LEKKAS JOINS CHICAGO WOLVES

PORTLAND, ME – May 6, 2022 – Mariners goaltender Stefanos Lekkas has joined the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves for the Calder Cup Playoffs. Acquired by the Mariners in March, Lekkas was a big part of the Mariners run to their first ever postseason appearance this spring.

Lekkas, 26, is a native of Chicago. He was acquired by the Mariners from the Wheeling Nailers in a future considerations trade in early March. Lekkas won his first two starts as a Mariner in a crucial series at Worcester on March 5th and 6th. Although Callum Booth and Jeremy Brodeur returned to the active roster soon after, Lekkas was called upon again in April and picked up several key wins down the stretch. On April 1st and 3rd against the Adirondack Thunder, Lekkas posted back-to-back shutouts and was named the ECHL Goaltender of the Week. Then, on the final weekend of the regular season, he defeated the Newfoundland Growlers twice to help the Mariners clinch their first playoff appearance in team history.

Overall, in 14 games with the Mariners, Lekkas posted a record of 7-4-0 with a 2.55 GAA and a .920 SV%, plus the two shutouts. Lekkas also played for Fort Wayne, Orlando, and Wheeling this season. He has prior AHL experience in the 2020-21 season with the Rochester Americans. Lekkas played his college hockey at the University of Vermont from 2016-2020 where he set records for both the program and Hockey East.

The Chicago Wolves have a first-round bye in the Calder Cup Playoffs and are awaiting the winner of the Rockford IceHogs and Texas Stars series. Chicago will host Game 1 on Saturday, May 14th. With injuries to their top two goaltenders, the Carolina Hurricanes (Chicago’s NHL affiliate), were forced to use their third string goaltender, Pyotyr Kochetkov in Games 1 and 2 of their playoff series against the Boston Bruins. Kochetkov had been Chicago’s number one netminder.

The Mariners 2022-23 schedule was announced on Thursday, and is presented by Hannaford To Go. The season begins on Friday, October 21st at Trois-Rivieres, with the home opener on Saturday, October 22nd also against the Lions. Full and half season packages plus 12-game mini plans for the 2022-23 season are on sale now by calling 833-GO-MAINE or visiting the Mariners front office at 94 Free St. in Portland. Prospective package holders can also put down a deposit or fill out an inquiry form at MarinersOfMaine.com. Single game tickets will go on sale in September.

MARINERS ANNOUNCE 2022-23 SCHEDULE

PORTLAND, ME – May 5, 2022 – The ECHL announced the full 2022-23 schedule on Thursday, officially marking the fourth season of Maine Mariners hockey to get underway on Friday, October 21st, 2022. The Mariners will begin the season on the road in Trois-Rivieres, QC before turning around to host the Lions in the home opener on Saturday, October 22nd at 6:00 PM. The Mariners 2022-23 season will once again be presented by Hannaford To Go. The full schedule can be viewed here.

The Mariners and Lions will play a third game over the season’s opening weekend – in Portland again on Sunday, October 23rd at 3:00 PM. Trois-Rivieres makes a total of seven trips to Maine in the 2022-23 season, the most of any visiting team – tied with the Norfolk Admirals, who will join the ECHL’s North Division, migrating from the South.

The Admirals will move from the South to the North due to the addition of the Savannah Ghost Pirates expansion club to the ECHL. The re-alignment gives the North seven teams, as it had in the Mariners inaugural season of 2018-19. All four ECHL divisions (North, South, Central, Mountain) will now contain seven teams.

The month of November is tied (with March) for the busiest home month of the Mariners 2022-23 schedule, as they will host seven games at the Cross Insurance Arena. A four-game homestand begins the month with matchups against the Newfoundland Growlers and Reading Royals. The Mariners also play three home games around the Thanksgiving holiday against the same two teams: Reading in town on November 23rd and 25th, while Newfoundland returns on the 26th.

