The AHL Bruins Get Back in the Win Column With a 4-3 Victory Against the Checkers

(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Ryan Duffy | Follow Me On Twitter @Rduffy26

The Providence Bruins bounce back with a 4-3 win after going winless in their last four games with an all-around 60-minute effort against the Charlotte Checkers. Before the game, the story revolving around Providence was their inability to finish despite generating plenty of chances. In the previous four losses, Providence allowed 13 goals against and only managed to collect six goals. Both teams had strong games, but the Bruins ultimately came out victorious and found a much-needed offensive rhythm.

Both teams were throwing around their weight early and often in the first period. Just four minutes into the game, the Bruins went to the penalty kill. The Bruins seamlessly kill the penalty off with no shots getting to Kyle Keyser. After their stifling penalty kill, momentum began to swing in favor of the Bruins as they outshot the Checkers nine to four halfway into the opening period.

With just under four minutes left in the first, the Bruins again go to the penalty kill with Aaron Ness sent to the box for boarding. After a solid penalty kill earlier in the period, the Bruins leave Checkers forward Grigori Denisenko wide open at the left circle to score the game’s first goal.

Just two minutes later, Providence went to the power play with 1:17 left on the clock. Providence struggled on the power play in their previous five games, going 2/21 (9.52%). The Bruins man advantage looked more organized, and they eventually tied the game with Jesper Froden’s first career AHL goal.

With the final seconds of the first period ticking down, the Checkers create an odd-man rush and come close to taking the lead as Maxim Mamin toe dragged his way into the slot, but Keyser stood tall and made a positional save. With twenty minutes in the books at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, both teams were tied at one, with Providence leading in shots 16 to 14.

The second period began with a quality chance from a Matt Filipe one-timer from the right circle, but Checkers goaltender Christopher Gibson shut the door. Immediately after, zone time for the Checkers began to amount as the Bruins struggled to get the puck out of their zone.

After a couple of minutes of zone time for the Checkers, Providence managed to work their way up the ice and take the lead, with Joona Koppanen scoring his first of the season. Koppanen’s goal was a perfectly placed short-side wrist shot over the shoulder of Gibson, but the celebration was short-lived. Just 1:21 later, the Checkers tie it with Maxim Mamin catching the Bruins defense slacking with a breakaway goal on Keyser.

With ten minutes left in the second, Chris Wagner made his way to the box for high-sticking. The Checker’s power-play displayed a shooting mentality as they recorded three shots on net. However, Kyle Keyser demonstrated some fantastic goaltending on the kill with a couple of reactionary saves.

With three minutes left, Zachary Senyshyn made a smart defensive play breaking the puck out of the defensive zone. After feeding the puck up the wall to Cameron Hughes, Hughes made a heads-up play by making an in-direct pass off the boards that sprung Lauko on a breakaway. Lauko put it five-hole to score his first of the year and put the Bruins up 3-2 with 2:26 left in the second.

The third period began with a bang after Jesper Froden scored on a fantastic individual effort, corralling the puck between the Checkers defenseman’s legs and scoring another five-hole goal on Gibson. After the goal, the Checkers were desperate as they were throwing everything they could to the net.

This led to the Bruins clamping down defensively, blocking multiple shots, including a courageous block from Chris Wagner during the penalty kill. Despite playing tight-knit defense, the Checkers were relentless in their forecheck and collected 11 shots in the third period. Although the Checkers were able to strike once more, it wasn’t enough as Providence escaped with a 4-3 victory over Charlotte.

After tonight’s matchup, two Providence stand-out players were Jesper Froden (two goals) and Jakub Lauko (one goal). Froden and Lauko have had relatively slow starts to the season, but both came through tonight for Providence in a big way.

Providence head coach, Ryan Mougenel, said that “(Froden) makes a lot of positive plays off the wall, and he’s obviously a shooter. He hadn’t been rewarded in his defense (because) I don’t think anyone had been playing well with him in the first couple of games.” Mougenel also has high hopes for Lauko going forward. “If you give (Lauko) a break, he’s gone; that’s how he plays. He plays fast, and it was great to see him rewarded. Hopefully, now he can keep this going in the right direction.”

If Providence is going to be successful, Froden and Lauko will have to bring the same intensity in the future as they did against the Checkers. On Saturday, the Providence Bruins are back at it again in Bridgeport against the Islanders at 7:00 PM EST.

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