The minor league hockey season continued with another weekend of mixed results for the Providence Bruins and Maine Mariners.
In AHL action, the Providence Bruins got back into the win column on Friday to snap a four-game skid, defeating the Charlotte Checkers 4-3, but suffered another setback in a 6-4 loss on Saturday at the Bridgeport Islanders.
The Maine Mariners also split two games last week, dropping a 2-0 contest at home to the Trois-Rivieres Lions on Friday night but salvaging the weekend with a 4-1 drubbing of the Reading Royals on Sunday afternoon.
For as strong as Providence was last season defensively (albeit against only three opponents), the squad has not been able to put together a consistent effort on the back end this season.
In Friday’s 4-3 win over Charlotte, Providence again got off to a slow start falling behind 1-0 before a late equalizer from Jesper Froden knotted the game after 20. Froden would end up scoring the winner early in the third period, with his two goals sandwiched around tallies from Joona Koppanen and Jakub Lauko. A late Charlotte goal made it interesting but Providence held on for a much needed win.
Saturday appeared to be another step in the right direction from the off, with Oskar Steen recording four points in the opening 26 minutes, two goals and two assists, to put Providence ahead 4-2. Bridgeport rallied to tie the game after two periods and added two more goals in the third to steal a win. John Moore and Chris Wagner also scored for Providence in the loss.
Goaltender Kyle Keyser played both days, turning aside 50 of 58 total shots, including a 31-save outing in Friday’s victory.
Player of the Week: Jesper Froden — The forward finally found the scoresheet with a pair of goals, including the game winner, on Friday night and added two assists in Saturday’s defeat. Stick taps to Oskar Steen for a four-point game as well as John Moore for recording three points on Saturday.
UP NEXT: Providence travels to Pennsylvania this weekend for a pair of contests. On Friday, the Bruins will take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (7:05 p.m.) before a matchup with the Hershey Bears, affiliate of the Washington Capitals, on Saturday night (7:05 p.m.).
While Providence lacks the same one-two punch in the crease from last season, Maine seems to have found quite the tandem in Jeremy Brodeur and Jon Gillies. The latter was recently promoted to Providence while the former has put together a pair of strong performances so far this season.
Gillies picked up the loss on Friday against Trois-Rivieres, making 23 saves before a pair of third-period markers broke the deadlock for the visitors. Maine had a late chance to strike back with a power play deep into the third period, but couldn’t find twine on the night.
On Sunday, Maine broke out of its brief offensive funk with a three-goal first period, including two assists from Pascal Laberge and power-play goals from Nick Master and Justin Brazeau. Andrew Romano added a late tally and Jeremy Brodeur stopped 29 of 30 shots in a victory over Reading.
Player of the Week: Cameron Askew — The forward tallied a goal and an assist in a win for Maine on Sunday afternoon and finished the weekend with eight shots and a plus-2 rating. Stick taps go out to Lewis Zerter-Gossage and Laberge for a pair of assists along with Brodeur for a stout defensive effort.
UP NEXT: Just one game this weekend for Maine as they continue their five-game homestand hosting the Florida Everblades, affiliate of the Nashville Predators, on Friday night (7:15 p.m.).