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)