Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

Anton Stralman played his first game for the P-Bruins and his first AHL game since the 2008-09 season on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins).

The Providence Bruins took three of four points out of the weekend and, while that’s nothing to complain about, it could have been four out of four.

Opening the weekend on the road on Friday, Providence came from behind in the third period against the Hartford Wolf Pack to earn a 5-3 win.

At home on Sunday and facing a Wolf Pack team that was playing its third game in three days, the well-rested P-Bruins didn’t really get engaged until midway through the second period. A stronger start might have gained them a regulation win instead of a 4-3 overtime loss, but there are going to be games like this in the course of a long season.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— Providence finished the weekend with a solid hold on second place in the Atlantic Division. With 54 points, they are three behind the first-place Hershey Bears and 10 ahead of the third-place Charlotte Checkers.

— Vinni Lettieri had a goal and an assist on Friday and a pair of goals on Sunday. He has 4-1-5 in his last three games. Tied for third in the AHL with nine power-play goals, he continues to lead the team in scoring with 16-17-33 in 38 games.

— Marc McLaughlin scored the winning goal on a power play and added two assists on Friday. On Sunday, his clean win on an offensive zone draw led directly to Vinni Lettieri’s shorthanded goal. Playing his best hockey of the season, McLaughlin has 3-4-7 in his last 5 games.

— Brandon Bussi gave up four goals in Sunday’s OT loss, but if not for his stellar play in the second period, the Wolf Pack could have jumped ahead by three or four goals. He finished the game with 38 saves and continues to have the best save percentage in the AHL at .933.

— Chris Wagner and Vinni Lettieri put the team on their backs in the second period on Sunday as the P-Bruins played their way back into the game after being dominated by the Wolf Pack in the first half of the period.

— Connor Carrick scored on a rip from the point off a Chris Wagner pass and assisted on Vinny Lettieri’s second goal on Sunday. He had a game-high six shots on goal.

— Luke Toporowski made a pretty move to beat Louis Domingue on a penalty shot on Friday.

— Jack Ahcan has assists in five straight games, including a perfect setup on Marc McLaughlin’s GWG on Friday.

— The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Chris Wagner flattened 6-foot-7 Matt Rempe with a check with 7:50 to go on Friday.

— The power play went a combined 3 for 7 on Friday and Sunday. That’s progress as the PP moved up one slot to 30th in the AHL.

— Jakub Lauko continued his good play with a goal on Friday night. He also took a solid stab at scoring a “Michigan” goal on Sunday.

— Anton Stralman played his first game for the P-Bruins and his first AHL game since the 2008-09 season on Sunday.


— The P-Bruins are heading into a difficult weekend. After playing at home on Friday against – who else? – Hartford, Providence will play at Utica on Saturday night, then return home in the wee hours for a Sunday afternoon game against Syracuse.

— The cross-checking penalty on Oskar Steen with 4:15 left on Sunday was a head-scratcher. Maybe Steen deserved a penalty for something on the play, maybe he didn’t, but it couldn’t have been a cross-check as Steen had only one hand on his stick when he engaged with the Hartford player.

— In the first half of the second period on Sunday, Providence was outshot, 12-1, as Hartford totally dominated. The P-Bruins were outshot, 14-5, in the third period.

— P-Bruins will play Hartford for the fifth straight time on Friday. C’mon man!


— Injured: Mike Reilly, Matt Filipe

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

Set up by Fabian Lysell, Providence’s Vinni Lettieri rifles the puck past Hartford’s Louis Domingue in overtime on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins)

It was another productive weekend for the Providence Bruins as they earned four of six points by winning two of their three games.

“In a three in three, we’ll take that,” said coach Ryan Mougenel.

They opened the weekend with a well-earned 3-2 victory against the Utica Comets at home on Friday. In Hartford on Saturday, the P-Bruins were outplayed in a 3-1 loss to the Wolf Pack. Back home on Sunday, the P-Bruins edged Hartford, 3-2, in overtime.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— Fabian Lysell made a brilliant one-on-one play to set up Vinni Lettieri’s goal 26 seconds into overtime on Sunday. He danced Hartford’s Bobby Trivigno before sliding a pass to Lettieri for a one timer that beat Louis Domingue in the Wolf Pack net. It’s a shot that Lettieri stays on the ice to practice long after other players have left.

