The Yarmouth Mariners will be heading to Campbellton with a 2-0 series lead as the MHL’s Canadian Tire Cup league final picks up again on Thursday with Game 3.
On the heels of a 3-0 shutout in Game 1, the Mariners added a 2-1 victory in Game 2 on April 14 before another sold-out crowd of 1,501 people at the Mariners Centre.
“Our battle cry has been when you win, you take 10 minutes and feel good about it and then you get ready for the next one,” head coach Laurie Barron said in an interview after the game. “Obviously it’ll be a different beast up there, a little bigger ice surface. We won’t be in the friendly confines of our arena. But the nice thing is we had the best road record in the league, so we’ve been good on the road and I think with two wins we’ve got a taste of it now.”
The Tigers opened the scoring in Game 2 at 14:40 in the first period, capitalizing on a turnover with Kyle Petten (Dawson Stairs, Francis Thibeault) putting Campbellton on the scoreboard for the first time in this series. But it would also be the only time.
The Mariners answered back three minutes later on a goal by Jonathan Rees (Noah McMullin, Derrick Johnson) that looked to deflect off the stick of a Tigers player before sailing over the shoulder of Campbellton goalie Tristan Gray. The period ended 1-1 with Campbellton having outshot the Mariners 11-7.
The second period saw no scoring but a lot of activity in the penalty box by both teams in a physical period that saw six of the nine penalties called for roughing. The Mariners outshot the Tigers 12-8, leaving both teams with 19 shots on net after two frames.
The only scoring in the third period came from defenseman Noah McMullin who added speed to some slick stick work before firing off a shot near the faceoff circle that hit the same area of the net as the Mariners’ first goal.
Coach Barron gave props to McMullin for that game-winning goal after the game.
“It was spectacular. In playoffs, it tends to be more banging, crashing and whacking one in, but that was just highlight reel,” he said. “For him to play the amount of minutes he does and still have the gas to jump in there and turn the guy inside-out, it was just a picture-perfect shot.”
McMullin was more modest when asked about the goal.
“I was just getting to the end of my shift and I was just trying to get the puck on net and got lucky and it went in,” he said. Despite looking as if he had a lot of juice on the play, McMullin said he was pretty tired as the play came late in his shift.
Asked for his thoughts about the series so far, McMullin said, “They’re a really good team, they’re really well coached.”
But he likes the performance his Mariners team is giving throughout these playoffs.
“We’re peaking at the right time,” he said. “We’re playing the best hockey we have all year.”
That’s saying something since the Mariners ended the regular season in first place in their division and then captured the Eastlink South Division championship after 10 games in two rounds of playoffs. This is the second consecutive year the Mariners play for the league championship.
Last year the Yarmouth fell to the Edmundston Blizzard in Game 6 of the league final.
“We just want to do better than last year,” McMullin said as the Mariners prepare to hit the road for three games in Campbellton.
The final shots of in Game 2 ended 28-27 for the Tigers.
In net for the Mariners stopping 27 of those Tigers’ shots was Tyler Caseley.
Here’s how the rest of playoff series shapes up:
Game 3 – Thursday, April 18, 7:00 pm – Campbellton Memorial Civic Centre
Game 4 – Friday, April 19, 7:00 pm – Campbellton Memorial Civic Centre
Game 5 – Sunday, April 21, 2:00 pm – Campbellton Memorial Civic Centre*
Game 6 – Thursday, April 25, 7:00 pm – Mariners Centre*
Game 7 – Friday, April 26, 7:30 pm – Mariners Centre*