ECHL: Maine Mariners Clinch Kelly Cup Playoffs In Win Over Adirondack Thunder | 04/14/2024

Cody Conine/InsideTheRink

The Adirondack Thunder and Maine Mariners met for the fourth straight game on Sunday Afternoon to close out the regular season, and for the Mariners, the task was simple: win, and you’re in. It would be the Mariners with their backs against the wall that would open up the scoring as a shot by Alex Kile would bounce off the boards and end up on the stick of Brooklyn Kalmikov, who would pick up his second goal in the last three games vs Adirondack at the 9:27 mark of the opening frame. However, for Maine, that lead wouldn’t last long as 58 seconds later, it would be Connor Blake who’d score from the circle to tie the game up at one. In the second, on their third powerplay of the game, Adirondack would retake the lead on the PP as Yushiro Hirano found Ryan Wheeler in the slot to make it 2-1 Thunder as Wheeler netted his 10th of the season. Hirano has been red hot in the last couple of games, as less than three minutes later, he would send Shane Harper on a breakaway to give the Thunder a two-goal lead, as Hirano finished his regular season strong with two goals and seven assists for nine points in his last five games. Tensions began to boil over at the 13:14 mark of the second between Connor Doherty and Brendan Less as it appeared as if Doherty wanted a piggyback ride from Less, and Interim Captain Darian Skeoch would intervene as both team captains would get matching 10-minute misconducts as they would exchange punches as Less would end up with a minor for roughing.

Cody Conine/InsideTheRink

“Two guys that you can play them up and down the lineup literlley forward or defence, it’s pretty massive and their chipping in offensivley which isn’t easy to do, it’s pretty impressive and it’s nice to have as option”

Shane Harper on the play of Ryan Wheeler and Connor Blake

In the third period, with their backs against the walls, the Mariners would attempt to empty the tank to get themselves to the Kelly Cup Playoffs. T.J. Friedmann would take a questionable goalie interference call just 21 seconds into a Thunder penalty as Head Coach Pete MacArthur disagreed with the call, and Adirondack was quickly assessed an unsportsmanlike misconduct penalty to give Maine a four on three. The Mariners would take advantage of the PP as Alex Kile would net his 36th goal of the season to put Maine within one. With less than five minutes remaining, it would be a shot from the point from Doherty that would be deflected by Ty Cheveldayoff for his first pro goal, which would tie the game for the Mariners and would end up sending the game into OT. It would be Alex Kile who would play hero for Maine, scoring on the third PP goal of the night for the Mariners on their ninth opportunity on the night at the 5:31 mark of OT to set up a first-round date in the Kelly Cup Playoffs with the Adirondack Thunder which begins on Friday Night.

“Warriors, been a bunch of warriors that was our 25th overtime and we got the North and the East wrapped up we know where we’re at in the playoffs when you got guys eating pucks when it matters but it doesn’t and that says a lot about our group right there”

Head Coach Pete MacArthur on the team’s regular season

Armand Klisivitch

Inside The Rink ECHL Manager | Senior Editor Credentialed Reporter for the Adirondack Thunder & Worcester Railers.

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