It’s a sprint coming out of the Christmas break, with home games on December 28th against the Worcester Railers and the 30th against Trois-Rivieres. New Year’s Eve and Day brings a home-and-home with Worcester – at DCU Center on December 31st and back in Portland on January 1st to ring in 2023.

CLICK CALENDAR TO ENLARGE

In addition to their six North Division foes, the Mariners will play five out-of-division teams in 2022-23, including two teams that will visit Portland for the first time. On February 18th and 19th, the Mariners have their inaugural meetings with the Atlanta Gladiators, whom they will then visit in March. From March 31st – April 2nd, the Tulsa Oilers come to the Cross Insurance for a three-game series, also marking a first-ever matchup. The Mariners will make trips to Idaho and South Carolina for the first time, and also return to Orlando for one game against the Solar Bears for the second year in a row.

After going on an exciting run to end the 2021-22 season, the Mariners have a heavy home schedule at the end of 22-23, finishing with a four game April homestand to wrap up the regular season, which concludes on April 15th and 16th against Norfolk. Maine won its final six regular season home games – plus the first two playoff games, to go on an eight-game home winning streak in March and April of 2022.

The opponent breakdown (home and away) for the 2022-23 season is as follows: Norfolk (13), Worcester (11), Adirondack, Newfoundland, and Trois-Rivieres (10), Reading (6), Atlanta, Idaho, and Tulsa (3), South Carolina (2), and Orlando (1).

Like previous seasons, all Friday home games will begin at 7:15 PM, Saturdays at 6:00, Sundays at 3:00, and Wednesdays at 7:00 PM. Start times are subject to change.

The 2022-23 season is once again presented by Hannaford To Go. As presenting partners for the season, Hannaford will support the Mariners in virtually every aspect of the business throughout the season. The partnership is highlighted by Hannaford’s efforts to support the community with the “Hannaford To Go Kids Corner.” At each Mariners home game, Hannaford will donate 50 tickets to local youth and charitable organizations.

Full and half season packages plus 12-game mini plans for the 2022-23 season are on sale now by calling 833-GO-MAINE or visiting the Mariners front office at 94 Free St. in Portland. Prospective package holders can also put down a deposit or fill out an inquiry form at MarinersOfMaine.com. Single game tickets will go on sale in September.

MARINERS SEASON COMES TO AN END IN SIX GAMES

READING, PA May 2, 2022 – Jacob Pritchard broke a 1-1 tie with a third period power play goal to give the Reading Royals a 2-1 victory in Game 6 of the North Division Semifinals, and bring the Maine Mariners season to an end. The Royals won the series four games to two, taking all three of their home games, including the series clincher on Monday night at Santander Arena.

The Mariners jumped on the board first, scoring at 9:08 of the opening period when Nick Master followed his own shot and deposited a loose puck sitting to the left of Royals netminder Pat Nagle. Master’s goal, which drew assists from Mathew Santos and Michael Kim, was the only tally of the opening period.

The Royals got even at 7:27 of the 2nd when Kenny Hausinger pulled a puck out of an extended battle behind the Mariners net and centered a pass to Trevor Gooch, who ripped his 2nd goal of the series past Callum Booth. The game entered the third tied at one.

Reading broke the tie on a power play goal at 7:09 of the third as Jacob Pritchard slapped one past Booth from the top of the left circle. From there, the Mariners made a strong final push, including several chances with the goalie pulled. The best opportunity came when Nick Master was robbed on the back door by Nagle with a little under two minutes left.

Nagle made 30 of 31 stops while Booth turned aside 31 of 33, finishing the season with three strong performances in a row.

The Royals advance to the North Division Finals and await the winner of the Newfoundland Growlers and Trois-Rivieres Lions who will play a Game 7 on Tuesday night in St. John’s.

The 2022-23 season, the fourth season of Maine Mariners ECHL hockey will kick off in the fall. Full and half season packages plus 12-game mini plans are on sale now by calling 833-GO-MAINE or visiting the Mariners front office at 94 Free St. in Portland. Prospective package holders can also put down a deposit or fill out an inquiry form at MarinersOfMaine.com.

