It’s a good time to be part of the Boston Bruins organization. While the NHL club has seen record success this season, the Providence Bruins and Maine Mariners remain in contention for home ice in their respective postseasons.
After a torrid start, Providence has cooled off after hitting a rough patch as of late. Providence went 1-1-1 last week, falling in overtime on Friday at home to the Hartford Wolfpack (New York Rangers), 2-1. Saturday saw the team rebound with a resounding road win over the Utica Comets (New Jersey Devils), 5-1. But on Sunday, the P-Bruins fell flat in a 4-0 loss at home to the Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay Lightning).
As for the ECHL side, Maine finally saw its point streak snapped at 11 games, but still managed to take two out of three games from the visiting Norfolk Admirals (Carolina Hurricanes). Friday’s 3-0 defeat was Maine’s first in over a month, but the Mariners triumphed 6-2 on Saturday and 5-2 on Sunday.
24-9-9, 58 points, 2nd in Atlantic Division
Providence has created separation in second place of the Atlantic Division standings thanks to a strong start, but that lead has dwindled to just seven points due to a stretch of inconsistent results.
In the first game of a 1-1-1 weekend, Providence dropped a 2-1 contest to Hartford in overtime. The teams traded power play goals late in the second period, with Justin Brazeau notching his 11th of the season to equalize in the dying seconds of the stanza. The game stayed knotted at 1-1 through 60 minutes, but the Wolfpack won it 20 seconds into overtime.
Providence got back on track Saturday with a 5-1 win over Utica on the road. Providence scored thrice in the opening period and two more times in the third. Brazeau tallied a goal and an assist while Vinnie Lettieri finished with three assists. In net, Brandon Bussi continued to shine with a 26-save performance.
But on Sunday, Providence took two steps back with a 4-0 loss at home to Syracuse. The Crunch scored three times in the opening period, including the eventual winner by old friend Gemel Smith. Kyle Keyser relieved Keith Kinkaid after a period, playing well with 18 saves.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Vinnie Lettieri — With four assists on the weekend, Lettieri earns the honors this week along with a well-deserved call-up to Boston. Stick taps go out to Brazeau and Bussi.
- Called up to Boston — Jakub Lauko, Vinnie Lettieri, .
- Sent down from Boston — Joona Koppanen, Marc McLaughlin.
UP NEXT: Providence heads back on the road for three games this week. First up, a rematch with Hartford for the sixth time in three weeks on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. On Friday, Providence visits the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia Flyers) for a 7:05 p.m. puck drop followed by a Saturday night contest at Utica scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
24-12-2, 50 points, 3rd in North Division
The Mariners’ point streak finally came to end last week at the hands of the Norfolk Admirals, who earned their first win over Maine this season. The result, however, didn’t set the tone for the weekend as Maine earned a pair of convincing wins on Saturday and Sunday.
Friday’s 3-0 loss to Norfolk started on the wrong foot, with the visitors scoring in the opening minute. Maine held off until late in the third period, when the Admirals slotted home a pair of empty-netters to clinch both points on the night.
Maine’s offense awoke in a big way on Saturday with a 6-2 win that featured a three-point night for Alex Kile. Patrick Shea and Nate Kallen chipped in with a goal and an assist each as Maine struck four times in the second period to take firm command. In net, Michael DiPietro stood tall with 33 saves in the winning effort.
Sunday saw much of the same for Maine in a 5-2 win to claim the weekend series. Kile and Shea were once again among five Mariners with mutli-point games, led by Alex-Olivier Voyer with two goals. Francois Brassard took his place between the pipes, turning aside 31 shots in the win.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Alex Kile — That’s two weeks in a row now Kile has earned the honors, this time thanks to his two goals and three assists. Stick taps go to Shea, Voyer, and Mathew Santos.
- Suspended — Nate Kallen.
UP NEXT: Maine faces a stiff test this weekend with a visit to North Division leader Newfoundland Growlers (Toronto Maple Leafs) for three games. The contests for Friday and Saturday start at 5:30 p.m., while Sunday’s series finale is slated for 2:30 p.m.