YARMOUTH, N.S. – The Yarmouth Mariners are one win away from going to the MHL league final.
The Mariners had a 5-3 win in Game 3 played on Wednesday, April 4, in front of another sold-out crowd of 1,501 people to take a 3-0 lead in this Eastlink South Division final best-of-seven-game series with the South Shore Lumberjacks.
The Mariners haven’t been to a league final since 2012. It’ll take four consecutive wins for the South Shore Lumberjacks to reach the final.
Game 3 of this series got off to a slow start – not on the ice but rather off it – when a few minutes into the first period there was a delay as rink staff repaired the framework to a section of glass. The Lumberjacks went back into the dressing room, while the Mariners stayed in the arena, hanging out by their bench.
After the first period resumed, there was no scoring by either team until Aaron Maillet (Matthew Barron) scored six seconds into a power play with 14.9 seconds left in the clock in the first period. Shots on goal were 15-12 in the Lumberjacks’ favour, as the Jacks seemed to have the upper hand for much of the period.
The scoring situation changed in the second period as Ryan Maclellan put the Lumberjack on the scoreboard in a 1-1 tie at 13:05 in the period. The Mariners answered back quickly with Noah McMullin (Matt Smith) scoring on the power play at 14:37 to put the Mariners up 2-1. Some good rebound work widened the gap for the Mariners at 17:14 in the period as Matthew Barron (Luc Poirier) scored shorthanded for the Mariners.
The Mariners looked poised to take a two-goal lead into the dressing room until Logan O’Neil scored for the Lumberjacks with 59.9 seconds left in the second period. The Lumberjacks outshot the Mariners again in the frame, this time 15-10. Yarmouth again added an insurance marker to its tally at 8:18 in the third period on another power play goal – their third of the game – scored by Matt Smith (Barron, Maillet) to put the Mariners up 4-2.
The Lumberjacks scored again at 11:42 off the stick of Hunter Cooley, and outshot the Mariners 11-7 in the final frame. Luc Poirier (Maillet) scored on the Lumberjacks’ empty net with one minute and 3 seconds left in the game to give the Mariners the 5-3 win.
In net for the Mariners Leif Hertz saved 38 of 41 shots. In net for the Lumberjacks, Mackenzie Janes turned away 24 of 28 Mariners shots.
The three stars of the game were Matthew Barron (#1) and Aaron Maillet (#2) of the Mariners and Logan O’Neil (#3) for the Lumberjacks.
The Mariners won Game 1 of this series 6-3 and Game 2 by a score of 7-3. Game 4 goes Friday night in Bridgewater. Game 5, if needed, is back in Yarmouth on Sunday. April 8.
The Eastlink North Division final series, meanwhile, is tied 2-2 between the Edmundston Blizzard and the Summerside Western Capitals. The Capitals won Game 4 on Wednesday night 6-4. Game 5 of that series goes Saturday night.