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

Last night, the American Hockey League Providence Bruins punched their ticket to the 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs with a road victory over the North Division’s last-place Utica Comets team. The top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey League Boston Bruins went into the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, New York, for game two of the current four-game road trip with a decisive 7-4 victory. Providence has nine games remaining on the 2023-24 regular season schedule, and if they stay in second place at the close of the season, the team will have a first-round bye for the second straight year.

Providence had a commanding lead on the host Comets team, up 5-1 midway through the third period, where things started to fall apart as the AHL Bruins seemed to get comfortable with the lead. Utica ripped off three goals, putting Providence on their heels, making the score 5-4. The Bruins would feel pressure from the home team and 2,847 in attendance to overcome the elements and dig deep to find a way to win on the road.

Key contributors to last night’s postseason-clinching effort were forwards Jayson Megna (2-2-4), Anthony Richard (2-2-4), and Oskar Steen (2-0-2), who were all driving forces in capturing the victory in the Empire State. From a Bruins perspective, other honorable mentions in this game were Marc McLaughlin (1 goal) and starting goaltender Brandon Bussi. Even though Bussi let up four goals to last night’s opponent, the undrafted netminder played well, stopping 27 of 31 shots for his 21st win and second consecutive victory.

The next contest of this four-game road trip is slated for tonight, as Providence travels to the Upstate Medical University Arena in Syracuse, New York, to face the North Division-leading Syracuse Crunch. The puck drop is set for 7 p.m. and can be streamed on AHLTV by either purchasing a single game or a playoff package. Providence is currently on a 2-0-1-1 streak and 5-3-1-1 in their last ten games. Syracuse is on a two-game losing streak and has a home record this season of 17-11-3-1.