Feb. 18, 2019 – After losing a pair of blowout games on back-to-back nights at home on February 8th and 9th, the Mariners were reeling. They had dropped 12 of 16 games in the 2019 calendar year and were in danger of falling out of the playoff conversation. A much needed Sunday afternoon win and a galvanizing comeback on Wednesday salvaged the home stand and the momentum has carried onto the road, where after a sweep in Norfolk started the trip off right, the Mariners are right back within three points of a playoff spot and feeling good about their game with 20 to go.
The week that wasWednesday, Feb. 13th – WOR: 4, MNE: 5/OT
Returning to divisional play briefly, the Mariners and Railers combined for 33 first period shots, with each team scoring once – Jason Salvaggio for Maine and Barry Almeida for Worcester. The Railers got a pair in the 2nd and another early in the 3rd, to put Maine in a 4-1 hole. Making his team debut, defenseman Josh Couturier got the comeback started with wrist shot off a 3-on-1 rush at the 7:33 mark of the third. Wade Murphy followed with his first goal in a month and then Derek Pratt finished the trio of unlikely heroes, tying the game with a prayer from below the goal line at 18:00 of the 3rd. With the team’s only shot of OT, Brycen Martin completed the comeback and won the game for the Mariners with a short-side snipe. FULL GAME RECAP & HIGHLIGHTS
Friday, Feb. 15th – MNE: 4, NOR: 3/OTMaking their first ever trip to Norfolk, the Mariners fell down 2-0 and then 3-1, but closed back to within one twice on goals by Michael McNicholas (PPG) and Dwyer Tschantz. Greg Chase, returning to his former home arena (Chase was a member of the Admirals in 2015-16), scored the tying goal early in the 3rd, setting the stage for Maine’s second consecutive overtime victory. McNicholas played hero this time, scoring exactly halfway through the 3-on-3 frame, giving the Mariners seven consecutive OT or SO wins, and snapping a four game road losing streak. FULL GAME RECAP & HIGHLIGHTS
Saturday, Feb. 16th – MNE: 4, NOR: 2
The Mariners allowed the first goal of the game once again, but took the lead on goals by Terrence Wallin (1st period) and Dwyer Tschantz (2nd). After the Admirals got even late in the second period, Chase struck again, scoring for his fifth point of the weekend before the frame came to an end. Dillan Fox added insurance in the 3rd and Hannu Toivonen did the rest, making 30 saves for the win in his first start since January 12th. Jason Salvaggio and Brycen Martin each dropped the gloves in the win. FULL GAME RECAP & HIGHLGHTS
Transactions-The Mariners acquired D Josh Couturier from Wheeling for future considerations-F Ty Ronning was recalled to AHL Hartford-F Drew Melanson (recalled) and D Derek Pratt (loaned) moved up to AHL Hartford-The Mariners acquired D Blake Kessel from Jacksonville for future considerations
Coming up (all times Eastern)Weds, Feb. 20th @ Reading Royals – 7:00 PM (AWAY)Fri, Feb. 22nd @ Adirondack Thunder – 7:00 PM (AWAY)Sat, Feb 23rd @ Manchester Monarchs – 6:00 PM (AWAY)Sun, Feb. 24th vs. Worcester Railers – 3:00 PM (HOME)
With four key divisional games coming up, the Mariners are currently in 6th place in the North Division, sitting with the same point total as Reading, one behind Worcester, three behind Manchester, and only four back of Brampton. Maine holds a game in hand on the Railers and two on the Monarchs. An extended win streak could also put them in striking distance of the second place Thunder. Sunday’s brief home return will feature a postgame autograph session with the entire team in the concourse. After the 24th, the Mariners are back on the road until March 6th.
Looking ahead:March will feature six home games and several exciting promotional nights. March 6th is a sensory reduced game and also “Autism Awareness” night. More information on that game is here. On March 8th, the Stanley Cup® is in the building, and on March 9th, it’s Wild Blueberries Night presented by Northeast Charter & Tour, Co. A full promotional schedule is here.
-In the month of February (8 games), Greg Chase has six goals and six assists-The Mariners are 7-0-0-1 in games decided by either OT or a SO, winning their last seven-Last Wednesday’s three-goal third period comeback was the second of this season at the Cross Insurance Arena (Nov. 24 vs. Manchester). There was also less than 13 minutes remaining in the third when they engineered that comeback.-The Mariners current four game win streak is tied for their 2nd longest this season (Nov. 7-14). They won five in a row from Dec. 14-29.