Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

Celebrating Friday’s overtime win are, from left, Johnny Beecher, Jakub Lauko, Justin Brazeau and Connor Carrick. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins)

It wasn’t a particularly good weekend for the Providence Bruins.

They pulled out a sloppy 6-5 win in overtime against the Charlotte Checkers at home on Friday.

“We weren’t good tonight, at all,” coach Ryan Mougenel said after the game.

Things got worse on Sunday, that’s for sure, as the P-Bruins fell behind by four goals to the Rochester Americans at the AMP before the game was 12 minutes old. The final score was 5-1.

Providence managed to finish the weekend still in first place in the Atlantic Division with 72 points, one point up on the Hershey Bears.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— Mike Reilly had a tremendous game on Friday with his first hat trick since peewees and two assists. He recorded an assist on Sunday, too. He has 24 points (7 goals, 17 assists) in 27 games.

— Johnny Beecher had a good game against the Checkers with a goal and three assists. In overtime, he rocketed into the offensive zone and fed Jakub Lauko for the game-winner. He added another goal on Sunday. He has 8 points (3 goals, 5 assists) in his last 7 games. His plus-11 leads Providence’s forwards.

— Jakub Lauko had just one shot on Friday, but he made it count. He potted the winner off the rush in overtime.

— Georgii Merkulov scored a goal on Friday. He has 10 goals in the last 12 games.

— Connor Carrick’s plus-10 is best among the team’s defensemen.

— Providence is tied for the league lead with 19 wins on the road, which is where their next four games will be.


— Fabian Lysell has one assist and is minus-7 in his last four games.

— Providence is 0-3-1 in its last four Sunday games.

— The P-Bruins led three times on Friday, but gave up the lead each time.

— Providence had a tough time in its two games against Rochester this season. In addition to Sunday’s debacle, they blew a two-goal lead and lost with six seconds left in overtime in November. Something to keep in mind if they meet again down the road.

— After going 1 for 9 on the power play this weekend, they are 31st in the AHL on the PP at home.


— To say that Providence was loose in the defensive zone in both games is understating it.

— Kyle Keyser was beaten four times on seven shots in the first 11:27 on Sunday before he got the hook.

— Injured: Vinni Lettieri, Luke Toporowski, Joey Abate, Matt Filipe

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

After turning Springfield defenseman Steve Santini (14), Georgii Merkulov gets set to tuck the puck past Joel Hofer for a goal in Friday’s win. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins)

It was an up-and-down weekend for the Providence Bruins as they earned three out of six points in their three games.

They started at home on Friday night with a strong performance in defeating the Springfield Thunderbirds, 6-2. In Hartford on Saturday night, the P-Bruins squandered a two-goal lead in the third period and lost, 3-2, in overtime, snapping their six-game winning streak. Back at the Amica Mutual Pavilion on Sunday, Providence gave up the deciding goal in the third period in a 3-2 loss to Springfield.

“It’s not ideal,” coach Ryan Mougenel said, summing up the last two games of the weekend.

“If you look at the tape, I think (Saturday) night … we probably played as bad as I’ve seen us play in Hartford. To get out of there with a point, we were really lucky.

“Then (Sunday), we’ve got to find a way to fight through three in threes. We haven’t been good on Sundays. It’s a little bit of a mental wedge for us. Our young players have to learn to fight through that. It’s a process.

“It’s not easy. This game at times isn’t always easy. You’re not always going to feel 100 percent. It’s up to them to take ownership in preparing the right way. I didn’t think a lot of our guys were very good.”

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— Providence finished the weekend in first place in the Atlantic Division with 70 points and a .700 points percentage.

— Georgii Merkulov continued to drive the offense and put up points. He scored a goal on a terrific individual rush and added two assists on Friday, then blew a wrist shot past Springfield goalie Joel Hofer off the rush for a goal on Sunday. He leads the team in scoring with 16-23-39 in 46 games and is tied for second among AHL rookies.

