Two weeks ago, the Maine Mariners had to win a game at Adirondack to extend their season. Now, the Mariners need to do that again, only twice.

The Adirondack Thunder took a 3-2 lead Sunday in their ECHL best-of-seven first-round playoff series with the Mariners, earning a 3-0 win in Game 5 in front of 2,901 fans at Cross Insurance Arena.

“Our final (regular-season) home game, we talked to each other and said make sure this isn’t the final salute to the fans. That’s our message right now. Make sure it wasn’t the final salute,” Maine Coach Terrence Wallin said. “We have a chance to go out there and win two games. I told the guys, if you don’t think we can win the series, I think you’re crazy, because we’ve carried the majority of the series. I firmly believe that.”

Maine won at Adirondack in the final game of the regular season to qualify for the playoffs, then opened the playoffs with another road victory over the Thunder. Game 6 is 7 p.m. Tuesday at Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls, New York. If Maine wins, Game 7 will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, also in Glens Falls.

Sunday’s game came on the heels of a missed opportunity for the Mariners on Saturday night. Maine led 3-1 after two periods in Game 4 but surrendered four goals in the third for a 5-3 Adirondack win that knotted the series.

“We thought we let (Saturday) night slip away, and we definitely had a chance tonight,” said Maine goalie Shane Starrett, who made 27 saves in his first start of the playoffs. “It’s a best-of-seven, but we played them the last four games of the regular season, so it’s best-of-11, it feels like. Are they the only team in the league?”


With his team playing for the third day in a row, Wallin went with Starrett in goal rather than Brad Arvanitis, who started the first four games of the series.

“No complains about (Starrett). I thought he stepped up and did a really good job for us. You’re not going to win many games scoring zero goals,” Wallin said.

Starrett had not played since the next-to-last game of the regular season, a 4-3 loss at Adirondack on April 13.

“I felt pretty good, especially at the start of that game. This is my seventh year pro, so this isn’t my first playoff, especially in this league. I just wanted to give my team the best chance (to win),” Starrett said.

Adirondack took a 1-0 lead at 3:35 of the second period. After Will MacKinnon’s shot from the left circle hit the post, Ryan Wheeler knocked home the rebound.

Filip Engaras scored at 2:09 of the third period to push the lead to 2-0. Tristan Ashbrook added an empty-net goal at 19:38.


Maine had a pair of short-handed bids in the second period but was unable to convert. First, Adam Mechura’s shot on a breakaway went high with just under eight minutes to play in the period. Four minutes later, Alex Kile’s shot was denied when Thunder goalie Isaac Poulter made a left pad save.

“We had our chances. We couldn’t bury those, but I don’t question our guys’ effort. I don’t really question our execution until maybe a little bit in the third when I thought we started to press a little bit,” Wallin said. “Our penalty kill’s kind of been a cog for us in the playoffs. Those two short-handed chances, you’d like to get one of those, because you score a shorty, obviously, the momentum swings heavily in your favor.”

Poulter finished with 32 saves.

“Kudos to Poulter. He played a heck of a game,” Wallin said.

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