PROVIDENCE, RI. – It was the second game of a two-game series between the Providence Bruins and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Amica Mutual Pavilion on Saturday. Fresh off of a big win on Friday, the two teams combined for nearly 80 shots on goal but it’d take six more in the skills competition as Tanner Laczynski would score the only goal and a 30-save effort from Samuel Ersson in his second straight start as he’d deny all three Providence shooters in the shootout. Brandon Bussi took the loss despite an impressive 43-save effort as the Bruins picked up a point in this one. It’s the fifth straight win for Lehigh Valley as they push into a battle for fifth place in the Atlantic Division.
The Bruins opened the scoring for the second straight game as Marc McLaughlin, who took a cross-ice pass from Jakub Lauko and beat Ersson six minutes into the game. The goal is McLaughlin’s first American Hockey League tally in his 15th game of the season and happens to be an important depth scorer for Providence after impressing in the National Hockey League preseason with parent club Boston. Lehigh Valley responded before the period was done as Laczynski would continue his impressive return to the AHL with his first goal in his second game.
McLaughlin 🔨 it home! pic.twitter.com/CXQv7lIUAl
— Providence Bruins (@AHLBruins) November 20, 2022
Lehigh Valley would jump to the lead with the only goal of the second period as Jackson Cates scored his third of the season on a brilliant pass from Tyson Foerster along the right-wing boards. Foerster spun off a check and chipped a backhand pass to Cates cutting in alone to put the Phantoms in front. Providence would battle back in the third, and who else would score a late goal for the Bruins than Vinni Lettieri? He’d score his eighth goal of the season with under seven minutes to play in regulation to knot the score at two, and after a scoreless overtime session, the teams would go to a shootout.
It's now 2-1 Lehigh Valley. Neutral zone turnover forced. Quick transition and it Tyson Foerster to Jackson Cates for the go-ahead goal in the 2nd period pic.twitter.com/XQVZyAE6Bk
— Matt Trust (@Matt_Trust) November 20, 2022
It was Lehigh Valley’s first skills competition to Providence’s fourth, but the Phantoms made it look like they’ve been here plenty of times. Laczynski would cap off a big night with a shootout goal after a goal and an assist on the Cates tally, and Ersson would blank three big-time Providence shooters including Lettieri, McLaughlin, and Oskar Steen, who scored in Friday’s game. The win is Ersson’s fifth straight, and in that span, the netminder has not given up more than two goals and made 142 saves in that stretch as he’s played all of Lehigh Valley’s games in the month of November. It’s an impressive rebound after his first five games ended up as losses. The Phantoms cap off the weekend with a quick turnaround against the Springfield Thunderbirds on Sunday afternoon with a 3:05 PM EST start time at MassMutual Center. Providence is back at it with a home date with the Bridgeport Islanders as the same afternoon start time.
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