Six days is all that remains in the Maritime Junior Hockey League (MHL) regular season and there are very, very few certainties.
In the Eastlink North, we know the four teams who have qualified for the Canadian Tire Cup Playoffs, but who will finish third? Campbellton (28-16-3-2) is close to clinching a first round matchup with Edmundston (33-9-1-7), but Fredericton (26-19-4-1) still has a shot to avoid Summerside (41-6-1-2) and face the Blizzard instead. The Red Wings will need help, however, as they need to win their final two games and have the Tigers lose their remaining three. Campbellton and Fredericton also close the regular season schedule against each other on Sunday.
In the Eastlink South, Amherst (29-20-1-0) has clinched, joining Yarmouth (25-16-3-3) in the Canadian Tire Cup Playoffs, but all four seeds are up for grabs. Let’s keep this as simple as possible, as the number of permutations are nearly endless. The Mariners, Ramblers, and Pictou County Weeks Crushers (27-19-2-0) can all win the division title. If Yarmouth wins out, they take the division. The Ramblers would need to win out, have the Mariners gain no more than one point, and have the Crushers lose one of their remaining four games. Pictou County wins the division with four wins, and no more than one point by the Mariners. Truro (24-17-3-5) can finish as high as second or out of the playoffs entirely. Oh, and the Crushers could also miss. South Shore (24-21-3-1) winning out, with a lot of help, could vault them above both of those teams. And we haven’t talked about the possibility of three-point games (those decided in overtime or a shootout) throwing everything into chaos. Put it all together, and we’re in for a roller coaster of emotions across the league.
The action kicks off with a massive game on Tuesday as the Crushers host the Lumberjacks in a game rescheduled from last Thursday due to road and weather conditions. A win clinches a playoff spot for Pictou County and would put South Shore on shaky ground, needing wins and for Truro to lose their remaining three games to make the post-season.
There are two games on Wednesday. The Bearcats start their week with a game against the Valley Wildcats (11-36-3-0). Truro picked up three points last week with an overtime win over Fredericton before dropping a 5-4 shootout decision to Yarmouth. The Wildcats are 3-3-0-0 against Truro this season and are always a tough matchup for the Bearcats. Campbellton is also in action, as they host the Blizzard. Edmundston won both of their games last week, including a thrilling 4-2 victory over the Crushers where they scored three goals in the final two minutes of the game to get the win. The Tigers have won five straight, including a crucial 3-2 win over the Red Wings on Sunday.
Two more games are in store for Thursday. Starting in the South, Truro heads to New Glasgow for their last meeting with the Crushers in the regular season. The Bearcats are 3-2-1-1 against Pictou County this season, but the teams have split a pair of 3-2 finals in Truro over the past month. The Rapids will wrap up their second season in Grand Falls with a stop in Miramichi (12-34-3-1). The Timberwolves have lost their past seven games, while the Rapids are winless in three.
Friday’s action includes two key head to head battles in the Eastlink South. Pictou County heads to Bridgewater for a return date with the Lumberjacks, while Amherst visits Yarmouth. The Ramblers have been on an absolute tear of late, outscoring the opposition 30-16 in their past four games. That includes a 6-3 win at Amherst Stadium last Wednesday. Yarmouth snapped a six-game losing streak with the shootout win in Truro. In the North, we possible first round playoff matchups as Summerside travels to Campbellton and the Red Wings visit Edmundston.
Four more games are on the schedule for Saturday. Summerside wrap up their regular season in Miramichi in the lone Eastlink North game. Are you ready, South Division fans? Pictou plays in Yarmouth, Amherst is on the road against South Shore, and Truro travels to face the Valley Wildcats in Berwick. The 2019-20 regular season comes to a close on Sunday as Campbellton is home to Fredericton.
All games can be viewed on HockeyTV.
|Tue, Mar 3||South Shore||Pictou County||Pictou County Wellness Centre||7:30 pm AST|
|Wed, Mar 4||Edmundston||Campbellton||Campbellton Memorial Civic Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Wed, Mar 4||Valley||Truro||Rath Eastlink Community Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Thu, Mar 5||Grand Falls||Miramichi||Miramichi Civic Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Thu, Mar 5||Truro||Pictou County||Pictou County Wellness Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Fri, Mar 6||Summerside||Campbellton||Campbellton Memorial Civic Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Fri, Mar 6||Pictou County||South Shore||Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Fri, Mar 6||Fredericton||Edmundston||Centre Jean Daigle||7:30 pm AST|
|Fri, Mar 6||Amherst||Yarmouth||Mariners Centre||7:30 pm AST|
|Sat, Mar 7||Summerside||Miramichi||Miramichi Civic Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Sat, Mar 7||Truro||Valley||Kings Mutual Century Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Sat, Mar 7||Amherst||South Shore||Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre||7:00 pm AST|
|Sat, Mar 7||Pictou County||Yarmouth||Mariners Centre||7:30 pm AST|
|Sun, Mar 8||Fredericton||Campbellton||Campbellton Memorial Civic Centre||4:00 pm AT|