Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

The Providence Bruins continue to pile up wins. They extended their winning streak to eight with a pair of road victories against a good Charlotte Checkers team over the weekend.

In the first game on Saturday, Providence won, 3-1, despite being outshot, 31-18. On Sunday, the P-Bruins trailed by a goal early in the second before scoring four straight in a 5-2 victory.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— Providence is in first place in both the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference as of Monday. They are 39-14-8-2 with a .698 points percentage. Only the Calgary Wranglers (.734) and the Coachella Valley Firebirds (.726) are ahead of them.

— Goaltending has been a strong suit all season. In Saturday’s win, Brandon Bussi stopped 30 of 31 shots and improved his record to 19-4-4 with a .928 save percentage, which is second in the AHL. His glove save on Cory Conacher was one of the best of the year. On Sunday, Kyle Keyser kicked out 19 shots, including a great stop on Connor Bunnaman with three seconds left in the second period. Keyser is 11-3-2 with a .913 save percentage.

— Georgii Merkulov scored a goal in each game after picking off bad passes by Charlotte. He leads all AHL rookies in scoring with 23-27-50 in 58 games and has 16 goals in his last 22 games.

— After missing two months with a knee injury, Luke Toporowski buried a breakaway goal in first game back on Saturday.

— The power play went 2 for 7 in Sunday’s win.

— Chris Wagner’s score on Saturday gave him a career-high 16 goals.

— Connor Carrick had a power play goal on Sunday on a bomb from long range and has 2-8-10 in his last 7 games.

— Fabian Lysell was credited with three assists on Sunday.

— Dan Renouf was plus-three on Sunday.


— Providence gave up a two-on-one while on the power play and allowed a shorthanded goal by Lucas Carlsson on Sunday.

— The roughing call on Justin Brazeau by referee Jackson Kozari on Sunday was a joke.

— Mike Reilly took a terrible fall into the boards in the third period on Sunday. Luckily, he wasn’t seriously hurt.


— Injured: Vinni Lettieri, Joey Abate, Nick Wolff, Matt Filipe

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins week

Michael DiPietro stopped 33 shots in his first start for Providence, a 4-2 win over Syracuse. He was one of three P-Bruins goalies to record a win last week. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins)

The Providence Bruins won all three of their games over the last week and they continue to hold down first place in the Atlantic Division.

They started with a solid 4-2 win over the Syracuse Crunch at home on Wednesday. On Saturday, Providence played very well on the road in a 4-1 victory against the Springfield Thunderbirds. Back home before a big crowd on Sunday, the P-Bruins earned a 3-2 shootout win against the Thunderbirds.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— Providence has won five games in a row. With 11 games left in the regular season, they have a record of 37-14-8-2 and 84 points. They are three points ahead of second-place Hershey, which has a game in hand.

— Joona Koppanan had a tremendous week. He scored a goal and an assist against Syracuse and an assist in Springfield. Then on Sunday he scored a shorthanded goal and a power play goal and buried the only goal for the win in the shootout.

— The power play went four for nine in the three games.

— The P-Bruins got wins from three different goalies. Playing his first game with Providence, Michael DiPietro stopped 33 shots in the win against Syracuse. Brandon Bussi stopped 32 of 33 shots and improved his record to 18-4-4 with the win in Springfield. Kyle Keyser made one of the best saves of the year on Adam Gaudette at the final buzzer, then denied all three Thunderbirds shooters in the shootout in Sunday’s win.

— Georgii Merkulov scored twice against Syracuse and once in Springfield.

— Connor Carrick had three assists against Syracuse. He has 1-7-8 in the last five games. He also stepped up and fought Keean Washkurek after the Springfield player snowed Kyle Keyser.

— Fabian Lysell had a goal and an assist against the Crunch.

— Curtis Hall scored his first goal of the season in Springfield.

— The crowd of 10,054 got its money’s worth at Sunday’s entertaining game. Providence’s average attendance is up to 7,697, which is an increase of over 700 fans per game from 2021-22.


— I looked high and low and couldn’t find anything bad this week.


— Injured/sick: Vinni Lettieri, Fabian Lysell, Luke Toporowski, Nick Wolff, Matt Filipe

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

Chris Wagner takes the puck to the net against Hershey goalie Zach Fucale on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins)

A weekend that started on a sour note turned out to be one of the most impressive of the season for the Providence Bruins.

They had lost four of their last five games after they dropped a 6-3 decision in Springfield on Friday night. And the outlook was grim going into Saturday night’s home game against the first-place Hershey Bears as the P-Bruins were without Vinni Lettieri, Georgii Merkulov, Marc McLaughlin and Jakub Lauko.

But after falling behind by two goals in the opening 10:42, the P-Bruins rallied for a 3-2 win.

