By: Mark Allred | Follow me on Twitter @BlackAndGold277
Last night the American Hockey League Providence Bruins beat the visiting Charlotte Checkers 5-1 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. The top minor-pro affiliate of the Boston Bruins improves their regular-season record to 23-13-3-3 and is currently on a four-game winning streak and outscoring opponents 17-3 in that timeframe. This was the second straight win over the Checkers team for Providence as the B’s beat Charlotte 4-3 in regulation back on October 29th, 2021.
With the victory over the Checkers last night, the B’s now have four straight wins at the Dunk and have a regular-season record of 12-6-1-0 in front of the home faithful, which saw 5,882 in attendance. Providence is now in the second position in the Atlantic Division with 52 points, currently nine points behind leading Springfield Thunderbirds, who are out in front of the pack with a 27-15-5-2 record. Providence has a winning percentage of .619, so if they beat the Hartford Wolf Pack on the road tonight and the Thunderbirds, who have a .622 winning percentage, lose against visiting Charlotte, the B’s could jump into first place in the Division.
The Providence scoring got started last night at the 3:42 mark of the first period when forward Cameron Hughes got a shorthanded goal, his ninth of the season assisted by forward Matt Filipe. The former Northeastern University forward Filipe quickly made easy work of the Checker’s mistake getting Hughes the puck, who broke in all alone, scoring his fourth short-hander of the season. With Hughes scoring his ninth of the season against Charlotte, the former 2015 sixth-round selection of the NHL Bruins now has points in his last two games.
The Providence Bruins special teams would stick again at the 19:02 mark of the first period when forward Oskar Steen scored his 11th goal of the season assisted by forwards Steven Fogarty and Cameron Hughes. With this second Providence goal of the game and a 2-0 lead, Steen, a former sixth-round draft pick in 2016, snaps a five-game pointless streak.
The third and final goal of the first period came 29 seconds later at the 19:31 mark when defenseman Brady Lyle scored his second of the season assisted by forwards Justin Brazeau and Eduards Tralmaks. Although the video below mentions forward Joona Koppanen got the third Providence goal of the game in the first period, it was later corrected by the league scoring officials and credit given to the blueliner Lyle.
In the second period, Providence would get the only goal in the middle frame and a four-goal lead, when forward Cameron Hughes scored his second of the game and tenth of the season at the 6:18 mark assisted by forwards Eduards Tralmaks and Justin Brazeau. With this second tally of the game, Hughes now has points in two consecutive games where he has 2-4-6 numbers in that timeframe and 3-6-9 in his last five games. This was Cameron’s second straight three-point game.
In the third period, the Providence club would get its final goal of the game at the 9:43 mark from forward Joona Koppanen, who scored his eighth of the season assisted by forwards Eduards Tralmaks and Justin Brazeau. Koppanen has also been playing well lately, posting 3-3-6 numbers in his last six games.
Veteran goaltender Troy Grosenick got the start in goal on this night, stopping all 25 shots he faced through two periods. The Charlotte Checkers were crashing the net hard on the 32-year-old netminder all night and a scrum in the crease at just 1:58 into the third period. While a massive crowd of punches and face washing player lost their balance, landing on the Bruins goaltender, having him on the ice for a few minutes later skating to the bench on his own with the Providence trainer nearby. It looked like Grosenick wasn’t putting any weight on one of his legs. He did suffer from a lower-body injury earlier in the season, so it remains to be seen if he reaggravated it.
Backup goaltender Kyle Keyser relieved the injured Grosenick and would go on to give up one goal and stop eight of nine Checkers shots in just over 17 minutes of work. Grosenick got the win and is now 12-3-1 in the 2021/22 regular season accompanied by an AHL league-leading 2.11 goals-against-average and .926 third-ranked save percentage. If Grosenick needs an extensive amount of time out of the Providence lineup to recover from the seemingly “lower-body” injury, the AHL organization will most likely look to their ECHL Maine Mariners team to fill the void in the AHL B’s crease rotation.
As of this morning on the AHL’s Transactions Page on the official league website, the Providence Bruins have yet to make a recall in preparation for tonight’s road game in Hartford, Connecticut, against the Atlantic Division rival Wolf Pack. If, in fact, they do come calling as soon as this article is published, look for either ECHL Maine Mariners netminders Callum Booth or Jeremy Brodeur for the emergency purpose with the NHL Bruins minor-pro affiliates close by to facilitate.
Against the Charlotte team, the Bruins were on par when it came to special teams in last night’s contest at the Dunk. Providence went 1/4 on the powerplay, and on the penalty kill went 4/5. These are both areas of this B’s team that have been drastically worked on in practice sessions coming down the stretch. Stick taps to AHL B’s Head Coach Ryan MNougenel and staff for getting these messages through when a team needs its players at the most.
As mentioned, the Providence Bruins are at the XL Center in Hartford tonight to play the Atlantic third place Wolf Pack club. The Pack has a regular-season record of 24-15-4-2 and 16-7-2-3 at home and in their last ten games 5-5-0. The last time these two teams played each other was back on Saturday, February 19th, when the B’s beat the Wolf Pack 3-1 at the XL Center. Providence has a road record of 11-7-2-3 and is 6-2-0-2 in their last ten games.