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