— With 37 games played and 35 to go, Providence finished the weekend in second place in the Atlantic Division with a record of 22-8-5-2. They have 51 points and a points percentage of .689. Only Hershey (54) and Coachella Valley (52) have more points.

— Making his first start since injuring his knee on Nov. 5, Kyle Keyser stopped 29 shots and earned the win on Sunday. “He deserved that. It’s not easy coming back from being out three months,” said Mougenel. Keyser is 5-0-1 with a .931 save percentage and 1.89 goals-against average.

— Marc McLaughlin had a good weekend. He had 1-1-2 on Friday and a goal on Sunday and was plus-two in each game.

— Justin Brazeau is hot. He scored a goal on Friday and a goal and an assist on Sunday. He has 5-5-10 in his last eight games.

— Jack Ahcan made a perfect pass to Justin Brazeau on the game-winner on Friday, then got the puck to Lysell in overtime on Sunday.

— Keith Kinkaid stopped 32 of 34 shots in Hartford on Saturday. The pad stop he made on Matt Robertson two minutes into the third period was one of his best of the season.

— Hartford’s Matt Rempe is 6-foot-7. Providence’s Jack Ahcan is 5-foot-8. In the second period on Saturday night, the smaller guy absolutely steamrolled the bigger guy with a clean hit.

— While the Wolf Pack crowed about filling the bottom tier of their rink with 6,189 fans on Saturday, the P-Bruins drew 10,169 on Sunday, the biggest home crowd of the season. Providence is fourth in the AHL with an average attendance of 7,265.

— Providence caught a couple of breaks against Utica on Friday. First, an apparent goal by the Comets at the end of the second period was washed out. It looked like the puck crossed the goal line before time ran out, but the referees looked at the replay and ruled that that it had not. Then, after killing a five on three, Marc McLaughlin’s dump-in took a crazy bounce past Utica goalie Nico Daws for a lucky goal 2:27 into the third period.


— Linesmen Dmitri Antipin and Stephen Drain should have stepped in sooner when Matt Rempe of Hartford pounded J.D. Greenway in a one-sided fight in the second period on Sunday.

— Tough break for Georgii Merkulov in the third period on Sunday. With Providence up, 2-1, he lost an edge and fell down after carrying the puck into the offensive zone. Hartford’s Zac Jones collected the puck and passed it up to Tanner Fritz, who went in alone and scored to tie the game.


— Injured: Eduards Tralmaks, Matt Filipe

— Providence is in a 0 for 15 stretch on the power play. The PP is 31st in the league at 13.8 percent.

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins week

Justin Brazeau scored twice on Saturday and added another goal on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins)

Okay, it wasn’t a perfect week for the Providence Bruins, but they’ll take two wins in three games all season long.

The P-Bruins started the week with a 5-2 win at Bridgeport on Wednesday. They traveled to Bridgeport again on Saturday for their eighth straight road game and won, 6-3. Back home on Sunday for their first game at the Amica Mutual Pavilion since Dec. 16, Providence lost to the Utica Comets, 2-1.

“It’s tough. They come in (having played) three in three and at the end of the day we had opportunities to get it done and we fell short,” said coach Ryan Mougenel. “There’s lessons in it, for sure. I haven’t really liked our Sundays at all here. It’s something to address and get better at.”

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— As of Sunday night, Providence was in second place in the Atlantic Division – two points behind Hershey — and tied for second in the AHL with 47 points. They’ve lost only seven of 34 games in regulation time.

— Providence went 5-2-1 in its eight straight road games from Dec. 17 to Jan. 7.

— A pair of quick strikes left the P-Bruins in good shape in Bridgeport. They scored two goals in 13 seconds (Oskar Steen and Jakub Lauko) on Wednesday and twice in 30 seconds (Joona Koppanen and Vinni Lettieri) on Saturday.

