Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins week

Johnny Beecher scored his first two pro goals, including one in overtime, in Tuesday’s win over Lehigh Valley. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins)

After winning five in a row, the Providence Bruins fell hard over the weekend.

They beat last-place Lehigh Valley in overtime, 5-4, at home on Tuesday before crashing. They lost to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 4-1, on Friday and to Charlotte, 2-1, on Saturday at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, and dropped a 4-0 decision at Springfield on Sunday.

Simply put, the bottom fell out of Providence’s offense over the last three games. With a total of 44 goals on the injured list – Jesper Froden (16), Cameron Hughes (14) and Eduards Tralmakes (14) – the P-Bruins were able to score only twice in 180 minutes from Friday to Sunday. That’s not a formula for success.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— Johnny Beecher had a night to remember in the win against Lehigh Valley. The rookie center scored his first two goals as a pro, including the OT winner, and was credited with an assist. He has 2-2-4 in six games.

— Back from Boston, Troy Grosenick deserved a better fate on Saturday. He allowed only one goal (the second goal was an empty netter) and was spectacular in kicking out 45 shots. He continues to lead the AHL with a .933 save percentage and 1.99 goals-against average.

— Rookie Georgii Merkulov potted his first goal as a pro on Tuesday and had a nice assist on a power-play goal by Justin Brazeau on Friday. He has 1-3-4 in five games.

— After playing sparingly with Boston, Jack Studnicka scored Providence’s only goal on Saturday. He had a game-high eight shots in that game and six more on Sunday.

— Alex-Olivier Voyer, who was briefly in the hospital with an infection early in the week, stepped up during Sunday’s loss in Springfield. With his team spinning its wheels, he tried to provide a spark by fighting Springfield’s Tyler Tucker. It didn’t work, but Voyer won the fight.


— A stretch of 12 games in 24 days so far in April took a toll. Providence didn’t have anything left in the tank in Springfield. They fell behind early and had a difficult time generating good chances.

— Uncharacteristically, the P-Bruins allowed 41 shots against the Penguins on Friday and 47 against the Checkers on Saturday.

— Oskar Steen has one goal in his last 21 games.

— No goals in his last 37 games for Jakub Lauko.

— Curtis Hall hasn’t scored in 28 games.

— It was a rough day for the defense pair of Tyler Lewington and Mike Callahan in Springfield. They were on the ice for three of the four goals by the Thunderbirds.


— The P-Bruins have scored one goal in their last eight-plus periods.

— Injured: Cameron Hughes, Eduards Tralmaks, Nick Wolff, Aaron Ness, Georgii Merkulov (sick)

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

The Providence Bruins were missing starting goalie Troy Grosenick and backup Kyle Keyser. Top defenseman Jack Ahcan was on recall with Boston, as was third-leading scorer Jesper Froden. Cameron Hughes, who leads the team in points, was out with an injury.

Didn’t matter.

The P-Bruins received a lift from new additions to the roster, swept both games in Pennsylvania over the weekend and moved back into first place in the Atlantic Division.

With Brandon Bussi making his pro debut in goal, Providence beat Lehigh Valley in a shootout, 3-2, on Saturday night. Less than 24 hours later, they edged Hershey, 2-0, as Bussi registered his first shutout.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— Brandon Bussi was the star of the weekend. In his first start on Saturday, the rookie goalie from Western Michigan was tremendous in overtime and stuffed all three Lehigh Valley shooters in the 3-2 shootout win. On Sunday, he stopped all 26 Hershey shots in the 1-0 victory.

— Ohio State free agent Georgii Merkulov had a first game to remember against Lehigh Valley. He set up goals by Chris Wagner and Joona Koppanen with perfect passes, then he scored the winner in the shootout.

— The penalty killers – Josiah Didier, Aaron Ness, Chris Wagner – were brilliant in overtime on Saturday, setting the stage for the shootout win.

— Rookie Michael Callahan moved in from the blue line to bury a rebound for his first goal as a pro in Hershey and it was the game-winner.

— Chris Wagner continues to play very good two-way hockey and he tied a career high with his 15th goal against Lehigh Valley.

— Goals are still hard to come by for Jakub Lauko, but he registered an assist in both games over the weekend, including the primary helper on Mike Callahan’s goal.

— First-rounder Johnny Beecher didn’t have any points, but he played two solid games in his first weekend as a pro. He used his speed, held his own on faceoffs and had four shots on Saturday and two more on Sunday.

— Providence is 7-1-1 in Pennsylvania (Hershey, Lehigh Valley, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton) so far this season. On the road and at home, they’ve shut out Hershey four times.

— Not that it was ever in doubt, but the P-Bruins clinched a playoff spot on Friday night. They’ve missed the playoffs only five times since the franchise opened for business in 1992-93.

— By the end of the day on Sunday, Providence was first in the Atlantic Division with a points percentage of .615. Charlotte and Springfield were second at .614. 


— The P-Bruins took a too-many-men penalty in overtime on Saturday night.

