Grit, character, guts.
The Providence Bruins displayed all of the above and more during an exceptional three-in-three weekend.
Coming off a COVID-19 shutdown, the P-Bruins took home four of six points despite playing without some of their top players, including Steven Fogarty, Urho Vaakanainen, Chris Wagner and Brady Lyle.
On Friday, with six ECHL callups in the lineup, Providence looked like a team that hadn’t played in two weeks in losing to the Belleville Senators, 4-1, at home.
They rebounded on Saturday with a 3-0 victory over the Springfield Thunderbirds. Kyle Keyser pitched a very satisfying shutout with 24 saves, putting a damper on Teddy Bear Toss night before a big crowd at the MassMutual Center.
Back home on Sunday, the P-Bruins got a goal from Cameron Hughes 99 seconds into the game and went on to record a thorough 5-1 win against the Toronto Marlies.
“This weekend says a lot about our older guys. Not everyone could see practice when we had three forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie. The common denominator was Aaron Ness and how he dragged everybody along,’’ said coach Ryan Mougenel.
“The juice is always good around here. We have a lot of good quality veterans who drag guys into the fight and don’t let them off the hook. They make my job extremely easy in that regard.
“The other part of it is (director of player development and player personnel adviser) Jamie Langenbrunner, (assistant GM) Evan Gold, and (assistant coach) Matt Thomas did a great job of identifying guys in the ECHL that were playing well. I thought all of those guys came up and played really well for us and it wasn’t easy. We basically had training camp all over again with teaching systems and it gave our staff time to dig into where our deficiencies were.”
Here’s the good, bad and ugly.
— Oskar Steen scored twice on Sunday. He leads the team in scoring with 8-7-15 in 14 games. He’s scoring on 23.5 percent of his shots.
— Providence finished the weekend in third place in the Atlantic Division with a points percentage of .600. Only Hartford and Springfield are ahead of them.
— Kyle Keyser posted his first shutout of the season with 24 saves against the Thunderbirds. Instead of throwing their teddy bears on the ice after Springfield’s first goal, fans had to wait until after the game.
— Kyle Grosenick made timely saves in Sunday’s win. His save percentage is .931.
— Jack Studnicka had six shots and scored Providence’s only goal on Friday and was credited with two primary assists on Sunday.
— Justin Brazeau scored twice on Saturday and added another one on Sunday. Keltie Jeri-Leon gave Providence some breathing room with a third-period goal in Springfield. Both players were called up from Maine.
— Eduards Tralmaks assisted on both of Justin Brazeau’s goals on Saturday and was a standout on Sunday with a goal and eight shots.
— The P-Bruins scored five seconds after Matt Filipe’s fight on Sunday, then added another one 24 seconds later. Not saying there was a connection. Not saying there wasn’t.
— Nick Wolff had two primary assists and was plus-three on Sunday.
— Defenseman Wyatt Ege, recalled from Cincinnati, was plus-three on Saturday and had four shots on Sunday.
— With one fighting major on both Friday and Saturday and two on Sunday, Providence is now tied for third in the AHL with 12 fighting majors.
— Being forced to play a three-in-three coming out of a COVID shutdown was not right, regardless of the results. Postponing Friday’s game and giving the team an extra day would have been the right thing to do.
— Providence plays its next seven games on the road.
— They gave up their fourth shorthanded goal on Sunday, tied for second-most in the league.
— Eduards Tralmaks was crosschecked in the teeth by Toronto’s Joseph Duszak on Sunday. Duszak received two minutes for interference.
— Kyle Keyser’s misplay behind the net allowed Belleville’s Scott Sabourin to score an easy goal on Friday.
— Injured/ill: Josiah Didier, Urho Vaakanainen, Chris Wagner, Steven Fogarty, Brady Lyle, Jakub Lauko, Ian McKinnon