YARMOUTH, N.S. – Hockey fans cheered, blew horns, rang bells and showed their support as the Yarmouth Mariners left the Mariners Centre over the noon hour on Friday, April 13, to head to Edmundston, N.B. for Games 1 and 2 of the MHL league championship final.
“I’m really excited for them,” said long-time Mariners fan Cliff Gavel. “I’ve been coming to these games since Day 1 and I couldn’t be more excited. I wish I could be on that bus today.”
Gavel used to travel with the team in the early years of the franchise when he used to do the play-by-play over the internet at games. He says one thing is certain, if the series goes to a Game 7 he’ll be in a vehicle making the trip to Edmundston for April 26.
“I wish them the best. I think they’re a great team. They have the ability to win this,” Gavel said. “And like I say, if it goes to a Game 7, I will be in Edmundston.”
Natalie Barron, whose father Laurie is head coach and whose brother Matthew plays on the team, had special words of encouragement for the team.
“Let’s go Yarmouth, let’s go. We can do it, we cannot give up,” she said, drawing cheers from other fans.
The two teams finished the league in first and second place at the conclusion of league play – the Blizzard had 76 points and Yarmouth had 71. But geographically they’re the two farthest teams apart from one another in the MHL.
Games 1 and 2 are being played Saturday, April 14 and Sunday, April 15 in Edmundston. Games 3 and 4 go Thursday, April 19 and Friday, April 20 in Yarmouth.
Mariners player Adam Pilotte scored the game winning goal in the Mariners 4-2 Game 5 win over the South Shore Lumberjacks in which the Mariners captured the Eastlink South Division title.
“It was obviously a great feeling,” Pilotte said about the goal, “but even better was for the team to win that game at home in front of their fans.”
“We’re really excited,” he said before boarding the bus for the start of the league final, saying the team has worked for this goal all year. “We’re know Edmundston is a good team. It’s going to be a battle. But we’re confident and we’re excited to leave.”
The 20-year old defenseman had been acquired by the Mariners at the January trade deadline. Asked about his time in Yarmouth, he said, “It’s awesome. It’s actually the best time of my life. It’s a great town. Great fans. Great hockey team. Well coached . . . everything is awesome.”
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