Busy week for most teams in Maritime Junior A League
After mother nature took it’s toll on the MHL schedule last week, this week was about making up for lost time. With most of the positioning in the standings locked in place, teams are looking to build momentum heading to the playoffs.
In the Eastlink Division (Nova Scotia), the Truro Bearcats maintained top spot in the division with wins in all three of its games, all at home. They defeated Woodstock 7-2 with Jacob Smith scoring a hat trick and adding two assists in front of Chris Festarini’s 29 saves on Wednesday, then defeated Yarmouth 5-2 on Saturday with Halifax Mooseheads prospect Brandon Pye scoring two goals and picking up an assist. Sunday afternoon they beat the Valley Wildcats 9-3 with both Pye and Smith recording two goals and one assist each. The Bearcats also hold onto to the No. 20 spot in the CJHL weekly Top 20 rankings.
The Weeks Crushers failed to gain any ground on the Bearcats this week as they remain in second place. After winning their first two games of the week, they dropped their final two games and now sit five points behind the Bearcats with four games remaining on the schedule. Former Moncton Wildcats forward Mitchell Deruelle scored two goals in a 3-2 win in Summerside on Monday. Returning home, the Crushers beat Amherst 4-2 on Thursday before a 4-3 loss in Yarmouth on Friday and a 5-3 loss at home against Summerside on Saturday.
The Yarmouth Mariners were able to overtake the Amherst Ramblers for third spot in the Eastlink Division, winning two of its three games this past week. Connor Donaghey scored two goals in defeating the Crushers 4-3 on Friday. The Mariners then traveled to Truro and lost to the Bearcats 5-2 before going to Amherst and defeating the Ramblers 3-2 in overtime on Donaghey’s overtime goal.
The Amherst Ramblers, while slipping one point behind the Mariners, still carry two games in hand, but missed on a chance to keep the Mariners in fourth spot. The Ramblers dropped two of its three games this week. Justin Thomas scored both Ramblers goals in a 4-2 loss in New Glasgow. The Ramblers came home and beat the Dieppe Commandos 6-3 with captain Cam McDonald registering four points. The Ramblers then dropped an overtime decision against Yarmouth 3-2 at home.
The Valley Wildcats also dropped two of its three games. After defeating Dieppe 2-1 on Tuesday, Valley lost 7-2 against Woodstock and then 9-3 in Truro.
The Bridgewater Lumberjacks had a three-game road trip this weekend. They defeated the Campbellton Tigers Friday night 4-3 and were narrowly beaten by Meek Division leading Miramichi 3-2 on Saturday before ending the weekend with an 8-2 loss in Summerside on Sunday.
In the Meek Division (New Brunswick and P.E.I.), The Timberwolves have locked up first spot in the division with two wins over the weekend. They traveled to Woodstock and defeated the Slammers 4-3 with Cole MacDonald’s goal in the shootout. Returning home, team captain Rankyn Campbell scored two goals and they defeated Bridgewater 3-2 with Alex Collette stopping 18 of 20 shots. The Timberwolves were also awarded an Honourable Mention in the CJHL weekly Top 20 Rankings.
The Dieppe Commandos have fallen out of contention for first place in the division and are now fighting to hold on to second place, only four points ahead of Woodstock. The Commandos dropped their first two contests of the week before salvaging a win on Sunday. They lost at home to Valley on Tuesday before being beaten in Amherst 6-3 on Saturday. The Commandos then returned home and had a two-goal performance from Thierry Comtois as well as three-point games from Andrew Meredith and Colton Parsons to defeat the Campbellton Tigers 6-1.
The Woodstock Slammers managed to split their games this week. They started with a 4-3 win in Summerside on Tuesday in large part to a 48 save effort from goaltender Matt Jenkins. The next night they were in Truro and lost to the Bearcats 7-2. Returning home, the Timberwolves defeated the Slammers in a shootout on Friday before traveling to Kentville to play the Valley Wildcats. The Slammers had nine players register two points with Jenkins stopping 34 shots in a 7-2 win.
The Summerside Western Capitals also split their games this week. They began the week with back to back home games Monday and Tuesday, which turned into a 3-2 loss against the Weeks Crushers before being beaten by Woodstock 4-3. The Capitals then ventured out to New Glasgow to play the Crushers and defeated them 5-3 with rookie goaltender Alex Kelly stopping 38 shots. Sunday afternoon Moncton Wildcats prospect Alex Bradley had five points in a big 8-2 win against Bridgewater.
The Campbellton Tigers lost both games this weekend, and end the week on a 15-game losing streak. Sam Castonguay scored two goals in a 4-3 loss at home to Bridgewater on Friday, while in Dieppe on Sunday Nick Phillips scored the only goal in a 6-1 loss.