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Affiliate Report: Providence splits, Maine defense digs deep

Providence secured a split in a home-and-home with division rival Bridgeport while Maine shook off a lopsided loss on Friday for a weekend series win.

Providence Bruins v Laval Rocket
Zach Senyshyn.
Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

One major area of player development in hockey that doesn’t often get as much attention is mental toughness. As young, up-and-coming players, how can you fight through adversity and learn from even the toughest of losses?

For both Bruins’ affiliates this weekend, much like they saw their parent club do during the week, shaking off tough losses and closing their weeks on a high note was the name of the game.

The Providence Bruins suffered a 3-1 setback on Friday at home to Bridgeport, but turned things around Saturday with a 5-3, come-from-behind triumph over those same Islanders.

Up in Maine, the Mariners hosted the Orlando Solar Bears (Toronto Maple Leafs) for three games in Portland. After a 6-2 blowout loss on Friday, Maine earned 3-1 and 4-1 wins to close the series and move above .500 on the season.

Providence Bruins

17-10-4, 36 points, 1st in Atlantic Division

A home-and-home series against struggling Bridgeport, on paper, seemed to sway Providence’s way. But the P-Bruins managed a split on the scoreboard while gaining a confidence boost by playing well without some key guys in the lineup.

In Friday’s 3-1 loss, Providence opened the scoring with Eduards Tralmaks netting his fifth goal of the season off a Jack Ahcan assist. However, Bridgeport would even the game before the opening period expired, adding two more goals in the second and third periods to steal the points on the road.

Saturday’s game looked like a repeat, with Bridgeport scoring twice in the opening 1:18 of the contest on a pair of goals 12 seconds apart. Justin Brazeau tallied for Providence late in the first before Samuel Asselin tied the game less than a minute into the second period.

Bridgeport would retake the lead briefly, but three unanswered goals from Providence, including a game-winner by Tralmaks in the third, silenced the Islanders’ crowd and secured a split for the weekend with a 5-3 victory.

Player of the Week: Eduards Tralmaks — The University of Maine product scored in each of the two games over the weekend, including Saturday’s winner, as he continues to show positive signs of development. Jack Ahcan registered a goal and an assist as well to earn this week’s stick taps.

Roster Moves

  • Called up to Boston — Jesper Froden.
  • Sent Down from Boston — Kyle Keyser, Urho Vaakanainen, Oskar Steen, Ty Lewington, Steven Fogarty.
  • Called up from Maine — Ian McKinnon.

UP NEXT: Providence is in the midst of a six-game road swing with three contests this week. On Tuesday, they’ll head to New York to face the Utica Comets (NJ Devils) at 7:00 p.m. Next weekend, Providence returns to New England for divisional battles on Friday at the Hartford Wolfpack (NY Rangers) and Saturday at the Springfield Thunderbirds (St. Louis Blues), with puck drop for both at 7:00 p.m.

Maine Mariners

15-14-4, 34 points, 4th in North Division

With players filtering back in from short-term loan stints throughout the week, the Mariners’ rhythm was certainly disrupted and it showed with a 6-2 loss on Friday night in the first of three games against the Orlando Solar Bears.

Orlando built a 3-0 lead after a period, but the Mariners were able to cut the deficit to one by early in the third period thanks to goals from Ian McKinnon and Pascal Laberge. Orlando would have the last say though, netting the game’s final three goals to pull away.

On Saturday night, Maine got the scoring started with Nick Master and Mathew Santos each tallying to open a 2-0 lead less than halfway through the game. Orlando wouldn’t go silent, but Santos’ empty-netter late in the third ended the comeback bid for a 3-1 victory.

In the series finale, the teams battled it out through the opening 40 minutes as Maine clung to a 1-0 advantage. Santos and Patrick Shea, the latter of whom scored twice on the day, gave Maine some breathing room in the third. Cameron Askew added a late empty-netter to give the Mariners a win for the game and the series.

Player of the Week: Mathew Santos — The forward was key in turning the weekend around for Maine, tallying four points over the final two games, including three goals. Nick Master registered a point in every game, so he’ll get some stick taps, as do Jeremy Brodeur and Callum Booth for their 30-plus save performances in victories this weekend.

Roster Moves

  • Called up to Providence — Ian McKinnon and Kyle Keyser.
  • Released — Ted Hart

There was another trade to report this week as well — a ripple effect from the Tuukka Rask signing in Boston. Goaltender Zachary Bouthillier was dealt to the Fort Wayne Komets in exchange for forward Nick Jermain.

UP NEXT: Three home games in three days, all against different opponents, await the Mariners next weekend. On Friday, they’ll welcome rival Worcester Railers (NY Islanders) to town for a 7:15 p.m. start. On Saturday, the Reading Royals (Philadelphia Flyers) to Portland for the first time since October, with puck drop slated for 6:00 p.m. And to close the weekend on Sunday, the Trois-Rivieres Lions come to town for a 5:00 p.m. faceoff in the first of a four-game series between the teams.