They’re still alive.

Barely.

The Maine Mariners rode a hot start and stellar goaltending from Francois Brassard to a 4-2 ECHL victory over the Worcester Railers on Friday night before a crowd of 3,244 at Cross Insurance Arena.

The victory snapped a five-game losing streak for the Mariners, who must win Saturday night in Manchester and Sunday afternoon at home against Newfoundland to have a chance at the fourth and final playoff berth in the North Division.

“We’re not eliminated yet,” said forward Taylor Cammarata, who scored a pair of power-play goals in the opening period. “We’ll do what we can.”

A fight broke out immediately following the penalty-filled contest, apparently over possession of the game puck. Maine’s Brycen Martin took umbrage at Worcester’s Mike Cornell and was hit with a game misconduct and a crosschecking major, meaning he is likely out for at least Saturday night, and possibly Sunday as well.

“It was kind of a crazy game,” Cammarata said. “They were kind of all over the place out there, cheap shots, but we got through it. We knew we had to win.”

Two weeks ago, the Mariners sat comfortably in third place in the North Division with eight games remaining in the regular season, five of them at home. Going 4-4 from there likely would have ushered the team into the ECHL playoffs in this inaugural season.

That didn’t happen.

Instead, the Mariners turned ice cold. They dropped five in a row and plummeted to sixth place. No longer was their playoff fate in their own hands.

They entered the final weekend without a safety net. They finally righted the ship, however, as Brassard stopped 41 shots, while the Mariners managed just 22 shots, a dozen of them coming in the first period.

Elsewhere in the ECHL, Manchester clinched a berth with a 3-2 shootout victory over Newfoundland. That leaves one spot remaining for either Brampton, Reading or Maine.

The Mariners scored three power-play goals in the first period, two of them during a five-minute major given to Worcester’s Yanick Turcotte for a boarding penalty against Maine defenseman Josh Couturier, who didn’t return until the second period.

Cammarata sprang free twice from near the right post with his back to the end boards. Michael McNicholas assisted on both goals. In between, Dillan Fox tipped in a shot from from Zach Tolkinen.

The whole outburst took a little more than five minutes and surpassed the goal total in four of the Mariners’ five previous games.

Nick Master made it 4-0 midway through the second after receiving a perfect pass from Terrence Wallin, who had just exited the penalty box.

Brassard’s shutout bid ended with a little more the three minutes left in the second when Cornell’s shot from the blue line was redirected by Josh Holmstrom.

It was 4-1 entering the third. Matt Schmalz made it 4-2 with just under seven minutes left, but that was it for Worcester.

“We kind of had a rough stretch,” Cammarata said. “Even if we won just a couple of those five games we lost, we’d be right in the thick of things. But we know we’ve got to win the rest of the games here.”

Glenn Jordan can be reached at 791-6425 or:

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