It was an impressive week for some of the Boston Bruins prospects with their respective teams. In this edition of the Hockey Writers Bruins Prospect Report, Fabian Lysell had a record-setting Game 1 of the Vancouver Giants playoff series, Johnny Beecher is fitting in quickly in the American Hockey League (AHL), two prospects are having strong seasons with their USHL teams ahead of the upcoming playoffs and more.
Lysell Helps Giants Earn Split With Record-Setting Performance
When the 2022 trade deadline approached in March, the Bruins were active in trying to upgrade their roster. One player that most, if not all teams, were asking about would have been Lysell, the Black and Gold’s 21st pick in last July’s Entry Draft. Was it possible that general manager Don Sweeney was actually going to move Lysell? Unlikely, but keeping him is looking better and better with each game that passes.
In the opening round of the Western Hockey League (WHL) playoffs Friday night, the Giants kicked off their playoff run with a 5-4 overtime win over the Everett Silvertips. In that game, Lysell set a Giants playoff record with five assists. Adam Hall scored three of the five Vancouver goals, including the winner in overtime off a drop pass from Lysell.
Everett bounced back in Game 2 for a 7-3 win to even the series Saturday night and Lysell was kept off the scoresheet. The series switches to Vancouver for Game 3 (Wednesday) and Game 4 (Friday).
Beecher & Merkulov Continue to Impress With Providence
Beecher, selected 30th overall in the first round of the 2019 Draft, has had an impressive beginning to his pro career with the Providence Bruins in the AHL after signing his Amateur tryout contract earlier this month, and the University of Michigan standout has fit right in the AHL.
In a 5-4 overtime win over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at the Dunkin Donuts Center on April 19, Beecher scored his first two goals, including the game-winner in the extra session. He also recorded an assist in the game. It’s only been five games in his young career, but he certainly is beginning to make a name for himself in the organization.
Georgii Merkulov has points in three of his first five games with the P-Bruins on one goal and three assists. The former Ohio State sniper signed a three-year entry-level contract on April 9 and has shown off his impressive skill set. The 21-year-old had 20 goals, 14 assists, and plus/minus of plus-18 with the Buckeyes this past season. It’s early, but the returns have been impressive with the right shot forward.
Svedebäck Leads Dubuque Into USHL Playoffs
Some Bruins prospects have had very good success in the USHL prior to their college careers. Mason Lohrei and Jake Schmaltz had two good seasons with the Green Bay Gamblers and this season, goaltender Philip Svedebäck is having a strong season for the Dubuque Fighting Saints.
In Friday night’s 3-2 shootout win over the Cedar Rapids Roughriders, Svedeback made 33 saves and stopped all three shootout attempts he faced to help his team clinch a first-round bye. Heading to Providence College next season, Svedebäck has a 15-7-2 record for the Fighting Saints. He has the fifth-best goals-against average (GAA) in the USHL at 2.95 and the second-best save percentage (SV%) at .910. Svedebäck will continue his career with the Friars in Hockey East next season, but his development could add more young goaltending depth on the depth chart down the line for the Bruins.
Related: Bruins Prospects Report: Lysell, Harrison, Merkulov, Bussi & More
Dubuque finished second in the Eastern Division, two points behind the Chicago Steel, and will play the winner of this week’s first-round series between the Muskegon Lumberjacks and Cedar Rapids beginning next weekend.
Gasseau Leads Fargo in Goals
Andre Gasseau was selected 213th in 2020 by the Bruins and the seventh-round pick capped off quite the regular season for the Fargo Force in the USHL. Gasseau led the Force with 22 goals and shots on the net with 157 in 59 games. A speedy left-shot forward, Gasseau, who will attend Boston College in the fall, finished the regular season with goals in four of his last five games, including one in a 5-3 win over the Sioux City Stampede Friday night, then another one in a 4-2 win Saturday night, again over the Stampede.
Teammate Mason Langenbrunner, also selected in 2020 by Boston in the fifth round, has been strong for the Force on defense, playing in all situations with two goals and is fourth on the team with 20 assists. Like Gasseau, he will also head to the Boston area next fall to attend Harvard University.
Fargo finished fifth in the Western Division and will play a first-round best-of-three series beginning Monday night against the Omaha Lancers. Game 2 is Tuesday night and if necessary, Game 3 would be Wednesday.
Harrison and Oshawa Fall Into Deep Hole
The Oshawa Generals are in a 2-0 hole against the Kingston Frontenaces, but Bruins prospect Brett Harrison is doing his part to keep them competitive in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Quarterfinal Round series. In the Generals’ 6-1 loss in Game 1 on Friday night, Harrison assisted on Cameron Butler’s first-period goal that gave them a brief 1-0 lead, before Kingston scored the last six goals.
In Game 2 Sunday, Kingston built a 5-0 lead and held off a third-period Oshawa rally for a 6-4 win. Harrison tallied the fourth and final goal for the Generals, along with an assist. He had 27 goals and 40 assists in 65 regular-season games. Oshawa heads home for Games 3 and 4 this week looking to avoid being swept.
It is going to be another busy week for Bruins prospects in their respective playoffs and the final week of the AHL regular season. Providence has already qualified for the AHL playoffs, now it’s just a matter of seeding for May’s postseason, while Lysell and Harrison will look to extend their respective seasons, which have been very impressive overall.