The Providence Bruins opened the season with a 4-1 victory over Bridgeport on Friday afternoon. There were a number of good performers for the P-Bruins. Here are three of them:
Lauko, who doesn’t turn 21 until next month, had himself a game on Friday. He posted a pair of assists. His shot was tipped in by Zach Senyshyn on a power play in the second period and he fed an absolutely perfect saucer pass to Sammy Asselin in the third period for a shorthanded goal.
“He’s certainly a stronger player. He’s familiar with the pro game now,’’ said coach Jay Leach. “It was a broken year for him last year just because of injury (Lauko tore up his knee at the World Juniors and underwent surgery) and he was a young player in this league.
“He’s matured a year, he’s shown that. I think he’s comfortable with the system. He’s always had the speed, but he’s able to get inside a bit more now and win a puck battle. He knows how to penalty kill. We’ve got him playing in all situations now. There’s certainly maturation from the time we had him last year to now.”
Lauko is one of the fastest players on the team. When he gets going, he can make opposing defensemen uncomfortable. His body and his game are growing.
“Noticeable difference, I’ll say that, just in strength more than anything. He’s starting to look like a man and the player we obviously envisioned him being,’’ said Leach.
In his first pro game, Ahcan was the smallest player on the ice, but one of the best, too.
He seemingly came out of nowhere to join the rush in the first period. He moved the puck and also defended well.
“He was very noticeable. I can’t see well from this bench (in Marlboro), but I noticed him,’’ said Leach.
“I said it the other day, he’s a little bit of a bulldog down low. He doesn’t really get knocked off pucks. He can close and for a little guy especially, it’s pretty impressive. And then obviously his ability to grab a puck and go and make a play.
“That goal with Sammy Asselin, that all starts with Jack winning a puck battle down low, having some poise and getting it up to Steener (Osker Steen) and they’re off and running. He was as advertised, that’s for sure, and you can tell he loves to compete. Certainly an exciting first game for him.’’
Senyshyn had a strong preseason game in Hartford last Sunday and he kept it going on Friday, scoring a goal from the edge of the crease and using his speed and size effectively all day.
“He was really strong. He obviously plays in every situation for us. He was good on the walls, certainly good at the net front for that power play goal. He’s becoming a real leader for us. He’s been in the system for a bit now and he’s certainly taken on that role,” said Leach.
“Showed some speed, certainly, through the neutral zone, was in on the forecheck. He was on time for pretty much everything. He had a nice game.”
A string of similar showings could earn Senyshyn an opportunity in Boston down the road.