By: Tim A Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson
Week 25 of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 40-14-8-2 (90 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 an exciting week that saw them defeat Charlotte 3-1 and 5-2 and beat Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 4-3 in a shootout en route to clinching a playoff spot! The Providence Bruins have two games this weekend that you will not want to miss.
The hockey action starts Friday, March 31, 2023, when the Providence Bruins travel to Hartford, Connecticut, to take on the Wolf Pack at the XL Center. The action wraps Saturday, April 1, 2023, when the Bridgeport Islanders travel to Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Amica Mutual Pavillion. Do not miss the action.
Friday, March 31, 2023, Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (AWAY)
The Friday game marks the ninth of ten games that Providence and Hartford will play this season. The first battle saw the Bruins win 3-1. Josiah Didier, Jack Ahcan, and Jakub Lauko scored for Providence. Keith Kinkaid was superb; he stopped 46 of the 47 shots he faced.
The second battle saw the Providence Bruins lose 3-1. Joona Koppanen scored the lone goal for Providence with assists from Jack Ahcan and Michael Callahan.
The third matchup saw the Bruins win 3-2. Justin Brazeau, Marc McLaughlin, and Vinni Lettieri scored goals for Providence.
The fourth game saw the Bruins win 5-3. Jakub Lauko, Vinni Lettieri, Luke Toporowski, Marc McLaughlin, and Oskar Steen scored goals for Providence.
The fifth battle saw the Bruins fall 4-3 in overtime. Vinni Lettieri (2) and Connor Carrick scored goals for Providence.
The sixth game between the two teams saw the Bruins fall 2-1 in overtime. Justin Brazeau scored for Providence.
The Bruins would win the seventh game of the season series 4-2. Chris Wagner, John Beecher, Georgii Merkulov, and Joona Koppanen scored for Providence.
The eighth game saw the Bruins lose 3-2 in overtime. Marc McLaughlin and Jack Ahcan scored goals for the Providence Bruins.
The Hartford Wolf Pack skates into the matchup 29-25-4-7 (69 points). That is good for sixth in the Atlantic Division and tenth in the Eastern Conference. Last season, Providence went 6-1-1-2 against Hartford. Over the past five seasons, Providence has a 24-16-7-2 record against the Pack, including 12-8-3-2 on the road. The Hartford Wolf Pack gives up a whopping 3.18 goals a game while only scoring 3.07. They have a -7 goal differential on the year. The Providence Bruins give up 2.67 goals a game, boasting one of the better defenses in the AHL. Providence also scores 3.06 goals a game while having a +25 goal differential. Despite that, division matchups are always taxing, and this one should be no different.
Saturday, April 1, 2023, Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Islanders (HOME)
The Saturday game marks the 11th of 12 games Bridgeport and Providence will have this season. Our boys in black and gold won the first battle 3-1, getting goals from Georgii Merkulov, Fabian Lysell, and Chris Wagner.
The second matchup saw the Bruins lose 5-4 in overtime. Georgii Merkulov (2), Chris Wagner, and Luke Toporowski scored for Providence.
The third battle saw the Providence Bruins win 1-0. Connor Carrick scored the lone goal for Providence. Brandon Bussi recorded his first shutout of the season.
The fourth installment of the season series saw the Bruins fall 3-2 in overtime. Vinni Lettieri and Chris Wagner scored goals for Providence.
The fifth battle saw the Bruins fall 4-3. John Beecher, Kai Wissmann, and Chris Wagner found the back of the net for Providence.
The sixth game saw the Bruins win 3-2. Fabian Lysell (2) and Connor Carrick scored goals for Providence.
The seventh matchup saw the Bruins fall 5-2. Georgii Merkulov and Oskar Steen scored for Providence.
The eighth game had the Bruins win 5-2. Joey Abate, Georgii Merkulov, Oskar Steen, Jakub Lauko, and Joona Koppanen scored for Providence.
The ninth battle of the season series saw the Bruins win 6-3. Justin Brazeau (2), Joona Koppanen, Vinni Lettieri, Oskar Steen, and Mike Reilly scored goals for Providence.
The tenth game saw the Bruins fall 7-1. Georgii Merkulov scored the lone goal for Providence.
The Islanders are 30-25-7-1 (68 points) to start the season. That is good for sixth in the Atlantic Division and tenth in the Eastern Conference. Providence went 6-6 against the New York affiliate last season. Over the past five seasons, the Bruins were 29-16-7-3 against Bridgeport, including 14-7-5-1 at home. Bridgeport is scoring 3.30 goals a game this season while giving up 3.36 goals per game. Their prolific offense is the reason for their success this season. The Providence Bruins boast one of the top defenses in the AHL, giving up only 2.67 goals a game. This game should be fun and tightly contested!
My Players To Watch This Weekend
Georgii Merkulov continues to have an excellent rookie season for Providence. The young forward is a must-watch every week for the Bruins. In 59 games, he netted 23 goals while dishing out 28 assists for 51 total points. That includes 26 points in his last 24 games. Look for him this weekend.
Fabian Lysell is also having an excellent rookie season with the Providence Bruins. The young forward came into the season as a top prospect in the Boston organization, and he has not disappointed. In 46 games, he’s tallied 13 goals while dishing out 23 assists for 36 total points. Look for him this weekend.
Brandon Bussi is another Providence Bruins rookie having an excellent season. Earlier this season, the young goalie was also in the All-Star Game. In 28 games, Bussi is 20-4-4 with a 2.33 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage. Look for him this weekend.
Providence’s stellar season continues to roll on. The Bruins clinched a playoff birth after beating Charlotte. With only a handful of games left in the season, it is hard not to be excited about the playoff run that is to come. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. GO BRUINS!
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