With teams across the Maritime Hockey League season entering the final third of their schedule, one thing is abundantly clear: there’s still a lot left to be decided. Yarmouth (25-7-3-1) once appeared to be running away with the Eastlink South Division, but a tough month of January has allowed Amherst (24-9-1-1) to enter the week just four points back with a game in hand. Truro (21-11-2-1) are quietly chugging along, in a comfortable position at 3rd, but are eyeing the Ramblers who sit just five points ahead. Pictou County (14-13-3-3) and South Shore (15-14-3-0) appear to be headed down to the wire in the battle for the final playoff spot in the South. Valley (6-25-4-0), meanwhile, get to play the role of spoiler with plenty of in-division games to go.
In the North, Summerside (28-5-0-1) were finally unable to gain a full two points in a game, but are on an absolute tear and remain ranked 5th in the country in the latest CJHL weekly rankings. Campbellton (20-10-2-3) have just a five-point lead over Edmundston (18-12-4-0) for second in the North. Then there’s that final playoff spot in the North, currently held by St. Stephen. (13-20-3-0). Miramichi (13-20-2-0) are one point back. Grand Falls (9-18-3-2) trail St. Stephen by six points, but have four games in hand on the Aces and three on the Timberwolves.
The week of action begins Wednesday in Edmundston as Miramichi come to town. This is the first of two games these teams will play against one another this week. The Blizzard hold a 3-1 advantage in the season series, with a 1-0 home win on December 21st in their last meeting.
The Battle of Mount Thom resumes on Thursday in New Glasgow as the Crushers host the Bearcats. Pictou County are rolling, having put up a 9-0-0-1 record in their past ten games. This is their final head to head matchup of the season, with each having won three times. Truro took five of a possible six points last weekend, and are 5-1-1-0 in January. Summerside are on the same run as the Crushers and hit the ice at Credit Union Place looking to avenge a 5-4 loss against Grand Falls on December 21st; the last time the Western Capitals lost in regulation. (UPDATE: GRAND FALLS AT SUMMERSIDE IS POSTPONED)
Three games highlight Friday’s schedule, starting off with the Game of the Week as Campbellton heads to Berwick to face Valley. The Tigers are 3-0-1-1 in their last five games and are 2-0 against the Wildcats this season. Valley picked up a 6-3 win in their last game over the Rapids and are looking to build momentum as the month nears an end. Next up is another game in Edmundston as the South Shore Lumberjacks begin a tough road trip through New Brunswick. Each team has posted a win in the head to head matchup, with the score being 5-4 each time. Grand Falls are back on the ice on Friday as they host St. Stephen. These teams will meet twice more before the season is out, with the games amplified by the playoff implications. Grand Falls have won three of four games this season, but expect a close game as three of the matchups went to overtime.
Eastlink TV will be at Amherst Stadium on Saturday to broadcast a big divisional matchup between the Crushers and Ramblers. Amherst won the first three meetings, but Pictou County have won the last two and, as mentioned above, this is a very different Crushers squad. The teams will meet twice more before the season is out, with a home and home next month.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Campbellton continue their Nova Scotia road trip as they head to Truro. Their first matchup on October 26th was a thrilling 1-0 shootout win by Truro where the goaltenders combined for 85 saves. Valley are back on home ice against Yarmouth. Surprisingly, these teams haven’t faced off since early November, with the Mariners taking all four games to this point in the season. South Shore head to St. Stephen to face the Aces at the Garcelon Civic Centre. The Lumberjacks picked up a 6-3 win over St. Stephen at home on November 22nd. Finally, Edmundston and Miramichi square off once again, this time at the Miramichi Civic Centre.
The week wraps up Sunday with the end of a long road trip for South Shore as they make their first ever trip to Grand Falls. The teams will meet again in Bridgewater on February 26th.
All games can be viewed on HockeyTV.
|Wed, Jan 23||Miramichi||Edmundston||Centre Jean Daigle||7:30 pm|
|Thu, Jan 24||Truro||Pictou County||Pictou County Wellness Centre||7:00 pm|
|Thu, Jan 24||Grand Falls||Summerside||Credit Union Place||POSTPONED|
|Fri, Jan 25||Campbellton||Valley||Kings Mutual Century Centre||7:00 pm|
|Fri, Jan 25||South Shore||Edmundston||Centre Jean Daigle||7:30 pm|
|Fri, Jan 25||St. Stephen||Grand Falls||E. & P. Sénéchal Centre||7:30 pm|
|Sat, Jan 26||Yarmouth||Valley||Kings Mutual Century Centre||7:00 pm|
|Sat, Jan 26||South Shore||St. Stephen||Garcelon Civic Centre||7:00 pm|
|Sat, Jan 26||Pictou County||Amherst||Amherst Stadium||7:00 pm|
|Sat, Jan 26||Campbellton||Truro||Rath Eastlink Community Centre||7:00 pm|
|Sat, Jan 26||Edmundston||Miramichi||Miramichi Civic Centre||7:30 pm|
|Sun, Jan 27||South Shore||Grand Falls||E. & P. Sénéchal Centre||3:00 pm|