Providence Bruins travel to Bridgeport, Connecticut, to take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena. The weekend wraps up on Sunday, February 9, 2020, when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers invade Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Saturday, February 8, 2020 (AWAY) and Sunday, February 9, 2020 (HOME), Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers
The weekend home and home series with mark the seven and eighth of 12 that these two teams will have this season. The first game saw the Bruins shutout the Sound Tigers 4-0, getting goals from Peter Cehlarik, Cameron Hughes, Robert Lantosi, and Ryan Fitzgerald. Goalie Max Lagace was excellent in net topping all 30 shots fired his way. In the second meeting, the Providence club would win 4-1, getting goals from Joona Koppanen, Brendan Gaunce, Alex Petrovic, and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Max Lagace was fantastic in net stopping 31 of 32 shots fired his way.
The most third meeting saw the Bruins lose 2-0. Goaltender Max Lagace was up to the task in net stopping 33 of 35 shots fired his way. The fourth battle saw the Bruins win 5-0. Brendan Gaunce (2), Ryan Fitzgerald, Trent Frederic, and Jack Studnicka had goals. Max Lagace stopped all 17 shots fired his way.
The fifth meeting saw the Bruins fall 2-1. Pavel Shen scored the Bruins lone goal. Dan Vladar would stop 24 of 26 shots he faced. The most recent battle saw the Bruins win 3-1. Brett Ritchie (2), and Trent Frederic had goals. Max Lagace stopped 26 of the 27 shots he faced.
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers provide a favorable matchup for the Providence club. The Bridgeport club comes into the weekend 16-27-4-1 (37 points) and 3-7 in their last 10 games. This is good for eighth in the Atlantic Division and 16th in the Eastern Conference. Furthermore, the Bruins are 25-18-6-3 against the Islanders’ affiliate over the past five seasons.
The biggest key to Bruins’ victory in these two games is taking an early lead and keeping it. The Sound Tigers are 2-14-2 when trailing after one and 1-19-2 when trailing after two. To add insult to injury, the Bridgeport club in 48 games has only scored 104 goals while giving up 156. Not only is this a horrendous -52 goal differential, but they’re only scoring 2.16 goals a game while giving up 3.25. They are giving up a full goal more than they are scoring. This isn’t a winning formula.
To compare, the Providence Bruins are 14-0 when leading after one period and 21-0 when leading after two periods. They’ve also scored 151 goals while giving up only 128 in 48 games. That means, not only do they have a +23 goal differential, but they are scoring 3.14 goals a game while only giving up 2.66. These are games that Providence must win. Bridgeport is not a good club at all.
Who’s Hot and Who’s Not
Jack Studnicka: If it seems like I’ve written a lot about Studnicka this season, it’s because I have. How good he has been cannot be stated enough. This is the young forward’s first full season in Providence. In 46 games this season, he’s netted 17 goals and dished out 18 assists for 35 total points. This includes netting three goals and dishing out six assists for nine total points in his last six games.
Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic is another guy that has had an excellent season for the Providence Bruins. In 45 games the season, he’s netted seven goals while dishing out 19 assists for 26 total points. This includes netting two goals and dishing out four assists for six total points in his last seven games. The 26 points are a new career-high for the former University of Wisconsin Badger.
Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald has had an up and down season for the Providence Bruins. In 47 games, he’s netted 10 goals and dished out 12 assists for 22 total points. This includes netting two goals and dishing out two assists for four total points in his last 13 games. The former Boston College Eagle has had trouble finding his offensive game recently. Let’s hope he finds his game soon.
Brendan Gaunce: Brendan Gaunce is in his first season with Providence. The veteran forward spent the beginning of his career in the Vancouver system. In 38 games this year, he’s netted 11 goals while dishing out 12 assists for 23 total points. This includes netting one goal and dishing one assist for two total points in his last five games. I hope the veteran forward can find his offensive game soon.
My Players To Watch This Weekend
Jack Studnicka: I know that I sound like a broken record, but Studnicka is that good. The young forward had a stellar showing at All-Star weekend. He’s taken the confidence from that and run with it. In the two games since the All-Star break, he’s netted three goals while dishing out two assists for five total points. Studnicka also has two goals and an assist for three total points against Bridgeport this season. Look for him to continue his hot play.
On The Blue Line
Alex Petrovic: Alex Petrovic is in his first season in Providence. He spent last season with both the Florida Panthers and the Edmonton Oilers. In 41 games this year, he’s netted two goals and dished out 17 assists for 19 total points. However, the veteran forward hasn’t registered a point since December 18, 2019. The good news is that in four games against Bridgeport, he’s netted one goal and dished out four assists for five total points. Let’s hope this weekend jumpstarts his game.
Max Lagace: Max Lagace has had an excellent first season in Providence. The Veteran goalie is 17-6-3 with a 2.39 GAA and a .919 save percentage. He also has a league-leading five shutouts. Lagace is also 4-1 with a 0.81 GAA and a .972 save percentage against Bridgeport this season.
The Providence Bruins are currently sitting comfortably in a playoff position. The two games this weekend should help add some padding to their point lead. The Bridgeport club has had a rough season. This means it should be an easy four-point weekend for our boys in black and gold. It should be exciting hockey that you will not want to miss. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!