By: Tim A Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson
Week 28 of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 36-20-4-6 (82 points). That is good for first in the Atlantic Division and second in the Eastern Conference. Our boys in black and gold are coming off a week where they defeated Lehigh Valley 3-2 in a shootout and the Hershey Bears 1-0 before defeating the Phantoms again 5-4 in overtime. The Providence Bruins also punched their ticket to the Calder Cup playoffs, an exciting development for everyone. The Bruins have four games coming up you will not want to miss.
The weekend starts on Friday, April 22, 2022, when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins travel to Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin Donuts Center. The weekend continues on Saturday, April 23, 2022, when the Charlotte Checkers make their way to Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. The next game is Sunday, April 24, 2022, when the Providence Bruins travel to Springfield, Massachusetts, to take on the Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center. The weekend ends on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, when the Providence Bruins travel to Syracuse, New York, to take on the Crunch at the Upstate Medical Arena at The Oncenter War Memorial. Do not miss the action.
Friday, April 22, 2022, Providence Bruins vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (HOME)
The Friday matchup will be the sixth of six these two teams will have this season. In the first battle, the Bruins won 6-2. Oskar Steen (2), Steven Fogarty, Zach Senyshyn, Chris Wagner, and Eduards Tralmaks scored goals for Providence. Jon Gillies stopped 29 of the 31 shots he faced.
The second meeting between the two teams did not go as planned. The Bruins lost 3-1. Jakub Lauko scored for Providence, while Kyle Keyser stopped 30 of 32 shots he faced between the pipes. The third game saw the Bruins win 5-1. Brady Lyle, Zach Senyshyn (3), and Jack Studnicka scored for Providence. Keyser made 20 saves in the victory.
The fourth meeting saw the Providence Bruins win 2-1 in overtime! Zach Senyshyn and Jesper Froden scored for the Bruins. Jeremy Swayman was superb in net stopping 26 shots. The fifth battle saw the Bruins win 5-4 in overtime. Cameron Hughes (2), Victor Berglund, Jack Studnicka, and Oskar Steen scored for Providence.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are 33-29-4-4 (74 points). That is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and tenth in the Eastern Conference. This matchup has been favorable for Providence over the past five seasons, going 14-4-2-2. The Bruins scoring early and keeping the lead will be essential to winning this game. The Pittsburgh affiliate is 6-15-1 when trailing after the first period. They are 3-21-1-1 when down after two. On the flip side, the Penguins are 14-5-1-2 when up after the first and 23-0-1-2 when ahead after two.
Saturday, April 23, 2022, Providence Bruins vs. Charlotte Checkers (HOME)
The Saturday matchup marks the sixth of six the two teams will have this season. Charlotte skates into it 40-24-5-1 (86 points). That is good for second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. The first battle saw Providence win 4-3. Jesper Froden (2), Joona Koppanen, and Jakub Lauko scored for the Bruins. Kyle Keyser made 31 stops in the victory.
The second matchup saw the Bruins win 5-1. Cameron Hughes (2), Oskar Steen, Brady Lyle, and Joona Koppanen scored goals for Providence. Both Kyle Keyser and Troy Grosenick played in goal during the game. They combined for 33 saves in the win. The third battle saw the Bruins lose 2-1 in a shootout. Matt Filipe scored the lone goal for Providence.
The fourth matchup saw Providence fall 3-2 in a shootout. Zach Senyshyn and Chris Wagner scored for the Bruins. The fifth game between the two clubs saw Providence lose 2-1 in a shootout. Jesper Froden scored for Providence.
The Checkers are in a unique situation this year. Their primary affiliate is the Florida Panthers. However, for this season, they have a secondary affiliate, the Seattle Kraken! That means you could see prospects from organizations playing Providence the weekend. The matchup with the Checkers has been a challenging one for Providence. Over the past five seasons, they are 10-7-1-3 against the Florida and Seattle affiliate. The Checkers score a ton. They are averaging 3.28 goals a game. They also have a good defense, giving up only 2.78 goals a game. Don’t miss the action!
