The Edmundston Blizzard and Yarmouth Mariners continue to hold down the 19th and 20th spots respectively in the latest CJHL Top 20 Weekly Rankings as both clubs continue down the stretch drive of the 2017-18 MHL regular season.
The Blizzard went 2-1 on the week. Making their way to Truro on Wednesday night for the makeup of a previously postponed game, Edmundston scored twice in the second and added the eventual game winner in the third to earn a 3-2 victory over the Bearcats. Logan Johnston’s second goal of the contest at the 13:37 mark of the final stanza proved to be the game winner. Kyle Ward also tallied for the Blizzard while Myles Hektor stopped 22 shots for the win in nets. Making their way to Summerside on Thursday night, Mathieu Blanchard’s shorthanded marker late in the second period would be the only offense the Blizzard could muster in a 5-1 loss to the Western Capitals that snapped a modest three game winning streak for Edmundston. Finally, in Woodstock on Saturday night, the Blizzard engaged in a back and forth contest with the Slammers before finally emerging with a 3-2 triumph. After first period goals by Ward and Johnston, it would be Maxime Grandmaison providing the game winning marker on the powerplay midway through the second period to vault Edmundston back into the win column. Grandmaison, Johnston and Alexandre Bernier each finished with two points on the night while Francis Asselin made 15 save for the win.
With the win, the Blizzard improved their MHL leading record to 30-9-3-0 and 63 points, three ahead of the Mariners for the overall lead and eight more than the Western Capitals for top spot in the Eastlink North Division standings. They will return home for a pair of games this weekend, hosting the St. Stephen Aces on Friday at 7:30 PM before taking on the Mariners on Sunday at 3PM in the final battle of the regular season between the top two teams in the league.
The Mariners went 2-0, taking down the Amherst Ramblers in a pair of contests on home ice by identical 2-1 scores. On Friday night, overtime was required to decide the outcome. Patrick Daley’s goal at the 3:10 mark of the fourth period would prove to be the difference. Luc Poirier, who assisted on Daley’s overtime winner, would also score for the Mariners in regulation as Yarmouth came from behind after 20 minutes of play to earn the victory. Leif Hertz made 27 saves for the win in nets. The following night, Daley would open the scoring while Aaron Maillet potted the eventual game winner on the powerplay midway through the second period as the Mariners held off a third period charge by the Rams for the regulation win. Hertz again made 27 saves as Yarmouth won their sixth straight contest.
That winning streak has propelled the Mariners to within two points of Edmundston for the overall lead in the MHL with a record of 30-11-1 and 61 points. They sit five points ahead of the South Shore Lumberjacks for first place in the Eastlink South Division. The Mariners make their way to Northen New Brunswick this weekend for a challenging three-in-three against three of the top four clubs in the Eastlink North Division. On Friday night, they take on the Tigers in Campbellton at 7:30PM. On Saturday, it’s off to the Miramichi Civic Center and a clash with the Timberwolves, also at 7:30PM. Finally, it’s a marquee matchup in Edmundston versus the Blizzard on Sunday afternoon at 3PM.
Below are the latest CJHL Top 20 Weekly Rankings in their entirety:
1. Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL) (1)
2. Okotoks Oilers (AJHL) (2)
3. Nipawin Hawks (SJHL) (3)
4. Steinbach Pistons (MJHL) (4)
5. Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) (10)
6. Ottawa Jr. ‘A’ Senators (CCHL) (6)
7. Thief River Falls Norskies (SIJHL) (5)
8. Toronto Patriots (OJHL) (7)
9. Battlefords North Stars (SJHL) (11)
10. Les Cobras de Terrebonne (LHJAAAQ) (8)
11. Powassan Voodoos (NOJHL) (9)
12. Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL) (16)
13. Brooks Bandits (AJHL) (12)
14. Penticton Vees (BCHL) (14)
15. College Français de Longueuil (LHJAAAQ) (13)
16. Dryden GM Ice Dogs (SIJHL) (15)
17. Vernon Vipers (BCHL) (NR)
18. North York Rangers (OJHL) (HM)
19. Edmundston Blizzard (MHL) (19)
20. Yarmouth Jr. A Mariners (MHL) (20)
HONOURABLE MENTION: Melfort Mustangs (SJHL); Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL); Georgetown Raiders (OJHL); Oakville Blades (OJHL); Inouk de Granby (LHJAAAQ)
ABOUT THE CJHL: The Canadian Junior Hockey League is made up of the 10 Junior ‘A’ leagues across Canada. Representing 132 teams and over 3,000 players, the CJHL also boast over 2,800 alumni furthering their hockey careers at the NHL, AHL, ECHL, CHL, NCAA and CIS level across North America.
ABOUT THE CJHL RANKINGS: Selected by an independent scouting service, the rankings are based upon a variety of factors, including winning percentage, the league they compete in and strength of schedule.
Will MacLaren – themhl.ca
Rankings Courtesy of www.cjhlhockey.com