Then on Sunday, Vinni Lettieri turned in one of the great performances in recent franchise history. He scored a hat trick and added an assist in the first 10:20 as Providence jumped out to an early lead on their way to a 5-3 victory and a sweep of the two games against Hershey.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— The weekend ended with Providence in first place in the Atlantic Division with 78 points, three ahead of Hershey.

— Lettieri’s hat trick in 10:20 on Sunday was the fastest by a P-Bruin since Randy Robitaille scored three in 14:14 on Nov. 25, 1998. In that game, Providence scored 10 goals in the first period in a 14-2 win at Syracuse. Lettieri finished with 3-2-5 on Sunday and has 19-23-42 in 43 games.

— After going 11 games without a goal, Oskar Steen scored twice in Springfield on Friday and notched the game-winner and added an assist on Saturday.

— Connor Carrick scored a goal on Saturday and assisted on all three of Lettieri’s goals on Sunday.

— Eddie Tralmaks had a goal and an assist on Saturday. Chris Wagner had a goal and a helper on Sunday.

— Even though he gave up five goals on Friday, Kyle Keyser kept the score close with several brilliant stops.

— Providence’s come-from-behind win in the third period on Saturday is even more impressive when you consider that before then Hershey’s record when leading after two periods was 20-1-0-1.

— Brandon Bussi made 21 saves in Saturday’s win, improving his record to 17-4-4. His .925 save percentage is second in the AHL.

— Dan Renouf scored his first goal of the season in Springfield on a nifty setup from Jakub Lauko. Renouf dropped the gloves with Greg Printz after Printz dropped Fabian Lysell with a hard hit.

— Johnny Beecher threw his best hit of the season with 3:50 left on Saturday. His clean shoulder check lifted Hershey’s Jake Massie off his skates and knocked him to the ice. Beecher had a goal and an assist on Sunday.

— After drawing crowds of 9,112 and 8,186, the P-Bruins are fourth in the league with an average attendance of 7,673.


— Going into Sunday’s game, Providence’s power play at home was dead last at 14.3 percent. (But they did score a power play goal in the first period.)

— The P-Bruins are giving up 32.05 shots per game. That’s 29th in the AHL.


— Injured: Luke Toporowski, Marc McLaughlin, Joey Abate, Matt Filipe

Johnny Beecher reacts after Jake Massie of Hershey objected to Beecher’s crushing check on him in Saturday night’s game. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins)

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

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

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

Gemel Smith of Syracuse and Joey Abate of Providence drop the gloves in the first period on Sunday. Abate is among the AHL leaders in fighting majors with seven. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins)

The Providence Bruins earned three out of six points in their three games over the weekend.

They started with a 2-1 overtime loss against the Hartford Wolf Pack at home on Friday. They bounced back with a solid 5-1 road victory against the Utica Comets on Saturday. Back home, Providence dropped a 4-0 decision to the Syracuse Crunch on Sunday.

“I actually really liked us, as crazy as that is in a 4-0 loss. We did a lot of good things. Getting down 2-0 right off the hop is kind of tough. It’s disappointing, but we’ll learn from it. We’ve got to get better at three-in-threes,” said coach Ryan Mougenel after Sunday’s game.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— The P-Bruins are still solidly ensconced in second place in the Atlantic Division with 57 points and a .679 points percentage.

— Kyle Keyser stopped 25 of 27 shots in Friday’s overtime loss, then kicked out 18 of 19 shots in relief of Keith Kinkaid on Sunday. He has a 5-0-2 record with a .932 save percentage and a 1.87 goals-against average.

— The power play is still 30th in the league at 15.5 percent, but there are signs of life. The P-Bruins scored twice with the man advantage on Saturday and once on Friday.

— Providence hung five goals on Akira Schmid of Utica, who went into the game with the league’s best goals-against average.

— Brandon Bussi stopped 26 of 27 shots against Utica to improve his record to 13-2-4 with an AHL-best .924 save percentage.

— Vinni Lettieri’s on a heater with 4-5-9 in the last six games.

— Jakub Lauko is playing very well lately – he scored a goal and added an assist on Saturday and his plus-11 leads the team.

— Justin Brazeau is playing well. He scored Providence’s only goal on Friday, then posted 1-1-2 on Saturday.

— Oskar Steen put the P-Bruins on the board first in Utica with a deft deflection from in front.

— Eddie Tralmaks returned to the lineup and scored his first goal of the season on Saturday night.

— Dan Renouf assisted on two goals in Utica.

— Johnny Beecher has gone 15 games without a goal, but Ryan Mougenel saw some improvement in his game. “I thought John Beecher had a real strong weekend,” he said.


