As the Mariners head into weekend two of their regular season, it will mark the team’s first meeting with the Campbellton Tigers since this past spring when the Mariners swept the team in four games to win the league championship.
The matchup with Campbellton will take place at the Mariners Centre on Saturday evening, Sept. 21.
On Friday, Sept. 20, the Mariners host the Truro Bearcats for these teams' second meeting in a week’s time. The Mariners defeated Truro 5-2 in their home season opener that was held at the Mariners Centre on Friday, Sept. 13.
The Mariners added two more victories in the win column after their season opener, defeating the Miramichi Timberwolves 3-2 on Sept. 14 and defeating the South Shore Lumberjacks 5-2 in a Thursday, Sept. 19 road trip. That last game marked the first game of a three-game back-to-back schedule this week.
At the end of those three games player stats included:
For goals: Jordan McKenna (2G, 5A), Sam Gills (3G, 2A), Matt Barron (1G, 4A), Kaleb Boudreau (2G, 1A), Brendan Sibley (1G, 2A), Jonathan Rees (2G), Daniel Surette (1G, 1A), Bobby Labelle (1G), Thomas Hillier (1A), Ian MacDonald (1A), Ryan Semple (1A). Goalie Justin Sumarah was in net for all three wins.
With those games under their belt, the Mariners sit in first place in the Eastlink South division heading into their two home games at the Fish Tank.
Last weekend’s season opener was a special one for the Mariners. A ceremony was held prior to the game to hand out MHL championship rings to the team’s players, coaches, team staff and ownership following last season. There was also an unveiling of the championship banners the team won last year – the Eastlink South Division Championship banner and the MHL’s Canadian Tire Cup league championship banner.
There was also an introduction of new players to this year’s team.
The home opener also saw some players from last year’s championship team in attendance.
Connor Peveril, Andrew Martell and Chris Goreham all said it was very meaningful to be part of the season opener, even though they no longer play with the team as all graduated from junior A last year.
“It’s always exciting to come back to Yarmouth. Everyone here really embraces us,” Martell said.
And, of course, there was that bling that they got to take back with them, in the form of the championship rings.
What do you think of those, he was asked?
“Oh the rings are awesome, they’re really nice, I’m not talking mine off,” said Martell, who is attending Dalhousie this year.
“It’s nice to have a little bit of ice on your hand,” added Peveril. “Nice to see the fans come out and give them team a nice round of applause.”
Aside from winning the championship, Peveril was asked what his favourite part of last year’s playoffs was. “Probably just being on the bus with the team,” he said. “We had a pretty unique group and we had a lot of fun.”
Goreham said coming back, it was good to see everyone again. “It’s nice to get back in the rink. It was a long summer and we’re all in school, so it’s a good relief to get back,” he said.
Goreham has gone from a player to a coach this year, assisting with the South Shore Major Bantam Lumberjacks, formerly the Western Hurricanes. “It’s a different experience. It’s been fun so far, they’re all great kids,” he said. “They work really hard.”
Asked if he was going to bring his championship ring to a practice, he said for sure. After all, there is a lot of pride in those rings.
In their championship season the Mariners put together one of their best seasons in franchise history. Their 36-9-3-2 regular season record included 18 wins in 25 home ice games. In the playoffs the Mariners swept the Truro Bearcats in four games in the semi-final series and defeated South Shore in six games to win the Eastlink South Division championship. The team swept Campbellton in four games for the league championship.
MHL EASTLINK SOUTH SEASON PREVIEW
The MHL has posted 2019-2020 season previews on its website of the Eastlink South and Eastlink North divisions. Here's what the league had to say about the Mariners in the Eastlink South.
2018-19 in Review
Record: 36-9-3-2 (1st in Eastlink South)
Playoffs: Canadian Tire Cup Champions
Goals For: 219 (2nd)
Goals Against: 142 (4th)
Powerplay: 24.7% (2nd)
Penalty Kill: 78.8% (8th)
Matt Barron (31-41-72)
Brett Crossley (24-38-62, not returning)
Andrew Martell (22-37-59, not returning)
Is a 3rd straight Finals appearance in the cards?
After coming up just short the season prior, the Yarmouth Mariners captured the Canadian Tire Cup in 2018-19. The team lost a phenomenal crop of 20-year-olds, but enter this season with a number of exciting returnees. That includes team captain Matt Barron, who led the Mariners in scoring last season, and three players who broke into the MHL as rookies in 2018-19: Jonathan Rees (5-2-7), Thomas Hillier (5-4-9), and Daniel Surette (4-9-13). Brady Crossley (4-11-15) and Kaleb Boudreau (3-1-4) return on the blueline. The Eastlink South is as wide open as it gets, which might just give the edge to the Mariners with a been there, done that attitude and experience.
Turnover in goal
For as many returnees as Yarmouth has this season, this is the second straight season with two new faces manning the pipes for the Mariners. 19-year-old Justin Sumarah won the Nova Scotia Junior B Hockey League title with the Sackville Blazers last season, where he was named both Rookie of the Year and Playoff MVP. Griffin Kelly was a Second-Team All-Star in the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League last season and selected in the 5th round of June’s draft by the Mariners.
There are just two returnees on defense for the Mariners – Kaleb Boudreau and Brady Crossley. Jack Olson, acquired from the Sicamous Eagles in B.C., 20-year-old Ian MacDonald, and other players from out-of-province such as 18-year-old’s Hunter Livingston and Jackson O’Brien will have the task of replacing a stalwart group of graduating players from last season who were so important to Yarmouth’s back-to-back finals appearances.