By: Tim Dumas | Follow me on Twitter @TimDumas
Like their parent club, the Maine Mariners lost in the first round of the playoffs after a record-setting season. Maine’s 6-2 game six loss to the Reading (Pennsylvania) Royals on April 29 ended the best-of-seven series and became the second season in a row that the Mariners lost to Reading in the North Division semifinals.
Another similarity to the highlight-filled season that the Boston Bruins recently completed was the fact that Maine goaltender Francois Brassard scored a goal. Linus Ullmark made headlines when he became the first netminder in Bruins’ history to find the net when he did so against Vancouver on February 25.
On December 18 at Adirondack, Brassard’s tally was also a first for the Mariners in a season in which the team set records for wins (42) and netted a record ten goals in their regular season finale. Timothy Doherty also set team marks for assists (52) and points (73). The former UMaine star finished seventh in the ECHL in assists.
Alex Kile, the first player to sign with the Mariners in 2018, became the team’s all-time leader in goals, assists, and points. He has 205 career points.
Maine’s best stretch of the season began just after Christmas. A 5-0 road trip highlighted a team-record seven-game win streak and 11-game point streak between December 28 and January 21. Over a span of three nights, Alex-Olivier Voyer, Mitch Fossier, and Doherty earned hat tricks.
Fossier also set a team record when he scored just nine seconds into a 5-3 win over Adirondack. His 57 points were second on the team.
While the playoffs ended after just six games, the Mariners did have their bright spots. After falling behind Reading two games to none and trailing the third game 3-2 late in the third period, Maine rallied.
Doherty scored with 2:06 left in regulation before Voyer’s power-play goal 14:52 into overtime – on his team’s 50th shot of the night – gave Maine its first win of the series. One night later in Portland, Carter Johnson’s third-period hat trick lifted the Mariners to a 7-3 win, evening the series. But the Royals won the next two games to advance.
A number of NHL draft picks played for the Mariners, including goalie Michael DiPietro, who was acquired when the Bruins sent Jack Studnicka to Vancouver in October. DiPietro had a team-high 19 victories and compiled a 2.61 goals-against average. He had played in three NHL games with the Canucks, the team that drafted him in the third round in 2017.
Curtis Hall, a fourth-round pick by the Bruins in 2018 who played most of this season in Providence, scored five goals in just eight games for the Mariners. Patrick Shea, a seventh-round selection by Florida in 2015, had a team-leading 25 goals for Maine this season.
The Mariners also had their first-ever sellout in a season-opening loss to Trois-Rivieres in front of 5,386 fans. The average attendance at Cross Insurance Arena was a team-best 3,789, a 33% increase over last season, the largest growth in the ECHL.
Terrence Wallin is the team’s coach. The UMass Lowell product played for the Mariners during their first two seasons of existence.