By: Mark Allred | Follow me on Twitter / X @BlackAndGold277
Last night, the Providence Bruins beat the visiting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 3-2 in overtime after some late-regulation heroics from the Bruins back end. With the Friday night victory at the Amica Mutual Pavillion in front of 8,132 in attendance, the top minor-pro affiliate of the Boston Bruins extended their winning streak to six games at the midway point of the 2023-24 regular season. Providence is now 20-12-2-2 with 44 points, 14 points behind division-leading Hershey Bears. Hershey is 29-7-0 this year, has a league-leading 58 points, and is heavily favored to repeat as Calder Cup champions.
Providence is 7-3-0 in the last ten games, and since returning from their seven-game road trip where the B’s went 5-2, they have yet to lose at the AMP in front of the hometown crowd in 2024. The B’s improved to 7-5-1-2 at home and slightly have a better road record with 13-7-1-0. One solid stat at the midway point of this regular season is the “goals for” and “goals against” when Providence gave up more than they scored in the first half of the season. This is a positive change offensively, as the team is coming down the stretch in the second half with their ability to close out games.
Last night was a great example against the top minor-pro affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who currently sit behind Providence in the Atlantic Division standings. Regardless of the Wilke-Barre/Scranton 2-0 lead after the first 40 minutes, both teams provided that playoff-style atmosphere at the AMP on Friday night with the back-and-forth action. With 7:09 to go in the third period, the Providence team started the late-game comeback with defenseman Reilly Walsh breaking the ice for his B’s team, scoring his fourth goal of the season and cutting the Penguins lead in half. The helpers on the Walsh goal went to fellow blueliner Michael Callahan and forward Anthony Richard.
Later, at the 18:35 mark of the final period, forward Justin Brazeau scored his 12th goal of the season, tying the game at two apiece, assisted by defenseman Dan Renouf and forward Anthony Richard. Brazeau scored a typical goal as a bigger, more rugged net-front presence forward by deflecting a Renouf shot from near the blue line. In my opinion, this is the type of place that could get Justin further looks from the Bruins organization as a depth free agent signing.
At the end of regulation, both teams would go to a five minute overtime period deadlocked at 2-2, but the hometown Providence club would only need 1:13 to execute the victory and two points. Defense and mobility from the backend would ultimately be the benefiting factor in the win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as defenseman Ian Mitchell showcased in the three-on-three extra session, scoring his second goal of the season. The helpers in the Mitchell overtime winner went to veteran forward Patrick Brown and forward Fabian Lysell.
Providence goaltender Michael DiPietro got the start in goal, stopping 22 of 24 Penguins shots for his tenth victory of the season. The former Vancouver Canucks draft selection has played well in his time with the Boston Bruins organization since arriving via a trade that sent forward Jack Studnicka to the Western Conference. With last night’s win, DiPietro is now on a three-game winning streak, and the B’s seem to be in good hands while fellow netminder Brandon Bussi is with the parent NHL team, the Boston Bruins, for the remainder of the four-game road trip that ends tonight in St. Louis, Missouri against the Blues.
Providence Bruins Honorable Mentions
Boston Bruins forward prospect Fabian Lysell had an assist in the overtime winner vs. the visiting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, extending his point streak to seven games. Lysell has 3-7-10 numbers in those seven previous AHL contests.
Defenseman Ian Mitchell has two consecutive game-winning goals for his Providence team. The former Chicago Blackhawks blueline prospect has 2-3-5 numbers in his last eight games for the NHL B’s affiliate.
Forward Anthony Richard had two assists last night, extending his point streak to four games where he’s produced 3-5-8 totals in that duration. Ricard has really turned it up offensively lately, posting 9-7-16 in his last ten AHL games.
Forward Justin Brazeau extended his point streak to two games last night, scoring the tying goal in last night’s 3-2 overtime victory. Brazeau has goals in two consecutive games and is 4-6-10 in his last ten Providence games.
Veteran forward Partick Brown extended his point streak to two games with an assist in last night’s game vs the Penguins. Brown now has four points in two games and is 1-5-6 in his last four games for the top minor-pro affiliate of the NHL Bruins.
Defenseman Michael Callahan snapped a four-game pointless streak with an assist on Friday night at the AMP. The Providence defenseman is having his best season in the NHL Bruins minor-pro system and has 2-8-10 numbers in 35 games played this season.
Defensemen Alec Regula leads all American Hockey League players with a plus/minus of +25. Fellow blueliner Dan Renouf is second in the league with a plus/minus of +19.
Upcoming Games for the AHL Providence Bruins
The top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey League Boston Bruins are back in action tonight for game two of three this weekend and looking to extend their current winning streak to seven games. The Providence team heads south to the Connecticut capitol to visit the Hartford Wolf Pack for the fifth time this season. The last time these two teams faced each other was back on November 22nd, 2023, when Hartford beat Providence 6-4 at the XL Center. So far this season, the AHL Bruins have a 2-1-0-1 record against Hartford, with the B’s splitting the first two games at the XL Center in this series 1-1.
On Sunday afternoon, January 14th, 2024, at the Amica Mutual Pavillion in downtown Providence, Rhode Island, the Bruins play host to the visiting Bridgeport Islanders. This will be the seventh meeting between these two Atlantic Division combatants this season, with the Providence team having a command of the regular season series with a 5-1-0 record. The last time these two clubs played was back on December 27th, 2023, at the Total Mortgage Arena in downtown Bridgeport, Connecticut, with the B’s winning 5-4 in regulation.