By: Tim A Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson
Week 24 of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 37-14-8-2 (84 points). That is good for first in the Atlantic Division and first in the Eastern Conference. Our boys in black and gold are coming off a week that saw them defeat Springfield 4-1 and 3-2. The Providence Bruins have two games this weekend that you will not want to miss.
The hockey action starts Saturday, March 25, 2023, when the Providence Bruins travel to Charlotte, North Carolina, to take on the Checkers at Bojangles Coliseum. The action wraps on Sunday, March 26, 2023, when the Providence Bruins take on the Charlotte Checkers at the Biscuit in Charlotte, North Carolina. Do not miss the action.
Saturday, March 25, 2023, and Sunday, March 26, 2023, Providence Bruins vs. Charlotte Checkers (AWAY)
The weekend series marks the seven and eighth games of eight that Charlotte and Providence will play this season. The first game saw the Bruins win 2-1. Fabian Lysell and Oskar Steen scored for Providence. Kyle Keyser was superb in net, stopping 29 of the 30 shots he faced.
The Bruins won the second battle in the season series 5-2. Jakub Lauko, John Beecher, Fabian Lysell, Justin Brazeau, and Oskar Steen score goals for Providence.
The Bruins won the third battle 5-3. Vinni Lettieri, Jakub Lauko, Oskar Steen, and Chris Wagner (2) scored goals for Providence.
The Bruins would fall in the fourth battle 2-1 overtime. Joona Koppanen would score the lone goal for the Providence Bruins.
The fifth battle saw the Bruins fall 5-2. Jack Ahcan and Mike Reilly score goals for Providence.
The sixth game saw the Bruins win 6-5 in overtime. John Beecher, Mike Reilly (3), Georgii Merkulov, and Jakub Lauko scored goals for Providence.
The Charlotte Checkers skate into the weekend 35-20-3-3 (76 points). That is good for third in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. This game has the potential to be a defensive battle. The Florida affiliate gives up only 2.90 goals a game. Meanwhile, the Bruins boast one of the best defenses in the AHL, giving up only 2.70 goals a game. Offensively, the Bruins score 3.01 goals a game, while the Checkers net 3.24. Over the past five seasons, this matchup has given the Bruins fits; they hold a 12-7-2-3 record during those five years. That includes 4-3-1-3 on the road.
My Players to Watch This Weekend
Georgii Merkulov continues to have a stellar rookie season for the Providence Bruins. He came to Providence as an undrafted free agent, but he looks like one of the top players in their system. In 56 games, Merkulov has 21 goals while dishing out 26 assists for 47 total points. That includes 23 points in his last 22 games played. Look for him this weekend.
Joona Koppanen is having a solid season for the Providence Bruins. The young forward even played some games for the big club in Boston. The Finnish forward is coming off a weekend that saw him grab five points in three games. In 53 games, Koppanen has ten goals while dishing out 21 assists for 31 total points. Look for him this weekend.
Brandon Bussi is having an excellent rookie season for the Providence Bruins. The young goalie played so well that he earned a spot on the AHL All-Star team. In 27 games, Bussi is 18-4-4 with a 2.36 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage.
The Providence Bruins continue to play excellent hockey. With 11 games left in the regular season, they are making a final push toward the playoffs. Let’s hope for a long playoff run from our Bruins. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. GO BRUINS!