Sunday, April 24, 2022, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (AWAY)
The Sunday battle marks the 11th of 12 these two teams will have this season. In the first game, Providence fell 4-1. Jack Ahcan scored the only goal for the Bruins. Jakub Lauko and Steven Fogarty assisted on the goal. Kyle Keyser stopped 28 of the 31 shots he faced.
The second game also saw the Bruins lose 4-1. Urho Vaakanainen scored the only goal for Providence. Keyser stopped 29 of the 33 shots he faced. The third matchup saw the Bruins win 3-0. Justin Brazeau (2) and Keltie Jeri-Leon scored for Providence. Kyle Keyser stopped all 24 shots he faced.
The fourth game between the two teams saw the Bruins win 7-1. Alex-Olivier Voyer, Eduards Tralmaks, Cameron Hughes (2), Joona Koppanen (2), and Curtis Hall scored for Providence. Troy Grosenick stopped 26 shots in the blowout.
The fifth installment of this series saw the Bruins win 5-3. Matt Filipe, Jack Studnicka, Victor Berglund, Steven Fogarty, and Zach Senyshyn scored for Providence. Troy Grosenick stopped 27 of the pucks fired his way.
The sixth chapter of the season story saw the Bruins fall 3-2 in a shootout. Jack Studnicka and Chris Wagner had goals for Providence. The seventh matchup saw the Bruins fall 5-1. Zach Senyshyn scored the lone goal for Providence.
The eighth game saw the Bruins win 5-1. Jack Studnicka, Eduards Tralmaks, Chris Wagner (2), and Cameron Hughes scored for Providence. The ninth battle saw the Bruins come out victorious 3-2. Justin Brazeau, Steven Fogarty, and Victor Berglund scored for Providence. Providence would lose the tenth game against Springfield 1-0 in overtime.
Springfield comes into the matchup 39-23-6-2 (86 points). That is good for third in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. The St. Louis affiliate is one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. The Thunderbirds score an incredible 3.05 goals a game while giving up 3.04. On the other side of the equation, the Bruins net 2.93 goals a game while giving up 2.62. Over the past fives seasons, Providence’s record is 29-15-5-1 against Springfield. Division matchups are always a grind, and this game will be no different.
Wednesday, April 27, 2022, Providence Bruins vs. Syracuse Crunch (AWAY)
The Wednesday battle marks the second out of two the Bruins and Crunch will have this season. That is because the Crunch plays in the North Division. The first game between the two teams saw Providence fall 4-1. Jesper Froden scored the only goal for the Bruins.
The Syracuse Crunch has a record of 36-25-7-2 (81 points). That is good for third in the North Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. The Tampa Bay affiliate’s main issue this season has been their defense. They give up 3.11 goals a game while scoring 3.12. Despite the goal differential, the Crunch are 7-2-1 in their last ten games. This game will not be easy. Over the past fives seasons, the Bruins have had a 3-4 record against the Lightning affiliate.
My Players To Watch This Weekend
Georgii Merkulov: Georgii Merkulov came to the Bruins as a college undrafted free agent. The young forward played the 2021-2022 season at Ohio State University before signing with the Bruins. In 36 games at OSU, he buried 20 goals while dishing out 14 assists for 34 total points. Merkulov is a skillful skater when excellent scoring ability. In three games with Providence, Merkulov has one goal while dishing out two assists. Look for him this weekend.
On The Blue Line:
Aaron Ness: The 2021-2022 season is the first Aaron Ness has spent with Providence. The veteran defense spent the past few seasons in the Arizona Coyotes organization. In 54 games with Providence, Ness has netted three goals while dishing out 16 assists for 19 total points. Look for him this weekend.
Brandon Bussi: Brandon Bussi joined the Bruins as an undrafted free-agent signing. The young goalie spent the previous three seasons with Western Michigan University. Bussi has had an excellent start to his career, going 3-0 with a 1.93 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage. Look for him this weekend.
The Providence Bruins locked up their playspot last weekend! There are only six games left in the season. Each game is important because while they have clinched a spot in the playoffs, their playoff seeding is still up for grabs. Let us hope they can lock up the one seed! I hope everyone is enjoying the end of the season! Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!