By: Mark Allred | Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277
The Providence Bruins got another big win this afternoon and extended their current winning streak to three games. The 4-1 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, Massachusetts continues to put the top minor-pro affiliate of the NHL Bruins atop the AHL’s Atlantic Division. Providence now has a record of 7-2-0 since starting the 2021 regular season in early February and ten points ahead of fellow division rivals Bridgeport and the Hartford Wolf Pack who both have four points. The season record for both the Bridgeport and Providence clubs has the AHL Franchise from Rhode Island ahead 3-1 and the last time these two teams met was back on February 25th, 2021 when the top minor-pro affiliate of the New York Islanders beat the Bruins 3-2 at the NEBC.
Before the game Providence Bruins Head Coach Jay Leach had this scouting report of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Leach Said ” They come at you with a physical forecheck and they get the puck deep and grind you down that has a heavy net front causing havoc for our goaltenders and defensemen.” Leach added about what his Bruins team needed to compete in this afternoon contest with him saying “We need to be clean getting pucks out of our zone and be ready to battle when they get pucks to the net.”
Providence got off to a quick start and really set the tone for the first frame against the visiting Sound Tigers. NHL Bruins prospect Oskar Steen got his second goal of the season at the 1:08 mark of the first period assisted by Anton Blidh who’s been working extremely hard since his demotion to the AHL club. Blidh’s certainly had a jump in his step lately and was definitely on display on the Steen goal. Anton was the one who created that play as he weaved through the opposing Sound Tigers like nothing and got to the net causing havoc enough to free the puck to a streaking Steen who backhanded the game’s first goal.
The first period was an entertaining one when you think about puck possession. After Steen scored that goal, it was pretty much a chess game for Leach and coaching staff to not let up off the gas and play hard while having the early lead. Bridgeport outshot the B’s 12-10 in the opening frame, but Bruins starting goaltender and rookie out of the University of Maine Jeremy Swayman was up to the task as he looked to have another strong game and keep his undefeated season going.
Providence displayed two strong aspects of the game in creating a lead but also not backing down to the opposition Sound Tigers who were coming at them hard. Oskar Steen would collect his second goal of the game and third of the season from heavily mentioned Anton Blidh and Providence Captain Paul Carey who’s been an assist machine this season with nine helpers in nine games. The Steen second of the season came from some hard work in a scrum as the Providence players worked a loose puck at the top of the Sound Tigers goaltenders Motte’s crease. Steen was there on the outside waiting for the loose puck to roof it home for the 2-0 lead at the 13:12 mark.
Providence would go up 3-0 in the second period when Robert Lantosi let a cannon go at the point that found a way through traffic to get the Bruins to a comfortable lead in this game. There’s an urgency for players to have a stronger net-front presence, and this was an example of having supporting members be at the right place at the right time.
This middle frame is where the defensive game took full advantage. The Sound Tigers led in shots 12-10 in the first period, but in his 20, the Providence club stepped it up to produce a 16-5 shot advantage and owning a majority of possession time. Swayman continued to play well regardless of the minimal work he had to do, stopping five shots in 20 minutes. Team defense was certainly there in the second period to get the starting goaltender his first professional No-No.
Mass Pike frequent traveler Karson Kuhlman scored his first of the season at the 15:32 mark of the third period when the 25-year-old took a pass from speedster Robert Lantosi who crossed the blue line making his way towards the goal, and Kuhlman waited patiently for the appropriate opportunity to use the Sound Tigers defenseman as a screen near the hash marks to fire home the Bruins fourth goal of the game.
Pretty much the rest of the game was a tight-checking affair where neither team wanted to make a mistake, but that mistake would ultimately come at the Bruins hands, who couldn’t completely secure a shutout for the AHL rookie as Bridgeport gets their only goal of the game at the 18:01 mark of the final frame. Swayman was screened on this shot that broke the ice for the Sound Tigers from Dimitri Timashov, who scored his second of the season.
Final Score 4-1
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The Providence Bruins get back to work on Monday, March 8th, 2021, at the New England Sports Center and can be seen on AHLTV on an affordable subscription. Watch and listen to the play-by-play voice Austin Rooke for all home games this season from the NESC.