MARINERS DROP GAME FIVE, TRAIL SERIES 3-2

PORTLAND, ME April 30, 2022 – The Royals scored on their only power play opportunity of the night, breaking a 2-2 tie midway through the third period, and skating to a 3-2 win over the Maine Mariners in Game 5 of the North Division Semifinals on Saturday night at the Cross Insurance Arena. The Mariners now face elimination in Game 6 as the series shifts back to Reading on Monday.

Reading struck first midway through period one when Trevor Gooch gloved a puck out of the air and made a nifty backhand pass across the slot to Patrick Bajkov. The Mariners got even before the period ended, using the power play to do so. Alex Kile fed a pass across to Michael Kim, whose one-timer caromed to Cam Askew right on the door step. Askew tapped home a goal for his third straight game to tie it up.

The teams traded goals once again in the 2nd, as Reading jumped back ahead at 3:27 with a Frank DiChiara goal. The Mariners responded quickly when Kile grabbed a loose puck between the circles and wristed one past Logan Flodell and tie it up at two. The game, like the series, was all even at two heading to the third.

The Mariners carried the play for most of the third period until Keltie Jeri-Leon was called for hooking at 11:32 which led to Thomas Ebbing’s power play deflection on Reading’s only man-advantage opportunity of the game. From there, the Mariners pulled Callum Booth and mounted a brief attack before the Royals killed the remaining minute and a half to seal the 3-2 win.

Logan Flodell stopped 25 of 27 to earn the win while Booth made 29 saves in the losing effort.

The Royals have a chance to close on the series in Game 6 on Monday night at Santander Arena in Reading. Game time is 7 PM. If necessary, Game 7 would be Wednesday, May 4th, also in Reading at 7 PM. The Mariners Broadcast Network will have coverage of both games via FloHockey.tv and MarinersOfMaine.com/listen, or the Mixlr App. Pregame coverage begins 15 minutes prior to puck drop.

MARINERS BLANK ROYALS, EVEN UP SERIES 2-2

PORTLAND, ME April 29, 2022 – Callum Booth recorded a 32 save shutout while the Mariners used their special teams to score all four goals in a 4-0 win over the Reading Royals in Game 4 of the North Division Semifinals. The series is now tied 2-2, with at least two more games now guaranteed to be played. A crowd of almost 4,000 witnessed the win on Friday night at the Cross Insurance Arena.

The game’s first goal didn’t come until the final minute of the second period. During 4-on-4 hockey, Mathew Santos whipped a one-timer from the left faceoff circle that deflected off of Nick Master and past the glove of Logan Flodell with just 54 seconds left in the middle frame. The Mariners carried the 1-0 lead into the third with the help of Booth, who had 22 saves through 40 minutes.

In the third, the Mariners added insurance with a power play goal at 5:38. Santos put on the brakes just inside the blue line and sent Alex Kile in alone on Flodell. Kile slipped a backhand between the goaltender’s pads to make it a 2-0 game. Kile, who had just returned from AHL Lehigh Valley earlier today, helped the power play net another one at 17:22 when his one-timer was tipped in by Cam Askew giving Maine a three-goal cushion. Keltie Jeri-Leon’s empty netter at 18:21 sealed the 4-0 final.

Booth’s shutout was the second of his ECHL postseason career, and his first since 2019. Flodell stopped 22 of 25. Defenseman Zach Malatesta joined Santos and Kile with a multi-point game, notching a pair of assists. The Mariners have now won their last eight home games, dating back to March 26th. The home team is 4-0 in the Mariners/Royals series and 10-0 in the regular season and postseason series combined.

Game 5, the final Mariners home game in the series, is tomorrow night at 6 PM. Tickets can be purchased at MarinersOfMaine.com/playoffs, by calling the Trusted Choice Box Office at 207-775-3458, or by visiting the box office inside the Cross Insurance Arena. Game 6 will be played Monday in Reading, as will Game 7 if necessary, on Wednesday. Both games will begin at 7 PM.

