Teams across the Maritime Junior Hockey League (MHL) are settling in for the final two months of the season after a hectic trade deadline. There were thirteen transactions on deadline day itself, and 29 since the start of 2020. Here’s a rough breakdown, focused on most of the players moving and not the draft picks and future considerations involved.
In the Eastlink North, the league-leading Summerside Western Capitals (29-5-0-1) added more firepower with Carson MacKinnon, who spent the past 4.5 season in the QMJHL, and acquiring Ryan Richards in a deal with Fredericton (19-13-2-0), joining what’s already the most dangerous offense in the league. As mentioned last week, Edmundston (22-7-1-4) made a major acquisition in former Red Wings captain Evan White, who had three assists in his Blizzard debut against Grand Falls (12-19-2-1). They also dealt goaltender Ewan MacDonald to Pictou County (18-12-2-0) and obtained Jonathan Assayag from Spruce Grove of the AJHL. Campbellton (17-10-3-2) acquired Max McPeak from Melville in the SJHL, while Fredericton picked up Braydon Crowe from Powassan of the NOJHL in addition to Aaron Brown and Marc-Antoine Couture back from Edmundston for White.
The Rapids made a pair of deadline day moves. They sent Dawson Wood to South Shore for George Young, Andrew Antle, and the rights to Carter McCluskey. The second deal saw Grand Falls trade Patrick Musico to Fredericton for Tyler Browning and the rights to Dixon MacLeod. Earlier in the week, Grand Falls added Brandon Brazeau from Wellington of the OJHL. Finally, we come to Miramichi (9-22-3-1), who unloaded some big pieces to a pair of Eastlink South rivals. Truro (13-11-3-4), the second-lowest scoring team in the MHL, added the second-leading goal scorer in Jason Imbeault, as well as James Walker and Ben Sheffer for the rights to Evan MacKinnon, Matt Gordon, and Logan Camp. Amherst (18-15-1-0) added defenseman Jack DesRoches, with centre Ryan Penney going back the other way.
In the Eastlink South, Yarmouth (22-11-2-1) added Jake Jurgeneit from Nepean of the CCHL and Carson Lanceleve from the Bearcats. Pictou County sent Sullivan Sparkes to Trenton of the OJHL. After acquiring Ewan MacDonald from the Blizzard, the Crushers dealt goaltender Matt Normore and Malcolm Genge to the Ramblers for Spencer Smith. The Lumberjacks picked up Wood from the Rapids and Bradley Shaw from Cornwall of the CCHL, in addition to getting the rights to Bradley Shaw from Miramichi.
The Ramblers made six deadline day moves, including the acquisition of the rights to Dylan Seitz from Buffalo of the OJHL, a player who spent the last two full seasons in the QMJHL with Moncton. The day prior, Amherst acquired Michael Sack from the Tigers for Oliver Arnfast. The one trade for Truro not yet covered was picking up another defenseman, Jacob Bourchier from Melville. Valley (8-26-2-0), who we’ve become used to seeing as very active this time of year made just one trade, sending the rights to Anderson MacDonald to Summerside for picks and future considerations.
With all of that out of the way, it’s a busy week ahead.
The action kicks off Wednesday with a pair of games in the Eastlink North. Miramichi heads to Edmundston, looking to rebound from a 10-2 loss to the Blizzard on home ice last Saturday. The Timberwolves’ game on Sunday in Campbellton was postponed due to the weather and rescheduled for late February. Fredericton hits the road to play Grand Falls. The Red Wings enter the week just one point ahead of the Tigers for 3rd place in the division, and Campbellton has two games in hand. The Rapids return home for the first time in 2020 looking to snap a three-game losing streak.
There are three games on Thursday. The Blizzard play the second of three games in three nights as they travel to Summerside for a big game with the Western Capitals. Summerside have won five straight games and are ranked 8th in the nation in the first CJHL rankings of 2020, while Edmundston was named an Honourable Mention. This is the seventh meeting between these teams and the Blizzard are 1-3-0-2 against the Caps. Grand Falls and Fredericton finish off a home and home series with a game at Grant-Harvey Centre, Finally, Pictou County is home to face the Bearcats. Truro suffered their first regulation loss in eight games last Friday against Campbellton, but bounced back with a big win over Valley the following night. The Crushers suffered back to back 3-2 losses last week, one in overtime to Campbellton and then the following night in Yarmouth. It’s a cramped South Division, with Pictou County entering the week just one point up on the Lumberjacks and Ramblers, and five up on the Bearcats.
It’s an oddly quiet night on Friday with two games. Yarmouth had a six-game win streak snapped last Saturday following a 5-3 home loss to Summerside, but remain nine points clear of the Crushers atop the division as they head to Amherst. The Ramblers are winless in five games against the Mariners this season. Elsewhere, Campbellton is back on home ice to play Edmundston. The teams have split their last two games, each ending 6-5 in a shootout.
All but two teams are in action on Saturday. The Bearcats and Lumberjacks meet in Bridgewater for the first time since October. Each team has won two games so far, with the latest matchup ending in a 4-1 win for Truro. This is the MHL Game of the Week, which is free to watch on HockeyTV. Fans in Nova Scotia and P.E.I. can also tune in to Eastlink Community TV to watch the Western Capitals take on the Fredericton Red Wings. Join Kevin Northup, Mike Smith, and Matt Beardsley for all the action on channels 10 and 610. Summerside have won four of five games with Fredericton, and the teams will play again next week in Fredericton.
Campbellton and Miramichi lock horns at the Miramichi Civic Centre. Amherst is on the road for a pivotal game with Pictou County. The Crushers have won three of five games this season, and this starts a stretch where Pictou County and Amherst play three weeks in a row. Finally, Yarmouth heads to Berwick to face Valley. The Wildcats are coming off losses to Amherst and Truro last weekend, and look to snap a six-game slide.
All games are available to watch on HockeyTV.
|Wed, Jan 15||Miramichi||Edmundston||Centre Jean Daigle||7:30 pm AST|
|Wed, Jan 15||Fredericton||Grand Falls||E. & P. Sénéchal Centre||7:30 pm AST|
|Thu, Jan 16||Edmundston||Summerside||Credit Union Place||7:00 pm AST|
|Thu, Jan 16||Grand Falls||Fredericton||Grant Harvey Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Thu, Jan 16||Truro||Pictou County||Pictou County Wellness Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Fri, Jan 17||Edmundston||Campbellton||Campbellton Memorial Civic Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Fri, Jan 17||Yarmouth||Amherst||Amherst Stadium||7:00 pm AST|
|Sat, Jan 18||Campbellton||Miramichi||Miramichi Civic Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Sat, Jan 18||Fredericton||Summerside||Credit Union Place||7:00 pm AST|
|Sat, Jan 18||Yarmouth||Valley||Kings Mutual Century Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Sat, Jan 18||Truro||South Shore||Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Sat, Jan 18||Amherst||Pictou County||Pictou County Wellness Centre||7:00 pm AST|