(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

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

Week eight of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 11-2-1 (23 points). That is good for first in the Atlantic Division and second in the American Hockey League. Our boys in black and gold are coming off a week that saw them beat Hartford 6-1, and they play the same Wolf Pack club later today. They’ve only got one other game coming up, but it will be one you do not want to miss.

The hockey action begins on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, when the Providence Bruins travel to Bridgeport, Connecticut, to take on the Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena. You can catch all the hard-hitting action on AHLTV. You do not want to miss it.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021, Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AWAY)

The Wednesday matchup will mark the eighth 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 seventh installment of the season-long series saw the Providence Bruins win 5-2. Brady Lyle, Robert Lantosi, Pavel Shen, and Tommy Cross (2) scored for Providence. Callum Booth got his first start for our boys in black and gold. He stopped 36 of the 38 shots he faced.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers skate into the matchup 3-7 (6 points). That is good for third in the Atlantic Division and 28th in the American Hockey League. The Sound Tigers have had a rough season. Their offense is meager at best, scoring only 2.10 goals a game. Their defense is even worse, giving up 3.5 goals a game. Bridgeport also sports a -14 goal differential on the season.

To give some context to those numbers, Providence is scoring 3.57 goals a game on offense. Those are elite scoring numbers. As hard as it is to believe, their defense has been even better, giving up only 1.86 goals a game. The Bruins also have a +24 goal differential. Our boys in black and gold have gone 6-1 against the Islanders’ affiliate this year, and it’s not surprising. Bridgeport is just a few tiers below Providence. This matchup is one game the spoked P should win.

My Players To Watch This Week

Up Front

Jakub Lauko: Jakub Lauko has been nothing short of spectacular this season. He came into the year more determined than ever after last year’s injury-plagued season. In 13 games, he’s netted five goals while dishing out eight assists for 13 total points. He consistently looks like the best player on the ice when he’s playing. Look for him this week.

On The Blue Line

Cooper Zech: Cooper Zech has been one of the best defensemen this season for Providence. He’s a speedy defenseman who can play in any scenario in all areas of the ice. In 11 games, he’s netted one goal while dishing out three assists for four total points. Look for him this week.

In Net

Kyle Keyser: Kyle Keyser had his 2019-2020 season cut short due to injury. He began this year in the ECHL with Jacksonville. The young goalie was having a pretty good bounce-back season before being called up to Providence. He looked great in his first game with the Bruins, stopping 27 of the 28 shots he faced in a victory. Look for him this week.

The Providence Bruins have been fantastic thus far. Not only are they playing elite defense, but their scoring and goaltending are top-notch as well. Many of their players are up in Boston due to a rash of injuries with the big club. Let’s hope that they can keep up their play going forward. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!