(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim A Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week five of the AHL season has arrived, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 5-2 (10 points). That is good for first in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the American Hockey League. They are coming off a week that saw them fall to Bridgeport 3-2; before beating Hartford 4-2 and 4-2. Our boys in black and gold have two big games coming up that you will not want to miss.

The hard-hitting hockey action begins on Monday, March 8, 2021, when the Hartford Wolf Pack comes to town to take on the Providence Bruins at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, Massachusetts. The hockey action wraps up on Wednesday, March 10, 2021, when the Providence Bruins travel to Bridgeport, Connecticut, to take on the Sound Tigers at the Webster Bank Arena. You do not want to miss these games.

Monday, March 8, 2021, Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (HOME)

The Monday matchup marks the fifth of 12 the two division foes will have this season. The first matchup is one the Providence Bruins would like to forget. They ended up getting shutout 4-0. Goalie Dan Vladar would stop 20 of the 22 shots fired his way. Our boys in black and gold tried to solve the Hartford netminder, but they had all 25 shots on goal stopped.

The second matchup was much more fruitful for the Providence Bruins. They would win 5-2. Oskar Steen, Cameron Hughes, Brady Lyle, Joona Koppanen, and Zach Senyshyn would score for Providence. For Lyle, it was his first career AHL goal, and he would also get an assist in the game which, ended up being his first career AHL point. Rookie netminder Jeremy Swayman was superb in net stopping 34 of the 36 shots he faced.

The third matchup saw the Providence Bruins come out ontop 4-2. Zach Sensyhyn, Jack Ahcan, Jakub Lauko, and Anton Blidh scored goals for Providence. For Ahcan, it was his career AHL goal. He’s had a great start to his season. Rookie netminder Jeremy Swayman was on top of his game, stopping 27 of the 29 shots he faced.

The fourth battle between the division foes saw Providence come out on top 4-2. Brady Lyle and Samuel Asselin would score from the Bruins. For Asselin, it was his first career AHL hat-trick. Goalie Dan Vladar stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced in the victory.

The Hartford Wolf Pack come into the battle 2-4 (4 points). That is good for second in the Atlantic Division and 23rd in the AHL. Overall, team defense is going to play a significant part in winning this game. In their eight games, the Bruins have given up a total of 17 goals. That’s only 2.13 goals a game given up. Hartford, on the other hand, has given up 20 goals in six games. That’s 3.33 goals given up a game.

Not only that, our boys in black and gold have a goal differential of plus eight. That means they’ve scored eight more goals than they’ve given up. That’s what you want to see. The Wolf Pack has a goal differential of minus two. They’ve given up two more goals than they’ve scored. That’s not how you win hockey games.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021, Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AWAY)

The Thursday matchup will mark the sixth of 12 meetings the two rivals will have this season. The first battle saw the Bruins come away victorious 4-1. Rookie netminder Jeremy Swayman was superb in net for Providence. He stopped 26 of the 27 shots fired his way. The one goal he let up was a power-play goal that got deflected multiple times. Hard to fault him for that.

Zach Senyshyn, Alex-Olivier Voyer, Samuel Asselin, and Robert Lantosi scored for the spoked P. For Voyer and Asselin; it was their first career AHL goals. Top prospect Jakub Lauko started hot with two assists in the game. Meanwhile, rookies Jack Achan and Nick Wolff recorded their first career AHL points. Each had an assist.

The second meeting was a little less one-sided, but the Providence Bruins still came out on top 5-3. Rookie goaltender Jeremy Swayman had a quality game stopping 17 of the 20 shots fired his way. Cooper Zech, Robert Lantosi, Jakub Lauko, Cameron Hughes, and Joona Koppanen scored for the Providence Bruins. Jakub Lauko and rookie Jack Achan would contribute two assists each on the scoresheet.

The third matchup was an absolute defensive slugfest. The Providence Bruins would go on to win 1-0. The only goal came in the third period when Zach Senyshyn buried a pass from Paul Carey. Both goalies were playing out of their minds. Providence netminder Dan Vladar would stop all 24 shots he faced. On the other end of the ice, Bridgeport goalie Jakub Sharek stopped 36 of 37 shots in the loss.

The fourth battle between division foes saw the Providence Bruins fall 3-2. Brady Lyle and Joona Koppanen scored goals. Forward Matt Filipe registered his first career AHL point assisting on the Koppanen goal. Netminder Dan Vladar went on to stop 27 of the 30 shots faced in the loss. The fifth matchup in the series comes later this afternoon!

As I write this, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers are 2-4 (4 points). That is good for third in the Atlantic Division and 24th in the AHL. Scoring early and scoring often are going to be an integral part of winning this game. The Providence Bruins have scored 25 goals in eight games. That’s 3.13 goals a game. If you’re the Bruins, you’re happy with that. Generally, if you score at least three goals, you are going to win that game.

At the other end of the ice, Bridgeport has given up 20 goals in six games. That’s 3.33 goals a game. Our boys in black and gold must capitalize on this. Another way to look at it, the spoked P is 3-0 in two-goal games and 2-0 in the three-goal games. Meanwhile, the Sound Tigers are 1-1 in two-goal games and 0-2 in three-goal games. Jumping on Bridgeport will almost ensure victory.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Samuel Asselin: Samuel Asselin came to the Bruins organization in 2019-2020 after leading the QMJHL in scoring the previous season. He spent most of last season in the ECHL with the Atlanta Gladiators. In 53 games with Atlanta, the young forward netted 26 goals while dishing out 26 assists for 52 total points. He would also play five games in Providence, dishing out three assists in those games. Asselin has been great so far this season in eight games played; he has found the back of the net four times while dishing out three assists for seven total points. That includes a hat-trick on March 2, 2021, against Hartford. Look for him this week.

On The Blue Line

Jack Ahcan: Jack Ahcan is someone who I’ve written about a lot in these previews. He’s a player that I am very excited to have in the Bruins organization. He’s had a superb start to his rookie season in Providence. In eight games, he’s netted one goal while dishing out five assists for six total points. Not only that, he’s flying around the ice playing superb defense. Look for him this week.

In Net

Jeremy Swayman: Jeremy Swayman is another player that I’ve talked a lot about in these previews. He is my favorite prospect in the Bruins system. The former University of Maine Black Bear has had a fantastic start to his rookie campaign. He’s 4-0 with a 2.00 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage. He’s stopped 104 of the 112 shots he’s faced this season. That is as good of a start to a rookie year that you could hope for in a young prospect. Keep an eye out for him this week.

The Providence Bruins are playing exciting hockey this season. They picked up where they left off last year and are running away with the Atlantic Division. They’ve been a welcomed joy to watch this winter. I hope everyone is enjoying the games. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!