By: James Swindells | Follow me on Twitter @jimswindells68
After a three-game homestand last weekend in which the Providence Bruins collected only three of the possible six points, the P-Bruins hit the road for a trio of games in upstate New York. Providence (10-2-2-2, 24 points), the Atlantic Division leader, traveled to Rochester on Thanksgiving Eve to face the Americans, the Buffalo Sabres’ top AHL affiliate, then finished off the weekend with two games versus the Syracuse Crunch, Tampa Bay’s top AHL affiliate, on Friday and Saturday nights.
WEDNESDAY AT ROCHESTER
Providence head coach Ryan Mougenel gave the crease to Brandon Bussi (4-0-1), and Amerks’ coach Seth Appert started Michael Houser (2-1-0). Rochester (8-5-1-1, 18 points) headed into their matchup with the P-Bruins sitting in second place behind the Toronto Marlies in the AHL’s North Division.
Providence jumped out to the early lead after a shot by Nick Wolff was padded by Houser into the corner; John Beecher jumped on the puck to Houser’s right and sent it back to Wolff. Wolff flipped a shot back toward Houser through traffic, and Wolff’s shot attempt squeezed through Houser’s pads and trickled into the net for Wolff’s first goal of the season to open the scoring at 9:39.
Following the Wolff score, the Amerks, on a tripping call to Providence’s Mark McLaughlin, and the P-Bruins, on a trip call to Lukas Rousek, failed to capitalize on power play opportunities. In the minute following the Rochester kill of Rousek’s penalty, the P-Bruins maintained possession inside the Amerks’ zone. Luke Toporowski moved the puck to Mike Reilly at the blue line; Reilly sent a one-time pass to Vinni Lettieri at the top of the faceoff circle to Houser’s right; Lettieri booted an off-target pass to his stick and worked the puck to Lysell. Lysell returned the puck to Lettieri, who immediately went back to Lysell. Lysell snapped a shot past Houser to extend the P-Bruins lead to 2-0 with 1:27 remaining in the first period.
Providence held their two-goal lead through the middle period as neither team solved Bussi or Houser. Both teams failed to convert on their lone power play chance as they came out for a third period that produced a trio of rapid-fire goals, and a former Providence and Boston Bruins forward score a massive goal to deadlock the score in the waning moments of the third period.
Nick Wolff took a cross-checking penalty at 3:28 to send the Amerks to the power play for the third time. Brett Murray cut Providence’s lead in half with a goal at 5:00 when he potted a rebound chance behind Rousek. Providence regained the two-goal edge just 1:17 after the Murray tally. Samuel Asselin took a Justin Brazeau pass in the neutral zone, skated untouched into the Rochester zone, and deposited a wrist shot behind Houser to extend the P-Bruins lead.
Brett Murray, once again, trimmed the P-Bruins lead 34 seconds after Asselin’s second goal of the season. Kyle Clague’s point shot produced a rebound by Bussi. Bussi’s rebound found Murray, who slipped the second chance opportunity past a prone Bussi to cut the Providence lead to 3-2 with 13:09 left in regulation.
Old friend, Anders Bjork, provided the score with 3:15 left in the period that evened the score at three. The Amerks’ goal resulted from an easy exit out of their zone and an even easier entrance into the P-Bruins zone. Linus Weissbach, possessing the puck, pulled up inside the Providence blue line and found Bjork accompanying him. A cross-ice pass from Weissbach set up Bjork at the left faceoff circle; Bjork saw a racing Rousek on Bussi’s left side and deflected a pass off a sliding Kai Wissmann that redirected the puck behind Bussi that sent the game into overtime.
Rochester completed the come-from-behind victory in the last seconds of overtime on a goal by Weissbach. Ethan Prow flipped a pass from inside the Rochester zone over the neutral zone to a streaking Weissbach. Weissbach corralled Prow’s pass between the faceoff circles and beat Bussi with the game-winner with 5.1 seconds to go in overtime.
Rochester extended Providence’s losing streak to four games. The P-Bruins were outshot 46-34. Brandon Bussi stopped 42 of 46 (.913 SV%) shots. Providence’s power play continued its struggles, going 0-for3. The P-Bruins PK unit surrendered a goal on three penalty kill opportunities.
3rd Star – Samuel Asselin (Providence)
2nd Star – Brett Murray (Rochester)
1st Star – Linus Weissbach (Rochester)
FRIDAY AT SYRACUSE
Providence looked to snap its four-game losing streak in the first of a back-to-back matchup with the Syracuse Crunch on Friday night. Keith Kinkaid (2-2-2) got the start in goal for Providence, and former P-Bruins goalie, Max Lagace (4-4-2) got the call in net for Syracuse (7-6-1-2, 17 points)
Syracuse’s Daniel Walcott struck first at 6:16 with his seventh goal of the season. Jack Finley failed to win a faceoff cleanly to Kinkaid’s left, and Walcott picked up the loose puck and flipped a shot over Kinkaid’s right shoulder to open up the scoring. Syracuse’s 1-0 edge lasted until the 13:34 mark when Michael Callahan’s shot from the blue line beat Lagace for Callahan’s first goal.
