By: Tim A Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson
Week 24 of the AHL season has arrived. The Providence Bruins skate into it 32-18-3-3 (82 points) and 10-0 in their last 10 games. This is good for first in the Atlantic Division and first in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a stellar week that saw them push their win streak to 12 games. Our boys in black and gold were able to beat Springfield twice before beating Hershey and Hartford. This weekend will have exciting hockey that you do not want to miss.
The weekend kicks off on Saturday, March 14, 2020, when the Providence Bruins invade Charlotte, North Carolina, to take on the Checkers at Bojangles’ Coliseum. The weekend action wraps up on Sunday, March 15, 2020, when the Providence Bruins take on the Charlotte Checkers at The Biscuit in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Saturday, March 14, 2020, and Sunday, March 15, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Charlotte Checkers (AWAY)
The weekend series between the Providence Bruins and Charlotte Checkers will be the fifth and sixth of eight meetings the two teams will have. In the first battle, the Providence Bruins would win 4-1. Brendan Woods (2), Scott Conway, and Robert Lantosi scored goals for the Bruins. Max Lagace was excellent in net stopping 28 of the 29 shots fired his way.
The second matchup saw the Bruins shutout the Checkers 4-0. Brendan Woods, Urho Vaakanainen, Pavel Shen, and Jack Studnicka found the back of the net. Dan Vladar was a wall, stopping all 36 shots he faced. The third game saw the Bruins fall 4-0. Max Lagace would go on top stop 39 of the 42 shots he faced. The most recent matchup wasn’t much better. The Bruins would be beaten 4-1. Robert Lantosi scored the lone goal for Providence.
Last season, the Charlotte Checkers were dominant. They would beat the Bruins in four games in the first round of the playoffs on their way to their first Calder Cup Championship. This season has been a bit of a different story. The Hurricanes’ affiliate skate into the match up 34-22-5 (73 points) and 5-4-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference.
Something that led to their dominant season last year was their defense. Their defense only surrendered 189 goals, while they scored 255. That’s a +66 goal differential. This season has been a little different. The Charlotte club on the year has scored 202 goals while giving up 172. That’s a +30 goal differential. That means they’re scoring 3.31 goals a game while giving up 2.81.
To put those numbers into perspective, the Providence Bruins have played in one more game than Charlotte. They’ve scored 197 goals while giving up 154. That’s a +43 goal differential. This means they’re scoring 3.17 goals a game while giving up only 2.48. The Providence Bruins are 8-7-1 against Charlotte over the past five seasons. This includes 5-3 at the Checkers.
Who’s Hot and Who’s Not
Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka finds himself in the hot category once again. The young forward is having a stellar season. In 60 games, he’s netted 23 goals while dishing out 26 assists for 49 total points. This includes netting nine goals while dishing out 14 assists for 23 total points over his last 18 games. Studnicka also finds himself registering a point in six of his last seven games. He’s netted three goals and dished out 5 assists for eight total points during that time. Studnicka is also becoming an elite penalty kill weapon. He’s registered seven shorthanded goals on the year. This is the most in the AHL.
Peter Cehlarik: Peter Cehlarik has fallen out of favor with the Boston Bruins in recent years. He’s had a few players jump ahead of him on the depth chart when it comes to callups. Despite this, the veteran forward has played well this season. In 48 games, he’s netted 16 goals while dishing 21 assists for 37 total points. This includes netting three goals and dishing out six assists for nine total points in his last nine games. Cehlarik has been a large part of the Bruins’ win streak.
Robert Lantosi: Robert Lantosi is in his first full season with the Providence Bruins. Overall, it’s been a successful first season. In 50 games, he’s netted 11 goals while dishing out 20 assists for 31 total points. Despite these numbers, he’s only dished out two assists in his last six games. The young forward came to Providence after spending the previous season in his native Slovakia.
Brendan Woods: Brendan Woods came to Providence after spending the last two seasons in the Vancouver Canucks organization. In 49 games this season, he’s netted eight goals while dishing out 12 assists for 20 total points. This includes dishing out two assists in his last 10 games. Despite this, the 20 points did eclipse his total of 17 from last season. Hopefully, the veteran forward’s offense game is back soon.
My Player To Watch This Weekend
Jakub Lauko: Jakub Lauko came into this season with a lot of publicity. The young forward came to Providence after having a stellar season in the QMJHL with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. This season was derailed because of injuries before and during the World Junior Championships. In 22 games this season, he’s netted five goals while dishing out four assists for nine total points. He’s played in four games since returning from injury, netting a goal. Look for him this weekend.
On The Blue Line
Jakub Zboril: Jakub Zboril has had an up and down season with Providence. He’s also a player that has caused many different arguments amongst Bruins’ fans. In 58 games this season, he’s netted three goals and dished out 16 assists for 19total points. This includes netting one goal and dishing out four assists for five total points in his last four games. The young defenseman has also been playing better defense recently. Look for him this weekend.
Dan Vladar: Dan Vladar has had a superb season for the Providence Bruins. On the year, he’s 14-7-1 with a 1.79 GAA and a .936 save percentage. The young netminder has also registered three shutouts on the year. Vladar is also 1-1 with 1.51 GAA and a .956 save percentage against Charlotte this season.
The Providence Bruins are playing excellent hockey right now. Earlier in the year, I hammered home the point that this team was one of the most talented teams in the league. We are seeing that tenfold right now. The Providence club looks primed to make a deep run in the playoffs. I hope you enjoy the games this weekend. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!