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Affiliate Report: Providence stays hot, Maine’s defense springs a leak

Another weekend, another pair of victories for Providence. Meanwhile, Maine can’t seem to get over that hump.

NHL: SEP 24 Rangers at Bruins
Fabian Lysell (23).
Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

While the NHL paused last week for the All-Star Break, minor league hockey continued full speed ahead with both Boston Bruins affiliates taking the ice. While AHL outfit Providence continues to string together results, ECHL affiliate Maine has endured a forgettable season to date.

Providence continued its recent resurgence with a series sweep at the Charlotte Checkers (Florida Panthers) over the weekend, winning both games by a 4-2 margin. Providence has now won six straight and boasts an 8-1-1 record in its last 10 contests.

The Maine Mariners welcomed Western Conference foe Rapid City Rush (Calgary Flames) to Portland for a three-game series. Maine won the opener in dramatic fashion, 3-2, but collapsed in the final period of game two with a 6-4 defeat. In the finale on Sunday, Rapid City cruised to a 5-0 triumph to clinch a series win.

Providence Bruins

28-13-5, 61 points, 2nd in Atlantic Division

Providence’s slow start to the current campaign is a distant memory now as the AHL Bruins have won six straight games. That streak continued last weekend with a pair of 4-2 wins over Charlotte.

In Friday’s triumph, Providence opened up a 2-0 lead that was quickly cancelled out by a pair of Checkers’ goals, evening the contest at 2-2 after two periods. Patrick Brown’s tally just 34 seconds into the final frame put Providence ahead for good. Justin Brazeau scored late to pad the lead, while Brandon Bussi stopped 26 shots to earn another victory.

On Saturday, Providence again opened the scoring with Fabian Lysell notching his second goal of the weekend, and Dan Renouf following suit to give the visitors a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. Charlotte cut the deficit in half after two periods, but Providence again struck in the opening minute of the third period with Jayson Megna finding twine. Charlotte tallied again three minutes later, but Georgii Merkulov notched a goal to restore the two-goal cushion for good. In net, Michael DiPietro looked impressive again making 35 saves.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Fabian Lysell — One of the top prospects in the Bruins organization showed why, with two goals and an assist over the weekend. Stick taps go to Megna, Merkulov, and Brazeau.

ROSTER MOVES

  • None.

UP NEXT: Providence aims to keep its run intact with a pair of contests this weekend. First, a 7:05 p.m. puck drop at home on Friday against the league-leading Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals). Then on Saturday, Providence faces the Hartford Wolfpack (New York Rangers) in Connecticut at 7:00 p.m.

Maine Mariners

18-19-5, 39 points, 6th in North Division

Each week, more questions surround the Maine Mariners as a season plagued by inconsistency continues. At times, Maine appears to be firing on all cylinders, while other moments feel like several steps backwards.

Take this weekend for example. In a three-game series with Rapid City Rush, Maine looked strong in the opener and for 40 minutes in game two before the wheels fell off in a hurry.

Maine won the opening matchup, 3-2, in a back-and-forth affair. Tied 1-1 after two periods, the Mariners took an early third-period lead that was erased four minutes later. In the dying minutes, Curtis Hall put Maine ahead and Shane Starrett held strong in goal with a 26-save effort in the win.

In game two, Maine was well on its way to another win when a third period collapse led to a 6-4 defeat. After opening the scoring, Rapid City scored three straight goals to take control. Cameron Askew tallied late in the first to bring Maine back within striking distance, sparking a dominant second period that saw Maine take the lead. But in the third period, Rapid City tilted the ice, scoring twice early to regain the lead and again late to seal it.

On Sunday, Rapid City claimed a series win with a dominant 5-0 rout over Maine. The Rush struck once in the opening frame before a three-goal outburst in the middle stanza all but sealed the result. Kyle Keyser, who allowed five goals the previous day, again struggled in goal with four goals allowed in 40 minutes before being relieved by Brad Arvanitis.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Curtis Hall — Two goals, including a game-winning tally, and an assist gives Hall the honors this week. Stick taps go to Brooklyn Kalmikov (1g, 2a), Will Provost (1g, 1a) and Gabriel Chicoine (2a).

ROSTER MOVES

  • Loaned Out — Alex Kile (Lehigh Valley — AHL).

UP NEXT: A pair of matchups at archrival Worcester Railers (New York Islanders) await Maine this weekend. Both contests are slated for a 7:05 p.m. puck drop