Vinni Lettieri beats Joel Hofer of Springfield in the shootout on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins)
It wasn’t a perfect weekend for the Providence Bruins, but it was pretty close as they earned five out of six points.
The P-Bruins got off on the right foot by scoring a late goal to beat the Charlotte Checkers, 2-1, at home on Friday.
In Springfield on Saturday, they scored a late power play goal to force overtime and then earned the extra point by winning the shootout against the Thunderbirds, 4-3.
In a rematch back home on Sunday, Providence trailed by two goals with less than three minutes left, then stunned the T-Birds with a pair of five-on-three power play goals to send the game to OT. Springfield prevailed in the shootout, 3-2, but the P-Bruins took home a well-earned and unexpected point given the way the first 57 minutes went.
“There were a lot of positives. I really like our team. I like the kids. We’re finding ways, which is good,” said coach Ryan Mougenel. “We played not great (on Sunday), but it’s to be expected in a three-in-three. We’re still finding our way, building some chemistry.”
Here’s the good, bad and ugly.
— It wasn’t just a good weekend for Vinni Lettieri, it was a great weekend.
After setting up a goal on Friday, he stepped up with a big-time game on Saturday. He registered seven shots on goal and tied the game with a power play tuck with 29 seconds left in regulation and an extra attacker on the ice. Then he buried the only goal in the shootout as Providence won the game. Lettieri bettered that performance on Sunday, scoring twice in 45 seconds on 5 on 3 power plays to tie the game and send it to OT. He then scored Providence’s only goal in the shootout.
Lettieri is tied for the team lead in scoring with 5-4-9 in eight games and is tied for the league lead in power play goals with four.
— Providence received a month’s worth of favorable calls from the referees late in Sunday’s game. Then they took advantage with a pair of 5-on-3 goals.
— Fabian Lysell scored a goal on Friday and added assists on Saturday and Sunday. He had a nice backcheck on Saturday that prevented a Springfield scoring chance. He’s tied with Vinni Lettieri for the team scoring lead with 2-7-9 in six games.
— Georgii Merkulov made plays all weekend. He had an assist on Friday and two more on Sunday. He has 4-4-8 in eight games.
— Luke Toporowski continues to produce. He dished the puck to Oskar Steen for the GWG on Friday. He went to the front of the net to pot his third goal of the season on Saturday and he fed Vinni Lettieri for a goal on Sunday. With 3-4-7 in eight games, he’s getting a good start on earning an NHL contract.
— Keith Kinkaid stopped 34 shots and all three Springfield attempts in Saturday’s shootout win.
— Nick Wolff threw the clean hit of the season on Friday, flattening Charlotte’s Gerry Mayhew. It’s unfortunate Wolff was injured on the play.
— Connor Carrick recorded assists on Friday and Saturday and made a great defensive play to thwart a scoring chance in OT on Saturday.
— Johnny Beecher played his best game of the season on Friday and scored his first goal of the year on Saturday.
— Oskar Steen’s first goal of the year was the winner on Friday. He had eight shots on goal on Sunday.
— They’ve gone five straight games without scoring in the first period.
— The P-Bruins were outshot 17-9 in the first period on Saturday.
— Providence is giving up a lot of shots. They gave up 30 on Friday and Sunday and 37 on Saturday. Going into Sunday’s game they were allowing 33 shots per game, more than all but two teams in the AHL.
— They allowed the first goal once and the first two goals twice over the weekend.
— Providence’s next three games are on the road against Utica, Springfield and Bridgeport. They are 2-0 away from the AMP so maybe road games don’t belong in the bad category.
— Injured: Nick Wolff, Matt Filipe