Blizzard-Mariners: the logic has been respected

Some shuffling occured during the Yarmouth Mariners’ last visit to the Jean-Daigle Centre as shown on this photo in the second period of February 18 game. Photo Olivier Chiasson

EDMUNDSTON, New Brunswick – The table is set. The logic has been respected. The two best-ranked teams in the overall standings of the Maritime Junior A Hockey League (MHL) will now meet in the final series. The Edmundston Blizzard (36W, 10L, 4OTL – 76PTS) will clash against the Yarmouth Mariners (35W, 14L, 1OTL – 71PTS).

Given the great geographical distance separating the two cities, the first two games will be played at the Jean-Daigle Centre in Edmundston on Saturday and Sunday. Both games start at 7:30 pm. The following two games will be played in Yarmouth next Thursday and Friday.

Edmundston and Yarmouth have had series runs that are similar with reverse stats. The Blizzard swept the Miramichi Timberwolves in four tight games, while the Mariners needed all their little change to defeat the Truro Bearcats in seven games. Then, in the next round, the opposite occurred when the Blizzard fought with energy to eliminate the Summerside Western Capitals in seven games. Meanwhile, the mariners had an easier time defeating the South Shore Lumberjacks in five.

During the regular season, they played three times against each other, with the Mariners winning twice, including one in overtime in Edmundston. The last game game will be remembered in Edmundston on February 18, where no less thant 110 minutes in penalty were handed out by the referees. The Blizzard had won the contest 6-3 but the game ended in brouhaha. Will there be excesses of emotion in the final? It is quite possible based on the Mariners playoff games so far this spring where they have accumulated a lot of penalty minutes. It will certainly be a series focused on skating and roughness. The Blizzard’s players have proven they are able to stand up to anyone.

A comparative look reveals that the two teams are strangely similar in terms of statistics. The Blizzard dominates slightly in most categories. The two goalkeepers, Francis Asselin and Leif hertz, are equivalent. But in February, Asselin was spectacular, as he deserved the first star of the night.

The Blizzard will have to forget the Western Capitals. The Mariners do not have TJ Shea, Brodie MacArthur, Jordan Spence, Dominik Tmej or Alex Bishop in their line-up. They have a balanced team and each line pushes to the wheel, as is the as with the Blizzard. No relaxation will be allowed. The Mariners, on the other hand, will have to check closely the Edmundston’s top three offensive players: Kyle Ward, Logan Johnston and Alexandre Jacob. And if needed to use aggressiveness, the Blizzard can go to war with Patrick Pellerin, Samuel Bastille, Maxime Grandmaison and Alex Lavoie. The secret will be to avoid the penalty box.

In the regular season, the Blizzard has the upper hand on the Mariners in the special teams statistics. The Blizzard was 2ndon the power play (24.4%) and the Mariners 4th(21.1%). In penalty killing situations, Edmundston was 3rd(84.0%) and Yarmouth 5th(83.5%). The only statistic favouring Yarmouth is in terms of goals scored (185, 3rd). Edmundston finished 5thwith 180 goals.

As for the goalkeepers, Blizzard’s Francis Asselin had a goal against average of 2.60 with three shutouts and a .912 save percentage. Leif Hertz of the Mariners had an average of 2.63 with one shutout and a .910 save percentage.

All these statistics will mean nothing when the puck drops on the rink at 7:30 pm Saturday.

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Contact: Hugues Chiasson, vice-president communications – The Edmundston Blizzard; (506) 740-0623 – cell phone