It’s time to reemphasize this again — results aren’t THAT important at the minor league level. Instead, it’s all about development and bringing players up to speed.
But it’s still nice to win once in awhile.
The Providence Bruins did a lot of winning and talent developing last season, but so far in 2023-24 that has not been the case. Boston’s AHL affiliate was swept in a home-and-home series with the Springfield Thunderbirds (St. Louis Blues) over the weekend, losing 5-2 on the road Saturday before a 3-2 overtime defeat at home on Sunday.
Up in Maine, Friday’s home game against the Adirondack Thunder (New Jersey Devils) was postponed due to the tragic events in nearby Lewiston earlier in the week. The teams were scheduled to play a home-and-home, with no makeup date yet announced for the postponed contest. The road game on Saturday went on without a hitch, and the Mariners gave the Mainers something to cheer about with a 4-3 overtime victory.
1-3-3, 5 points, 7th in Atlantic Division
After four straight strong seasons and an influx of young talent at the NHL level, a drop-off was bound to happen for the Providence Bruins. It would appear the AHL side is headed towards a down year results-wise, but still several young prospects with NHL upside remain on the roster.
Among those prospects are two players who have already gone on the conveyer belt to Boston — Jesper Boqvist and Mason Lohrei. Boqvist is no stranger to the NHL game after logging 70 games with New Jersey last regular season.
Assigned to Providence, Boqvist tallied his first goal of the season in a 5-2 road loss at Springfield. Lohrei, who recently returned to Providence following a brief call-up, set up the opening goal for Providence’s Jayson Megna midway through the second period to chip into a three-goal deficit. Boqvist scored in the third period to make it 4-2 with 10 minutes to play, but Providence couldn’t muster up another goal.
Lohrei added another helper on Sunday in a 3-2 overtime loss, setting up the opening goal from Georgii Merkulov to give Providence a 1-0 lead after 40 minutes. Springfield tied the game early in the third before Justin Brazeau fired the Bruins back ahead 10 seconds later, finishing off a slick feed from Fabian Lysell for his second helper of the day. But Springfield battled back to force overtime. In the extra frame, it took the visitors less than 100 seconds to find the winner and complete the weekend sweep.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Fabian Lysell — Boston’s top prospect tallied a multi-assist game on Sunday and finished the weekend with three shots and plus-1 rating. Stick taps go to Mason Lohrei for a pair of assists as well.
- Called up to Boston — Jesper Boqvist, Patrick Brown, Oskar Steen.
- Sent Down from Boston — Mason Lohrei, Jakub Zboril.
- Called up from Maine — Curtis Hall, Ryan Mast.
UP NEXT: The schedule doesn’t let up for Providence this week. First, a Wednesday night contest at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins slated for 7:05 p.m. Then, the road trip continues with a pair of contests at the Cleveland Monsters (Columbus Blue Jackets) in a rare matchup between the teams. Both those games are scheduled for 7:00 p.m. faceoffs.
1-2-0, 3 points, 6th in North Division
Maine was scheduled for a home-and-home series with Adirondack over the weekend, but in light of the events in Lewiston, Maine last week, the opener on Friday was postponed.
The teams shifted the scene to upstate New York on Saturday where Maine salvaged a 4-3 overtime victory after blowing a pair of leads. The Mariners raced ahead to a 2-0 lead with goals from Curtis Hall and Gabriel Chicoine, both set up by Alex Kile and Reid Stefanson.
After Adirondack tied the game to close the second period, Chicoine tallied his second of the night early in the third before the hosts erased the deficit again. In overtime, Owen Pederson tucked home the winner off a feed from Tim Doherty — his second helper — to give Maine its first win of the season. Shane Starrett was stellar in goal with a 37-save effort.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Gabriel Chicoine — The defenseman scored twice to pick up this week’s honors. Stick taps go to Tim Doherty, Alex Kile, and Reid Stefanson for a pair of assists each and Shane Starrett for his performance in net.
- Called up to Providence — Curtis Hall, Ryan Mast.
UP NEXT: Maine heads south for a three-game series at the Norfolk Admirals (Winnipeg Jets). Friday’s opener starts at 7:05 p.m., with a 6:05 p.m. puck drop Saturday and a 3:05 p.m. matinee on Sunday.