— Justin Brazeau posted three assists on Friday, including a perfect pass to Chris Wagner for a goal, and scored a goal on Sunday. He has 2-6-8 in his last 7 games. After putting up 15-16-31 in 51 games last season, he has 14-18-32 in 46 games so far this year.

— Marc McLaughlin scored goals on Friday and Saturday night.

— Chris Wagner scored twice on Friday.

— Jack Ahcan had a five-point weekend with two assists on Friday, a goal and an assist on Saturday and an assist on Sunday.

— Eddie Tralmaks scored a goal on Friday, his 26th birthday.


— Providence was outshot, 29-10, after the first period in Hartford on Saturday.

— Keith Kinkaid was victimized by a very tough bounce off the glass behind the net on Hartford’s second goal on Saturday.

— On Sunday, the call on the second period cross-checking penalty on Oskar Steen — the T-Birds scored on the power play — “was a little bizarre,” said Ryan Mougenel.

— Providence gave up a 3 on 1 while on the power play on Friday, but Brandan Bussi bailed them out with a save.

— They blew a 2-0 lead in the third period on Saturday.

— Chris Wagner was whistled for a misconduct with less than seven minutes left in regulation on Sunday, effectively taking him out of a one-goal game. A veteran like Wagner deserved more respect from still-wet-behind-the-ears referees Justin Kea and Mason Riley.  


— Injured: Vinni Lettieri, Luke Toporowski, Joey Abate

Returning from injury, Eduards Tralmaks celebrates his goal on his 26th birthday on Friday night. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins)

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

Penguins goalie Tyler Gauthier was halfway to Olneyville after Fabian Lysell faked him out and deposited the puck in the net in the shootout on Friday night. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins)

Even with their lineup depleted by injuries, illness and callups, the Providence Bruins won both of their games over the weekend and took over first place in the Atlantic Division.

Returning from the All-Star break on Friday night at home, the P-Bruins rallied from two goals down and beat the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 4-3, in a shootout.

In Pennsylvania on Saturday, Providence came from behind again and beat the Penguins, 3-1, scoring all three goals on the power play. It was their 5th straight win.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— As of the end of the day on Sunday, Providence was in first place in the Atlantic Division with 67 points and a points percentage of .713. They are two points ahead of Hershey, which has a .691 points percentage. Only Calgary with 68 has more points than the P-Bruins.

— Providence has the best road record in the AHL at 19-4-2.

— Georgii Merkulov’s hot streak continues. The Russian rookie has goals in 5 straight games, 7 goals in the last 7 games and 4 game-winning goals in the last 5 games. His one-timer on the power play has become a weapon. On Friday, with Boston coach Jim Montgomery in the building, he had 2-1-3. On Saturday, he had 1-1-2. Merkulov is fourth in the AHL in scoring among rookies with 14-21-35 in 43 games.

— In his first AHL shootout attempt since December 2016, Mike Reilly made a nifty backhand move for the decisive goal in Friday’s win.

— With Josiah Didier creating chaos in front of the net, Fabian Lysell scored his 10th goal of the season on Friday. Later, he faked Pens’ goalie Tyler Gauthier out of his pants and scored in the shootout. He has points in 5 consecutive games.

— Justin Brazeau had a strong game on Friday with an assist and a game-high 7 shots. He set a perfect screen  in front of the net on Georgii Merkulov’s second goal on Friday.

— Sammy Asselin found Jack Ahcan with a nice pass and Ahcan buried a power play goal in Saturday’s game.

— The power play went 3 for 5 on Saturday. On the road, the P-Bruins are 8th in the AHL at 23 percent.

— Chris Wagner has points in 5 straight games, including an empty-net goal on Saturday.

— Kyle Keyser made a pair of great stops on Tyler Fedun late in Friday’s win and finished with 30 saves. He stopped 6 of 7 shootout attempts.

