With the season winding down and a playoff berth on the line, the Maine Mariners know they can’t afford to give away many more games.

Wednesday night, they improved their playoff chances with a 5-3 victory over the stubborn Adirondack Thunder before a crowd of 1,978 at Cross Insurance Arena.

Jeremy Brodeur made 27 saves and Nick Master got the winner early in the third period as the Mariners, who went into the game in fifth place in the ECHL’s North Division (one spot out of a playoff berth), beat the Thunder for just the fifth time in 12 games this season.

Adirondack, which is in last place, had beaten Maine twice last weekend. The Mariners’ victory halted a three-game losing streak.

“We’re treating it like playoffs from here on out,” said Brodeur, who just arrived from Providence of the American Hockey League on Monday. “I’m excited with the group we have. If we all put our heads together, we can do something special. We just have to get into the playoffs.”

The Mariners won with a strong defensive effort in the final two periods, limiting Adirondack’s chances in close and giving Brodeur a clean view of shots from the point. The Thunder had several excellent chances in the first period.


“When we can play defense like that, it makes my job a lot easier,” said Brodeur.

Maine led 3-2 entering the third before Master got a critical goal just 3:03 in. He was stationed to the right of Thunder goalie Alex Sakellaropoulos when the rebound of a Marc-Olivier Duquette shot hit an Adirondack defenseman and rolled to Master, who jabbed the puck into the open side of the net.

“I’ll take it,” said Master. “I’m not going to complain. Coach talks about it all the time, just being in front of the net, being near the net, and good things will happen. And it did.”

Mariners Coach Ben Guite said that was a huge goal.

“You don’t want to let a team like that hang around,” he said. “They have talent. That goal ends up being the game winner and that makes a difference.”

The Thunder cut the deficit to 4-3 with 56 seconds remaining on a power-play goal by Shane Harper. But an empty-net goal by defenseman Zach Malatesta sealed the victory.


“I thought we worked for 60 minutes,” said Guite. “I thought we played to our identity for 60 minutes. A big thing for us, we’ve got to move our feet, we’ve got to be physical. And we’ve got to play a simple game.”

He said the Mariners gave up too many opportunities in the first period and that “we upped the ante physically in the last two periods. When you play that simple, hard game, the rest of it follows from there.”

It was 1-1 after one period, and then the teams combined for three goals in a two-minute span early in the second. Keltie Jeri-Leon gave the Mariners a 3-2 lead at 5:15 of the second when he tipped in Nate Kallen’s shot.

NOTES: The Mariners received some manpower help this week from Providence, adding Brodeur, Malatesta and former UMaine defenseman J.D. Greenway. … After a road game at Trois-Rivieres on Friday, Maine comes home for five consecutive games March 19-27.



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