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