— Justin Brazeau is on a hot streak with 3-4-7 in his last five games. He had two goals and was plus-4 on Saturday night and added another goal on Sunday afternoon.

— Joona Koppanen had a goal and an assist in each of the games in Bridgeport.

— Vinni Lettieri scored the game-winner and added an assist on Saturday. With 12-16-28 in 33 games he continues to lead the team in goals and points.

— Jakub Lauko has a goal and three assists in the last three games. He is plus-10 so far after finishing last season at minus-28.

— Oskar Steen is playing some of his best hockey of the season with 3-4-7 in his last five games.

— Joey Abate had a strong game on Wednesday with a goal and five shots. He’s tied for second in the league with six fighting majors.

— Mike Reilly scored the longest goal of the season on Saturday, hitting the empty net from 198 feet near the end of the game. Brandan Bussi earned his first assist of the year.

— After drawing 8,562 fans on Sunday, the P-Bruins are fourth in the AHL with an average crowd of 7,027.


— Utica scored on its second shot of the game on Sunday.

— Going into Sunday’s game, Providence was allowing an average of 33.97 shots per game, second-most in the AHL.

— Starting on Saturday, P-Bruins play five straight games against Hartford.


— The power play remains a problem. After going 0 for 5 on Sunday, the PP is 30th in the AHL at 14.5 percent.

— Injured: Eduards Tralmaks, J.D. Greenway, Matt Filipe

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins week

The Providence Bruins ended 2022 on a high note, winning their last two games and taking four out of six points on their tough Pennsylvania road trip.

They started the week with a tight 1-0 loss in Hershey against the first-in-the-AHL Bears on Wednesday.

On Friday, Providence’s struggling power play came to life with a pair of goals in a 4-3 victory at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton despite being outshot, 39-27.

Back in Hershey one night later, the road-weary P-Bruins showed tremendous character in grinding out a 4-3 win despite being outshot, 41-21. The Bears, rested and ready after not playing on Friday, tied the game at 5:39 of the third, but Providence quickly responded with Chris Wagner’s power play goal at 7:05, which turned out to be the winner.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— The P-Bruins finished the calendar year in second place in the Atlantic Division with 43 points and a .694 points percentage in 31 games. They are 18-6-5-2.

— If you’d told me at the start of the season that Providence would have only six regulation-time losses in their first 31 games I’d have said you were crazy.

— Chris Wagner was a beast all over the ice in the third period of Saturday’s win. He scored the eventual game-winner on the power play seven minutes into the period, then had some tremendous shifts on the penalty kill and won important defensive zone faceoffs as the clock ran down.

— Georgii Merkulov had a productive weekend with a goal and an assist against the Penguins on Friday and two assists against the Bears on Saturday. With 6-17-23 in 28 games, he leads the team in assists and is second in points.

— Oskar Steen hadn’t been producing a lot on offense in the last couple of weeks, but that changed on Friday when he buried the game-winner with 2:49 left. He also recorded two assists that night and chipped in with another helper on Saturday.

— The power play broke a drought with two goals on Friday and another one, for the game-winner, on Saturday.

— After the Pens’ Alex Nylander fell down and lost the puck in the neutral zone, Vinni Lettieri put a perfect pass on the stick of Oskar Steen for the winning goal on Friday.

— After giving up a goal in the first minute on Saturday, Keith Kinkaid delivered a strong performance with 38 saves, including some 10-bell stops with the game on the line.

— Luke Toporowski got a nice break in Saturday’s game when, without a better option, he lofted a backhander toward the goal from a foot inside the blue line and it somehow landed in the net behind Hershey goalie Hunter Shepard.

— Brandon Bussi continues to lead the AHL with a .936 save percentage.

— Jakub Lauko snapped a one-goal-in-15-games slump with an impossible angle goal on Saturday.

— Connor Carrick’s slapshot goal on Friday might have been the hardest shot by a Providence Bruin all season. He leads the team’s defensemen with 3-14-17 in 26 games.


— Brandon Bussi undoubtedly would like to have back the bad-angle shot by Valtteri Puustinen of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton that got past him on Friday.

— After a tough game on Friday, the P-Bruins had to face a Hershey squad that didn’t play the previous night.

— On Saturday, Providence gave up a goal only 27 seconds into the game.

— Hershey had nine power plays to only three for the P-Bruins on Saturday.

— Jakub Lauko didn’t help the cause when he took a misconduct and a game misconduct for abuse of officials four minutes into the third period on Saturday. The tired P-Bruins could have used his legs as they tried to close out the win.


— Injured: Johnny Beecher, Kyle Keyser, Eduards Tralmaks, Matt Filipe

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins week

The Providence Bruins shuffled home from Charlotte for the Christmas break with one out of four points.

On Thursday night, facing a feisty Checkers team that had lost five in a row, the P-Bruins had a one-goal lead with just over eight minutes left in the third period before giving up a goal to tie it and then losing in overtime, 2-1.

On Friday, Providence failed to cash in on power play opportunities on the way to a 5-2 loss. It was only the second time this season they’ve lost by three goals.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— The P-Bruins hit the Christmas break with a record of 16-5-5-2. They are in second place in the Atlantic Division and in the AHL with 39 points and a .696 points percentage.

— With a goal and an assist, Jack Ahcan had a good game on Friday.

— Mike Reilly scored a beauty of a goal in the 5-2 loss.

— It was good to see J.D. Greenway get fired up and toss Charlotte’s Gerry Mayhew around in a fight on Thursday.

— Joey Abate didn’t have any points to show for it, but he continued to be effective with his physical play.


— The absence of eight-goal scorer Fabian Lysell (playing for Sweden in the World Junior Championship) and nine-goal scorer Luke Toporowski (sick) really put a crimp in the P-Bruins’ attack.

— Every team is victimized by bad bounces at times over the course of a long season and the P-Bruins saw a bunch in Charlotte. On the Checkers’ tying goal on Thursday, a shot bounced off the glass and right to Connor Bunnaman in front of the net for an easy score. On Friday, a Charlotte shot hit the skate of Providence defenseman Conor Carrick in front and bounced onto the stick of Riley Bezeau, who had most of the net to shoot at for the first goal of the game less than two minutes in. Later, Georgii Merkulov dove to block a shot from the point only to have the puck go directly to a wide-open Lucas Carlsson, who buried it for Charlotte’s fifth goal.

— Oskar Steen has one goal in his last 14 games. He was minus-three on Friday night.

— Referees Stephen Hiff and Jack Young worked both games. They appeared to be younger than many of the players. That’s not a good thing.

— The schedule gets harder in the coming week with two games at first-place Hershey and one at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.


— Even with Fabian Lysell and Luke Toporowski in the lineup, the power play hasn’t clicked lately. In Charlotte, the PP went 0 for 13 and has now fallen to 31st in the league at 13.9 percent. Only Hartford (12 percent) is worse with the man advantage.

— Injured/sick: Luke Toporowski, Kyle Keyser, Johnny Beecher, Eduards Tralmaks, Matt Filipe

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

Vinni Lettieri’s goal in overtime lifted Providence to a 2-1 win on Saturday. He leads the team in scoring with 11-13-24 in 25 games. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins)

For the second weekend in a row, the Providence Bruins split their two games.

At home on Friday night, the P-Bruins let a two-goal lead get away in the third period and lost in overtime to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 5-4.

In a rematch in Allentown on Saturday night, Providence managed to get rid of the sour taste of Friday night’s loss. They were outshot, 35-19, but pulled out a 2-1 victory over the Phantoms on Vinni Lettieri’s goal in OT.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— As has happened more than once this season, it was Vinny Lettieri to the rescue on Saturday night. He hounded Lehigh Valley’s Egor Zamula into an awful turnover, then skated in and tucked home the winner in overtime. Lettieri leads the team in scoring with 11-13-24 in 25 games.

— Brandon Bussi delivered another strong performance in Saturday’s win, stopping 34 of 35 shots. His .936 save percentage is the best in the league.