MARINERS RALLY IN THIRD FOR FIRST EVER PLAYOFF WIN

PORTLAND, ME April 28, 2022 – Mathew Santos scored his second goal of the game with 2:26 left in regulation to break a 4-4 tie and lift the Maine Mariners to their first playoff victory in team history. The win came in the team’s first ever home postseason game on Thursday night at the Cross Insurance Arena: Game Three of the North Division Semifinals against the top seeded Reading Royals.

The Mariners entered the third period down 4-3 after a back-and-forth second which saw the lead change hands multiple times. Rookie forward Reid Stefanson tied the game at four when his wrister off the rush got by Royals netminder Logan Flodell at 1:14 of the 3rd. The Mariners carried the play in the third and jumped into the lead late when Santos crashed the net to pick up Connor Doherty’s rebound at 17:34. Doherty, the Mariners captain, had three assists in the game.

Conner Bleackley’s power play goal opened the scoring at 9:29 of the first, and was the only goal of the opening frame – a physical stanza that the Mariners dominated, as they outshot Reading 12-4. A four-goal second period turned the game in the Royals favor. The goal by Garrett McFadden that made it 4-3 came with just 1:41 to play in the 2nd, and spelled the end of the night for Mariners netminder Stefanos Lekkas, who was replaced by Jeremy Brodeur for the third. Kenny Hausinger, Jacob Pritchard, and Brad Morrison also scored for Reading.

Brodeur faced only six shots in the 3rd period to earn the win while Flodell went 30/35 and has played every minute of the series in the net for the Royals. The Mariners now trail the best-of-seven series, two games to one. Dating back to the end of the regular season, the Mariners have won their last seven games on home ice.

Game Four of the series is tomorrow night at 7:15 PM at the Cross Insurance Arena as the Mariners look to even up the series. It’s a 1-2-3 Friday: $1 popcorn, $2 hot dogs, and $3 Bud Light Drafts through the start of the 2nd period. Game Five will be Saturday night at 6 PM. Tickets can be purchased at MarinersOfMaine.com/playoffs, by calling the Trusted Choice Box Office at 207-775-3458, or by visiting the box office inside the Cross Insurance Arena.

MARINERS SHUT OUT DESPITE BIG SHOT ADVANTAGE, TRAIL ROYALS 0-2

READING, PA April 22, 2022 – Despite outshooting the Royals 32-20, the Mariners couldn’t solve Reading netminder Logan Flodell and were shutout 3-0 on Friday night in Game 2 of the North Division semifinals, falling down 0-2 in the best-of-seven series.

The Royals power play connected less than five minutes in to give Reading the early lead. Off a zone entry on the left wing side, Trevor Gooch stepped in and beat Callum Booth between the pads to make it 1-0 Reading at 4:29. Like was the case in Game 1, the Royals led 1-0 after one.

Despite being outshot 16-5 in the second period, the Royals converted twice in a 29 second span to stretch their lead to 3-0. It was the Reading power play burning the Mariners again at 5:26, as Kenny Hausinger quickly jumped on a rebound off of Booth’s arm. Frank DiChiara, who had assists on each of the first two goals got open on the back door to the left of Booth and slammed in a pass from Jacob Pritchard to make it 3-0 at 5:55. Booth was then pulled for Jeremy Brodeur.

Flodell completed the shut out by stopping eight more Mariners shots in the third. Brodeur stopped all nine shots he faced.

The series now shifts to Maine for games 3, 4, and 5 (if necessary) next week at the Cross Insurance Arena. Game 3, the first home playoff game in Mariners history, is Thursday, April 28th at 7 PM. Game 4 will be Friday, April 29th at 7:15 PM. Tickets can be purchased at MarinersOfMaine.com/playoffs, by calling the Trusted Choice Box Office at 207-775-3458, or by visiting the box office inside the Cross Insurance Arena.

MARINERS COME UP JUST SHORT IN PLAYOFF OPENER

READING, PA April 20, 2022 – Trailing 3-0 with under three minutes to play, the Mariners scored a pair of late goals to make the Reading Royals sweat, but the Royals held on for a 3-2 game one win and 1-0 series lead over the Mariners in the North Division Semifinals. It was the first ever postseason game in Mariners club history.