Less than two minutes later, Samuel Asselin gave Providence their first lead of the game. Syracuse’s Felix Robert went to the penalty box for a holding call at 13:56 to put the P-Bruins on their second man advantage of the night. Luke Toporowski, with a pass from Jack Ahcan, sent a cross-ice pass through two Crunch defenders. Asselin one-timed the Toporoswki feed, and the P-Bruins struggling PP unit found success and a 2-1 lead with 4:39 left on the clock.
Providence’s 2-1 lead would be short-lived as former P-Bruin Gemel Smith evened the score at two just 1:17 after Asselin’s power-play score. Mark McLaughlin sent the puck sailing over the glass and was whistled for a delay of game penalty at 17:41. Less than a minute into the McLaughlin penalty, Ilya Usau’s point shot died on Kinkaid’s left pad, Simon Ryfors retrieved the loose puck and Kinkaid made a highlight reel glove save on Ryfors. Ryfors’ shot bounced out to Gabriel Dumont, who failed to stuff the puck behind Kinkaid. The puck squirted to Kinkaid’s right, where Smith jammed Dumont’s rebound into the net to complete the helter-skelter sequence that knotted the game at two.
The 2-2 tie game went into the first intermission and held until the 12:33 mark of the second period. Darren Raddysh managed a turnover deep inside the P-Bruins zone and skated the puck to the goal line. Raddysh ripped a shot from the goal line on Kinkaid. The puck found daylight over Kinkaid’s left shoulder to give the Crunch a 3-2 lead that they took into the final 20 minutes of the game.
Facing a one-goal deficit to start the third period, Providence scored two goals in the opening 3:32 of the period and never looked back. Justin Brazeau scored his second goal of the season at 2:04 after picking up the rebound of a Michael Callahan perimeter shot and buried the puck behind Lagace to even the score at three.
The game-winning tally for Providence came 88 seconds after Brazeau’s goal. Connor Carrick caught Syracuse in a bad line change that allowed Oskar Steen and Luke Toporowski to break in alone on Lagace. Carrick slipped a pass at the Syracuse blue line through two defenders to Steen. Steen drove to Lagace’s net in the slot and dished to Toporowski, beating a sliding Lagace over his right leg giving the P-Bruins the lead at 4-3 with 16:28 left in the game.
Providence closed out the scoring with Lagace pulled for an extra attacker on an empty net goal by Brazeau with 1:26 to go in the game. Brazeau’s second goal of the night secured the win for Providence and snapped their longest losing streak of the season at four games.
The P-Bruins (41) and the Crunch (41) combined for 82 shots. Keith Kinkaid stopped 38 of 41 (.927 SV%) shots and improved his record to 3-2-2 with a 2.98 GAA and .918 SV%. Providence’s power play managed one goal on five power play opportunities. The P-Bruins PK unit went 1-for-2 on the night. Connor Carrick notched his team-leading 10th and 11th assists of the season.
3rd Star – Daniel Walcott (Syracuse)
2nd Star – Luke Toporowski (Providence)
1st Star – Justin Brazeau (Providence)
SATURDAY AT SYRACUSE
The P-Bruins looked to close out a successful trip to upstate New York with a victory on Saturday evening and secure five of a possible six points on their weekend in the Empire State. Brandon Bussi (4-0-2, 2.18 GAA, .942 SV%) returned to the cage for Providence, and Max Lagace got the start again for Syracuse.
Luke Toporowski started the scoring for Providence at 8:16 by creating a turnover at the Syracuse bench. Toporowski picked up the mishandled puck inside the Syracuse blue line, gained speed, and drove in on Lagace, beating him to his left and putting Syracuse down a goal just before the midway point of the first period.
Toporowski doubled Syracuse’s misery and extended the P-Bruins lead to 2-0 just under five minutes later. Oskar Steen pounced on a loose puck inside the Providence blue line and found Toporowski streaking down the left side. Toporowski fought off Sean Day at the faceoff circle, drove in on Lagace and went to his backhand, and deposited the puck into the wide-open net as he drove through the crease. Providence scored both of its first-period goals on six shots on Lagace, and Toporowski’s second goal would be the P-Bruins final shot on net in the opening period.
Vinni Lettieri’s hooking penalty at 15:06 put Syracuse on their second power play of the game, and the Crunch’s Felix Robert netted his eighth goal of the season with 24 seconds left on the Lettieri penalty to cut the Syracuse deficit to one goal. Syracuse nearly doubled Providence’s six shots in the period but stood a goal behind after 20 minutes of play.
