Mar. 4, 2019 – When the Mariners were staring down a stretch of 8 out of 9 games on the road in the middle of February, head coach Riley Armstrong called it a “make or break” run. Maine was 8-15-0 on the road at that point and teetering on the edge of the playoff picture. The Mariners went 6-1-1 in those eight games, now with points in 10 of their last 11 games and are in prime position to make a run for as high as 2nd place in the division, as the true “home stretch” begins this week.
The week that was
Sunday, Feb. 24th – WOR: 3, MNE: 4/SO
Coming from behind yet again, the Mariners continued to have Worcester’s number has they eked out a shootout win for their sixth straight head-to-head victory against the Railers. Dillan Fox erased a 2-0 deficit with a pair of goals in the second period and Johnny McInnis answered Bo Brauer’s go-ahead goal early in the third. The shootout was filled with drama, going seven rounds, finally ending with the combination of a Josh Couturier goal and a Hannu Toivonen save on Matty Gaudreau. FULL GAME RECAP & HIGHLIGHTS
Wednesday, Feb. 27th – MNE: 4, UTA: 1
The first of three games in Utah got off to a slightly rocky start when the Mariners allowed a power play goal just 1:07 into the game. Finding their legs in the second period, Greg Chase capped off his remarkable month with his 9th goal of February to tie the game at one. Three in the third sparked by Terrence Wallin’s shorthanded goal powered the Mariners to a 4-1 win. Josh Couturier and Taylor Cammarata provided the insurance. FULL GAME RECAP & HIGHLIGHTS
Friday, Mar 1st – MNE: 4, UTA: 3/SOThere must have been a full moon in Utah because Friday was unquestionable the “weirdest” game of the season. Five on five play was rare, as the teams totaled a combined 19 power play attempts – Maine going 0/12 including a seven minute man advantage. Both teams also had a 5 on 3 at one point. Despite failing on the power play, the Mariners built up a 3-1 lead on a pair of goals by Dillan Fox and one scored 4-on-4 by Johnny McInnis. Although he let the lead slip away in the 3rd, Hannu Toivonen was terrific in helping the Mariners survive through overtime, after which Fox scored the only goal of a four round shootout and Toivonen was perfect. It was the 10th consecutive Mariners OT or SO win. FULL GAME RECAP & HIGHLIGHTS
Saturday, Mar 2nd– MNE: 3, UTA: 4/OT
John Furgele scored twice but the power play slump continued as the Mariners went 0/6 and 0/23 in the three game Utah series. Missed opportunities allowed for Utah to rally from a pair of one goal deficits and Josh Dickinson quickly ended the game in OT with a nice dangle and a quick shot that beat Connor LaCouvee just 21 seconds in. It was the first 3-on-3 OT loss in Mariners history. FULL GAME RECAP
Transactions-The Mariners signed G Domenic Graham
Coming up (all times Eastern)Weds, Mar. 6th vs. Norfolk Admirals – 7:00 PM (HOME) – SENSORY REDUCED GAME FOR AUTISM AWARENESSFri, Mar. 8th vs. South Carolina Stingrays – 7:15 PM (HOME) – STANLEY CUP NIGHTSat, Mar. 9th vs. South Carolina Stingrays – 6:00 PM (HOME) – WILD BLUEBERRIES NIGHT (PRES. BY NORTHEAST CHARTER & TOUR CO.)
The Mariners have three at home this week, all against South Division opponents. Wednesday night is a “Sensory Reduced” game, which will cater to fans who are normally unable to enjoy a Mariners game due to the loud and chaotic environment. Music and public address announcements will be lowered, no goal horn will be utilized, and quiet spaces will be made available in multiple spots throughout the arena. A full breakdown of details can be found HERE. On Friday, the Stanley Cup will visit the Cross Insurance Arena, with fans having the opportunity to take a photo with it in the C.N. Brown Landing. It’s also a 1-2-3 Friday: $1 hot dogs, $2 popcorn, and $3 Bud Light Drafts through the start of the 2nd period. The week concludes on Saturday with “Wild Blueberries Night” presented by Northeast Charter and Tour Co. The Mariners will wear special Wild Blueberries jerseys, to honor the second-place finisher in the offseason naming contest. The jerseys will be auctioned live after the game. The first 2,000 fans will receive a Wild Blueberries logo cup sponsored by Binnie Media.
Looking ahead:The schedule mellows out of a bit for the Mariners in the coming weeks, as they do not play another Wednesday game until April 3rd. There are three consecutive Sunday home games March 17th, 24th, and 31st which include Beacon’s Birthday Bash presented by Evergreen Credit Union, Country Night presented by 99.9 the Wolf, and Mighty Ducks Night featuring a postgame movie. The full promotional schedule can be found HERE.
Standings update:The Mariners currently sit in a 3rd place tie with the Manchester Monarchs – each team with 64 points but the Mariners holding a game in hand. The Adirondack Thunder have a 5 point edge for 2nd place. The Brampton Beast sit two points behind Maine and Manchester for the fourth and final playoff spot, holding a game in hand on the Mariners and two on the Monarchs. Reading and Worcester are currently five points off the playoff pace. Newfoundland leads the division with 76 points.