(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

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

Week six of the AHL season is upon us, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 8-2-1 (17 points). That is good for first the Atlantic Division and third in the American Hockey League. Our boys in black and gold are coming off a week that saw them beat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 4-1 before losing to the Hartford Wolf Pack 3-2 in overtime and beating the Sound Tigers again 3-0. The spoked P has two games coming up that you do not want to miss.

The hockey action kicks off on Friday, March 12, 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 action wraps up on Monday, March 15, 2021, when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers travel to Massachusetts to take on the Bruins at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough. It’ll be exciting hockey you don’t want to miss.

Friday, March 12, 2021, Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (HOME)

The Friday matchup marks the sixth 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 fifth meeting saw the Bruins fall 3-2 in overtime. Cameron Hughes and Robert Lantosi scored goals for the Providence Bruins. Jack Ahcan also dished out his sixth assist of the season. Netminder Dan Vladar stopped 21 of the 24 shots he faced in defeat.

The Hartford Wolf Pack come into the matchup 3-4 (six points). That is good for second in the Atlantic Division and 20th in the AHL. Special teams will likely play a key role in who wins this game. The Providence Bruins boast a formidable power-play, scoring nine goals in 50 opportunities. That’s good for 18%. On the other side of the ice, Hartford has scored three goals in 25 chances. That’s only 12%. That coupled with Providence’s superb defense, it’s a game the Bruins should win.

Monday, March 15, 2021, Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (HOME)

The Monday matchup will mark the seventh 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 meeting saw the Providence Bruins come out on top 4-1. Oskar Steen (2), Robert Lantosi, and Karson Kuhlman scored for the Bruins. Rookie netminder Jeremy Swayman was superb in goal. He stopped 24 of the 25 shots he faced in the victory.

The sixth battle saw the Providence Bruins come out victorious 3-0. Matt Filipe, Zach Senyshyn, and Karson Kuhlman (EN) scored goals for Providence. For Filipe, it was his first career AHL goal. Rookie netminder Jeremy Swayman was sensational again, stopping all 25 shots he faced for his first career AHL shutout.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers come into the matchup 2-6 (4 points). That is good for third in the Atlantic Division and 26th in the AHL. Over the past five seasons, the series between these division foes have been close. Providence is 26-15-6-3 in that time frame. This season, however, has been a different story. The Bruins are 4-1 to start the year against Bridgeport.

Overall, team defense and team offense have been the reason why that is. Our boys in black and gold have scored 34 goals in 11 games. That’s 3.09 goals a game. On defense, they’ve given up 21 goals in those same 11 games. That’s only giving up 1.90 goals a game. Bridgeport, on the other hand, has scored 15 goals in eight games. That means they are scoring 1.88 goals a game. They’ve given up 27 in those eight games. That means they are giving up 3.38 goals a game. That is another game the spoked P should win.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Oskar Steen: Oskar Steen has had a fantastic start to his second season in Providence. Last year, the young forward really seemed to get the hang of the North American game. With the pandemic still raging on, Steen started the year on loan in Sweden and played sensationally. In ten games with Providence this season, he’s netted three goals and dished out four assists for seven total points. Look for him this weekend.

On The Blue Line

Cooper Zech: Cooper Zech is in his second season with Providence. Due to the pandemic, he started the year playing on loan in Slovakia. He looked fantastic. That play has carried over to Providence. In ten games, he’s netted one goal while dishing out three assists for four total points. He’s also looked great in all areas and has been one of Providence’s top defenseman. Look for him this weekend.

In Net

Jeremy Swayman: I know it’s a recurring theme that Jeremy Swayman is on this list, but I cannot get enough of the rookie goaltender. He’s had as good a start to the season as you could hope. He’s 6-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average and a .945 save percentage. The former UMaine Black Bear looks like the real deal. Look for him this weekend.

The Providence Bruins have had a fantastic start to their season. The entire team has been a joy to watch all year. Their elite play should continue this week, and you do not want to miss it. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always. GO, Bs, GO!