MARINERS CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH WITH HUGE THIRD PERIOD
PORTLAND, ME – April 2, 2023 – The Mariners scored five times in the third period to erase a 2-0 deficit, defeat the Tulsa Oilers, and clinch a playoff berth on Sunday afternoon at the Cross Insurance Arena. Tim Doherty registered a natural hat trick, scoring the final three goals of the game.
It took until the 9:49 mark of the 2nd period for the game’s first goal, when Tyler Poulsen cashed home a back door pass from Jackson Leef to put the visiting Oilers into the lead. Leef would then score a goal of his own at 15:48 of the frame, as Kalvyn Watson found him from below the goal line. Tulsa carried a 2-0 lead into the third period.
The comeback began at 4:33 of the third when Reid Stefanson batted a puck out of mid-air that came down behind Riley Morris and got the Mariners on the board. A little over two minutes later, Mitch Fossier wristed home a power play goal to tie it up with his third tally of the weekend. At 7:59, the Mariners took the lead, Fossier and Alex-Olivier Voyer setting up Tim Doherty up for a back door tap-in, breaking an 18-game goal-less drought. Doherty netted another at 14:01 when he shoveled a backhander off an Oiler defenseman, changing direction in front of Morris. He completed the natural hat trick with a shorthanded empty netter at 18:26.
Doherty, Fossier, and Voyer all finished with three points each. Francois Brassard stopped 29 of 31 to earn his 16th victory.
With their 38th victory, the Mariners set a new franchise best, passing the inaugural team of 2018-19. They will compete in the Kelly Cup playoffs for the second straight year. Seeding will be determined over the final six games of the regular season, with the Reading Royals the most likely first round opponent. Maine currently trails Reading by three points for 2nd place with a game in hand.
The Mariners (38-25-2-1) are in Worcester on Wednesday, continuing on the road to Glens Falls on Friday. They return to Portland to begin a four-game season-ending homestand on Sunday, April 9th at 3 PM against Adirondack. The first 1,000 fans will receive a Beacon bobblehead, presented by PetMedic and it’s the final postgame open skate of the season.
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