Now well into the 2022-23 season, both Boston Bruins’ affiliates have seen their seasons trending in opposite directions. While the Providence Bruins continue to play with fervor, the Maine Mariners have fended off a sluggish start.
Providence continued their solid play with a home-and-home series split against the Bridgeport Islanders (New York Islanders), with the road team taking both matchups. Providence won in Connecticut on Saturday, 3-2, but dropped the home matinee on Sunday, 5-2.
As for Maine, the Mariners are surging with four wins in their last five contests. Maine also skated to a series split at home over the weekend against the Trois-Rivieres Lions (Montreal Canadiens). The Lions took the opener on Friday, 3-2, before Maine evened the score with a 4-2 victory on Saturday.
15-4-5, 35 points, 2nd in Atlantic Division
So far, the Providence Bruins’ season has been marked by contributions from surprise prospects, while several of the organization’s big-name youngsters are still adjusting to the pro level of play. It’s impossible to ignore the likes of Vinnie Lettieri and Luke Toporowski, the team’s top two scoring leaders.
As for Fabian Lysell and Georgii Merkulov, two of Boston’s most promising young talents, that duo is finally playing confident and comfortable.
In Saturday’s 3-2 road victory at Bridgeport, Lysell and Connor Carrick put in multi-point efforts to fuel a ferocious comeback. Lysell scored a first period equalizer, but Providence still found itself down a goal with under five minutes to play in the third. Carrick, who assisted on the opener, tapped in the tying tally while Lysell scored the winner 54 seconds later. In net, Brandon Bussi made 28 saves in the victory.
The rematch on Sunday tilted to Bridgeport, 5-2. Providence fought back after an early opening goal from the Islanders, briefly leading 2-1 in the opening frame with Oskar Steen and Merkulov providing goals. Bridgeport would regain the lead by the end of 20 minutes, and netted a goal each in the second and third periods to knock Providence out of first place in the Atlantic Division.
Player of the Week: Fabian Lysell — The top prospect is up to 17 points in 23 games thanks to two goals and an assist over the weekend. Stick taps go out to Carrick and Merkulov for two points apiece.
UP NEXT: Providence will face the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia Flyers) for a home-and-home series. Providence hosts its final home game of the calendar year on Friday at 7:05 p.m. before embarking on an eight-game road trip beginning Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. in Pennsylvania.
10-10-1, 13 points, 5th in North Division
Don’t look now, but the Maine Mariners have won four of its last five games all against North Division foes. After a three-game series sweep of Adirondack two weeks ago, Maine faced the Trois-Rivieres Lions for a two-game set on home ice.
In the series opener, the Lions snapped the winning streak with a 3-2 victory of their own. Down 1-0 in the second, Patrick Shea tied the game for Maine before the Lions notched a pair to go ahead 3-1 after 40 minutes. Maine cut the deficit in half midway through the third thanks to Fedor Gordeev’s third of the season, but couldn’t complete the comeback.
Satruday’s series finale featured a reversal of fortunes in a 5-2 Mariners victory. Maine struck first on a Tim Doherty tally. Doherty finished the night with three points, including assist on a second-period strike from Curtis Hall and a third-period marker from Reid Stefanson to seal it. Newly-acquired Michael DiPietro put in another strong performance in a 29-save winning effort.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Tim Doherty — A five-point weekend for the forward, including four assists, earns Doherty the honors this week. Shea and Stefanson get stick taps for multi-point efforts on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
- Returned from Loan — Alex Kile (Lehigh Valley)
UP NEXT: Maine heads back to upstate New York for two games against the Adirondack Thunder (New Jersey Devils) after sweeping them in a three-game set two weeks ago. Saturday’s game is slated for 7:00 p.m. while Sunday puck drop is at 3:00 p.m.