— Providence finished the weekend in second place in the Atlantic Division and in the AHL. They have 38 points and a .731 points percentage in 26 games. The only team ahead of them is Hershey, which has 41 points and a .732 points percentage in 28 games.

— Joey Abate had his best weekend of the season. He rattled the boards with solid hits throughout Friday’s game and he tied Saturday’s game with a breakaway goal.

— Joona Koppanen had a goal on Friday and made a good play on Joey Abate’s goal on Saturday night. He alertly fired the puck up to Abate behind the defense at the red line for a breakaway that ended up in the Phantoms’ net.

— In his last game before heading off to play for Sweden in the World Juniors, Fabian Lysell scored a goal and made a razzle-dazzle play to set up Sammy Asselin’s goal on Friday. He is tied for third among AHL rookies with 8-11-19 in 20 games.

— The power play chipped in with two big goals on Friday night. Providence was 30th in the league on the power play at the end of last weekend, but has now creeped up to 27th.

— Georgii Merkulov had two assists on Friday, including a perfect pass to Marc McLaughlin for a power play goal.

— The P-Bruins are 6-2-1-2 when trailing after two periods. They are 10-1-3-1 when outshot.


— They earned a point on Friday, but that was a game Providence should have put away before it got to OT.

— The P-Bruins had lost to Lehigh Valley once in regulation time, once in overtime and once in a shootout – all at home – before winning in OT against the Phantoms on the road on Saturday.

— Providence heads into what looks to be its toughest stretch of the season so far. The next seven games are all on the road and every opponent has a record above .500.

— They were outshot 6-0 in overtime on Friday.

— The P-Bruins had no power plays on Saturday. Zero, zilch, nada.


— Injured/ill: Johnny Beecher, Jakub Lauko, Eduards Tralmaks, Kyle Keyser, Matt Filipe

— The bus from Lehigh Valley arrived back in Providence at 3:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

Oskar Steen celebrates his first-period goal with teammates on Sunday afternoon. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins)

The Providence Bruins won one and lost one in their two weekend games.

Trailing 2-1 in the third period at Bridgeport on Saturday night, the P-Bruins scored twice in 53 seconds and earned a 3-2 win against the Islanders.

Things didn’t go nearly as well back home on Sunday afternoon. Providence fell behind early, took the lead on two goals in less than three minutes and then gave up the next four goals on the way to a 5-2 loss to Bridgeport. It was their first defeat of the year by more than two goals.

“We’ve been winning games but our details haven’t been good. That’s what you get when you play as loose as we did. We know Bridgeport. We know they’re going to come in and play the brand of hockey that they play and we fell right into it. It’s just disappointing,” said coach Ryan Mougenel after Sunday’s game.

“If you’re going to be like that, your toughness has to be your power play and our power play let us down. It actually, I think, hurt us. It hurt our momentum. Special teams, we’ve got to make sure we’re dialed in here this week. That’s what it’s going to be, getting back on track.

“Those games are going to happen. There’s young players that make young mistakes and some of our older guys weren’t there to pick it up.”

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— The Hershey Bears slipped ahead of Providence and took the lead in the Atlantic Division and overall in the AHL, but Providence remains in good position in second with 35 points and a .729 points percentage.

— After stopping 28 of 30 shots in Saturday’s 3-2 win, Brandon Bussi is tied for the AHL lead with a save percentage of .932.

— Fabian Lysell returned to the lineup after missing three games because he was sick and scored twice in Bridgeport. Snipes and toe-drags are great, but going to the front of the net and converting good opportunities, as he did on Saturday, is important, too, and should result in a lot of goals for the flashy rookie.

— Oskar Steen knew what to do when a Bridgeport defender handed him the puck in the slot on Sunday: He buried it for his fifth goal of the season.

— Providence caught a break when veteran goalie Cory Schneider turned the puck over to Vinni Lettieri in the first period on Sunday. Lettieri dished to Georgii Merkulov, who slid the puck into the open net. Somehow Fabian Lysell also was credited with an assist on the play.

