MHL: Ownership, coaching changes big news for league

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We are only nine days into the month of December but there has already been lots of action on and off the ice for various MHL teams. The biggest off ice news pertaining to a change in ownership and a coaching change.

Ken Petrie, outgoing owner of the Bridgewater Lumberjacks, put the team up for sale last month and had the league step in to run the operations of the team while a new owner was found. That owner would be businessman Larry Creaser of Chester, N.S., and the team will now be known as the South Shore Lumberjacks. They will continue to play out of the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Center in Bridgewater.

The second was more of a surprise. The expansion St. Stephen County Aces, off to a 1-23-1 start, accepted the resignation of Head Coach and General Manager Jamie McKinley. A week later, 44-year-old Montreal native Eric Bissonnette has been named the new head coach and general manager. Bissonnette played 176 regular season games with Trois-Rivieres, Laval and Shawinigan in the QMJHL before playing for St. Thomas University before spending many years behind their bench. Bissonnette will join the team for a pair of home games this weekend.

As for on the ice, the week began with the Pictou County Weeks Crushers defeating the Summerside Western Capitals 4-2 in New Glasgow on Thursday night. Luc Poirier and Daniel Walsh both had one goal, one assist performances for the Crushers while Justin Ritcey turned aside 18 Summerside shots in the win.

Five games were played on Friday night.

The Crushers would win their second game in as many days, rallying from a 4-2 first period deficit to defeat the South Shore Lumberjacks 5-4. Stephen MacInnis and Regan Spears scored a goal and an assist in the win while Ritcey would stop 35 shots for his second win of the week. The Miramichi Timberwolves would defend its home ice by defeating the St. Stephen County Aces 7-4. Newly acquired Adam Smith led the Timberwolves with a pair of goals and an assist Jordan Kennedy would also score a pair of goals. The Summerside Western Capitals would drop their second straight road game by losing to the Dieppe Commandos 6-3. Robbie Graham and Lindon Beckwith both recorded five points in the win while Daniel Vautour stopped 33 shots. The Truro Bearcats would defeat the Yarmouth Mariners 8-2 in a spirited affair. Jordan McNaughton led the Bearcats with a hat trick and a pair of assists while Jacob Fancy turned aside 35 shots in the win. The final game of the night would see the Valley Wildcats defeat the Campbellton Tigers 3-2 in Campbellton. Jeremy Butterworth and John Deacon had points on all three Wildcats goals while Chris Clark assisted on both Tigers tallies.

On Saturday night, the Amherst Ramblers would score early and often, defeating the Aces 10-1. Matti Jmaeff, Colby Livingstone and Josh Pugsley all recorded four points for the Ramblers while Kyle Michalovsky stopped 34 shots in the win. The Valley Wildcats would score a pair of second period goals and hang on to defeat the Miramichi Timberwolves 2-1. Anthony Cardinal would record points on both Wildcats goals while Olafr Schmidt stopped 37 of 38 shots in his first appearance with the Wildcats. Finally, the Weeks Crushers would continue their winning ways, travelling to Yarmouth to defeat the Mariners 7-5. Cole Murphy scored four points and Devan Tremblay made a whopping 47 saves in the win for the Crushers.

On Sunday afternoon, the Summerside Western Capitals would build a 3-0 first period lead and narrowly hang on to end the nine-game winning streak of the Woodstock Slammers. Thomas Stavert scored a pair of goals while adding an assist and Brodie Barrick stopped 32 shots in the win. The final game of the week would see the Truro Bearcats travel to Amherst and defeat the Ramblers 3-2 in a shootout. Alex Soumakis and Daniel Perigo both capitalized on shootout chances no Rambler was able to put the puck past Jacob Fancy.

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