By: Mark Allred | Follow me on Twitter @BlackAndGold277
Last night at the Amica Mutual Pavillion in downtown Providence, Rhode Island, the AHL Providence Bruins beat the Springfield Thunderbirds 6-2, extending their winning streak to six games. With the victory on home ice last night, the top minor-pro affiliate of the NHL Boston Bruins increased their Atlantic Division lead to three points over second-place Hershey Bears.
Providence is 30-9-7-2 with 69 points and 24 games remaining in the 2022-23 AHL regular season. The Bruins extinguished a red-hot St. Louis Blues affiliate who came into Friday night’s action at the AMP riding a nine-game winning streak for a Thunderbirds team currently sitting in the middle of the Atlantic Division. Providence has had tremendous success this season vs. Springfield riding a 5-0-0-1 record against the division foe.
Forward Chris Wagner got the scoring started late in the first period at the 19:20 mark scoring his 12th goal of the season, assisted by fellow forwards Justin Brazeau and Georgii Merkulov. On this play, Wagner extended his point streak to six games with a redirected goal, Brazeau extended his point streak to three games with the primary assist, and Merkulov extended his point streak to six games with the secondary helper.
In the second period, Providence would go up to a 2-0 lead courtesy of Georgii Merkulov’s 15th of the season at the 2:44 mark extending his career-high goal streak to six games. The assists on the Merkulov second-period goal went to forward Justin Brazeau and Anton Stralman, who got his second point of the season in his fifth AHL appearance since being put on waivers earlier in the year by the NHL Bruins.
The AHL Bruins would take a 3-1 lead later in the middle frame with a solid effort from Boston Bruins forward prospect Fabian Lysell who grabbed a rebound from defenseman Jack Ahcan’s shot on goal in the slot for his 11th of the season. Defenseman Connor Carrick had the secondary helper on the Lysell goal extending his point streak to two games. The Lysell goal in the mid-second period extended his point streak to six games.
In the third period, the Providence Bruins would dominate, scoring three goals in the final frame and putting this game away. Forward Eduards Tralmaks would get his second goal of the season at the 5:51 mark, assisted by defenseman Dan Renouf and forward Joona Koppanen. With the Koppanen secondary assist, he extended his point streak to two games.
Later in the third period, forward Marc McLaughlin scored a power-play goal, his ninth of the season, at the 9:30 mark of the final period. The assists went to forward John Beecher and defenseman Jack Ahcan.
Forward Chris Wagner would end the Providence scoring for the night, scoring his second goal of the game at the 10:37 mark of the third for his 13th of the season. The assists on Wagner’s man-advantage tally went to forwards Justin Breazeau and Georgii Merkulov, who both finished this game vs. Springfield with three-point games.
Providence went 2/6 on the power play vs. the Thunderbirds last night and led in shots on goal in this game by a 49 to 24 advantage. The Bruins penalty kill was decent against Springfield at the AMP, only giving up one goal on four of the Bird’s chances. Forward Justin Brazeau led all Providence players with eight shots on goal, while AHL rookie forward Fabian Lysell was second on the night with seven of his own.
Providence goaltender Brandon Bussi got the start last night against Springfield, stopping 22 of 24 shots for his 15th victory of the season, extending his winning streak to three games. In the last ten games for Providence, Bussi is 7-1-2, and so far this season, the 6′-5″, 209-pound goaltender sits third in the league with a 2.18 goals-against-average, first in league with a .934 save percentage, and seventh in league wins. Bussi now has a regular season record of 15-2-4 and is the best rookie goaltender in the American Hockey League.
The Providence Bruins travel to Hartford, Connecticut, to face the last place in the Atlantic Division Hartford Wolf Pack at the XL Center with a puck drop set for 7 pm tonight. The top minor-pro affiliate of the NHL B’s are a wagon on the road this season with a 19-4-2 record, so it should be a good game as Providence makes a short road trip from Rhode Island to Connecticut. The AHL Bruins are back home on Sunday at 3:05 pm to face the Springfield Thunderbirds for the second time this weekend and look to build on their regular season success against the Atlantic Division rival.