Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins week

The Providence Bruins have hit a rough stretch. Struggling to score goals, they were fortunate to return from a three-game road trip with two out of six points.

Coming off an ugly home loss to Rochester on Feb. 26, the P-Bruins got off to a great start in Bridgeport on Thursday night as Georgii Merkulov scored a power play goal 68 seconds in. They held onto the lead well into the second period before giving up seven straight goals and losing, 7-1, to the Islanders.

In Hershey on Saturday, Providence managed only 11 shots, but snuck away with a 1-0 victory over the first-place Bears.

On Sunday, they were outplayed for long stretches and lost to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 3-1.

 Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— Providence is in second place in the Atlantic Division, just one point behind Hershey.

— Chris Wagner willed Providence to a win in their last visit to Hershey on Dec. 31 and his all-out effort helped deliver Saturday’s victory. In a scoreless game in the third period, Wagner threw a couple of hard checks on the boards and in open ice. Then his hit knocked a Hershey defenseman off the puck behind the net, allowing the P-Bruins to gain possession. Seconds later, Wagner fed Marc McLaughlin for the only goal of the game.

— Brandon Bussi rebounded from a tough night in Bridgeport with a standout performance against Lehigh Valley. It could have been a one-sided loss if not for Bussi, who stopped 36 of 38 shots.

— Kyle Keyser stopped all 22 shots in Hershey for his first shutout of the season. It was exactly the kind of performance that was needed after Thursday’s tough game.


— The P-Bruins have scored three goals in the last three games. They didn’t generate nearly enough chances in the last two games. The absence of Vinni Lettieri and Luke Toporowski leaves a big hole.

— Fabian Lysell is minus-10 and has no goals in the last seven games. Oskar Steen has gone 11 games without a goal. Joona Koppanen hasn’t scored in 10 games. Curtis Hall has no goals in 31 games this season and one goal in his last 62 games.

— Providence went 17 minutes without a shot in Hershey and finished the game with only 11.

— Even though Paul Thompson of the Islanders was in the crease and getting in Brandon Bussi’s way in what looked to be a clear case of interference, referees Reid Anderson and Jason Williams allowed his goal that tied the game in the second period in Bridgeport.

The P-Bruins appeared to lose focus, allowing another goal just 21 seconds later, and a third goal only 19 seconds into the third period. The final score was 7-1, the worst loss of the season.

While there was more than enough blame to go around, it was a rare poor performance for Bussi as he allowed six goals on 26 shots.

— Third-place Charlotte is closing the gap on Providence. The Checkers are now five points back with the P-Bruins holding a game in hand.


— On Sunday, Marc McLaughlin’s nose was cut when his face was rammed into the glass by Garrett Wilson with 9:17 left in the third and he was cut near the eye in his fight with Wilson with 1:17 left in the game. He gushed an alarming amount of blood, but was OK after the game.

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

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