By: Tim A Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson
Week 22 of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 32-13-8-2 (74 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 to Bridgeport 7-1 before defeating Hershey 1-0 and falling to Lehigh Valley 3-1. The Providence Bruins have three games this weekend that you will not want to miss.
The hockey action starts Friday, March 10, 2023, when the Providence Bruins travel to Springfield, Massachusetts, to take on the Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center. The action continues Saturday, March 11, 2023, when the Hershey Bears travel to Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Amica Mutual Pavillion. The action wraps Sunday, March 12, 2023; the Hershey Bears stayed in Providence, Rhode Island, to once again play the Bruins at the Amica Mutual Pavillion. Do not miss the action.
Friday, March 10, 2023, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (AWAY)
The Friday game marks the eighth game of 12 that the two teams will have this season. The first battle saw the Bruins win 4-3. Georgii Merkulov, Josiah Didier, Vinni Lettieri, and Luke Toporowski scored for Providence.
The second battle saw the Bruins win 4-3 in a shootout. John Beecher, Luke Toporowski, and Vinni Lettieri netted goals for Providence.
Providence lost the third matchup 3-2 in a shootout. Vinni Lettieri found the back of the net for the Bruins.
The Bruins won the fourth matchup 3-2. Fabian Lysell, Luke Toporowski, and Joey Abate scored for Providence.
The fifth battle saw the Providence Bruins win 2-1. Vinni Lettieri and Justin Brazeau scored goals for Providence.
The sixth game saw the Bruins win 6-2. Chris Wagner (2), Georgii Merkulov, Fabian Lysell, Eduards Tralmaks, and Marc McLaughlin scored goals for Providence.
The seventh game saw the Bruins fall 3-2. Georgii Merkulov and Justin Brazeau scored goals for Providence.
The Springfield Thunderbirds skate into the matchup 28-21-2-4 (64 points). That is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. The St. Louis affiliate went to the Calder Cup Finals in 2021-2022, losing to the Chicago Wolves. Springfield scores 2.98 goals a game while giving up 2.90. Their defense is the reason for their season going as it is. The Providence Bruins had a 5-5-1-1 record against Springfield last season. Over the past five years, they have a 25-13-4-2 record, including 14-6-1-1 on the road. These rivalry games are usually chippy affairs. Expect physical games between two teams who dislike each other.
Saturday, March 11, 2023, and Sunday, March 12, 2023, Providence Bruins vs. Hershey Bears (HOME)
The Saturday and Sunday games mark the fourth and fifth of six that the Providence Bruins and Hershey Bears will have this season. The first game saw the Bruins lose 1-0. Brandon Bussi was excellent for Providence.
The second battle saw the Bruins win 4-3. Luke Toporowski, Jakub Lauko, Marc McLaughlin, and Chris Wagner scored for Providence.
The third game saw the Bruins win 1-0. Marc McLaughlin scored the lone goal of the game for the Bruins. Kyle Keyser stopped all 22 shots he faced in the shutout.
The Hershey Bears skate into the matchup 34-14-5-2 (75 points). That is good for first in the Atlantic Division and second in the Eastern Conference. Over the past five seasons, this matchup has been favorable to the Providence Bruins. They held a 15-4-1-1 against the Washington affiliate, including an 8-0-0-1 record at home. Hershey has a tough defense, giving up only 2.54 goals a game. Hershey scores 2.96 goals a game. The Bruins score 2.94 goals a game while giving up 2.70. Despite the fantastic record in the past, this should be a tough match.
My Players To Watch This Weekend
Georgii Merkulov is having a sensational rookie season for the Providence Bruins. The young forward has been one of Providence’s best offensive players all season. In 51 games, Merkulov has netted 18 goals while dishing out 24 assists for 42 total points. That includes 18 points in his last 17 games played. Look for him this weekend.
Justin Brazeau is having an excellent second season with the Providence Bruins. The young forward has been one of the top point producers for the Bruins this season. In 51 games, he’s netted 15 goals while dishing out 19 assists for 34 total points. That includes 10 points in his last 12 games played. Look for him this weekend.
Kyle Keyser is having an excellent bounceback season for the Providence Bruins. In 15 games, Keyser is 8-2-2 with a 2.24 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage. That includes a 1-0 shutout against division-leading Hershey last weekend. Look for him this weekend.
Despite a rough weekend, the Providence Bruins remain in one of the top positions in the Atlantic Division. As the 2022-2023 season continues, it’s hard not to be excited about Providence’s playoff chances. I think we could be in for a long run from these Bruins. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. GO BRUINS!