It’s a tale of two divisions. By the end of the weekend, the Eastlink North playoff teams could all be decided. In the Eastlink South, four teams are battling for three playoff spots and just six points separate the second place Amherst Ramblers (22-17-1-0) from the fifth place Truro Bearcats (16-14-3-4). The head to head matchups become even more critical as we work our way through February.
Before we get to the games, congratulations to Summerside (34-6-0-2) forward Brodie MacArthur who last week tied former Summerside/Pictou County forward Jordan Knox for second all-time in MHL scoring with 342 career points. Next on the list? Halifax Lions/DQ Blizzard star Duane Saulnier, who tallied 352 points from 1986 to 1990. Will the 30-year-old record be broken this season? Summerside have one game this week, so moving into sole possession of 2nd place seems likely. With ten games left, and his current scoring pace, MacArthur projects to gain 22 more points for a total of 364. It’s a big piece of history he’s chasing, and we can’t wait to follow along.
The action this week kicks off on Wednesday with two games. In the first, the aforementioned Bearcats and Ramblers square off at Amherst Stadium. Truro is 2-1-2-1 against Amherst this season with only one game decided by more than one goal, showing just how tight the division is. The Ramblers are coming off three wins in a row, including a 4-1 home victory over the Pictou County Weeks Crushers (20-16-2-0) on Saturday. Truro rallied from 4-0 down in the 3rd period on Saturday to down South Shore 6-5 in overtime at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre on Saturday to stay close to pack. Elsewhere, Grand Falls (13-23-2-3) visits Campbellton (20-13-3-2). The Tigers are one of three teams with just 38 games played this season (Truro and Pictou County are the others), but play four games in five days this week. The Rapids enter the week fourteen points behind Campbellton for the final playoff spot in the North and have 11 games remaining. The Tigers blanked the Rapids 5-0 two weeks ago, but the teams have split the season series.
Two games are scheduled for Thursday. The Edmundston Blizzard (27-8-1-6) begin a Nova Scotia road trip with a stop in New Glasgow. The game will mean a little more this week after the major injury last week to Crushers forward Maxime Grandmaison in Amherst. The 19-year-old spent three seasons with the Edmundston/Dieppe franchise. Pictou County themselves are planning to honour Grandmaison that evening. The night’s other game will have Campbellton home to Fredericton (24-15-3-0). The Red Wings edged the Tigers on home ice just two weeks ago and had a three-game winning streak snapped with a 7-0 loss on Sunday to Summerside.
There are four games on Friday. Amherst, who are playing three games in four days, host Yarmouth (26-12-2-1). The Mariners have won all five meetings this season, including a 7-2 win just before the Christmas Break. Three of Amherst’s 12 remaining games entering the week are against the Mariners, so this is a key matchup as the South’s playoff race shakes out. This is also the MHL Game of the Week, which is free to watch on HockeyTV. The Blizzard make their lone visit to Truro on Friday. The Bearcats beat Edmundston 4-3 in overtime back on November 23rd. South Shore (20-18-3-1) has dropped three in a row since beating the Wildcats 5-2 two weeks ago. Valley (10-29-2-0) split their road trip to New Brunswick last week, edged Grand Falls 6-5 in a shootout but losing 4-1 in Edmundston. Finally, Grand Falls host Miramichi (11-26-3-1). The Timberwolves lost 5-1 to Fredericton on Saturday, but stunned the Western Capitals two days prior in Summerside by a score of 4-3.
Four more games on Saturday. Summerside have their lone game of the week as they face the Timberwolves in Miramichi. Campbellton and Fredericton finish off their home and home, this time at Grant-Harvey Centre. Amherst heads to Valley looking for an important two points against a Wildcats team that hasn’t defeated them yet this season but have played them tough every time on the ice. And in Yarmouth, the Mariners play their first home game in nearly a month as they welcome South Shore. The last time they played, it was an 8-2 win by the Lumberjacks.
The week wraps up with a pair of games on Sunday. Grand Falls and Campbellton meet for the second time this week, but at the E. & P. Sénéchal Centre in an afternoon tilt. That night, the Pictou County Weeks Crushers travel over Mount Thom to face the Truro Bearcats in another key playoff battle. Truro picked up a 4-1 win in New Glasgow on January 16th, while the Crushers won 3-2 in overtime in their last trip to Truro in December.
All games can be viewed on HockeyTV.
|Wed, Feb 5||Grand Falls||Campbellton||Campbellton Memorial Civic Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Wed, Feb 5||Truro||Amherst||Amherst Stadium||7:00 pm AST|
|Thu, Feb 6||Fredericton||Campbellton||Campbellton Memorial Civic Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Thu, Feb 6||Edmundston||Pictou County||Pictou County Wellness Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Fri, Feb 7||Yarmouth||Amherst||Amherst Stadium||7:00 pm AST|
|Fri, Feb 7||Edmundston||Truro||Rath Eastlink Community Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Fri, Feb 7||Valley||South Shore||Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Fri, Feb 7||Miramichi||Grand Falls||E. & P. Sénéchal Centre||7:30 pm AST|
|Sat, Feb 8||Summerside||Miramichi||Miramichi Civic Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Sat, Feb 8||Campbellton||Fredericton||Grant Harvey Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Sat, Feb 8||Amherst||Valley||Kings Mutual Century Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Sat, Feb 8||South Shore||Yarmouth||Mariners Centre||7:30 pm AST|
|Sun, Feb 9||Campbellton||Grand Falls||E. & P. Sénéchal Centre||3:00 pm AST|
|Sun, Feb 9||Pictou County||Truro||Rath Eastlink Community Centre||7:00 pm AST|