By: Tim A Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson
Week nine of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 8-5-3-1 (20 points). That is good for third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. Our boys in black and gold are coming off a week that saw them shut down due to multiple positive COVID tests. They get back in the swing of things this weekend with four games coming up.
The hockey action starts on Friday, December 10, 2021, when the Belleville Senators come to town to take on the Providence Bruins at the Dunk. The Bruins weekend continues on Saturday, December 11, 2021, when the Providence Bruins travel to Springfield, Massachusetts, to battle the Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center. Next up is December 12, 2021, the Toronto Marlies travel to Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin Donuts Center. Finally, the week wraps up on Wednesday, December 15, 2021, when the Bruins travel to Bridgeport, Connecticut, to take on the Islanders at the Webster Bank Arena.
Friday, December 10, 2021, Providence Bruins vs. Belleville Senators (HOME)
The Friday matchup marks the first of two that Providence and Belleville will have this season. The Ottawa affiliate skates into the matchup 9-11 (18 points). That is good for sixth in the North Division and 12th in the Eastern Conference. The reason why they only play two games against each other is the fact that they are in different divisions. The Senators’ main issue this season has been their defense. They give up 3.00 goals a game while only scoring 2.85. Over the past five seasons, this has been an even matchup. The Bruins are 3-2-1 in that time frame. It should be an excellent game!
Saturday, December 11, 2021, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (AWAY)
The Saturday battle marks the third of 12 these two teams will have this season. In the first game, Providence fell 4-1. Jack Ahcan scored the only goal for the Bruins. Jakub Lauko and Steven Fogarty assisted on the goal. Kyle Keyser stopped 28 of the 31 shots he faced. The second game also saw the Bruins lose 4-1. Urho Vaakanainen scored the only goal for Providence. Keyser stopped 29 of the 33 shots he faced.
Springfield comes into the matchup 14-3-2 (30 points). That is good for first in the Atlantic Division and second in the Eastern Conference. The St. Louis affiliate is the most well-rounded team in the Eastern Conference. The Thunderbirds score an incredible 3.57 goals a game while only giving up 2.52. Over the past fives seasons, Providence’s record is 24-14-4 against Springfield. I’d expect this game to be an uphill battle against a rival.
Sunday, December 12, 2021, Providence Bruins vs. Toronto Marlies (HOME)
The Sunday matchup marks the first of two that Providence and Toronto will play this season. The Marlies come into the matchup 9-6-1-1 (20 points). That is good for third in the North Division and Sixth in the Eastern Conference. The two teams being in different divisions are why they only play each other twice. The Leafs’ affiliate scores 3.11 goals a game while giving up 3.47. Providence is scoring 2.70 goals a game while giving up 2.70. I expect this game to be tight from start to finish. Over the past five seasons, Providence has a 2-2 record against Toronto.
Wednesday, December 15, 2021, Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Islanders (AWAY)
The Saturday battle marks the fourth of 12 the two teams will have this season. In the first meeting between Bridgeport and Providence, the Bruins won 2-1 in a shootout. Taylor Lewington scored for Providence. Jack Ahcan and Matt Filipe added the helper on the goal. Bruins forwards Jesper Froden and Jack Studnicka scored in the shootout for the win.
The second meeting saw Providence fall 6-4. Oskar Steen (2), John Moore, and Chris Wagner netted goals. Kyle Keyser stopped 19 of the 24 shots he faced.
The third game saw the Bruins win 3-2. Jesper Froden, Zach Senyshyn, and Joona Koppanen were the goal scorers for Providence. Troy Grosenick got the win in goal, stopping 28 shots.
The Bridgeport Islanders skate into the matchup 7-12-1-2 (17 points). That is good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference. The Islanders’ haven’t had much luck this season. They boast one of the worst defenses in the AHL, giving up 3.13 goals a game. On top of that, they are only scoring 2.50 goals a game. The key to beating them is getting an early lead and keeping it. The Islanders are 2-6-0-1 when trailing after one period and 1-7-0-1 trailing after two.
My Players To Watch This Weekend
Jesper Froden: Jesper Froden has been excellent in his first season with Providence. He started his career in his home country of Sweden before signing with the Bruins. In 17 games, the young forward has netted four goals while dishing out eight assists for 12 total points. His offensive ability has been a welcomed addition to Providence. Look for him this weekend.
On The Blue Line
Victor Berglund: The Boston Bruins drafted Victor Berglund in the seventh round of the 2017 NHL Draft. Since then, he’s spent most of his time playing in his home country of Sweden. This year, he’s played in three games in the ECHL, with Maine scoring one goal and dishing out three assists for four total points. He’s also played in three games with Providence without registering a point. Berglund is a two-way defenseman with more defensive upside than offensive.
Troy Grosenick: 2021-2022 is Troy Grosenick’s first season in Providence. He has played for a few different organizations over the years. Grosenick came to Providence to be a veteran presence in goal for the Bruins. In four games with Providence, he’s 2-0-1 with a 2.37 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage.
After a week off due to COVID, it’s nice to see the Bruins getting healthy and back to business. Before their mini outbreak, they had been playing some great hockey. Let’s hope they pick up where they left off! I hope everyone is having a fantastic holiday season! Feel Free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!