The Mariners were granted a pair of early power play chances in the first period but couldn’t convert. Reading would then take advantage of their first chance, as Kenny Hausinger tipped an offering from Patrick Bajkov to the right of Stefanos Lekkas to give the Royals the first goal of the series. Hausinger’s tally at 12:06 of the first was the goal of the opening 20 minutes.

Brayden Low scored a pair of goals in the middle frame to build the Reading lead to 3-0. At 10:31, Low came down the left side and slapped one past Lekkas to double the Royal lead. Reading’s Brennan Saulnier was assessed a give minute major and game misconduct for spearing, but the Mariners squandered a three minute power play when they took a high-sticking call in the midst of it. Low got his second of the period with just 40 seconds left when he made a backhand move in tight that slid under Lekkas. Reading pelted 17 shots in the 2nd period, to Maine’s eight.

The Mariners were stronger in the third, but couldn’t solve Logan Flodell until 2:40 was left on the clock. With the game at 4-on-4, the Mariners pulled Lekkas and Zach Malatesta’s shot from the point banked in off the post behind Flodell. Pascal Laberge and Cam Askew picked up helpers. As play returned to 5-on-5, the Mariners pulled the goaltender again and Malatesta got another shot through, this time tipped by Nick Master with just 44 seconds to play, making it a one goal game. The Mariners had a significant chance to tie the game when a late hooking penalty got called against Thomas Ebbing, but the Royals were able to survive the final 36 seconds.

Flodell made 28 saves to earn the win while Lekkas stopped 33 of 36. The Royals lead the best-of-seven series, 1-0. The home team has won all seven games the Mariners and Royals have played in 2021-22.

The Mariners and Royals will play Game 2 on Friday night at 7 PM at Santander Arena. The series then shifts to Portland for games 3, 4, and 5 (if necessary) next week. Game 3, the first home playoff game in Mariners history, is Thursday, April 28th at 7 PM. Game 4 will be Friday, April 29th at 7:15 PM. Tickets can be purchased at MarinersOfMaine.com/playoffs, by calling the Trusted Choice Box Office at 207-775-3458, or by visiting the box office inside the Cross Insurance Arena.

MAINE MARINERS PLAYOFF PREVIEW: KELLY CUP QUEST STARTS TONIGHT

The Maine Mariners begin their first Kelly Cup playoff run in club history with a first round matchup against the top seeded Reading Royals. The Royals finished the 2021-22 regular season with the best record in the North Division and Eastern Conference, and the second best mark in the entire ECHL. Although the Mariners come in as the #4 seed in the North and clear underdogs, they took the season series from the Royals, getting points in four of the six head-to-head meetings. The series opens on Wednesday night at Santander Arena in Reading, where the Mariners played a three game series just two weekends ago.

SERIES SCHEDULE (Best of 7)

Game 1 – Weds, Apr. 20 | 7:00 PM | Santander Arena – Reading, PA
Game 2 – Fri, Apr. 22 | 7:00 PM | Santander Arena – Reading, PA
Game 3 – Thurs, Apr. 28 | 7:00 PM | Cross Insurance Arena – Portland, ME
Game 4 – Fri, Apr. 29 | 7:15 PM | Cross Insurance Arena – Portland, ME
Game 5* – Sat, Apr. 30 | 6:00 PM | Cross Insurance Arena – Portland, ME
Game 6* – Mon, May 2 | 7:00 PM | Santander Arena – Reading, PA
Game 7* – Weds, May 4 | 7:00 PM | Santander Arena – Reading, PA

*if necessary

REGULAR SEASON SERIES (Maine won 3-2-1)

Oct. 31, 2021: Reading 1 @ Maine 4
-The fourth game of the Mariners season. Cam Askew had a goal and an assist, Andrew Romano scored his first ECHL goal.

