The opening game for the Maine Mariners could not have gone better on Friday night in Portland, ME. Behind a dominating offensive performance from Eduards Tralmaks, who netted a hat trick in the contest, Maine cruised to a 6-3 victory over the Worcester Railers. In addition to being the first ECHL game in nearly 600 days at the Cross Insurance Arena, Friday’s matchup also marked the first occasion in which the Mariners took the ice as an affiliate of the Boston Bruins. This occasion was commemorated by the home squad, taking to the ice sporting black and gold throwback sweaters.
And though half of Maine’s goals came from Tralmaks, assists came two-apiece from Justin Brazeau and Lewis Zerter-Gossage, including once on the man-advantage. Zerter-Gossage also found the twine for the Mariners once, while Pascal Laberge and Mathew Santos rounded out the remaining goals. For Worcester, they too were aided with well-balanced offensive production, with Nick Albano, Jacob Hayhurst and Mike Cornell all adding one each for the visitors in defeat.
In net, Maine was led by an excellent performance from Jeremy Brodeur, who stopped 51 of the 54 shots that he faced. Brodeur’s father, Martin, is of course one of the most-heralded netminders in hockey history.
As the series shifted south to Worcester on Saturday, the Railers walked away with a 4-3 victory, while managing to split the series. Maine’s scoring was less prolific late in the game despite firing 45 shots on goal in all. The Railers were led by rookie goaltender Colten Ellis, who faced 20 shots alone in the game’s second period.
In the final frame, the game was all knotted up when Railers left-winger Nolan Vesey, who had already scored earlier, was assessed a double minor penalty. Maine, however, failed to score, and the contest remained tied until Hayhurst returned from the penalty box after serving for Vesey. He was able to get a shot off netminder Zach Bouthillier’s glove, which was quickly tapped in by Nic Pierog to give Worcester a third period lead. Zerter-Gossage had a late chance for Maine, but Ellis stopped the shot and later secured the win and series split for the Railers.
After the game, Tralmaks was assigned to the AHL’s Providence Bruins, so perhaps his hat trick in Friday’s meeting played a significant part in that. The Mariners begin a five-game homestand on Friday the 29th, welcoming in the Trois-Rivieres Lions for the first time, with puck drop scheduled for 7:15pmET.