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WBS Weekly: Penguins fall to Providence Bruins twice in 24 hours

Late 3rd period goals by Providence on consecutive nights perpetuate a winless February for WBS coming out of the All-Star break.

WBS goaltender Taylor Gauthier defends a shootout attempt from Providence’s Justin Brazeau.

Friday, February 10: WBS 3 @ Providence 4 (SO)

The WBS Penguins had a tall order on its plate coming out of the wildly successful All-Star festivities in Laval last weekend…a home and home series with the Atlantic Division’s new top team, the Providence Bruins. The series started in Providence on Friday.

After a scoreless first period, Providence’s Fabian Lysell scored his 10th goal of the season at 1:50 of the second to put the Bruins up 1-0. WBS responded with a three-goal outburst in the span of 5:50, started by Tyler Sikura’s 6th goal of the season on a power play at 9:37 of the second. Colin Swoyer and Nathan Légaré recorded assists.

Jon Lizotte put WBS ahead at 12:29 of the second period with his first goal of the season, with Sikura and Corey Andonovski assisting.

Valtteri Puustinen capped the outburst with another power play goal, his 17th goal of the season, at 15:27 of the second. Mitch Reinke and Filip Hållander recorded assists.

Providence’s Georgii Merkulov scored his 12th goal of the season at 16:22 of the second to bring WBS lead back to 3-2 after 40 minutes.

One of WBS’s bright spots this season was their record when carrying leads into the 3rd period…a spotless 13-0. They came 1:33 short of extending that record to 14-0, as Merkulov scored his second of the night and 13th of the season at 18:27 of the third.

The game eventually went to a shootout. WBS’s Lukas Svejkovsky and Providence’s Lysell traded goals in round 2 of the shootout, but it was Providence’s Mike Reilly who gave the Bruins the extra point with a round 7 goal.

Both Taylor Gauthier for WBS and Kyle Keyser for Providence finished with 30 saves on 33 shots. The WBS power play was a perfect 2 for 2, while Providence was unsuccessful on its two advantages.

Saturday, February 11: Providence 3 @ WBS 1

Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza hosted the rematch on Saturday night, as WBS celebrated its “Hockey is for Everyone” night. The WBS power play, so successful the night before, continued its success into the first period of Saturday’s game as Valtteri Puustinen scored his 18th of the season and 10th on power plays at 6:41 of the first. All-Star Alex Nylander and Filip Hållander recorded assists.

That’s all that Providence goaltender Keith Kinkaid would concede on the night, though. Worse yet, the Providence power play dominated the final two periods,

Jack Ahcan tied the game at 7:49 of the second with his 3rd of the season on a power play. Georgii Merkulov scored his 14th of the season at 13:51 of the third to break a 1-1 tie. Penguins were called for two minor penalties in the final four minutes, and Chris Wagner finished off the 3-1 victory with an uncommon empty net power play goal, his 11th goal of the season.

Kinkaid finished with 26 saves on 27 shots for the victory, while WBS’s Filip Lindberg turned in a bounce-back performance with 33 saves on 35 shots and the night’s third star honors. The Providence power play finished 3 for 5, while WBS’s power play ended 1 for 4.

Atlantic Division Standings, through the games of February 12

  1. Providence Bruins: 47 games played, 29-9-7-2, 67 points
  2. Hershey Bears: 47 games played, 30-12-4-1, 65 points
  3. Charlotte Checkers: 46 games played, 26-16-2-2, 56 points
  4. Lehigh Valley Phantoms: 46 games played, 24-17-3-2, 53 points
  5. Springfield Thunderbirds: 46 games played, 24-17-1-4, 53 points
  6. Hartford Wolf Pack: 47 games played, 19-19-3-6, 47 points
  7. Bridgeport Islanders: 46 games played, 19-19-7-1, 46 points
  8. WBS Penguins: 46 games played, 20-20-2-4, 46 points


Alex Nylander still leads the team with 19 goals and 39 points in 45 games, tying for 27th in the AHL in points. Valtteri Puustinen is close behind with 18 goals and 36 points, tying for 41st in the AHL in points. Drake Caggiula’s 23 assists lead the team in helpers, with 9 goals added on for 32 points and third place on the team in scoring. Filip Hållander’s 8 goals and 19 assists rank fourth in points.

Filip Lindberg’s strong Saturday start dropped his season statistics to a record of 6-11-1, a 3.13 GAA, and a .896 save percentage in 19 games. Taylor Gauthier ends the week with a record of 5-2-1, a 2.47 GAA, and a .914 save percentage in 11 games.

At week’s end, the WBS power play has converted 17.5% of opportunities, tied for 26th in the AHL. The penalty kill has dispatched 79.8% of opportunities, ranking 20th in the league. Within the Atlantic Division, WBS ranks 7th out of 8 in both categories.

The Week Ahead

WBS has three games on the schedule this week, all within the Atlantic Division. First off, it’s round 11 with the Hershey Bears this season on Wednesday, February 15, start time 7:05 pm EST. WBS heads down to Allentown on Saturday, February 18, for their 7th game of the season against Lehigh Valley, start time scheduled for 7:05 pm EST. WBS then comes back home Sunday, February 19, for a 3:05 pm EST engagement with Bridgeport.