Happy New Year! The 2019 Maritime Hockey League schedule is set to begin with four straight days of action. As the unofficial second half of the season is ready to begin, teams are primed to jockey for playoff spots and positioning. The deadline for finalizing rosters on January 10th is looming as well.
The action begins in New Glasgow on Thursday with an Eastlink South showdown as the Pictou County Weeks Crushers (10-13-3-2) are home to the Amherst Ramblers (19-7-1-1). The Crushers begin the year as the hottest team in the MHL, having won five straight games to get themselves to within two points of the South Shore Lumberjacks (12-10-3-0) for the fourth and final playoff spot in the division. The Ramblers have win three in a row, outscoring their opposition 19-5 in those games, and are 3-1 against Pictou County this season.
Friday’s schedule has four games, starting in Bridgewater as the Lumberjacks host the Truro Bearcats (16-10-1-1). South Shore swept a home and home against Truro in October with wins in overtime and a shootout. McKullen Astill posted a hat trick in each game. The Ramblers are home to Valley (5-21-3-0), looking for their fourth win in five against against the Wildcats. Valley dropped a home and home with Summerside (22-5-0-0) to end 2018. Then we have a pair of Eastlink North matchups. Miramichi (11-16-2-0) hit the road to play Campbellton (17-10-1-2). The Tigers have won all three games against the Timberwolves this season, and these teams will face off another two times this month. Then in Edmundston, the Blizzard (15-10-3-0) are home to Grand Falls (7-16-3-1). The Rapids have dropped four of five games against the Blizzard this year, but are only seven points back of the final playoff spot in the North.
The Amherst Ramblers hit the ice in Summerside on Saturday for their third game in three days. Could this be a preview of either the MHL Championship or the Fred Page Cup, which Amherst is hosting? The Western Capitals put an exclamation mark on the 2019 with three straight wins and a combined 20-3 score and their high-powered offense shows no signs of slowing down. The St. Stephen Aces (11-16-2-0) make their lone trip to Truro on Saturday. The teams have split their first two meetings, and each has been decided by just one goal. The Blizzard and Tigers play for the sixth time this season, as they meet in Campbellton. The Tigers have won three of five so far against Edmundston, including back to back overtime victories. The league-leading Yarmouth Mariners (24-5-0-1) get their 2019 schedule going as they host South Shore. Surprisingly, this is just the third game between these division rivals, who will meet three times in February and once in March. Finally, the Timberwolves are on home ice against Grand Falls.
The week wraps up Sunday afternoon in Valley as the Aces finish up a Nova Scotia road trip in Berwick against the Valley Wildcats. In their only other matchup this season, St. Stephen picked up a 3-2 win at the Showcase in New Glasgow back in October.
|Thu, Jan 3||Amherst||Pictou County||Pictou County Wellness Centre||7:00 pm|
|Fri, Jan 4||Truro||South Shore||Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre||7:00 pm|
|Fri, Jan 4||Valley||Amherst||Amherst Stadium||7:30 pm|
|Fri, Jan 4||Miramichi||Campbellton||Campbellton Memorial Civic Centre||7:30 pm|
|Fri, Jan 4||Grand Falls||Edmundston||Centre Jean Daigle||7:30 pm|
|Sat, Jan 5||Amherst||Summerside||Credit Union Place||7:00 pm|
|Sat, Jan 5||St. Stephen||Truro||Rath Eastlink Community Centre||7:00 pm|
|Sat, Jan 5||Edmundston||Campbellton||Campbellton Memorial Civic Centre||7:30 pm|
|Sat, Jan 5||South Shore||Yarmouth||Mariners Centre||7:30 pm|
|Sat, Jan 5||Grand Falls||Miramichi||Miramichi Civic Centre||7:30 pm|
|Sun, Jan 6||St. Stephen||Valley||Kings Mutual Century Centre||2:00 pm|