With the 40-game mark in sight for most teams, the playoff races are heating up. As Yarmouth (23-11-2-1) pulls ahead of the pack in the Eastlink South, the four teams separated by just four points are battling for three spots in the Canadian Tire Cup Playoffs. In the North, another win over Edmundston (23-8-1-5) last week puts Summerside (31-5-0-1) 11 points clear of the Blizzard. The Western Capitals also became the first team to clinch a playoff spot on January 16th with their win over Grand Falls (12-20-2-2). Fredericton (21-14-2-0) and Campbellton (18-11-3-2) are battling for third place, which likely means avoiding Summerside in the first round.
The action kicks off on Thursday with three games. Campbellton is on home ice as they lock horns with Grand Falls for the first time in 2020. The Rapids have won three of five meetings this season and virtually all have been nail-biters. Four games have been within two goals, with one decided in overtime and the last two have gone to a shootout. Grand Falls sits 13 points behind Campbellton, so it’s now or never for a playoff push. Next up is another all-North battle as Fredericton hosts Summerside. The Red Wings will be looking to avenge an 8-1 loss on P.E.I. last weekend. Summerside, now ranked 4th in the CJHL, keep adding to their roster. This week they announced the signing of defensemen Ryan Miley from South Dakota. Also of note, the Red Wings will be hosting a celebration of the life of New Brunswick hockey legend Danny Grant.
Finally, it’s a critical game in New Glasgow between the Crushers (18-14-2-0) and Lumberjacks (18-15-2-1). Pictou County has yet to record a victory in 2020, opening the door to the rest of the division. South Shore had just one game last week, beating Truro (14-12-3-4) on home ice to move into a tie with Amherst (19-15-1-0) with 39 points, one more than the Crushers.
Speaking of the Ramblers, they kick off a stretch of three games in three days with a game against the Crushers in one of five games on Friday. Amherst picked up a 4-2 road win over Pictou County last week and look to build some momentum before heading to northern New Brunswick. Truro is on the ice in Berwick against Valley (8-27-2-0). The Wildcats have just three non-divisional games left and can really shape the playoff picture in the South. The Bearcats picked up a 5-1 win over Valley at home two weeks ago. Yarmouth and South Shore battle in Bridgewater. The Lumberjacks have struggled to score against Yarmouth, scoring just eight goals in five losses this season. However, the game on January 4th was only a 2-1 overtime win for the Mariners.
Shifting to the North, Miramichi (10-23-3-1) hits the road to face Edmundston. The Blizzard downed the Timberwolves 6-1 last Wednesday, but Miramichi bounced back with a big 2-1 victory on home ice over Campbellton over the weekend. The action wraps up in Grand Falls as Summerside roll into town. The Rapids have just one win in five games against the Western Capitals, but have limited that potent offense in their last two meetings, dropping games 3-2 and 4-2.
Four games are on tap on Saturday. The MHL Game of the Week is in Edmundston as the Blizzard host the Amherst Ramblers. Edmundston picked up a 4-1 win in Amherst way back on September 28th. Catch the game for free on HockeyTV. Elsewhere, Fredericton is on the road against Miramichi. The Red Wings downed the Timberwolves 9-3 in their last meeting on January 9th. Yarmouth travels to Truro for just the second time this season. The teams will face off at the RECC next week as well. Their last meeting was a 5-1 win for the Bearcats, marking the first time since the 2017-18 playoffs that they had beaten the Mariners. Valley continue their weekend homestand with a game against South Shore. The Wildcats downed the Lumberjacks 4-1 in their last meeting on November 23rd.
The week wraps up with two games on Sunday. The Amherst Ramblers roll into Grand Falls. The Rapids dropped a 4-0 decision in Amherst in mid-October. And in Fredericton, the Red Wings host Campbellton. As mentioned, these teams enter the week separated by just three points. The Tigers have taken all three meetings so far this season, but this will be a rivalry to watch as they go head to head four more times after Sunday.
All games are available to watch on HockeyTV.
|Thu, Jan 23||Grand Falls||Campbellton||Campbellton Memorial Civic Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Thu, Jan 23||Summerside||Fredericton||Grant Harvey Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Thu, Jan 23||South Shore||Pictou County||Pictou County Wellness Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Fri, Jan 24||Pictou County||Amherst||Amherst Stadium||7:00 pm AST|
|Fri, Jan 24||Truro||Valley||Kings Mutual Century Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Fri, Jan 24||Yarmouth||South Shore||Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Fri, Jan 24||Miramichi||Edmundston||Centre Jean Daigle||7:30 pm AST|
|Fri, Jan 24||Summerside||Grand Falls||E. & P. Sénéchal Centre||7:30 pm AST|
|Sat, Jan 25||Fredericton||Miramichi||Miramichi Civic Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Sat, Jan 25||Yarmouth||Truro||Rath Eastlink Community Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Sat, Jan 25||South Shore||Valley||Kings Mutual Century Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Sat, Jan 25||Amherst||Edmundston||Centre Jean Daigle||7:30 pm AST|
|Sun, Jan 26||Campbellton||Fredericton||Grant Harvey Centre||2:00 pm AST|
|Sun, Jan 26||Amherst||Grand Falls||E. & P. Sénéchal Centre||3:00 pm AST|