— Vinni Lettieri has points in five straight games. His assist on Georgii Merkulov’s goal on Sunday was his 100th in the AHL.

— Georgii Merkulov made a very nice pass to Fabian Lysell for the game-winner on Saturday.

— Connor Carrick had a goal and an assist in Saturday’s win.


— Providence had a golden opportunity to get back in the game on the power play on Sunday when Bridgeport was hit with a five-minute penalty and then a two-minute penalty in the last minute of the second period. They not only didn’t score, they failed to generate any Grade A chances. Providence has fallen to 30th in the AHL on the power play at 14.4 percent. Only Hartford (14.3 percent) and Chicago (12 percent) are worse.

— Tough break for Keith Kinkaid and the P-Bruins on Sunday when a Bridgeport shot bounced off the glass behind the net and right to Otto Koivula for an easy tap-in goal.

— Going into Sunday’s games, Providence was allowing an average of 34.13 shots per game, the most in the league.

— The P-Bruins fell behind just over five minutes after the opening faceoff on both Saturday and Sunday.


— Injured: Kyle Keyser, Eduards Tralmaks, Matt Filipe

The P-Bruins thought they had a goal at the end of the second period, but the puck didn’t cross the line until time had run out. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins)

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins week

A heavyweight bout between Nick Wolff of Providence and Matt Rempe of Hartford enlivened Sunday afternoon’s game. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins.)

The Providence Bruins won two of their three games and earned four out of six points over the last week.

Playing their fourth road game in a row, the P-Bruins lost to the Bridgeport Islanders, 4-3, in Connecticut on Wednesday.

They trailed 50 minutes into the game at home on Saturday before scoring two late goals for a 2-1 win against the Springfield Thunderbirds.

At home again on Sunday, they took advantage of subpar goaltending in the Hartford net and beat the Wolf Pack, 3-1.

“I’m not complaining. There’s a lot to like, but there’s things we have to get better at,” said coach Ryan Mougenel after Sunday’s game.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— The P-Bruins again finished the weekend in first place in the Atlantic Division and in the league. They’ve earned 33 of a possible 44 points.

— Providence’s goaltending continues to be excellent.

Brandon Bussi kicked out 25 shots in the win over the Thunderbirds, including a couple of 10-bell stops on Nikita Alexandrov during a five-on-three Springfield power play in the third period. He is tied for first in the AHL with a .932 save percentage.

Keith Kinkaid, pulled after giving up three goals in the first period in Bridgeport, responded with a season-high 46-save performance on Sunday. He made some terrific stops during a five-on-three in the first period. His .921 save percentage is eighth in the league.

— Kai Wissman scored his first AHL goal in Bridgeport. Josiah Didier scored his first goal of the season on Sunday.

— Jack Ahcan scored his first goal of the year and it was the winner against Hartford. He has a five-game point streak with 1-5-6.

— Vinni Lettieri had a goal, an assist and six shots against Springfield. On Lettieri’s goal, which tied the game at 10:15 of the third period, the play started when Chris Wagner gained possession in the Thunderbirds’ end. Justin Brazeau set up in front, screening Springfield goalie Vadim Zherenko. The puck went from Georgii Merkulov to Jack Ahcan to Lettieri, who fired it at the net. Neither Wagner nor Brazeau were credited with assists, but the goal doesn’t happen without them.

— Stick tap for Sammy Asselin for jumping in to defend Johnny Beecher after a hard hit in Bridgeport. He leads the team in penalty minutes with 29.

— Jakub Lauko had good games on Saturday and Sunday. He fought Springfield’s Luke Witkowski after Witkowski threw a big hit on Josiah Didier. He scored this third goal of the season and blew up a Hartford player with a hard check on Sunday.

— Justin Brazeau showed off his soft hands, scoring the GWG on Saturday. The play started with a strong forecheck by Vinni Lettieri. Then Luke Toporowski found Brazeau in front and he did the rest with a nice move to beat Vadim Zherenko.

— Joey Abate earned his first AHL assist with a good pass to Jakub Lauko on Sunday.

