( Photo Credit: Tessa McAndrews / Providence Bruins )

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

Last night, the American Hockey League Providence Bruins traveled to the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut, to play the host Hartford Wolf Pack. The top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey League Boston Bruins went into last night’s action riding a six-game winning streak and winners of the previous four consecutive contests away from the Amica Mutual Pavilion.

With the Boston Bruins recalling goaltender Brandon Bussi to the NHL level to cover for the day-to-day status of Linus Ullmark, netminder Kyle Keyser got the start in goal against the Wolf Pack. The 24-year-old Keyser, an undrafted goaltender, has been with the Providence team for most of the 2023-24 season as the third member of the crease for his AHL Bruins team. Kyle’s last appearance was back in early November 2023 when the AHL B’s were on the road in Cleveland, Ohio, where he gave up five goals on 26 Monster shots, taking a 5-4 regulation loss.

This was the fifth meeting of ten scheduled games this season between these two Atlantic Division foes, with the AHL Bruins leading the season series with a 2-1-0-1 record. The last time these two clubs faced each other was back on November 22nd, 2023, when Providence was on the road at the XL Center, losing to the top minor-pro affiliate of the NHL New York Rangers. The last five years have seen both Hartford and Providence have an even record when facing each other as they, traditionally as division rivals, play each other close to a dozen times each season.

Last night, Providence broke the 0-0 tie at the 15:43 mark of the opening period courtesy of veteran forward Jayson Megna, who scored a power-play goal, his 9th of the season, assisted by forwards Patrick Brown and Anthony Richard. With the assists on the Megna goal, Brown extends his point streak to three games, while Richard extends his point streak to five games. Megna’s goal was beautiful as the 33-year-old forward skillfully cut through the Wolf Pack defense to roof the puck over Harford’s netminder Dylan Garand’s shoulder for the man-advantage tally.

The Wolf Pack would tie the game at one apiece at the 10:44 mark of the second period via the sixth goal from Hartford forward Karl Henriksson, assisted by forwards Adam Sykora and recently signed free agent veteran Artem Anisimov. Providence would quickly react to the Wolf Pack’s tying goal, taking the 2-1 lead at the 11:12 mark when defenseman Alec Regula received a pass up the middle and let off a powerful wrister that trickled past Pack goaltender Garand for the go-ahead goal. The assists on Regula’s third of the season went to forwards Fabian Lysell and John Farinacci. Bruins prospect Lysell extends his season-high point streak to eight games with the helper on the Regula goal.

In the third period, the Hartford Wolf Pack would score the only goal of the final frame, tying the game at two apiece at the 10:42 mark courtesy of Pack defenseman Mac Hollowell, assisted by forward and Rhode Island native Brett Berard. At the end of regulation, both clubs would need the overtime session to relieve the 2-2 score as both clubs started the extra frame, earning a point in the division standings.

In the three-on-three overtime period, the host Hartford team sealed the deal and the extra point, beating the visiting Providence Bruins by the score of 3-2. The overtime heroics in front of 7,274 at the XL Center came from first-time overtime game-winning goal scorer Brandon Scanlin. Hartford’s Scanlin deflected a Brett Berard pass that went wide of the net, but Scanlin smartly stayed with the play and was quicker than Providence goaltender Kyle Keyser, who couldn’t cover his left post in time. The assists on Scanlin’s sixth goal of the season went to forwards Brett Berard and Karl Henriksson, as they were a crucial part of the Wolf Pack’s game-winner last night.

Also, I have to give kudos to Providence Bruins resident tough guy forward Vincent Arseneau, who dropped the gloves early in the first period, setting the tone for a physical battle between the host Hartford and the visiting Bruins team. Vincent has been a solid pro in his first season as a 33-year-old free agent signing who used to work alongside the minor-pro levels with AHL Bruins head coach Ryan Mougenel in the past in the minor-pro levels.

Providence’s winning streak was snapped at six games courtesy of the road loss to Hartford. The Bruins also snapped a four-game winning streak away from the Amica Mutual Pavilion. While earning a point in the overtime loss to the Wolf Pack, the AHL Bruins now have consecutive points in seven straight games.

The Providence Bruins look to return to their winning ways as the NHL Bruins affiliate faces the Atlantic Division foe Bridgeport Islanders this afternoon at the AMP in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. This afternoon’s game will mark the third contest in three days this weekend, and the Bruins have a commanding regular season series lead over the New York Islanders minor-pro affiliate with a 5-1-0 record thus far as these two teams will face each other six more times in this second half of the 2023-24 campaign. Providence has also beaten Bridgeport four times this season, leading into this afternoon’s 3:05 pm puck drop.