Chris Wagner takes the puck to the net against the Charlotte Checkers. He scored twice on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins)
With wins in both of their games over the weekend, the Providence Bruins continue to hold down the top spot not only in the Atlantic Division standings but in the entire American Hockey League.
The P-Bruins faced the Charlotte Checkers twice and came away with a 5-2 win on Friday and a 5-3 victory on Sunday.
They led 3-0 and 4-1 on Sunday, but were hanging on by a goal as the clock ran down in the third period before Chris Wagner sealed the victory with an empty netter.
“We definitely bended, that’s for sure, but we didn’t break,” coach Ryan Mougenel said after Sunday’s game. “I didn’t think we played a great game today. (Charlotte) came in with tons of energy and took it to us.”
Chris Wagner, Joona Koppanen and Oskar Steen “really showed the younger guys how important it is sometimes to make the plays (that are) in front of you. And (Johnny) Beecher’s line did a real good job, too.”
Here’s the good, bad and ugly.
— Brandon Bussi, who is displaying a real knack for making timely saves, had another strong weekend. He is 4-0 with a .947 save percentage and a 1.84 goals against average.
— Chris Wagner scored twice, including the game-winner, on Sunday and played his usual strong game in all three zones.
— Oskar Steen potted an empty net goal on Friday and a goal and an assist on Sunday.
–Johnny Beecher scored a hard-working goal on Friday and did a lot of the little things right on Sunday, though he didn’t have any points.
“The points are going to be a bonus for him based on how he defends and how he comes back,” said Mougenel. “(He’s a) young pro learning what it takes to win and he’s going to be one of those players that you win with. (He’s) just building those habits into his game, those details that are so important,” said Mougenel.
— Providence has lost only one game in regulation time this season and that was three weeks ago. They’ve won five games in a row and earned 22 of a possible 26 points.
— Jakub Lauko scored three goals in 54 games last season. With goals on Friday and Sunday, he already has two goals in two games this season.
— Justin Brazeau scored his first of the season on a very well-executed power play on Friday. Vinni Lettieri and Georgii Merkulov made nice passes to set it up.
— Dan Renouf was plus-two on Friday and plus-three on Sunday and had an assist in both games. His partner Connor Carrick was plus-two in both games with an assist.
— Georgii Merkulov has points in four straight games. He dished an absolute beauty of a pass to Fabian Lysell for a goal on Friday.
— Kai Wissman made a sweet pass to set up Vinni Lettieri’s goal on Sunday.
— The P-Bruins had the fourth-best penalty kill in the league as of Nov. 6, but Charlotte scored four times on 11 opportunities on Friday and Sunday. As of Sunday night, Providence was 11th on the PK at 82.7 percent.
— Providence continues to give up an awful lot of shots – 42 on Friday and 39 on Sunday. They are 25th in the league in shots against, yielding an average of 32.15 per game.
— They were whistled for too many men on both Friday and Sunday.
— Injured: Nick Wolff, Eddie Tralmaks, Kyle Keyser, Matt Filipe
Georgii Merkulov is second in scoring for Providence with 4-8-12 in 11 games. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins)