The Yarmouth Mariners became the first team to book their ticket to the second round of the Canadian Tire Cup Playoffs with a 7-1 win over the Truro Berarcats at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre on Thursday night to punctuate a four-game sweep. It was the third season in a row these teams had met in the opening round of the playoffs, and Yarmouth have now won the last two.
Yarmouth took Game 1 of the series 6-1 on home ice, but things tightened up from there. Game 2 seemed destined for overtime until a two-on-one was finished off by Logan Timmons with just 14.6 seconds left in the 3rd period to give the Mariners a 2-1 win. Game 3 shifted back to Mariners Centre, where the Bearcats grabbed their first lead of the series with a goal from Carson Lanceleve near the middle of the 2nd period. However, Yarmouth would tie it up before the teams got to the dressing room,. After a scoreless third period, Cade Neilson’s second goal of the playoffs would give Yarmouth a 3-2 win in overtime and push Truro to the brink of elimination.
The Mariners got off to a quick start in Game 4 as Neilson scored just 1:21 into the game. Kyle Sexton would take advantage of a miscue behind the Yarmouth net to tie it up at 7:11, but Timmons would get the lead back at 9:23. Yarmouth held the shot advantage throughout the first period, but the teams played it close until the final three minutes of the third period which became The Andrew Martell Show.
The 20-year-old from Dartmouth extended Yarmouth’s lead to 3-1 at 17:16 and added his second of the night at 18:35 to make it 4-1. Off that faceoff Martell skated in and beat Myles Hektor once again, this time at 18:48, for a natural hat trick in just 1:32. That amazing feat gave the Mariners a 5-1 lead after the opening frame. Neilson would add a goal in the 2nd period and Timmons picked up his second of the game with a shorthanded goal in the 3rd as Yarmouth cruised to victory and the next round of the playoffs.
A quick tip for anyone facing the Mariners in the playoffs? Stay out of the penalty box. Yarmouth went 8 for 21 in the series against a Truro squad that was either the best or second best penalty killing team throughout the regular season. In fact, heading into Game 4 Yarmouth had only outscored Truro 5-4 when the teams were 5 on 5. As it stands, Yarmouth scored nine goals at even strength, eight on the powerplay, and one shorthanded.
The Mariners will face the winner of the Amherst/South Shore series in the Eastlink South Division Final.