Over the past four seasons, both Boston Bruins’ affiliates have shown an ability to flip a switch and churn out results after the new year. The same plot line looks to be playing out again in 2024 — but the question remains: can either vie for a title.
The Providence Bruins have hit their stride with points in their last eight games, including a 2-0-1 stretch over the weekend. Providence opened the weekend with an overtime victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 3-2, on Friday night at home. On Saturday, Providence suffered a 3-2 overtime defeat of their own at the Hartford Wolfpack (New York Rangers). But home cooking on Sunday salvaged the weekend with a 2-0 win over the Bridgeport Islanders.
Up in Maine, the Mariners went 3-1-0 last week, with offensive eruptions in all three victories. Maine outlasted the Trois-Rivieres Lions (Montreal Canadiens) on Wednesday, 8-5, before edging the Reading Royals (Philadelphia Flyers) in a three-game series on the road. After dropping the opener, 1-0, Maine earned consecutive victories, 6-4 and 4-1, to close out the week.
21-12-5, 47 points, 2nd in Atlantic Division
Providence is finding different ways to win games, despite the opponent and a the circumstances. With points in each of their last eight contests (7-0-1), Providence is rekindling their play from a year ago that saw them finish with the best record in the AHL’s Eastern Conference.
In a 3-2 overtime win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Providence overcame a 2-0 deficit after two periods, scoring twice in the final eight minutes of regulation, with both goals set up by Anthony Richard. In overtime, Ian Mitchell struck early to complete the comeback, while goaltender Michael DiPietro stopped 22 shots in the win.
On Saturday, Providence dropped a 3-2 contest in overtime at Hartford. The teams traded goals twice over 60 minutes, with Providence pulling out to a pair of one-goal leads. It was Hartford completing the comeback this time, however, striking less than two minutes into the extra period.
Providence closed the weekend with a 2-0 win over Bridgeport on Sunday at home. DiPietro shined yet again, recording a 21-save shutout. Providence struggled to generate offense, but got a pair of third-period markers to provide the difference. John Farinacci had a pair of assists on goals by Richard and Luke Toporowski.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Anthony Richard — A goal and three assists give Richard the honors for a second week in a row. Stick taps go to Farinacci (3a) and DiPietro (2-0-0, 43 saves).
- Called up to Boston — Brandon Bussi.
- Called up from Maine — Kyle Keyser, Ryan Mast, Adam Mechura.
UP NEXT: Providence travels to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for a 7:05 p.m. puck drop on Wednesday night, followed by a visit to the Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay Lightning) on Friday at 7:05 p.m. It’s back home at the AMP on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. against Bridgeport.
14-14-5, 33 points, 6th in North Division
The Maine Mariners have been marred by inconsistency for much of the 2023-24 campaign. But last week, the offense awoke in a big way, with 18 goals in four games.
That began with a season-high in scoring on Wednesday, an 8-5 win over Trois-Rivieres in Portland. Behind 3-1 after a period, Maine tilted the ice with three second-period tallies to take a 4-3 lead. After the Lions equalized twice early in the third, Maine put the game to bed with three unanswered goals to seal the win. Curtis Hall, Alex Kile (1g, 2a each) and Cameron Askew (2g, 1a) led the charge offensively on the night.
The Mariners offense went dormant in its series opener at Reading, a 1-0 defeat. Brad Arvanitis made 33 saves in goal, but a second-period goal from the hosts was the difference on the night.
Maine looked headed for back-to-back losses on Saturday, trailing 3-0 before scoring five straight times. Gabriel Chicoine (3a) and Chase Zieky (2g, 1a) led the way on Saturday for Maine, as Arvanitis made 25 saves in relief to capture the victory.
In Sunday’s finale, the Mariners used their momentous comeback a night earlier to propel a 4-1 win. Maine pulled ahead, 3-0, early in the second period and never looked back. Arvanitis was solid again in net, notching 30 saves to earn a second victory in as many days.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Brad Arvanitis — The former D-III college goaltender has translated incredibly to the pro game, and earns the honors this week after going 2-1-0 with just three goals allowed. Stick taps go to Askew, Kile, Hall, Chicoine, and Zieky for multi-point efforts all weekend long.
- Called up to Providence — Kyle Keyser, Ryan Mast, Adam Mechura.
- Signed — Scott Kirton.
UP NEXT: Maine and Reading meet for three more games this weekend in Portland. Friday’s opener is scheduled for 7:15 p.m., with a 6:00 p.m. faceoff on Saturday followed by a 3:05 p.m. Sunday matineee.