Jan. 29, 2022: Reading 1 @ Maine 2
-During a historic blizzard in Portland, Nick Master’s late shorthanded goal broke a 1-1 tie late to give Maine the win.

Apr. 8, 2022: Maine 1 @ Reading 4
-The Mariners could only muster 2nd period goal from Pascal Laberge. Darion Hanson wins his pro debut in net for Reading.

Apr. 9, 2022: Maine 3 @ Reading 5
-The Mariners rallied from a three goal deficit to trail by one heading to the third, but couldn’t get even.

Apr. 10, 2022: Maine 1 @ Reading 2 / OT
-Maine led 1-0 going to the third, but Trevor Gooch tied it up and Patrick Bajkov scored a power play goal 18 seconds into OT.

Apr. 13, 2022: Reading 2 @ Maine 6
-Cam Askew scored twice while Mathew Santos netted a key shorthanded goal in the third following a 5-on-3 penalty kill.

HOW THE MARINERS GOT IN

The odds were stacked against the Mariners entering the final week of the regular season, needing multiple wins and out-of-town help to make it in. They entered last Wednesday .007 percentage points behind the Worcester Railers for the fourth and final spot, with an outside chance of catching the Trois-Rivieres Lions, who sat in third. Both the Mariners and Railers won on Wednesday, leaving things up to the final weekend. The turning point came on Friday when Trois-Rivieres shut out the Railers to clinch their playoff spot, while the Mariners rallied to beat Newfoundland on Mathew Santos’ overtime winner, taking control of their own destiny. With the Railers and Lions playing an afternoon game prior to Maine’s regular season finale on Saturday, the Mariners would know what was needed of them before taking the ice. As the Railers lost to Trois-Rivieres in overtime, the Mariners needed just one point to clinch. Entering the third period of their game up on the Growlers 2-1, they surrendered a goal early in the period, but went back ahead midway through on a controversial goal by Nick Master. After Newfoundland tied it at 3, it was a tense final six minutes in which the Mariners held on to force overtime and clinch. The game would ultimately be decided in a shootout by none other than Santos, whose backhander in the bottom of the 2nd round sealed the win a 3-0-0 final home stand.

READING ROYALS POSTSEASON HISTORY

The Royals have been one of the most consistently successful franchises in ECHL history, appearing in their 14th postseason in 20 years of existence. They were Kelly Cup champions in 2012-13, the final season of current Royals Head Coach Kirk McDonald’s playing career. McDonald, now in his fourth season as Royals head coach, led them to their best point percentage in franchise history (.697), finishing one win shy (45) of tying the franchise mark. This is Reading’s second postseason appearance under McDonald. After losing in the first round in 2017-18, the Royals missed the playoffs in 2018-19 and were on track for the #2 seed in 2019-20 before the pandemic. Reading hasn’t made it out of the first round since 2015-16 and 2013 remains their only championship.

AROUND THE KELLY CUP PLAYOFF BRACKET

North Division Semifinal 2: #2 Newfoundland Growlers vs. #3 Trois-Rivieres Lions
South Division Semifinal 1:#1 Florida Everblades vs. #4 Greenville Swamp Rabbits
South Division Semifinal 2:
#2 Atlanta Gladiators vs. #3 Jacksonville Icemen
Central Division Semifinal 1:
#1 Toledo Walleye vs. #4 Cincinnati Cyclones
Central Division Semifinal: 2: #2 Fort Wayne Komets vs. #3 Wheeling Nailers
Mountain Division Semifinal 1: #1 Utah Grizzlies vs. #4 Tulsa Oilers
Mountain Division Semifinal 2: #2 Rapid City Rush vs. #3 Allen Americans

The 2022 Kelly Cup Playoffs are presented by Evergreen Credit Union. The Mariners Broadcast Network will carry live coverage of games one and two on FloHockey.tv, MarinersOfMaine.com/listen, and the Mixlr App, with pregame coverage starting at 6:45 PM. Tickets for games three, four and five (if necessary) in Portland, are on sale now at MarinersOfMaine.com/playoffs.