The Boston Bruins lost several key pieces from last season’s record-setting roster, yet have managed to rattle off another strong start to the regular season. For affiliate clubs Providence and Maine, that has not been the case.
Providence saw a few notable names depart in the offseason either for other opportunities or for the greener pastures of the NHL. Until this week, Providence with its young roster was still figuring things out. But that all changed on their recent road trip.
Providence knocked off the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins last Wednesday on the road, 3-1, behind a strong team performance. Providence then split the weekend series at the Cleveland Monsters (Columbus Blue Jackets), winning the opener on Friday, 7-3, and dropping a nail biter on Saturday, 5-4.
Maine, meanwhile, is facing similar struggles with a largely reconstructed roster. While several key pieces remain, even more questions abound. The Mariners visited the Norfolk Admirals (Winnipeg Jets) for a three-game series over the weekend, dropping the first two contests, 4-2 and 5-0, before salvaging a 4-3 victory in the finale last Sunday.
3-4-3, 9 points, 7th in Atlantic Division
Despite losing a few key pieces, Providence is still laden with talent in all areas of the ice. With many new faces and inexperienced prospects, the AHL Bruins are starting to piece things together following three strong performances last week.
Providence opened the week with a 3-1 win at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last Wednesday. After the hosts struck first, John Farinacci fired in the equalizer just 90 seconds later. Vincent Arseneau and Jesper Boqvist added goals in the second and third periods, respectively, while Brandon Bussi made 26 saves in the victory.
In Friday’s series opener at Cleveland, Providence’s offense erupted in a 7-3 thumping. Luke Toporowski led the charge with two goals, while Jakub Zboril, Curtis Hall, and Fabian Lysell all had a pair of assists, with the latter also adding a goal. Bussi stood tall yet again, making 30 saves in his second straight win.
Cleveland salvaged a split on Saturday with a 5-4 win. Providence led late, with Farinacci, Lysell, and Anthony Richard tallying a goal and assist each. Cleveland scored twice in the final three minutes of regulation, turning a 4-3 deficit into a late 5-4 advantage. Kyle Keyser got the nod in goal and turned aside 21 shots.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Fabian Lysell — A second straight week for Lysell to earn the honors, with two goals and three assists. Stick taps go to John Farinacci, Luke Toporowski, and Brandon Bussi.
- Sent Down from Boston — Mason Lohrei, Oskar Steen, Parker Wotherspoon.
UP NEXT: Providence hosts the Springfield Thunderbirds (St. Louis Blues) on Friday at 7:05 p.m. before embarking on a home-and-home series with the Hartford Wolfpack (New York Rangers). Saturday’s road contest is set for 7:30 p.m., while Sunday’s home matinee is slated for 3:05 p.m.
2-4-0, 4 points, 6th in North Division
Maine’s defensive struggles early this season have been evident, leading to an trade for Cincinnati Cyclones defenseman Billy Constantinou. The ECHL journeyman, now with his sixth team in four year, made his Mariners debut over the weekend playing in all three games.
Maine dropped the opening contest of a three-game series at Norfolk, 4-2, last Friday night. Trailing 2-0 deep into the second period, Andrew Peski put the Mariners on the board before Reid Stefanson tied the game midway through the third. Norfolk retook the lead just one minute later, then added a late empty-netter.
On Saturday, Norfolk cruised to a 5-0 victory, outshooting Maine 44-17. Brad Arvanitis got the start in net, making 39 saves.
Maine turned things around on Sunday, rallying for a 4-3 win. The teams traded goals over the opening two periods, with Wyllum Deveaux scoring twice for the Mariners. Still, Maine found itself behind, 3-2, with under 10 minutes to play in the final period. Deveaux setup the equalizer from Ethan Keppen, before Stefanson put the Mariners ahead late. In goal, Shane Starrett made 30 saves to preserve his second win of the season.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Reid Stefanson — Who else would it be at this point? Stefanson scored an equalizer on Friday before tallying the winner on Saturday. Stick taps go to Shane Starrett for a pair of 30-save efforts.
- Trade — Maine acquired some defensive help last week, bringing in Billy Constantinou from Cincinnati. Constantinou owns 117 games of ECHL experience in his career across six different teams and adds some physicality on the back end.
UP NEXT: Two games are on the docket for this week, beginning on Friday at 7:15 p.m. against the Trois-Rivieres Lions (Montreal Canadiens), followed by a 6:00 p.m. faceoff on Saturday against the Adirondack Thunder (New Jersey Devils), both at home.