— Starting Tuesday, they close the regular season with a demanding stretch of seven games in 12 days.


— Injured/sick: Cameron Hughes, Tyler Lewington, Eduards Tralmaks, Kyle Keyser, Victor Berglund

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins week

The Providence Bruins are two points away from clinching their eighth straight playoff slot after taking four of six points from Friday to Monday.

The P-Bruins started with a tough 3-2 loss at Bridgeport on Friday night. They bounced back with a dominating 6-2 victory at home against the Islanders on Saturday night. Then they gutted out a 2-1 win at home on Monday against Lehigh Valley.

At the end of the night on Monday, Providence was in third place in the Atlantic Division with a points percentage of .603, trailing Charlotte (.619) and Springfield (.612).

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— Troy Grosenick continues to be Providence’s most valuable player. He leads the AHL with a .931 save percentage and a 2.02 goals-against average.

— With the P-Bruins struggling to score, Jesper Froden came up with big plays, scoring twice on Saturday night and setting up Aaron Ness’ goal that tied the game on Monday. Froden is up to 16 goals.

— One of Victor Berglund’s strong suits is his ability to get his shot through from the point. He scored his sixth of the season on the power play with a drive from downtown on Monday. It turned out to the game-winner.

— Eduards Tralmaks had a goal and an assist in both games against Bridgeport. With 14 goals on 58 shots, his shooting percentage of 24.1 is fifth in the league.

— Justin Brazeau had two assists on Saturday night. Steven Fogarty recorded a pair of assists on Saturday and another one on Monday. Oskar Steen had one helper on Saturday and two on Monday.

— Josiah Didier scored his first goal of the season on Saturday night.

— Mike Callahan was credited with his first point as a pro when he assisted on Alex-Olivier Voyer’s goal on Saturday.

— After sitting out a game as a healthy scratch, Sammy Asselin bounced back with a two-assist game in Bridgeport.

— Providence allowed only one shot while killing a four-minute penalty early against Lehigh Valley. They went on to kill all six penalties in the game.

— After Andy Andreoff hacked Troy Grosenick on Friday night, Nick Wolff jumped in and engaged in a good scrap with the tough Bridgeport winger.


— In the last minute of Friday night’s game, one linesman signaled a Bridgeport icing but the other one waved it off. Seconds later, Providence had a defensive zone meltdown that left Chris Terry wide open to bury the game-winner with 25 seconds left.

— After Lehigh Valley pulled its goalie late in Monday’s game, the P-Bruins missed two cracks at the empty net.


— Injured: Joona Koppanen, Cameron Hughes, Tyler Lewington, Curtis Hall

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

Jack Ahcan, Steven Fogarty and Oskar Steen celebrate Fogarty’s overtime goal on Monday night. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins)

 You could hardly blame the Providence Bruins for breathing a sigh of relief Monday night after a 4-3 overtime win against the Hartford Wolf Pack.

They needed a victory in the worst way to salvage a weekend at home that saw them lose in OT to the Springfield Thunderbirds, 1-0, on Friday and lose to the Syracuse Crunch, 4-1, on Sunday.

Providence had a win in regulation time within reach against Hartford, but gave up a goal with 2:36 left that forced extra time. To their credit, they quickly reset and were rewarded when Steven Fogarty scored the game-winner just 45 seconds into OT.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— Joona Koppanen continues to have a breakthrough season. With 28 points (11 goals, 17 assists) in 56 games, he’s equaled his offensive output from his first four seasons combined (16-12-28 in 119 games). He combined with Chris Wagner and Nick Wolff to score a pretty shorthanded goal and set up Matt Filipe’s goal against Hartford. Koppanen, who has developed into a standout defensive center, leads the team with plus-23.

— Jesper Froden scored Providence’s only goal on Sunday and scored a big power-play goal to tie Monday night’s game.

— Steven Fogarty had a strong game against Hartford, setting up a goal and burying the winner in OT.

— Kyle Keyser stopped Syracuse’s Anthony Richard on a penalty shot on Sunday.

— Providence is second in the league on the penalty kill at 84.5 percent. Cam Hughes, Chris Wagner and Joona Koppanen have been standouts on the PK.


— The P-Bruins have slid to third place in the extremely tight Atlantic Division race with a .600 points percentage. With 12 games left in the regular season, they trail Springfield (.633) and Charlotte (.609).

— The P-Bruins were in a 2-6-3 slide – seven of a possible 22 points — before pulling out Monday night’s OT win. They are winless in their last four games on the road.

— A tough turnover by Nick Wolff opened the door for Hartford’s first goal on Monday.

— Sure looked to me like the officials got the too-many-men call against Providence wrong on Sunday.

— When two Syracuse players collided and Providence broke in on a 5 on 2, Oskar Steen had most of the net to shoot at, but he pulled his shot wide.


— Goals have been hard to come by lately – just 11 in 9 games before Monday. The departure of 19-goal scorer Zach Senyshyn in a trade and the recall of Jack Studnicka to Boston have put a dent in Providence’s offense.