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Affiliate Report: Providence sputters into playoffs, Maine in 3-2 series hole

Providence enters the 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs on a six-game losing streak, while the Maine Mariners face elimination on Monday.

Maine Mariners... Staff photo by Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

It’s playoff time all across hockey as all three teams in the Boston Bruins’ organization play on Monday night.

The Providence Bruins begin the AHL’s Calder Cup Playoffs in the Atlantic Division First Round, hosting the Bridgeport Islanders in a best-of-three series. Providence dropped its final six regular season contests, including three over the last week at the Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay Lightning), 2-1, and two at home against the Springfield Thunderbirds (St. Louis Blues), 3-0, and the Utica Comets (New Jersey Devils), 4-2.

Up in Maine, the Mariners entered the weekend down 2-0 in a best-of-seven series with the Reading Royals (Philadelphia Flyers) as the series shifted to Portland. The Mariners evened the series with wins in Game 3, 5-4, and Game 4, 4-0, before dropping a heartbreaker in Game 5, 3-2.

Providence Bruins

36-25-11, 83 points, 3rd in Atlantic Division

When it rains, it pours.

And for Providence, that raincloud doesn’t seem to be lifting. Providence concluded the regular season in third place of the Atlantic Division, giving them home ice in the best-of-three first round against the sixth-seeded Bridgeport Islanders.

But Providence enters the postseason with zero momentum, having dropped their final six contests and going without a regulation win since April 17.

Providence traveled to Syracuse to start the week, dropping a 2-1 contest in overtime. Down 1-0 late in the opening frame, John Beecher struck for a third time since joining the pro ranks to knot the game up at 1-1. The scored stayed tied through regulation, but old friend Riley Nash sent the Syracuse fans home happy with an overtime winner. Troy Grosenick played the first period, with Kyle Keyser taking over afterwards and stopping 35 of the 36 shots he faced.

In the penultimate contest of the regular season, Providence never really got going offensively in a 3-0 loss to Springfield. Keyser played well in goal despite the loss, registering 20 saves.

On Saturday, Providence trailed 2-0 entering the final period and conceded a third goal almost immediately. Curtis Hall got Providence on the board with 12 minutes to play, and newly-signed Steven Jandric tallied 11 seconds later to pull the P-Bruins within one. But a late empty-netter by the visitors slammed the door on the comeback bid.

Player of the Week: Kyle Keyser — Not too many options in what was a disjointed final week of the regular season with several top players up with Boston, but Keyser played well when called upon and finished the week with 55 saves on 58 shots. Stick taps to Beecher for tallying another goal and Jandric for making the most of his short opportunity.

Roster Moves

  • Called Up to Boston — Chris Wagner, Kyle Keyser.
  • Sent Down from Boston — Jack Ahcan, Oskar Steen, Marc McLaughlin, Jack Studnicka.
  • Sent Down to Maine — J.D. Greenway.
  • Signed & Released — Liam Coughlin, Steven Jandric, Ross Olsson, Bryan Lemos, Max Newton.

UP NEXT: Here is the first round schedule for Providence as they take on the sixth-seeded Bridgeport Islanders in a best-of-three series.

  1. Mon., May 2 vs. Bridgeport (7:05 p.m.)
  2. Wed., May 4 at Bridgeport (7:00 p.m.)
  3. Fri., May 6 vs. Bridgeport (7:05 p.m.)*

* — If Necessary

Maine Mariners

33-31-8, 74 points, 4th in North Division

Maine got some good news ahead of their weekend slate as forward Alex Kile, who had been on loan for long portions of the season at Lehigh Valley, was returned to Maine for the weekend.

In a wild victory in Game 3, 5-4, Maine and Reading traded goals through the opening 40 minutes, but the Mariners trailed 4-3 heading to the second intermission. Early in the third, Reid Stefanson found twine to equalize and Mathew Santos gave Maine the lead late to secure a victory and extend the series.

Maine built off their Game 3 heroics with a resounding 4-0 shutout in Game 4 to even the series. Four different players scored for the Mariners, including Kile who also added an assist. Zach Malatesta and Santos each added a pair of assists in the victory while Callum Booth made 32 stops to record a shutout.

Game 5 resembled Game 3, with the teams trading goals throughout the opening 40 minutes of a 3-2 Reading victory. Kile and Cameron Askew struck for the Mariners, but a late third-period goal for the Royals gave them a 3-2 series lead heading back home.

Player of the Week: Mathew Santos — With two goals and three assists over the weekend, Santos was the top performer for Maine this week. Stick taps for multiple Mariners, including Alex Kile, Cameron Askew, Zach Malatesta, Connor Doherty, and Callum Booth.

Roster Moves

  • Returned from Loan — Alex Kile.
  • Sent Down from Providence — J.D. Greenway, Callum Booth.

UP NEXT: Here is the remaining first round schedule for Maine’s series against the Reading Royals (Reading leads 2-0).

  1. Wed., April 20 at Reading (L, 3-2)
  2. Fri., April 22 at Reading (L, 3-0)
  3. Thu., April 28 vs. Reading (W, 5-4)
  4. Fri., April 29 vs. Reading (W, 4-0)
  5. Sat., April 30 vs. Reading (L, 3-2)
  6. Mon., May 2 at Reading (7:00 p.m.)
  7. Wed., May 4 at Reading* (7:00 p.m.)

* — If Necessary