YARMOUTH, N.S. – The stage is now set for the MHL’s league final championship series with play beginning between the Yarmouth Mariners and the Edmundston Blizzard on Saturday, April 14 in Edmundston, N.B.
Yarmouth, the Eastlink South Division champions, advanced to the league championship final after winning Game 5 of their series with the South Shore Lumberjacks on April 8.
The Edmundston Blizzard captured the Eastlink North Division championship with a Game 7 win over the Summerside Western Capitals on April 11.
The schedule for the league final is as follows:
• Game 1: Saturday, April 14, 7:30 p.m. in Edmundston
• Game 2: Sunday, April 15, 7:30 p.m. in Edmundston
• Game 3: Thursday, April 19, 7 p.m. in Yarmouth
• Game 4: Friday April 20th 7:30 PM Yarmouth
• Game 5 (if needed): Sunday, April 22 3 p.m. in Edmundston
• Game 6 (if needed): Tuesday, April 24, 7 p.m. in Yarmouth
• Game 7 (if needed): Thursday, April 26, 7:30 p.m. in Edmundston
The Blizzards have home ice advantage for the series because they finished ahead of the Mariners in the regular league season. (Had Summerside won the north division and advanced Yarmouth would have had home ice advantage.) Edmundston finished the regular season in first place overall in the league with 76 points, which translated into 36 wins, 10 losses and four overtime losses.
The Mariners finished the regular season in second place overall in the league with 71 points, which was 35 wins, 14 losses and one overtime loss.
The Mariners and Blizzard met up three times during the season, with the Mariners winning two of those contests. The Mariners edged out the Blizzard 2-1 on Nov. 19 and had a 4-1 win on Jan. 20. In their last meeting of the season Edmundston doubled Yarmouth 6-3 on Feb. 18.
In their respective playoff series, Yarmouth had defeated the Truro Bearcats in seven games before moving on to defeat South Shore in five games. Edmundston had swept their first playoff series with the Miramichi Timberwolves in four games before going the distance with Summerside in the division final.
Asked for his thoughts heading into the league final against the Blizzard, Mariners head coach suggested Yarmouth is going into the series as the underdogs, but that’s not how they’re looking to come out of it.
“We relish being the underdogs,” he said when asked for a quote about this playoff matchup. “They have a great team and are strong at every position and are well coached.”
But Barron said the Mariners have proven themselves to be a strong team this year and have come out of the playoffs series so far even stronger.
“I think this is a special group of kids that have a never die attitude and we have faced some adversity in the playoffs that have made us stronger,” said Barron. “Fans will be treated to a hell of a series.”
The winner of the league final will advance to the Eastern Canadian junior A Fred Page Cup championship being held in Ottawa May 2-6.
This was the Blizzards’ first season in the MHL after the Dieppe Commandos franchise was relocated to Edmundston.
The Mariners haven’t been to a league final since 2012 when they lost in triple overtime in Game 7 against the Woodstock Slammers. In 2008 the Mariners had won the league title in a series with the Slammers, winnin the series in six games.
After their Eastlink South Division win on April 8, Mariners player Duncan McKie told the Tri-County Vanguard, “This is my fourth year in junior so I’ve been waiting my whole junior career for this. It’s a great feeling to finally be able to have the opportunity to win a championship, especially here in Yarmouth. It’s such a great town with such great fans. Everyone is just so supportive of us. It’s just awesome.”
The Mariners will be leaving for Edmundston on Friday to play Games 1 and 2. A fan send-off is planned for the team at the Mariners Centre. People are encouraged to come our at 12:15 p.m.