For Boston Bruins’ affiliates Providence and Maine, the 2022-23 season could not be trending in more opposite directions.
The Providence Bruins are rolling, back on track this week with two wins in three games, and have lost just twice in regulation all season. Following a 4-3 loss in overtime at the Rochester Americans (Buffalo Sabres) on Wednesday, Providence roared back with a series sweep at the Syracuse Crunhc (Tampa Bay Lightning). Providence won 5-3 on Friday and closed the week with a 6-5 overtime victory on Saturday.
As for the Maine Mariners, if the defense doesn’t let them down on a given night, the offense will and vice versa. After opening the week with a 5-3 win over the Reading Royals (Philadelphia Flyers) on Wednesday, Reading evened the score with a 1-0 win on Friday. On Saturday, with the Newfoundland Growlers in town, Maine scored half-a-dozen goals but lost, 9-6.
12-2-5, 29 points, 1st in Atlantic Division
Something special is happening down in Providence. While team success is always a positive, the development of Boston’s top prospects, including a few unexpected talents emerging, should have the organization feeling good about transitioning from its current veteran core to a younger, skillful roster in the future.
Providence has lost just twice in regulation this year, but dropped their opening game last week at Rochester, 4-3, in overtime. Providence led, 2-0, after a period with Fabian Lysell and Nick Wolff both providing goals. Rochester scored early in the third, but Samuel Asselin responded for Providence to restore the two-goal lead.
The Americans rallied to tie the game, with former Bruin Anders Bjork netting the equalizer. In overtime, with time winding down, Linus Weissbach notched the winning goal to complete the comeback and steal the extra point.
After four straight games without a win, Providence responded on Friday at Syracuse with a 5-3 win. Providence trailed 3-2 entering the third period, with Michael Callahan and Asselin netting goals in the first. Justin Brazeau scored twice late for Providence, sandwiched around Luke Toporowski’s game-winner. Keith Kinkaid stopped 38 shots in the victory.
Providence completed the sweep with a chaotic overtime win on Saturday, 6-5. The Bruins led, 4-1, midway through the second period. Syracuse would score four of the final five goals in the contest, including an equalizer with the goalie pulled. Toporowski netted a regulation hat trick, but it was Chris Wagner’s seventh of the year in overtime that gave Providence the win.
Player of the Week: Luke Toporowski — A hat trick and five points has Toporowski tied for the team lead with nine goals on the season. Tons of stick taps to hand out...
First, Samuel Asselin had two goals and three assists in three games while Justin Brazeau had three goals and an assist as both ECHL products keep impressing. Oskar Steen with four assists and Jack Ahcan with three assists also earn recognition.
- Sent down to Maine — Michael DiPietro, Curtis Hall, Alex-Olivier Voyer.
UP NEXT: Providence heads to Connecticut to close a four-game road stretch at the Bridgeport Islanders (New York Islanders) on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, Providence is back home hosting the Springfield Thunderbirds (St. Louis Blues) at 7:00 p.m. and the Hartford Wolfpack (New York Rangers) at 3:00 p.m.
6-9-1, 13 points, 5th in North Division
What is wrong with the Maine Mariners?
It’s always difficult to set expectations for minor league affiliates, given the uncertainties of injuries, roster movement, and chemistry. But this season, Maine has yet to put in a consistent and complete performance.
Wednesday’s 5-3 win over the Reading Royals was the closest thing yet to a complete performance this year for Maine. Tim Doherty fired Maine in front just 39 seconds in, while Mathew Santos and Alex-Olivier Voyer tallied early to give the Mariners a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes. Reading cut the deficit to one on two occasions, but Santos and Patrick Shea added insurance tallies in the win.
Reading would skate away to a 1-0 victory on Friday, scoring late in the second period. Maine outshot the Royals 14-0 in the third period, pouring on the pressure as goaltender Brody Claeys stopped all 31 shots he faced on the night.
Michael DiPietro made his Maine debut on Wednesday — one of two games he played over the weekend — making 28 saves in the win. DiPietro and the Mariners defense wasn’t as solid on Sunday, allowing eight goals on 39 shots in defeat.
In Saturday’s 9-6 setback against Newfoundland, Maine scored the first two goals and led 3-2 after a period. The Mariners stretched the lead to 5-2 before the Growlers stormed back to tie the game early in the third period. Shea fired Maine back in front with 15 minutes to play, but Newfoundland would score four unanswered goals to close the game, with Orrin Centazzo finishing off the hat trick.
Special teams failed Maine last week, with Maine allowing three power play goals and a pair of shorthanded markers.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Patrick Shea — Shea amassed three goals and two assists in three games and was a collective +2 for the weekend. Stick taps go to Santos for a six-point weekend and Alex-Olivier Voyer for springing back to life with three points.
- Sent down from Providence — Michael DiPietro, Curtis Hall, Alex-Olivier Voyer.
- Released — Josh Boyko, Peter Thome.
UP NEXT: Maine takes on the Adirondack Thunder (New Jersey Devils) in a three-game series this weekend. On Friday and Saturday, the Mariners will travel to upstate New York for a pair of games at 7:00 p.m. before returning home for a 3:00 p.m. puck drop on Sunday.