Both Boston Bruins affiliates seem to be clicking early in the season, taking after the big club and its record start to the season. While Maine and Providence aren’t setting records, the strength and consistency up and down the organization is something fans and executives should be optimistic about in a pivotal year for the franchise.
The Providence Bruins picked up a pair of victories and a shootout loss in a three-game weekend. On Friday, Providence took down the Charlotte Checkers (Florida Panthers), 2-1, with a pair of third period goals. In a home-and-home with the Springfield Thunderbirds (St. Louis Blues) on Saturday and Sunday, Providence skated away to a 4-3 shootout win on Saturday thanks to a late equalizer before dropping a 3-2 contest on Sunday.
As for the ECHL Maine Mariners, after brushing aside Trois-Rivieres last weekend, Maine faced a difficult early-season road test at the Norfolk Admirals (Carolina Hurricanes). After dropping a tightly-contested affair on Friday, 3-1, the Mariners exploded for 11 goals in two games with a 6-1 win Saturday and a 5-3 victory on Sunday.
5-1-2, 12 points, 2nd in Atlantic Division
Providence needed some late heroics in all three games over the weekend, but managed to get back on track with two wins and five points over a busy weekend.
In the opener against Charlotte on Friday at ‘The AMP’, Providence trailed 1-0 after 40 minutes and looked listless offensively. Fabian Lysell equalized just over a minute into the third period before Oskar Steen’s first of the year with four minutes to play lifted Providence past the Checkers in a 2-1 win.
On Saturday, Providence began the first leg of a home-and-home set at Springfield with a 4-3 win in a shootout. Providence trailed 2-0 in the second when John Beecher finally netted his first goal and first point of the season to chip into the lead, with Joona Koppanen collecting his fifth assist on the play. Luke Toporowski put Providence on level terms 14 minutes later, but the hosts struck again on the power play before the period expired.
With 29 seconds left in regulation, Vinnie Lettieri tied things up for Providence again with a power play goal to force overtime. In the shootout, Lettieri converted his opportunity while Keith Kinkaid, who made 34 saves, denied all three Thunderbird shooters.
In the series finale at home on Sunday, Providence fell, 3-2, in a shootout. Again, Springfield jumped out to a 2-0 lead before Lettieri got involved again. The forward struck twice in 45 seconds, both on the power play, to knot the game up after 40 minutes. After a scoreless third period and overtime that saw four silent power plays for Providence, Springfield came away with a shootout victory.
Player of the Week: Vinnie Lettieri — A four-point weekend for Lettieri included two game-tying goals, an assist, and a shootout winner. Stick taps go to Toporowski, who extended his point streak to seven games, and Lysell, who also tallied a point in all three contests.
- Sent Down from Boston — Jakub Lauko.
- Sent Down to Maine — Mike Reilly.
TRADE: The Bruins also made a trade late last week sending Jack Studnicka to Vancouver in exchange for G Michael DiPietro and D Jonathan Myrenberg. DiPietro will slot in with Providence and should help remedy the lack of quality depth at the goaltender position there, having already played twice in the NHL. Myrenberg, still just 19, gives Boston a right-shot defenseman prospect as he plies his trade in his native Sweden this season.
UP NEXT: Another three game week for Providence as the games are coming thick and fast. Providence will spend the week on the road, visiting the Utica Comets (New Jersey Devils) on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. On Saturday, Providence returns to New England to face Springfield again at 7:00 p.m., and ends the week at the Bridgeport Islanders on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.
4-2-0, 8 points, 3rd in North Division
With the addition of the Savannah Ghost Pirates to the ECHL South Division, the Norfolk Admirals were realigned to the North creating a seven-team division. For the first time this season, Maine and Norfolk met for a three-game series down in Virginia.
In the opening matchup, Maine struck first, with Tim Doherty potting his first of the year early in the second period. The Admirals would tally twice before the middle frame closed, scoring 55 seconds apart late in the frame, before a third-period empty netter sealed the 3-2 win.
On Saturday, Maine rebounded in a big way with a 6-1 triumph. The two sides traded goals in the opening three minutes, but Maine closed the first two more goals and added another three in the second period. Keltie Jeri-Leon had a three-point night with a goal and two assists while Nick Jermain found the scoresheet for a second straight game. In net, Francois Brassard made 15 saves in a winning effort.
In a back-and-forth finale on Sunday, Nick Master shined once again, registering a hat trick while Mathew Santos had assists on all three of those tallies in a 5-3 victory. Jermain scored again, matching Master with a team-high five goals in six games, while Jeri-Leon, Mitchell Fossier, and Patrick Shea all had two assists. Brandon Bussi picked up a win in goal with 23 saves.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Keltie Jeri-Leon — The forward tallied five points with a goal and four assists as he continues to vie for a call-up to Providence. Stick taps this week go to Jermain, Master, and Fossier.
ROSTER MOVES: None.
UP NEXT: The Mariners are back home to begin a stretch of four games over two weekends at home. Maine hosts the Newfoundland Growlers (Toronto Maple Leafs) for two games at Cross Insurance Arena, beginning Friday night at 7:15 p.m. followed by a 6:00 p.m. puck drop on Saturday.