— It was a tough travel weekend. After playing at home on Friday night, the P-Bruins drove 255 miles to Utica for Saturday night’s game. When that was over, they jumped on the bus for the trip home, arriving at 3 a.m. Twelve hours later, the puck was dropped for Sunday’s game. Was it any wonder they fell behind by two goals 5:25 into the game?

— Providence fired 51 shots on the Syracuse net on Sunday but didn’t score.

— Jakub Lauko allowed Hartford’s Zac Jones to beat him to the net and score the game-winner just 20 seconds into OT on Friday.

— Providence’s next game is Wednesday against – surprise! – Hartford.


— The diagnosis is not in yet, but it sounds like the injury to Luke Toporowski on Saturday in Utica could keep him out for a while. Ryan Mougenel: “Hopefully it’s not as bad as we think it is.”

Toporowski went down with a knee injury when he was kneed by Michael Vukojevic with 3:41 left in a game that Providence led, 4-1.  “To me it’s a dirty play,” Mougenel said.

Vukojevic received only a minor penalty for kneeing. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he hears from the league this week.

Earlier in the same game in Utica, Jakub Lauko was lucky he wasn’t injured when he was kneed by Jack Dugan with 9:25 left in the second period. There was no call on the play by referees Mason Riley and Conor O’Donnell.

— Injured/sick: Luke Toporowski, Fabian Lysell, Matt Filipe

Good, bad & ugly from Providence Bruins weekend

Anton Stralman played his first game for the P-Bruins and his first AHL game since the 2008-09 season on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Providence Bruins).

The Providence Bruins took three of four points out of the weekend and, while that’s nothing to complain about, it could have been four out of four.

Opening the weekend on the road on Friday, Providence came from behind in the third period against the Hartford Wolf Pack to earn a 5-3 win.

At home on Sunday and facing a Wolf Pack team that was playing its third game in three days, the well-rested P-Bruins didn’t really get engaged until midway through the second period. A stronger start might have gained them a regulation win instead of a 4-3 overtime loss, but there are going to be games like this in the course of a long season.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly.


— Providence finished the weekend with a solid hold on second place in the Atlantic Division. With 54 points, they are three behind the first-place Hershey Bears and 10 ahead of the third-place Charlotte Checkers.

— Vinni Lettieri had a goal and an assist on Friday and a pair of goals on Sunday. He has 4-1-5 in his last three games. Tied for third in the AHL with nine power-play goals, he continues to lead the team in scoring with 16-17-33 in 38 games.

— Marc McLaughlin scored the winning goal on a power play and added two assists on Friday. On Sunday, his clean win on an offensive zone draw led directly to Vinni Lettieri’s shorthanded goal. Playing his best hockey of the season, McLaughlin has 3-4-7 in his last 5 games.

— Brandon Bussi gave up four goals in Sunday’s OT loss, but if not for his stellar play in the second period, the Wolf Pack could have jumped ahead by three or four goals. He finished the game with 38 saves and continues to have the best save percentage in the AHL at .933.

— Chris Wagner and Vinni Lettieri put the team on their backs in the second period on Sunday as the P-Bruins played their way back into the game after being dominated by the Wolf Pack in the first half of the period.

— Connor Carrick scored on a rip from the point off a Chris Wagner pass and assisted on Vinny Lettieri’s second goal on Sunday. He had a game-high six shots on goal.

— Luke Toporowski made a pretty move to beat Louis Domingue on a penalty shot on Friday.

— Jack Ahcan has assists in five straight games, including a perfect setup on Marc McLaughlin’s GWG on Friday.

— The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Chris Wagner flattened 6-foot-7 Matt Rempe with a check with 7:50 to go on Friday.

— The power play went a combined 3 for 7 on Friday and Sunday. That’s progress as the PP moved up one slot to 30th in the AHL.

— Jakub Lauko continued his good play with a goal on Friday night. He also took a solid stab at scoring a “Michigan” goal on Sunday.

— Anton Stralman played his first game for the P-Bruins and his first AHL game since the 2008-09 season on Sunday.


— The P-Bruins are heading into a difficult weekend. After playing at home on Friday against – who else? – Hartford, Providence will play at Utica on Saturday night, then return home in the wee hours for a Sunday afternoon game against Syracuse.

— The cross-checking penalty on Oskar Steen with 4:15 left on Sunday was a head-scratcher. Maybe Steen deserved a penalty for something on the play, maybe he didn’t, but it couldn’t have been a cross-check as Steen had only one hand on his stick when he engaged with the Hartford player.

— In the first half of the second period on Sunday, Providence was outshot, 12-1, as Hartford totally dominated. The P-Bruins were outshot, 14-5, in the third period.

— P-Bruins will play Hartford for the fifth straight time on Friday. C’mon man!


— Injured: Mike Reilly, Matt Filipe