Closing in on the Christmas Break

We have less than two weeks to go before the league takes a bit of a break over Christmas and teams are looking to make a bit of movement in the standings. It was a big week for two teams, Yarmouth and Summerside, who were ranked 4th and 5th respectively in the CJHL Top 20 on Monday. Both teams have winning percentages over .800. Two teams in the top 10 the last few weeks has been special, but now to have two in the top 5? It’s a great accomplishment and neither team is done yet.

The schedule this week kicks off in New Glasgow on Thursday as the red-hot Pictou County Weeks Crushers (8-13-3-2) host the Truro Bearcats (15-9-1-1). The Crushers have won three in a row and five of their last six games to climb within five points of the South Shore Lumberjacks (12-9-2-0) for the final playoff spot in the Eastlink South. Pictou County’s current run started with a win against the Bearcats on November 22nd, and includes a 5-3 win in Truro last weekend as well. The Bearcats dropped both games last weekend, and are looking to snap a mini two-game slide.

Friday includes the MHL Game of the Week, with an Eastlink North showdown in Grand Falls as the Rapids (6-14-2-1) host the St. Stephen Aces (9-13-2-0). Grand Falls sit in last place in the division, but nothing is out of reach yet, and snapping a six-game losing streak would go a long way to improving their placement in the North. That stretch includes losses in overtime and the shootout, and a pair of one-goal losses as well, showing the fight the Rapids have in their lineup. Remember, the same things were being said about the Crushers not too long ago. St. Stephen picked up two wins last weekend, outscoring Edmundston (12-9-3-0) and Miramichi (11-13-2-0) by a total of 10-3. This is the start of three games in three days for the Aces, and a win here would certainly get their weekend off to a good start. Elsewhere, the Amherst Ramblers (17-7-1-1) begin a two-game road trip in New Brunswick in Campbellton (14-8-1-2). These teams are in second place in their respective divisions. The Tigers are 2-2 this month and dropped a tough 3-0 decision to Summerside (18-4-0-0) on Saturday following a 5-2 win over South Shore. Amherst has topped Campbellton 5-3 in September and then 3-0 at the Showcase in New Glasgow. The Ramblers bounced back from a loss to Yarmouth on Saturday with a big 9-2 win over Valley (4-18-3-0) on Sunday. Speaking of the Wildcats, they travel to South Shore. The Lumberjacks (12-9-2-0) are 3-1 against Valley this season, including an 8-1 win on November 30th.

It’s a busy day on Saturday with five games. The Aces have a tough test as they host the Western Capitals. This is already the sixth matchup between them. St. Stephen won the first game, but Summerside has taken the last four. However, two of those four were 2-1 decisions. Yarmouth (23-4-0-1) makes the long trip to Edmundston. The Mariners beat the Blizzard 5-2 on home ice back at the Showcase in October. Yarmouth has won four straight, while Edmundston had a three-game winning streak snapped against the Aces on Saturday. Valley and Truro meet at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre in their final game before the Christmas Break. Pictou County is 1-0-1-1 against the Lumberjacks this season, and these two teams lock horns in New Glasgow. The Amherst Ramblers are in Miramichi against a Timberwolves team that has dropped five in a row. In their only other game this season, Miramichi beat Amherst 5-2 at the Showcase.

Then on Sunday, we have three games to look forward to.  Yarmouth continues its road trip with a visit to Grand Falls. The Rapids dropped a 2-0 decision to the Mariners at the Showcase. St. Stephen heads to Edmundston, having won all three games between them this season. That includes a 4-2 win over the Blizzard last weekend. A rivalry is renewed to end the weekend as Miramichi travels to Campbellton. The teams have only met twice thus far, both won by the Tigers. Miramichi enters the weekend seven points back of Campbellton in the North, so a win here would obviously help close the gap, and get them closer to the third-place Blizzard.

Thu, Dec 13 Truro Pictou County Pictou County Wellness Centre 7:00 pm
Fri, Dec 14 Valley South Shore Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre 7:00 pm
Fri, Dec 14 Amherst Campbellton Campbellton Memorial Civic Centre 7:30 pm
Fri, Dec 14 St. Stephen Grand Falls E. & P. Sénéchal Centre 7:30 pm
Sat, Dec 15 Valley Truro Rath Eastlink Community Centre 7:00 pm
Sat, Dec 15 South Shore Pictou County Pictou County Wellness Centre 7:00 pm
Sat, Dec 15 Summerside St. Stephen Garcelon Civic Centre 7:00 pm
Sat, Dec 15 Amherst Miramichi Miramichi Civic Centre 7:30 pm
Sat, Dec 15 Yarmouth Edmundston Centre Jean Daigle 7:30 pm
Sun, Dec 16 Yarmouth Grand Falls E. & P. Sénéchal Centre 3:00 pm
Sun, Dec 16 St. Stephen Edmundston Centre Jean Daigle 3:00 pm
Sun, Dec 16 Miramichi Campbellton Campbellton Memorial Civic Centre 7:30 pm