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Affiliate Report: Inconsistency from Providence and Maine

Providence looks to get back to normal after a COVID pause derailed their momentum. Meanwhile, Maine’s lack of continuity is leading to defensive issues.

Providence Bruins V Laval Rocket
Cameron Hughes.
Photo by Stephane Dube /Getty Images

The NHL recently paused their season to let COVID issues settle down through Christmas, but the minor league hockey seasons are forging on with pandemic-related postponements abound.

After returning from a week-long pause for COVID cases, Providence, who had seemingly turned the corner this year prior to their shutdown, is simply trying to rediscover their momentum. The AHL affiliate played twice over the past week, one of which was a makeup contest, and had another game postponed.

Providence defeated the Bridgeport Islanders, 2-1 in a shootout, to makeup one of their postponed contests last Wednesday. On Friday, Providence suffered a 6-3 setback against the Laval Rocket (Montreal Canadiens) to wrap up their week early.

The Maine Mariners made the trip over the Canadian border for three games at the Trois-Rivieres Lions (Montreal), taking just two points for the week. A 4-3 shootout victory on Friday was sandwiched between a 4-2 loss on Wednesday and a 5-2 loss on Saturday in another week where the Mariners’ defense couldn’t get it done.

Providence Bruins

11-7-4, 26 points, 3rd in Atlantic Division

The Providence Bruins had been finding their form in recent weeks until a week-long pause and injuries on the NHL front led to some player movement. Coming off a strong week back, Providence split their two contests over the past seven days.

In their Wednesday makeup contest against the Bridgeport Islanders, Providence fell behind 1-0 after a period but equalized through Alex-Olivier Voyer’s first of the season in the middle frame. The game stayed locked at 1-1 into a shootout where Samuel Asselin scored the lone goal of the five rounds to give Providence the 2-1 win.

Providence got off to a strong start in their 6-3 defeat at Laval on Friday, scoring twice in the opening four minutes to take an early lead through Alexis D’Aoust and Cameron Hughes. Laval would score the next six goals, including four in an eight-minute span of the second period. Three of those goals came on the power play, with Laval capping the scoring early in the third.

Jack Ahcan fired one back on the power play for Providence in the third period, his third of the year. Troy Grosenick started both contests for Providence, making 27 saves on Wednesday and 18 saves in Friday’s loss.

Player of the Week: Samuel Asselin — Asselin scored the winning goal in the shootout on Wednesday and added an assist on Friday for Providence. Cameron Hughes had a multi-point game in Friday’s loss, so stick taps to him as well.

Roster Moves

  • Called up to Boston — Oskar Steen.
  • Sent Down from Boston — Jack Studnicka, Jesper Froden, Kyle Keyser, John Moore.
  • Sent Down to Maine — Jeremy Brodeur, Keltie Jeri-Leon
  • Released — Alexis D’Aoust, Wyatt Ege, Matt Murphy.

UP NEXT: Providence continues a tough stretch on the road through the end of the year, but COVID cancellations continue to impact their schedule. Providence’s contests against the Syracuse Crunch (TB Lightning) on Dec. 22 and the Toronto Marlies (Maple Leafs) on Dec. 28 have been postponed.

Their schedule will pickup with a trip to face the Rochester Americans (Buffalo Sabres) on Dec. 29 at 7:05 p.m., and the Hartford Wolfpack (NY Rangers) on Dec. 31 at 3:00 p.m. all on the road. Providence closes the stretch with a home game on Jan. 2 against the Springfield Thunderbirds (St. Louis Blues) at 3:05 p.m.

Maine Mariners

8-11-4, 20 points, 5th in North Division

The Maine Mariners have been trending in the wrong direction, posting a 2-6-2 record in their last 10 games. That includes one win in three games at Trois-Rivieres last week.

In the series opener on Wednesday, the teams traded goals through opening 40 minutes. Tied 2-2 heading into the third, the hosts scored a pair of goals midway through the period to take a 4-2 victory.

In game two on Friday, Maine’s Patrick Shea scored 90 seconds into the game, but the Lions managed to take a 2-1 lead after one. Again, the teams were tied after two periods with Maine briefly jumping in front, 3-2, before a late-period equalizer. The game headed to shootout where Cameron Askew converted and Callum Booth made three stops to add to his 37 across regulation and overtime for the win.

Saturday’s finale featured a scoreless opening period before Maine broke the ice early in the second period. Trois-Rivieres would score the next five goals to take a commanding lead. Maine grabbed one back with nine seconds left to play, but fell on the night, 5-2.

Player of the Week: Connor Bleackley — The forward registered a point in all three games, including a goal in Friday’s win. Bleackley added two assists as well and finished the week with seven shots. Jason Horvath gets stick taps for consecutive multi-assist games while Patrick Shea also put together a two-point night on Friday.

Roster Moves

  • Returned from Loan — Keltie Jeri-Leon, Jeremy Brodeur, Nick Master.
  • Signed — Garrett Clarke.
  • Released — Jake Cass, Anthony D’Amours, Ted Hart, Jeremy Martin.

UP NEXT: Maine is off until after Christmas, when they’ll return to action with a road game at the Worcester Railers (NY Islanders) on Dec. 26 at 7:05 p.m. Maine will open a three-game homestand against Worcester on Dec. 29 at 3:00 p.m. and will welcome Trois-Rivieres on Dec. 31 at 5:00 p.m. and the Adirondack Thunder (NJ Devils) on New Year’s Day at 6:00 p.m.