MARINERS WEEKLY: Photo Finish Coming in North Division Playoff Race
Mar. 25, 2019 – Sunday’s home loss to Manchester was only the Mariners’ third regulation loss since February 9th, yet it dropped Maine out of third place in the North, and reduced their playoff cushion to just a single point heading into the final two weeks of the season. Realistically, the Mariners could finish as high as 2nd place or as low as 7th, a chaotic reality that is right in line with how the North Division has unfolded all season long. The Mariners still control their own destiny, with more games remaining than any team in the division, and a relatively favorable strength of schedule. Still, it seems destined that nothing will truly be decided until the season’s final day on April 7th.
The week that was
Friday, Mar. 22nd – MNE: 2, WOR: 1/OT
It was the second trip to the DCU Center for the Mariners in six days after a 5-3 loss the previous Saturday. Worcester defenseman Tyler Mueller put the Railers on the board early and the 1-0 score held up until nearly the midway point of the third when Greg Chase deflected in Johnny Coughlin’s shot from the left circle to even it up. Chase showed impressive hand-eye coordination when he then scored a baseball-swing OT winner at the three minute mark of the extra session, giving the Mariners a 6-0 record in OT/SO against the Railers this season and a crucial two points. FULL GAME RECAP & HIGHLIGHTS
Sunday, Mar. 24th – MAN: 6, MNE: 2
The Mariners fell into a 3-0 first period hole, but showed signs of life when Brycen Martin scored a power play goal late in the opening period. The power play struggled the rest of the game, however, going 1/8 and preventing the Mariners from gaining any momentum. Manchester eventually built a 6-1 lead and cruised to victory, stealing 3rd place out of Maine’s clutches. Nick Master, recently signed forward out of UMass-Lowell, had an assist in his pro debut, setting up Dillan Fox for the second Mariners goal. FULL GAME RECAP & HIGHLIGHTS
Transactions-F Greg Chase was returned on loan from Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL)-F Drew Melanson was recalled to the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL)-The Mariners signed G Francois Brassard to a SPC-The Mariners signed F Nick Master to a SPC-F Morgan Adams-Moisan was recalled to the Laval Rocket (AHL)-The Mariners signed D Richie Boyd to a SPC-F Greg Chase was loaned to Hartford, F Drew Melanson reassigned to Maine
Coming up (all times Eastern)Fri, Mar. 29th @ Reading Royals – 7:00 PM (AWAY)Sat, Mar. 30th @ Adirondack Thunder – 7:00 PM (AWAY)Sun, Mar. 31st vs. Adirondack Thunder – 3:00 PM (HOME) – MIGHTY DUCKS NIGHT WITH POSTGAME MOVIE
The Mariners have an extremely busy final two weeks with three games in three days on consecutive weekends. Friday is the final visit of the season to Reading as the Royals cling to their playoff lives. The weekend home-and-home with Adirondack will likely decide whether or not the Mariners have a chance at the #2 seed. Sunday afternoon’s game features a postgame screening of D2: The Mighty Ducks on the video board. Julie “The Cat” Gaffney, one of the main characters in the movie, is portrayed as a native of Bangor. Sunday is also Youth Hockey Night and Hospitality Industry Night.
Looking ahead:Four games remain after Sunday, three at home. The Mariners host Reading on Wednesday, April 3rd and Worcester on Friday, April 5th. Boston Bruins NESN TV host and former Maine Mariners AHL broadcaster, Dale Arnold will make a pregame appearance on April 5th, with copies of his book, If These Walls Could Talk for sale. The final road game of the regular season is in Manchester on Saturday, March 6th and the regular season concludes with the Newfoundland Growlers visiting the Cross Insurance Arena on Sunday, March 7th at 3:00 PM.
Standings update (top 4 make playoffs):1. Newfoundland: 88 points, 5 games remaining (clinched playoffs)2. Adirondack, 76 points, 6 games remaining (magic number: 11 pts)3. Manchester, 74 points, 6 games remaining (magic number: 13 pts)4. Maine, 73 points, 7 games remaining (magic number: 14 pts)5. Brampton, 72 points, 7 games remaining6. Worcester, 70 points, 6 games remaining7. Reading, 68 points, 6 games remaining
*NOTE: The first tiebreaker is ROW (regulation and overtime wins). The Mariners currently hold that tiebreaker over Worcester and Reading, but lose it to Newfoundland, Adirondack, and Manchester, and Brampton.
Fun Facts-The Mariners lead all ECHL teams in wins when trailing after two periods, with 7-The Mariners lead the ECHL in extra time wins, with 12 (6 OT, 6 SO) and OT/SO win percentage (.800)-The Mariners are 9-4-0 against Worcester this year, 6-0 in extra time, and 12 of the 13 games have been decided by 2 or fewer goals
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