— Keith Kinkaid kicked out 26 of 27 shots on Saturday.

— Patrick Shea, up from Maine on a PTO, recorded an assist in his first game.


— At home, the power play is 31st in the league at 12.8 percent.

— After hitting the post on his shootout attempt on Friday, Oskar Steen is 0 for 10 in the shootout in his four seasons with Providence.

— Tough turnover by Mike Callahan on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s goal on Saturday.

— The penalty kill gave up 2 goals on 2 penalties on Friday night.


— Injured/sick: Vinni Lettieri, Luke Toporowski, Joona Koppanen, Eddie Tralmaks, Johnny Beecher, Matt Filipe

Mike Reilly made a move to his backhand to score the decisive goal in the shootout on Friday. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins)

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins week

Rookie Georgii Merkulov scored the game-winning goal in all three of Providence’s games this week. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins.)

The Providence Bruins rolled into the AHL all-star break on a high note, sweeping three games in four nights on the road and moving into a tie for first place in the Atlantic Division.

The P-Bruins started the week with a 4-2 win in Hartford on Wednesday. They moved on to Lehigh Valley on Friday and came away with another 4-2 victory. Finally, in Utica on Saturday night, Providence limited the Comets to only 21 shots and came home with a 4-1 win.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— With Saturday night’s win coupled with Hershey’s loss, the P-Bruins moved into a tie with the Bears at the top of the Atlantic Division. Both teams have 63 points and a .700 points percentage.

— Providence has an embarrassment of riches in goal. Kyle Keyser stopped 25 shots in Hartford. Brandon Bussi turned away 30 shots at Lehigh Valley. Keith Kinkaid made 20 stops in Utica.

— What a week for Georgii Merkulov. He scored the game-winning goal in all three games. His one-timer on a 5-on-3 power play in Utica was an absolute bullet to the top shelf.

— Mike Reilly had two assists in Utica.

— Providence had a bone to pick with Mike Vukojevic after the Utica defenseman injured Luke Toporowski with a cheap hit last week. Joey Abate stepped up and fought Vukojevic early in Saturday’s game.

— The power play is on the rise, going 5-for-13 in the last three games. It’s now 26th in the league, up from 31st a couple of weeks ago

— Fabian Lysell had a strong game on Saturday, with his speed and skill on display. After drawing a penalty, he sniped a bad-angle shot to tie the game with 13 seconds left in the first period. Early in the second period, he drew another penalty and the P-Bruins scored on the ensuing power play.

— Johnny Beecher got a nice break against the Wolf Pack. Hartford goalie Louis Domingue left the net to play a dump-in, but the puck hit a stanchion and bounced to Beecher, who deposited it into the open goal for his first goal since Nov. 30.

— Nick Wolff wasted no time in fighting Hayden Hodgson after the Lehigh Valley forward tripped Brandon Bussi.

— Oskar Steen scored a goal on Friday and drew a penalty that set the stage for Marc McLaughlin’s insurance goal on the power play and caused Garrett Wilson of the Phantoms to lose his mind and get thrown out of the game. Steen also took a big hit to get the puck out of the Providence zone in the last minute.

— Chris Wagner and Jakub Lauko combined for a beauty of a goal on Saturday. Wagner connected with Lauko on a home-run pass and Lauko did the rest for his ninth goal of the season.

— Justin Brazeau had 1-1-2 at Lehigh Valley. He has 15 points in his last 16 games.

— With two assists on Saturday, Connor Carrick posted his sixth multi-point game of the season.


— The AHL’s decision not to suspend Utica’s Mike Vukojevic for injuring Luke Toporowski was, for lack of a better word, a joke.

— Don’t know how Hayden Hodgson of Lehigh Valley was not penalized for dumping Brandon Bussi behind the net on Friday.


— Injured: Luke Toporowski, Johnny Beecher, Vinni Lettieri, Eddie Tralmaks, Matt Filipe