By: Tim A Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson
Week 17 of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 25-9-7-2 (59 points). That is good for second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. Our boys in black and gold are coming off a tough week that saw them lose 2-1 to Hartford in overtime and defeat Utica 5-1 before falling to Syracuse 4-0 and defeating Hartford 4-2. The Providence Bruins have two games this weekend, which means two games to get back on track. Do not miss the action.
The hockey action starts Friday, February 3, 2023, when the Providence Bruins travel to Allentown, Pennsylvania, to take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at the PPL Center. The action wraps on Saturday, February 4, 2023, when the Providence Bruins travel to Utica, New York, to take on the Comets at the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. It should be a fun weekend of hard-hitting hockey!
Friday, February 3, 2023, Providence Bruins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AWAY)
The Friday game marks the fifth of six that Providence and Lehigh Valley will play in 2022-2023. The first matchup saw the Bruins fall 4-2. Oskar Steen and Mike Reilly scored goals for Providence.
The second game in the season series saw the Bruins fall 3-2 in a shootout. Marc McLaughlin and Vinni Lettieri scored goals for Providence.
The third battle saw the Bruins fall 5-4 in overtime. Joona Koppanen, Fabian Lysell, Marc McLaughlin, and Samuel Asselin scored goals for Providence.
The fourth game saw the Bruins win 2-1 in overtime. Joey Abate and Vinni Lettieri scored goals for Providence.
The Phantoms skate into the weekend 20-16-3-2 (45 points). That is good for sixth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. The Philadelphia affiliate has a negative goal differential on the season. Meaning they give up more goals than they score. The Phantoms give up 3.09 goals a game. Lehigh Valley nets 2.90 goals a game. The Providence Bruins’ offense scores 2.95 goals a game, while their defense gives up 2.65. The Bruins were 5-1 against Lehigh Valley last season and are 12-5-1-1 against them over the past five seasons. This game is very winnable for our boys in black and gold. I expect them to come out of the weekend with four points.
Saturday, February 4, 2023, Providence Bruins vs. Utica Comets (AWAY)
The Saturday matchup marks the sixth of six that the Providence Bruins and Utica Comets will have this season. The first game saw the Bruins win 2-1. Vinni Lettieri and Samuel Asselin scored for the Bruins.
The second matchup saw the Bruins win 4-3 in a shootout. Luke Toporowski, Vinni Lettieri, and Chris Wagner scored for the Bruins.
The third battle saw the Bruins fall 2-1. Justin Brazeau scored the lone goal for Providence. Keith Kinkaid played well in goal, stopping 24 of the 26 shots he faced.
The fourth game saw the Bruins win 3-2. Jakub Lauko, Marc McLaughlin, and Justin Brazeau scored for Providence.
The fifth battle saw the Bruins win 5-1. Oskar Steen, Justin Brazeau, Eduards Tralmaks, Jakub Lauko, and Georgii Merkulov scored goals for Providence.
The Utica Comets skate into the matchup 22-14-5-1 (50 points). That is good for second in the North Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence Bruins went 0-3-1 against the New Jersey affiliate last season. Over the past five seasons, Providence has had an 8-5-1 record against Utica. The Comets have a high-powered offense, scoring 3.00 goals a game. The problem is they also give up 2.92 goals a game. The Providence Bruins must score early and often. If they can do that, they will win.
My Players To Watch This Weekend
Joona Koppanen came to the Bruins as a sixth-round draft pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. The young forward had a great 2021-2022 season and has built upon that this season. In 37 games, he has netted seven goals while dishing out 15 assists for 22 total points. Koppanen even made his NHL debut this season in Boston. Look for him this weekend.
Jack Ahcan has had an excellent season for the Providence Bruins. He is playing well both offensively and defensively. In 40 games, he has two goals while dishing out 19 assists for 21 total points. The young defenseman is one of the big reasons why the Providence Bruins play such good defense. Look for him this weekend.
Brandon Bussi: has had an excellent rookie season for the Providence Bruins. He played so well this season that he made his first AHL All-Star Game. In 19 games, Bussi is 13-2-4 with a .934 save percentage and a 2.20 goals-against average. Look for him this weekend.
The Providence Bruins are having a fantastic season. If they keep up their play, they are a lock to make a playoff run. I hope everyone is enjoying the season as much as I am! Enjoy the games this weekend. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. GO BRUINS!
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