The Boston Bruins’ NHL-record streak of 29 straight home games without a regulation loss came to an end last Thursday night. In the midst of that, one team in the organization extended it’s own point streak, with the ECHL Maine Mariners earning points in 10 straight contests.
Maine is 9-0-1 in that span, including four straight road victories last week. Maine swept the Norfolk Admirals (Carolina Hurricanes) in three games before dispatching the Reading Royals (Philadelphia Flyers) on Monday, 4-2. Maine won the series opener at Norfolk, 7-2, last Wednesday before eking out a 3-2 win on Friday. Maine closed the Virginia trip with a 6-3 win on Saturday.
As for Providence, the second-place Bruins evened the score with the Utica Comets (New Jersey Devils) on Friday, 3-2, before splitting a home-and-home series with the Hartford Wolfpack (New York Rangers). On Saturday, Hartford skated to a 3-1 win before Providence notched a 3-2 victory in Sunday’s matinee.
22-8-7, 51 points, 2nd in Atlantic Division
Providence remains in the hunt for first place in the Atlantic Division, trailing the Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals) by three points. Providence stayed in touching distance going 2-1 in last week’s action, with a pair of home wins.
On Friday, Providence welcomed the Utica Comets back to the AMP for the second time in a week, this time taking down the visitors from New York, 3-2. Tied 1-1 entering the third period, Providence struck twice in the opening minutes of the final frame to inch ahead. Marc McLaughlin netted his fifth, after assisting on the opener, and Justin Brazeau tallied immediately after. In net, Brandon Bussi turned aside 35 shots in the win.
Saturday saw the Providence offense stifled in a 3-1 defeat at Hartford. Joona Koppanen, fresh off an NHL call-up, gave Providence the early lead. Hartford tied it before the first period expired, then added a goal each in the second and third stanzas. Keith Kinkaid got the nod in goal, making 32 saves.
Providence salvaged a split on Sunday with a 3-2 overtime victory. Brazeau, again, tallied for Providence to give the hosts an early lead. Brazeau also assisted on McLaughlin’s first-period marker. But Hartford kept it close and equalized midway through the third period. In overtime, Vinnie Lettieri broke out of his funk, potting the winner off a silky feed from Fabian Lysell.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Justin Brazeau — The former ECHL standout continues to produce at the AHL level, notching two goals and an assist over the weekend. Stick taps go to Marc McLaughlin for two goals and an assist, and Jack Ahcan for three helpers.
- Sent down from Boston — Chris Wagner, Joona Koppanen.
- Called up from Maine — Kyle Keyser, Alex-Olivier Voyer.
UP NEXT: Another home-and-home with Hartford. Providence travels to Connecticut on Friday night for a 7:00 p.m. puck drop. On Sunday, the series shifts to Providence for a 4:05 p.m. faceoff.
21-11-2, 44 points, 3rd in North Division
After a slow start to the season, the Maine Mariners have righted the ship in recent weeks, recording points in 10 straight games (9-0-1) and moving into third place in the North Division, just a point out of second place. Last week, despite four tough road games, Maine swept three games at Norfolk and notched a victory at Reading to close a perfect week.
In the series opener last Wednesday at Norfolk, Maine had no trouble in a 7-2 win. The Mariners scored the first seven goals, with Keltie Jeri-Leon and Alex Kile each notching two goals and an assist. Tim Doherty had three helpers as well. Norfolk struck twice late on Michael DiPietro, who finished with 19 saves in the win.
Jeri-Leon was the hero again on Friday night in a 3-2 win, scoring twice in the opening five minutes of the contest. Mathew Santos scored in the second period and Michael DiPietro played solid again in a 22-save effort.
Saturday’s game again left Maine unchallenged in a 6-3 victory. After falling behind early in the second period, Fedor Gordeev scored twice to fire the Mariners ahead. Tim Doherty gave Maine a two-goal lead late in the second and Nick Master scored eight seconds into the third period to blow the game open. Francois Brassard returned to the ECHL level after a brief AHL call-up, making 16 saves in the win.
After sweeping Norfolk, Maine set its sights on Reading and got a big contribution from Patrick Shea. The forward tallied a hat trick, and Gordeev bagged the fourth goal in a 4-2 win. DiPietro notched his third win of the week, stopping 24 shots.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Keltie Jeri-Leon — Tough to pick just one standout this week, but Jeri-Leon gets the honors after a solid series in Norfolk. Plenty of stick taps this week: Michael DiPietro (3-0-0 record), Tim Doherty (one goal, seven assists), Patrick Shea (three goals, three assists), and Alex Kile (two goals, four assists).
- Sent up to Providence — Kyle Keyser.
- Suspended by team — Nick Jermain.
UP NEXT: Just one game this weekend for Maine, as they’ll face regional rival Worcester Railers (New York Islanders) at the DCU Center on Saturday at 7:05 p.m.