The Boston Bruins are clicking on all cylinders in what is shaping up to be a special season. Down on the farm, the Providence Bruins are following suit as Boston’s AHL affiliate continues to rack up wins.
Providence extended its winning streak to five with a pair of victories over the Charlotte Checkers (Florida Panthers) at home, winning 5-2 on Friday night and 5-3 on Sunday afternoon.
In the ECHL, the Maine Mariners had a less-than-memorable homestand, losing all four games including two over the weekend. In a playoff rematch against the Reading Royals (Philadelphia Flyers), Maine dropped home contests, 5-3 on Friday and 4-1 on Saturday.
10-1-2, 22 points, 1st in Atlantic Division
Providence is absolutely rolling early in the season, with a deep roster laden with young talent and experienced NHL veterans. In two games against division rival Charlotte, Providence combined for 10 goals and saw two strong efforts from netminder Brandon Bussi.
On Friday, Providence prevailed 5-2 with 11 different players recording a point. Georgii Merkulov led the way with two assists as Jakub Lauko and John Beecher each scored in the first period to build a lead Providence would not relinquish. Fabian Lysell extended the lead in the second period with the eventual game-winner before Justin Brazeau and Oskar Steen each added markers in the third period to seal the win.
In Sunday’s 5-3 triumph, nine players found the scoresheet with Steen and Chris Wagner each tallying two points. Steen netted a goal and added an assist on Wagner’s second-period winning marker. Wagner finished off the sweep with a late empty-netter. Lauko scored for a second straight night while Vinnie Lettieri also found twine for the seventh time this year.
In net, with Keith Kinkaid up in Boston and Kyle Keyser injured, Brandon Bussi is making the most of his opportunity with 37 saves on Friday and 39 saves on Sunday.
Player of the Week: Oskar Steen — After a surprise demotion in preseason, Steen has finally emerged with a three-point weekend. Stick taps to Merkulov for three helpers and Bussi for a dazzling 76-save weekend.
- Sent down from Boston — Mike Reilly, Jakub Lauko.
- Sent down to Maine — Alex-Olivier Voyer.
UP NEXT: Providence wraps up a five-game homestand this weekend. They’ll host the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia Flyers) on Friday and Saturday, both at 7:05 p.m. On Sunday, the Bridgeport Islanders (New York Islanders) come to town for a 3:05 p.m. faceoff.
4-6-0, 8 points, 4th in North Division
While Boston and Providence are thriving, the Maine Mariners are spiraling early with a void in goal due to injuries up the ladder. That void was felt hard this weekend with nine goals from visiting Reading.
The Mariners actually led, 2-0, after 20 minutes on Friday before the wheels fell off in a 5-3 defeat. Alex-Olivier Voyer, sent down from Providence, set up the opening goal fof Reid Stefanson before doubling the advantage. But the Royals struck thrice in the second period to erase the deficit.
Maine tied the contest early in the third, but again fell behind just 70 seconds later when the Royals responded. Reading scored again midway through the final frame to put the game out of reach.
On Sunday, Peter Thome debuted for the Mariners in goal after being traded from Idaho earlier in the week, stopping 32 shots. Reading won 4-1, but the teams were tied into third period after trading goals in the opening 20 minutes. Reading pulled in front with 10 minutes remaining and hit a pair of empty netters late to stretch the lead.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Jacob Wilson — A two-point weekend for the forward and an even on-ice rating give him the edge for this week’s honors. Thome looked good in his debut and Voyer flashed his offensive skillset, so both earn stick taps.
- Sent down from Providence — Alex-Olivier Voyer.
TRADES: The Mariners completed two trades last week, acquiring goaltender Peter Thome from Idaho in exchange for cash considerations. Thome entered the pro ranks last spring after completing his collegiate career at the University of St. Thomas (MN) as a graduate transfer from North Dakota.
Maine also dealt Josh McKechney to Wheeling for future considerations. In five games this season, McKechney had one assist for the Mariners.
UP NEXT: Maine hits the road for three games this week at the Newfoundland Growlers (Toronto Maple Leafs). The games are slated for Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday all beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET.