Intensity ramps up as MHL schedules enters February

Week 21 of the MHL season finds the schedule entering February, the final full month of action. Edmundston (25-8-1-5) clinched a spot in the Canadian Tire Cup Playoffs this past week, thanks to a win over Amherst (20-17-1-0) and a loss by Grand Falls (12-23-2-2) at the hands of those same Ramblers. They join Summerside (33-5-0-1) as the only teams to have the “x” next to their name as playoff teams. It was a big week for the Western Capitals as well, as the CJHL named them No. 2 in the weekly Top 20 rankings, behind only the Brooks Bandits of the AJHL. It was also a milestone week for teams in the MHL. Logan O’Neil became the franchise scoring leader for South Shore (20-16-2-1), while Matt Barron is now the all-time scoring leader for the Yarmouth Mariners (24-12-2-1).

The action kicks off with a Wednesday night game in Edmundston as the Blizzard host the Campbellton Tigers (19-12-3-2). Edmundston were named an Honourable Mention in the CJHL rankings again this week, coming off home wins over Miramichi (10-25-3-1) and Ramblers. Campbellton downed Grand Falls 5-0 last Thursday before dropping a tight 2-1 decision in Fredericton (23-14-3-0).

Three games are scheduled for Thursday. With how wide open, at this point, spots 2 through 5 are in the Eastlink South, the head to head matchups mean even more right now. Truro (14-14-3-4) are facing the very real possibility of missing the playoffs for the first time since they rejoined the MHL in 1997-98 and are riding a three-game losing streak. They head to Bridgewater for the first of two meetings against the Lumberjacks this week. Truro has games in hand on everyone in the division, but need wins and are playing three games in three days this week. South Shore picked up back to back wins last week, 8-2 over Yarmouth and 5-2 over Valley (9-28-2-0). The Lumberjacks have won three of the five meetings this season against the Bearcats and wins tonight and Saturday can go a long way to solidifying a playoff spot of their own.

Yarmouth have an eight-point lead over South Shore entering this week and hit the road once again, starting in Pictou County. The Mariners bounced back from that loss to the Lumberjacks with a 6-0 win in Truro. The Crushers picked up their first wins in 2020 last week, downing South Shore 4-2 and Amherst 7-3. Pictou County begins the week one point back of the Lumberjacks and one point up on the Ramblers for third in the division. Finally, Miramichi visits Summerside. The Timberwolves dropped a 4-1 decision in Edmundston before an 8-2 loss at home to Fredericton. Summerside have won all five meetings between the two teams, though Miramichi has scored at least three goals in each game.

There are four games scheduled for Friday. Valley are in action as they head on a New Brunswick road trip. The Wildcats begin in Grand Falls. This is the MHL Game of the Week, which is free to watch on HockeyTV. The Wildcats snapped a seven-game losing streak last week with a win over Truro before the loss to South Shore. The Rapids are 15 points back of fourth-place Campbellton entering the week and need the two points. When these teams met in October in Berwick, it was a 4-3 overtime win for Valley. Summerside are back in action in Campbellton. The Tigers have dropped three of four games against Summerside this season, and the teams will play back to back games in just two weeks. Right now, this would also be an opening round Canadian Tire playoff matchup in the Eastlink North. Elsewhere, the Bearcats will be looking to avenge that big loss against Yarmouth as the teams lock horns again at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre, and Amherst travels to Bridgewater to face South Shore. The Ramblers have won three of five meetings this season, including a 4-1 victory over South Shore on January 11th.

It’s another busy Saturday with four games on tap. The Bearcats and Lumberjacks finish off their home and home in Truro. Pictou County is off to Amherst for their final game regular season against the Ramblers this season. The Crushers are 4-2-1-0 in the head to head battle, but the Ramblers have taken two of three in 2020. Valley wraps up their road trip in Edmundston. Fredericton will be watching that result as they try and close ground on the Blizzard for second in the North, but the Red Wings hit the ice in Miramichi.

Speaking of which, Edmundston and Fredericton finish off the week’s schedule with home games on Sunday as the Blizzard welcome the Rapids and Summerside rolls into Fredericton.

All games can be viewed on HockeyTV.

Date Visitor Home Venue Time
Wed, Jan 29 Campbellton Edmundston Centre Jean Daigle 7:30 pm AST
Thu, Jan 30 Miramichi Summerside Credit Union Place 7:00 pm AST
Thu, Jan 30 Truro South Shore Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre 7:00 pm AST
Thu, Jan 30 Yarmouth Pictou County Pictou County Wellness Centre 7:00 pm AST
Fri, Jan 31 Summerside Campbellton Campbellton Memorial Civic Centre 7:00 pm AST
Fri, Jan 31 Yarmouth Truro Rath Eastlink Community Centre 7:00 pm AST
Fri, Jan 31 Amherst South Shore Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre 7:00 pm AST
Fri, Jan 31 Valley Grand Falls E. & P. Sénéchal Centre 7:30 pm AST
Sat, Feb 1 Fredericton Miramichi Miramichi Civic Centre 7:00 pm AST
Sat, Feb 1 Pictou County Amherst Amherst Stadium 7:00 pm AST
Sat, Feb 1 South Shore Truro Rath Eastlink Community Centre 7:00 pm AST
Sat, Feb 1 Valley Edmundston Centre Jean Daigle 7:30 pm AST
Sun, Feb 2 Grand Falls Edmundston Centre Jean Daigle 3:00 pm AST
Sun, Feb 2 Summerside Fredericton Grant Harvey Centre 3:00 pm AST