Throughout the course of a long season, teams experience various ebbs and flows. For both of the Boston Bruins’ minor league affiliates, the month of February so far has been a struggle, with lopsided defeats and inconsistent play on both ends.
The Providence Bruins finally turned things around over the weekend, claiming three victories in as many days to climb into second place in the Atlantic Division. Providence defeated the Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals) on Friday, 5-0, and on Sunday, 4-1. In between, Providence took down the Hartford Wolfpack (N.Y. Rangers) on the road Saturday night, 3-1.
Up in Maine, the Mariners finally returned from an unforgiving two-week Canadian road trip, though their losing ways persisted. Maine was finished off by the Newfoundland Growlers (Toronto Maple Leafs), 4-3 on Friday before dropping a 6-2 result to the Trois-Rivieres Lions (Montreal Canadians) on Saturday. Maine finally returned to the win column with a 2-1 overtime win on Sunday afternoon over the Lions.
22-13-6, 50 points, 2nd in Atlantic Division
With immense player movement over the past several weeks, the Providence Bruins have had to piece things together and have endured a rocky stretch of results. But Providence proved its still one of the AHL’s top dogs over the weekend, taking three victories with a strong showing both offensively and defensively.
On Friday, Providence snapped back to normal with a 5-0 victory over visiting Hershey, including multi-point outings from Cameron Hughes (goal and assist), Steven Fogarty (two assists) and Jesper Froden (goal and two assists). Eduards Tralmaks and Victor Berglund tallied in the opening period and Providence never looked back, scoring thrice more in the final period. Troy Grosenick made 34 saves in a shutout victory.
Splitting the two matchups with Hershey was a Saturday trip to Hartford for a makeup contest, with Providence claiming a 3-1 win over its regional rivals. Joona Koppanen had three points with a pair of goals, including the game-winner, while Tralmaks added a goal and an assist. In net, Kyle Keyser stopped 19 shots in a winning effort.
Resuming the series with Hershey on Sunday, Providence showed its fatigue out of the gate, falling behind 1-0 early in the second period. Tralmaks and Zach Senyshyn scored before the middle frame expired, the latter with two second remaining, to turn the momentum in Providence’s favor. Froden, with an assist from Grosenick, and Jack Ahcan added third-period tallies to finish off the Bears, 4-1.
Player of the Week: Eduards Tralmaks — The former Maine Black Bear has shown incredible growth on the ice throughout the past couple months, closing the weekend with three goals and two assists. Plenty of stick taps to go around, so here we go — Cameron Hughes with a goal and four assists, Jesper Froden with two goals and two assists, Joona Koppanen with two goals and two assists, and Troy Grosenick with two victories, including a shutout, and a rare goalie assist.
- Sent Down from Boston — Jack Ahcan.
- Sent Down to Maine — J.D. Greenway.
UP NEXT: Providence will close the month with another three-game weekend. On Friday, the Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes) come to town for a 7:05 p.m. puck drop. Providence closes the weekend with a home-and-home against the Hartford Wolfpack (N.Y. Rangers), travelling to the Nutmeg State on Saturday (7:00 p.m.) and returning home on Sunday (3:05 p.m.).
20-20-6, 46 points, 5th in North Division
After dropping three straight at Newfoundland last weekend, Maine returned to Portland to host the Growlers and close out a four-game series. Despite the change of scenery, the losing ways continued as Maine fell, 4-3.
Maine fell behind after a period but games from Connor Bleackley, Tyler Hinam, and Brendan Soucie saw the Mariners pull in front, 3-1, with one period to play. Newfoundland fought back, tying the game with 90 second remaining before taking the lead 45 second later in a demoralizing collapse for Maine.
The Mariners carried that loss into Saturday, falling 6-2 to Trois-Rivieres. Down 4-0 after 40 minutes, Maine showed some fight tallying one minute into the third period. However, the Lions added a fifth 21 seconds later to virtually ice the contest.
The Lions and Mariners traded goals in the opening period on Saturday, with the game staying tied 1-1 into overtime. In the extra frame, Bleackley tallied his second goal of the weekend to finally snap a five-game skid for the Mariners.
Player of the Week: Michael Kim — Returning from a long-term loan stint with the Springfield Thunderbirds to register four assists. Stick taps go to Bleackley for his scoring heroics as well.
- Returned from Loan — Michael Kim.
- Loaned — Mathew Santos (Laval Rocket).
- Sent Down from Providence — J.D. Greenway.
UP NEXT: Back on the road this week as Maine heads to face Trois-Rivieres on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. before heading to face the Adirondack Thunder (N.J. Devils) on Friday and Saturday nights, both scheduled for 7:00 p.m.