( Photo Credit: Tessa McAndrews / Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred | Follow me on Twitter / X @BlackAndGold277

The American Hockey League Providence Bruins have been on a roll, with their latest win marking their seventh consecutive victory. Last night, at the Mohegan Sun Arena, they faced off against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, emerging triumphant with a decisive 5-1 victory. The star of the evening was undoubtedly forward Georgii Merkulov, who had an outstanding five-point game.

The Bruins’ winning streak has been nothing short of impressive, and fans, along with media members, are starting to see the top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey League Boston Bruins come together. The team’s cohesion, strategic play, and relentless drive have led them to dominate the ice in seven straight games and climb the Atlantic Division Standings. Each victory showcased a different strength of the team, whether it was their solid defense, brick-wall goaltending, or swift offense that’s been on par lately.

In their latest game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the Bruins demonstrated why they are a force to be reckoned with. The team took control in the first period on forward Georgii Merkulov’s seventh of the season at the 5:53 mark, assisted by forward Jesper Boqvist and defenseman Reilly Walsh. Providence maintained its 1-0 lead going into the mid-second period when forward Justin Brazeau scored his eighth of the season at the 11:25 mark assisted by Boqvist and Merkulov, extending the Bruins lead to 2-0.

Providence forward Boqvist, who was dishing out helpers to everyone else down in Pennsylvania last night, got a bit of a role reversal, scoring his fourth goal of the season and getting the B’s to a 3-0 lead at the 15:59 mark of the middle frame. The assists on Boqvist’s fourth of the year went to Merkulov and Brazeau. In the third period, Merkulov struck again, scoring his eighth goal of the season at the 9:54 mark, assisted by B’s defenseman Walsh, giving Providence a commanding 4-1 lead.

Penguins right winger Alex Nylander got his Wilke-Barre/Scranton team on the board, scoring his eighth of the season, ruining the Bruins bid for a goaltender Brandon Bussi shutout effort at the 13:56 mark of the third period and a 4-1 lead. Providence forward Boqvist topped off a four-point night by getting an empty net goal at the 16:13 mark of the final period, assisted by defenseman Alec Regula and Merkulov, putting the dagger in the hearts of the 6,244 Penguins fans in attendance and sealing the 5-1 victory for the visiting Bruins.

Starting goaltender Brandon Bussi was back in the Providence net last night, as mentioned, earning his seventh win of the season, and the undrafted netminder is now on a three-game winning streak. Bussi was fantastic in the game last night vs. the Penguins, and his recent stellar play has lowered his goals-against-average to 2.46 and raised his save percentage to a .921.

Bussi and fellow netminder Michael DiPietro have pretty much been the goaltending tandem in Providence since the 2023-24 season started back in October. Head Coach Ryan Mougenel is currently riding a three-headed monster in goal this season, with Kyle Keyser in the mix but not participating in many games. Bussi has a 7-4-2 record, DiPietro is 6-3-0 with a 2.24 GAA and .925 Save%, while Keyser is 0-1-1, a 4.43 GAA and .842 Save%.

Georgii Merkulov was the highlight of the game. With his five-point performance, he was instrumental in securing the Bruins 5-1 victory over the host Penguins. Merkulov displayed his skills as a top-notch forward, scoring two goals and assisting on three others for his first career five-point game. This performance is a testament to Merkulov’s growth as a player, adding to his already impressive stats this season and really turning heads with his two-way game. His play away from the puck this season has been leaps and bounds from the previous regular season.

In the last two games, Merkulov has exploded offensively and has been the catalyst for a recently thriving Providence top line of Boqvist on the left and Brazeau on the right. All three players have produced. 18 points (8-10-18) working on the same line together and are the driving force behind the Providence Bruins offensive success lately.

With the recent injury speculation of Boston Bruins forward Pavel Zacha, who left yesterday afternoon’s game against the Arizona Coyotes, Merkulov would be a fantastic addition to the NHL lineup if Zacha is out for any length of time. Centers John Farinacci and Jayson Megna could also get heavy consideration for advancement to the higher NHL if a break glass in case of an emergency situation is needed when an update on Zacha is provided tomorrow from the Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Massachusetts.

With seven consecutive wins under their belt, the Providence Bruins are looking stronger than ever this season, and the time for team chemistry is no better than now. This winning streak has undoubtedly boosted their confidence and morale, setting them up for success in their upcoming games. Based on their current performance, it’s safe to say that we can expect more exciting and top-tier hockey from the Bruins.

The Providence Bruins’ seven-game winning streak, capped by a 5-1 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, has shown their strength and potential as a team. With players like Georgii Merkulov leading the charge, the Bruins are proving to be formidable opponents. As they continue their season, it will be exciting to see how they build on this momentum. One thing is certain – the Providence Bruins have been a fun team to watch so far in 24 games played this season.

Providence is back in action on Wednesday night to face the Atlantic Division-leading Hershey Bears, who sit at the top of the AHL with a 19-5-0-0 record and 38 points in 24 games played this season. Wednesday’s matchup against the league-best Hershey, who have a 10-2-0-0 home record at Giants Center, will wrap up the current three-game road trip to the state of Pennsylvania.

This weekend, the Providence team heads back to the Amica Mutual Pavilion in downtown Providence, Rhode Island, for a two-game weekend set starting on Friday night, December 15th, 2023, against the visiting Toronto Marlies. On Sunday, December 17th, 2023, the Syracuse Crunch visit the AMP in Providence before the Bruins head off on the annual end-of-year road trip that has the NHL Bruins affiliate playing seven games before coming back home on January 7th, 2024, when the B’s host the Springfield Thunderbirds.