— If you like fights, this was your week. There was one bout on Wednesday and two each on Saturday and Sunday.

The scrap between Nick Wolff and Hartford’s 6-foot-7 Matt Rempe on Sunday was the best of the season so far at the AMP.


— Down by a goal in Bridgeport, Oskar Steen and Jakob Lauko broke in on a two on zero but came away empty-handed when Lauko hit iron.

— On Sunday, referees Mathieu Menniti and Jackson Kozari whistled Providence for eight penalties while giving only two to the Wolf Pack.

— The P-Bruins didn’t bring much juice in the first two periods at Bridgeport. They were outshot, 12-2, in the first period and had only nine shots after two periods.

— Providence didn’t muster a shot on Sunday until the game was 10 minutes old.

— Joona Koppanen snapped two sticks within a couple of minutes in the second period on Wednesday.

— I am asking once again that the use of the ice-level, behind-the-net camera be scaled way, way, waaaaay back on AHLTV broadcasts in Providence.


— Injured/sick: Mike Reilly, Fabian Lysell, Kyle Keyser, Eduards Tralmaks, Matt Filipe

Keith Kinkaid makes one of his 46 saves against Hartford on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of the Providence Bruins.)

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins week

Luke Toporowski barrels to the net against Lehigh Valley on Nov. 18. The 21-year-old left winger scored a hat trick on Saturday night. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins)

There were some bumps along the way, but the Providence Bruins came home from their Thanksgiving week trip to upstate New York with five out of six points.

For starters, the P-Bruins let leads of 2-0 and 3-1 get away against the Rochester Americans on Wednesday before losing in overtime, 4-3.

Bouncing back from that deflating outcome, Providence showed lots of guts in Syracuse on Friday, scoring three times in the third period for a come-from-behind win over the Crunch, 5-3.

On Saturday, the P-Bruins led 2-0, 4-1 and 5-3, but Syracuse rallied to tie the game with an extra-attacker goal with 45 seconds left. Chris Wagner scored a wraparound goal in overtime for a 6-5 victory and a happy bus ride back to Rhode Island.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— As of Sunday night, Providence remained in first place in the Atlantic Division and first overall in the AHL. They’ve lost only twice in regulation time and have earned 29 of 38 points.

— It was a great weekend for Luke Toporowski. On Friday, he set up Sammy Asselin for goal with a slick pass on the power play, then scored the GWG in the third period. He had a hat trick on Saturday. His second score that night on an individual rush could be the Providence goal of the year to this point. With nine goals in 18 games, he’s a strong candidate for AHL Rookie of the Year.

— On numerous occasions this season Chris Wagner has delivered a big play when it’s needed most. He did it again in overtime on Saturday, scoring his seventh goal of the season. His reaction after the goal is clear proof that his competitive fire is burning as hot as ever.

— After going without a goal in his first 65 games as a pro, Nick Wolff buried his first in Rochester.

— Mike Callahan faked a shot to open a lane to the net, then fired a wrister for his first goal of the season on Friday in Syracuse. Later on in the game he made a smart play at the line that led to a goal by Justin Brazeau.

— Justin Brazeau had a good week with three goals and an assist in the three games. Oskar Steen had an assist on Friday and three more on Saturday. Sammy Asselin had 2-3-5 in the three games. His wrister for a goal in Rochester was an absolute sizzler.

— Keith Kinkaid shut the door in the second half of the game on Friday and finished with 38 saves in the win.

— Joona Koppanen made an unselfish play to get the puck to Justin Brazeau for an empty-netter on Friday. Koppanen, who is very good on the penalty kill, might be Providence’s most underrated forward.

— They are 6-0-1-0 in one-goal games.

— Providence had 21 shots in the first period on Friday. That’s the most by any AHL team in the first period this season.

— Eleven Providence players recorded points on Friday.

— When Johnny Beecher was victimized by a tough hit from Shawn Element on Friday, Dan Renouf stepped in and fought Element.

