Providence Bruins Get Back to Winning Ways With Huge Division Victory Over AHL Hershey

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred | Follow me on Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Last night the American Hockey League Providence Bruins returned to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island, beating the visiting Hershey Bears by the score of 5-0. After last Saturday night’s 5-1 Providence loss on the road to the Springfield Thunderbirds, it was imperative that Bruins Head Coach Ryan Mougenel and staff prepare for a challenging three games in three days this weekend. Before last night’s game at the Dunk, the top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey League Boston Bruins was smack dab in the middle of the eight-team Atlantic Division with a record of 19-13-3-3 and 44 points in 38 games.

This week the Providence team had five days of hard practices to prepare for last night’s game and work on areas that got this AHL club exposed in that week’s road loss to Springfield. Against the Thunderbirds a week ago, the B’s were down 4-0, with the only Providence goal of the game coming in the early third period when forward Zach Senyshyn buried his 13th of the season.

Last night there was an evident change in this Providence team’s plan of execution, and the message of attacking early and setting the tone in the first period was clearly heard. Former NCAA University of Maine forward Eduards Tralmaks got the B’s scoring started at the 12:57 mark of the first period, assisted by veteran forward Steven Fogarty.

Tralmaks, who was a healthy scratch in the two previous games last weekend, was definitely on a mission to get back in Coach Mougenel’s good graces as he scored his seventh goal of the season, breaking the ice with the games first goal. In the zoom post-game, press conference Head Coach Mougenel mentioned what was said as Tralmaks returned to the bench in a Tweet below from NHL.com and New England Hockey Journal contributor Mark Divver.

The second and final goal of the first period came from Boston Bruins defensive prospect and AHL rookie Victor Berglund who scored his second goal of the season on the man advantage. The power-play goal from Berglund came at the 15:52 mark, assisted by forwards Cameron Hughes and Jesper Froden.

Berglund took a nice feed from teammate Hughes from the blueline and powered an extremely accurate wrist shot through the open lane for the 2-0 lead. Victor, who’s still adjusting to the North American style of the game, tends to get into penalty trouble often, but every game, you can see him working hard to make those simple changes in body positioning to keep him out of the box and put his Providence team at a disadvantage.

The second period produced no scoring from either team, so the Providence Bruins took their 2-0 lead into the third period and quickly created a further gap from the visiting opponent on the scoresheet. At the 3:20 mark of the final frame forward, Cameron Hughes worked hard patrolling the blueline on the Bears powerplay and took advantage of a Hershey mistake at center ice to skate in on a breakaway. Hughes, with several powerful strides, came in on Bears netminder Zach Fucale going five-hole for the shorthanded goal, his eighth of the season unassisted.

Several minutes later, Providence would take a commanding lead in this game, going up 4-0 at the 10:01 mark of the third on a goal from forward Jesper Froden. The powerplay goal from the 27-year-old rookie Froden was an excellent show of offensive capabilities to extend the Providence lead. Froden’s goal was his 11th of the season and assisted by forwards Justin Brazeau and Steven Fogarty, who notched his second point of the game. Brazeau recently signed a one-year AHL-only contract extension with the Providence organization earlier this week. The 6′-5″ 220-pound right-winger has been impressive to watch him climb the minor-pro ranks.

The final goal of the game for the Providence Bruins came at the 11:44 mark of the third period on a goal from veteran forward Chris Wagner. The former NHL Boston Bruins player and Walpole, Massachusetts native, scored his ninth goal of the season, assisted by forwards Joona Koppanen and Matt Filipe. Wagner now has 3-3-6 numbers in his last ten games.

Wags has made a solid impact since his arrival to the AHL minor-pro affiliate. The 30-year-old Wagner is another asset alongside recently named AHL Providence, Captain Josiah Didier, as they’re both heavily relied on to be leaders and pass the message that Mougenel and coaching staff are trying to send.

Starting goaltender, Troy Grosenick got the start in goal and tenth victory in his first year with the Boston Bruins organization. The 32-year-old who’s spent close to a decade with a suitcase in hand as a veteran with several AHL and NHL clubs was spectacular, earning his second shutout of the season. Grosenick stopped all 34 Hershey Bears shots and improved his 2021/22 regular-season record to 10-3-1 with a goals-against-average of 2.28 and a .919 save percentage. Troy also made this tremendous save below and was on par just like this throughout the game last night against visiting Hershey.

The Providence Bruins now have a regular-season record of 20-13-3-3 with 46 points, good enough for third place in the AHL Atlantic Division with 33 games remaining in the 2021/22 campaign. With this victory over Bears last night, the Providence club leapfrogged the 24-16-3-3 Hershey club, who has 54 points and a winning percentage of .587. Providence has a .590 winning percentage giving them a higher ranking over Hershey’s better regular-season record.

Providence is back in action tonight as the top minor-pro affiliate of the Boston Bruins is on the road tonight in Hartford, Connecticut, to play the host and New York Rangers AHL affiliate Hartford Wolf Pack. The puck drops from the XL Center in Hartford at 7pm, and the Wolf Pack currently sits in the second position in the Atlantic Division with a regular-season record of 23-13-4-2 and 52 points. Harford is 15-6-1-1 at the XL Center this season, while tonight’s visitor Providence is 10-7-2-3 on the road. The regular-season matchup for both these teams tonight has the Wolf Pack at a 3-2-1-0 record, but Providence has outscored the Pack thus far in previous matchups 19-12.

Quotes from Providence Head Coach Ryan Mougenel from last nights post-game press conference

“We had a good week of practice and worked on a lot of things we needed to correct. For the first part, I think we did a lot of good things. The guys should feel good about themselves. It says a lot about some of our older guys that have done a real good job filling in for some of the guys who haven’t been here. Once we start getting some guys back, we’ll see where we go from there.”

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