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Affiliate Report: Providence begins Calder Cup quest, Maine on the brink

The Providence Bruins will face familiar foe Hartford in a Best-of-5 series beginning Friday, while the Maine Mariners look to fight off elimination on the road.

New York Rangers v Boston Bruins
Marc McLaughlin.
Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images

With the regular season done and dusted, the Boston Bruins’ minor league affiliates are both still in contention for a title.

The Providence Bruins, fresh off an Atlantic Division title, finally begin its postseason campaign on Friday against the Hartford Wolfpack. Up in Maine, the Mariners situation is a bit more dire. Maine trails the Reading Royals, 3-2, in a rematch of last year’s first round series with Game 6 back in Pennsylvania.

Providence Bruins

44-18-10, 90 points, Atlantic Division Champion

Providence has been off since the regular season ended on April 16. After winning the Atlantic Division and clinching a first-round bye, Providence learned its opponent last week as the Hartford Wolfpack (New York Rangers) swept the reigning Eastern Conference champion Springfield Thunderbirds (St. Louis Blues), 2-0, in the opening round.

In the regular season, the regional rivals met 10 times, with Providence going 4-3-3 in those contests. The two most recent meetings in April tilted to Hartford — a 5-0 win in Connecticut on March 31 and a 5-3 win in Providence on April 8.


  • Called up to Boston — Kyle Keyser.
  • Sent down from Boston — Oskar Steen, Brandon Bussi.

PLAYOFF SCHEDULE: Providence and Hartford begin their Best-of-5 series on Friday, April 25 at the AMP. Here is the schedule for the Atlantic Division Semifinals:

  1. Hartford at Providence — Friday, April 28 at 7:05 p.m.
  2. Hartford at Providence — Saturday, April 29 at 7:05 p.m.
  3. Providence at Hartford — Wednesday, May 3 at 7:00 p.m.
  4. Providence at Hartford* — Friday, May 5 at 7:00 p.m.
  5. Hartford at Providence* — Sunday, May 7 at 7:05 p.m.

* — If Necessary

Maine Mariners

42-27-3, 87 points, 3rd in North Division

In a rematch of last year’s first round series, the Maine Mariners and the Reading Royals (Philadelphia Flyers) have given fans a major sense of déjà vu. Reading won the opening two games at home, before Maine evened the series with a pair of home wins themselves. In Game 5, with the series hanging in the balance, Reading edged Maine to head home with the series lead.

Last year, the series ended in six games as Maine put up a valiant effort but could not stave off elimination. This year, Maine has put together a much better regular season but is staring at the same playoff fate as a year ago.

What has gone wrong in the series so far? For starters, Maine needs to stay disciplined. Power play goals hurt the Mariners in Game 2, with the Royals striking twice on the man advantage in a 5-3 victory.

There’s also the case of Maine not being as advantageous as they need to be. In Game 5, Maine led, 3-2, heading into the third period at home. But in the final 20 minutes, the Mariners, despite outshooting Reading 21-8, couldn’t extend the lead and surrendered a pair of goals and a chance at the series lead in a 4-3 loss.

But there have been several positives. In danger of going down 3-0 in the series, Maine dug deep in Game 3 to tie the game late in the third period before winning in overtime, 4-3. The Mariners used that as momentum heading into Game 4, and dominated the Royals to prevail 7-3.

But even as the tide shifted, the Mariners couldn’t navigate their home waters and now face elimination on Saturday night at Reading.

TOP PERFORMER: Carter Johnson — Acquired in a late-season trade, Johnson has made a major impact in a short time. In the first five games of the series, Johnson has three goals and two assists along with a plus-3 rating. Stick taps go to Curtis Hall, Mathew Santos, Alex Kile, and Jacob Wilson for their strong series so far.


  • Signed — Reid Cooper.

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:

  1. Maine at Reading — L, 2-1
  2. Maine at Reading — L, 5-3
  3. Reading at Maine — W, 4-3 (OT)
  4. Reading at Maine — W, 7-3
  5. Reading at Maine — L, 4-3
  6. Maine at Reading — Saturday, April 29 at 7:00 p.m.
  7. Maine at Reading* — Sunday, April 30 at 7:00 p.m.

* — If Necessary