What a time to be a Boston Bruins fan.
All three teams in the organization qualified for postseason play, with AHL Providence winning the Atlantic Division and the ECHL Maine Mariners finishing third in a tightly-contested North Division race.
Providence closed the regular season strong, rebounding from a 7-2 loss at the Springfield Thunderbirds (St. Louis Blues) last Friday with a 5-3 win over the Bridgeport Islanders (New York Islanders) and a 7-3 win over Springfield in the regular season finale. With that final victory, Providence enjoyed one of its best seasons ever, with many drawing comparisons to the 1999 Calder Cup Championship team.
The #AHLBruins 1️⃣8️⃣ regulation losses this season are the second fewest in franchise history, bested only by the '98-99 Calder Cup winning team. How many regulation losses did that team have? #TriviaTuesday x @BankRhodeIsland pic.twitter.com/dpquO0DLD6— y - Providence Bruins (@AHLBruins) April 18, 2023
Meanwhile, the Maine Mariners closed the season strong with two wins over the Norfolk Admirals (Carolina Hurricanes), 7-2 on Saturday and 10-2 on Sunday. The latter set a franchise record for most goals in a game. However, the Reading Royals (Philadelphia Flyers) won its final two games as well to lock up home ice in the first round.
44-18-10, 90 points, Atlantic Division Champion
Providence needed to win at least two of its final three games to have a shot at the Atlantic Division Title. After a loss to open the final weekend, the P-Bruins rallied to salvage first place and secure a first-round bye.
Providence lost the opening game of the weekend at Springfield, 7-2. After Georgii Merkulov and Chris Wagner gave Providence a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes, the wheels promptly fell off with the Thunderbirds scoring twice in the opening minute of the second period. Springfield tacked on five more goals before the day was done.
On Saturday, Providence found its form again with a 5-3 win over Bridgeport. Providence fell behind 3-1 midway through the second period before Luke Toporowski cut the deficit in half late in the frame. Providence equalized through Vinnie Lettieri just 32 seconds into the third, and Eduards Tralmaks and Fabian Lysell each provided goals to give Providence the win. Brandon Bussi stood tall when needed, making 15 saves in the win.
In the regular season finale, Providence got some retribution for Friday’s defeat with a 7-3 triumph over Springfield. The teams canceled each other out through 40 minutes, tied 3-3 heading into the final frame. Providence flexed its muscles, scoring four times to pull away and win the division title.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Jack Ahcan — The defenseman collected five points with a shorthanded goal and four assists to earn the honors. Stick taps aplenty, with Tralmaks, Wagner, and Lettieri all earning recognition.
- Called up to Boston — Brandon Bussi
- Called up from Maine — Matt Filipe.
- Sent down to Maine — Curtis Hall.
- SIGNED: Four more players made the jump to the pro ranks, led by forward Matthew Poitras — Boston’s second round pick from last year’s NHL Draft. Poitras had 95 points in 63 games for Guelph in the OHL last season. Fellow 2022 draftees, defenseman Frederic Brunet and goaltender Reid Dyck, also signed ATOs this week, as did Swedish defenseman Jonathan Myrenberg who the Bruins acquired in a trade for Jack Studnicka earlier this season.
PLAYOFF SCHEDULE: Providence earned a first-round bye in the Calder Cup Playoffs and awaits its opponent for the second round. With reseeding in place, Providence could face Springfield, Hartford, or Lehigh Valley. Game 1 is slated for Friday, April 28 with Game 2 the following night.
42-27-3, 87 points, 3rd in North Division
Maine ended the season on a high note with a weekend sweep over Norfolk, outscoring the Admirals 17-4 for the weekend.
In the series opener, a 7-2 win on Saturday, seven different Mariners scored a goal. Tyler Hinam, Carter Johnson, and Nick Master all notched multiple assists on the night. In goal, Michael DiPietro made 35 saves to preserve the win.
Maine set a franchise record in a 10-2 victory over Norfolk in Sunday’s season finale — the most goals scored in a single game. Maine led 6-0 before Norfolk got on the board in the third period, but the Mariners struck five times in the final period to make a statement and reach double digits for the first time. Alex-Olivier Voyer had two goals and two assists, while Hinam and Mitchell Fossier also notched two goals each. Tim Doherty tallied three assists and was a plus-4 on the day, while Francois Brassard made 31 saves in goal.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Tyler Hinam — Two goals and three assists over the weekend gives him the honors this week. Just about everyone deserved stick taps, with Voyer, Johnson, and Filipe all leading the charge.
- Returned from Loan — Mathew Santos (Milwaukee).
- Called up to Providence — Matt Filipe.
- Sent down from Providence — Curtis Hall.
PLAYOFF SCHEDULE: Maine will take on the Reading Royals for a second consecutive postseason after falling in six games last year. Maine finished third, just a point behind Reading in the North Division standings. Here is the schedule for the first round series:
- Maine at Reading — Friday, April 21 at 7:00 p.m.
- Maine at Reading — Saturday, April 22 at 7:00 p.m.
- Reading at Maine — Monday, April 24 at 7:00 p.m.
- Reading at Maine — Tuesday, April 25 at 7:00 p.m.
- Reading at Maine* — Wednesday, April 26 at 7:00 p.m.
- Maine at Reading* — Saturday, April 29 at 7:00 p.m.
- Maine at Reading* — Sunday, April 30 at 7:00 p.m.
* — If Necessary