The P-Bruins extended their lead to 3-1 on Justin Brazeau’s fourth goal at the 3:20 mark of the middle period. Josiah Didier fed a pass to Brazeau on the right wing; Brazeau swept a pass from the perimeter to Lagace’s crease area that deflected off Syracuse’s Gabriel Dumont and over Lagace’s left shoulder giving Providence three goals on just eight shots on goal.
The P-Bruins stretched their lead to 4-1 on Mark McLaughlin’s second goal of the season at 15:00. Samuel Asselin forced a turnover deep in the Syracuse zone, McLaughlin scooped up the puck and snapped a wrist shot off the post to Lagace’s right and into the net.
Providence would get multiple chances throughout the period to extend its lead. But their ineffective power play produced four failed opportunities in the second period, including a 1:29 5-on-3 opportunity that carried over to the third period. On the night, the P-Bruins power-play unit ended up going 0-for-6, and their inability to connect on the PP gave the Crunch room to claw their way back into the game. Syracuse’s Simon Ryfors’ goal with 2:06 left in the period sent the Crunch to intermission, having cut the P-Bruins lead to 4-2 and what had been a chippy middle period continued into the final frame.
Another P-Bruins power play opportunity just over two minutes into the third period failed to produce a goal that would extend their lead back to three. At 4:47, Mike Reilly went off for a roughing call that jumpstarted the Syracuse comeback. With Reilly’s penalty winding down, Gemel Smith sent a cross-ice pass to Ilya Usau. Usau one-timed the Smith feed into a wide-open net to cut the P-Bruins lead to one with 13:27 remaining.
Providence got its two-goal lead back 60 seconds later when Toporowski connected on his third goal of the night to push the P-Bruins lead to 5-3 with 12:27 left. Toporowski’s ninth goal of the season locked up the first professional hat trick of his career.
Gabriel Fortier cut Providence’s lead back to one with 10:46 left, and the Crunch now threw everything they had into tying the game up at five. A failed power play chance on a Toporowski high-sticking penalty left Syracuse with approximately three minutes to knot the game at five apiece. Syracuse pulled Lagace for an extra attacker with 60 seconds left, and 16 seconds later, the Crunch struck. With Syracuse possessing the puck inside the Providence zone, Kinkaid turned aside a Usau one-timer, but Ryfors failed to put Kinkaid’s rebound home. Felix Robert buried the puck behind the prone Kinkaid, and Syracuse had erased the three-goal hole they faced with 5:00 to go in the second period.
The Syracuse comeback was short-lived as Providence came away with the extra point in the standings on the game-winning goal by Chris Wagner at 1:13 of the overtime session. Oskar Steen, Jack Ahcan, and Wagner cycled the puck in the Syracuse zone; Ahcan sent a pass to Wagner, who proceeded to drive behind Lagace’s net, came around to Lagace’s right side, and wrapped the puck between Lagace and the post. The P-Bruins’ 6-5 OT victory fought off a furious Crunch comeback and won both games of the back-to-back matchup in Syracuse.
Providence secured five of the possible six points on their three-game road trip to upstate New York. The P-Bruins remain atop the AHL’s Atlantic Division at 12-2-3-2 with 29 points and a three-point lead over the second-place Hershey Bears. Syracuse outshot Providence 33-31. Brandon Bussi improved his record to 5-0-2 with a 2.58 GAA and a .930 SV%. Providence’s power play sits 29th in the AHL with a 15.5% success rate. The P-Bruins PK unit moved up to 12th in the AHL with a successful kill rating of 82.1%. Providence returns to action with a road matchup vs. the Bridgeport Islanders on Wednesday, November 30th. The P-Bruins turn the calendar to December and return to The AMP on December 3rd vs. Springfield and December 4th for a Sunday matinee vs. Hartford.
3rd Star – Felix Robert (Syracuse)
2nd Star – Mark McLaughlin (Providence)
1st Star – Luke Toporowski (Providence)
Providence Bruins Home Game Ticket Information
If you want to get ready for the 2022-23 Providence Bruins regular season home games at the Amica Mutual Pavilion, tickets are available exclusively through purchasing a 22-23 Providence Bruins Season Membership.
Fans can choose from Black Level (20 games), White Level (10 games), or FlexTix Season Memberships. To become a member and reserve seats, please visit providencebruins.com/memberships or contact CJ Tsoumakas at 401.680.4738 or email@example.com.
Single-game tickets can be purchased at the Providence Bruins’ official website at providencebruins.com.
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Also, if any Boston or Providence Hockey fans want to watch the NHL Bruins’ top minor-pro affiliate in action, please go to theahl.com and get an affordable AHLTV package that suits your viewing needs. You can access every team in the AHL in the regular season and playoffs for $104.99, Full AHL regular season access with no playoffs for $84.99, or you can pay monthly for only $22.99, and there’s single-day access for only $7.99.
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