Postseason heartbreak is reverberating throughout the Boston Bruins’ organization. After arguably the most disappointing end to a record-breaking NHL season, the Bruins now need to look internally and reset once again for next season.
Down on the farm, both affiliates are in danger of suffering a similar fate. In the ECHL, the Maine Mariners met a similar fate, falling in six games to the Reading Royals (Philadelphia Flyers) for a second straight year.
In the AHL, the Providence Bruins ripped off quite the regular season in their own right, drawing comparisons to the 1999 Calder Cup champion squad. But now, the Atlantic Division champions are one game from elimination in a Best-of-5 series against the Hartford Wolfpack (New York Rangers).
44-18-10, 90 points, Atlantic Division Champion
The lone team in the Bruins organization still alive in the postseason, the Providence Bruins have their backs against the wall down 2-1 in a Best-of-5 series with Hartford.
In the opening two games at the AMP, Hartford stunned Providence, limiting the host to just one goal in 120 minutes by taking 1-0 and 2-1 victories.
But in Game 3, the Providence offense finally awoke, earning a 6-3 victory to stay alive. Providence led 3-0 by time Hartford got on the board late in the second period, courtesy of goals from Justin Brazeau, Luke Toporowski, and Oskar Steen. Hartford cut the lead to 4-3 late, but Brazeau and Vinnie Lettieri tallied empty-net goals to keep the season alive.
All the attention turns to Game 4 on Friday night in Hartford, with Providence hoping lightning strikes twice on the road much like it did for the Wolfpack. A win would force a deciding Game 5 back in Providence on Sunday night.
TOP PERFORMER: Justin Brazeau — In a Game 3 performance for the ages, Brazeau netted a pair of goals and tallied seven shots, setting the tone for Providence. Stick taps go to Luke Toporowski and Josiah Didier.
- Called up from Maine — Michael DiPietro, Curtis Hall.
- Sent down from Boston — Kyle Keyser, Jakub Lauko.
- Released from ATO — Reid Dyck, Jonathan Myrenberg.
PLAYOFF SCHEDULE: Providence and Hartford continue their Best-of-5 series on Friday, May 5. Here is the schedule for the Atlantic Division Semifinals:
- Hartford at Providence — L, 1-0
- Hartford at Providence — L, 2-1
- Providence at Hartford — W, 6-3
- Providence at Hartford — Friday, May 5 at 7:00 p.m.
- Hartford at Providence* — Sunday, May 7 at 7:05 p.m.
* — If Necessary
42-27-3, 87 points, 3rd in North Division
Last season, the Maine Mariners shook off a slow start and rallied to earn a third-place finish in the North Division. This season, same thing, and sadly, same result.
Maine was eliminated by Reading in six games once again, dropping the deciding Game 6 on the road, 6-2. Maine made it competitive early, rallying to tie the game twice with goals from Mitchell Fossier and Nick Master. Reading pulled ahead for good with a pair of early second-period goals, and added two more in the third to sink the Mariners.
TOP PERFORMER: Mitchell Fossier — Likely the next Mariner to make the jump to the AHL, Fossier had a goal and an assist in the decisive Game 6.
PLAYOFF RESULTS: Reading def. Maine, 4-2, in the First Round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
- Maine at Reading — L, 2-1
- Maine at Reading — L, 5-3
- Reading at Maine — W, 4-3 (OT)
- Reading at Maine — W, 7-3
- Reading at Maine — L, 4-3
- Maine at Reading — L, 6-2