— They got a great break on Saturday when the referees wiped out a Syracuse goal because of goalie interference. “That’s just an outrageous call against the Crunch,’’ said the hometeam’s play by play guy and he wasn’t wrong.


— As of Sunday, the P-Bruins had given up 677 shots, the most in the AHL. They were allowing an average of 32.74 per game. In four of their last seven games they’ve allowed more than 40 shots.

— It sure looked like Syracuse’s Darren Raddysh slew-footed Sammy Asselin on Saturday, but the refs called him for roughing. Former Bruin Gemel Smith embellished the crap out of a Luke Toporowski high stick in the same game and, of course, drew the call.

— The power play went 1 for 15 in the three games. It’s now 29th in the league at 15.3 percent.

— The P-Bruins had good chances in OT in Rochester – including a glittering opportunity for Fabian Lysell — but couldn’t finish.

— Providence was whistled for 13 minor penalties on Saturday night.


— Talk about buzzard’s luck. On Wednesday in Rochester, ex-Bruin Anders Bjork was a ghost all night until his shot bounced off P-Bruins defender Kai Wissman and into the net to tie the game. Then, with the clock running down in overtime, Ethan Prow lofted a Hail Mary pass that somehow came down on the stick of Linus Weissbach, who skated in alone and buried the winner with six ticks left on the clock.

— Injured: Nick Wolff, Kyle Keyser, Eduards Tralmaks, Matt Filipe

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

With NHL scouts watching, Mike Reilly scored a goal and added an assist in his first game with the Providence Bruins on Friday. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins)

After soaring to the top of the AHL standings in the first five weeks of the seasons, the Providence Bruins fell back to earth a bit over the weekend.

They earned two out of six points, but came out on the short end in all three games, losing in regulation time, in a shootout and in overtime, all at home.

The P-Bruins started with a lackluster 4-2 loss to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Friday. They were beaten, 3-2, by the Phantoms in a shootout on Saturday. On Sunday they led going into the third period but lost in overtime to the Bridgeport Islanders, 3-2.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— Despite the three losses, Providence is still first in the Atlantic Division and in the AHL with 24 points and a .750 points percentage in 16 games.

— Vinni Lettieri’s goal with 6:43 left in the third period on Saturday tied the game and allowed the P-Bruins to earn a point. He scored a power play goal on Sunday, converting a good pass from Fabian Lysell. Lettieri, who has a six-game point streak, assisted on Mike Reilly’s goal on Friday. He leads the team in scoring with 9-7-16 in 16 games. His goals this weekend were the 101st and 102nd AHL goals of his career.

— With a number of NHL scouts in the building, Mike Reilly was a standout on Friday, with a goal, an assist and six shots. He made a picture-perfect pass to Oskar Steen for Providence’s first goal. He also he played well on Sunday.

— Marc McLaughlin scored his first goal of the season on Saturday night.

— Connor Carrick had a pair of assists on Sunday. He has 1-9-10 in 14 games.

— Nick Wolff flattened Zayde Wisdom of Lehigh Valley with a clean open-ice hit on Saturday.

— Brandon Bussi kicked out 43 shots on Saturday and has the best save percentage in the AHL at .949. His 1.84 goals-against average is second.

— Attendance was solid: 6,828 on Friday, 8,097 on Saturday and 7,167 on Sunday. Providence is sixth in the league with an average of 6,898.


— Providence gave up 35, 46 and 39 shots in the three games.

— On the penalty kill Friday, Oskar Steen made a blind drop pass in the Lehigh Valley zone that sent the Phantoms off on a three on two that culminated in their first goal. Wrong time, wrong place for such a pass.

— Whoever is directing the AHL TV productions of home games needs to cut way back on the use of ice-level cameras located behind the nets.

— Providence’s Justin Brazeau put the puck in the net at the end of a very well-executed play on the power play on Friday. Unfortunately, the goal didn’t count as the puck went in just after time ran out in the first period.

— The P-Bruins will spend Thanksgiving in Syracuse.


— Injured: Kyle Keyser, Eduards Tralmaks, Matt Filipe

Chris Wagner scores Providence’s second goal on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins)