EDMUNDSTON, New Brunswick – The Yarmouth Mariners completed their sweep to capture the 2023 MHL Cup title when they defeated the Edmundston Blizzard 5-1 Friday night at the Jean-Daigle Centre in front of a record crowd of 2,859.
The Mariners became the first team in Maritime Junior Hockey League playoff history to sweep their three series. They first eliminated the Pictou County Weeks Crushers 4-0, then the Truro Bearcats 4-0 and finally the Edmundston Blizzard 4-0.
On Friday at the Jean-Daigle Centre, the Blizzard got on the scoreboard first, something they had not been able to do in the first three games. By giving the Blizzard a 1-0 lead at the 8th minute of the first period, Oliver Coulombe gave Edmundston and its fans new hope. But the celebrations were short lived as the Mariners struck with lightning speed at the end of the first period. They scored three goals at 16:03, 17:35 and 19:57 to go back to the dressing room with a comfortable 3-1 lead.
The Mariners then added a goal in the second and another in the third to seal the win.
Franco Canevari, twice, Reilly Mayne, Michael Marquez and Ryan Semple scored for the champions.
First star of the game and playoff MVP Joey Lovullo turned aside an impressive 44 shots. He has defended the Mariners cage in 10 of 12 games. In addition to his perfect 10-game winning streak, the 19-year-old American has maintained a 1.80 goals-against-average and a .939 save percentage. Rookie Samuel LeBlanc started the game in front of the Blizzard cage. He was pulled in favor of Thomas Boucher after conceding a fourth goal to the Mariners in the second period. The two Blizzard goalies received 27 shots.
Blizzard captain Mitchell McLeod was selected as the game’s second star, while the third star went to Michael Marquez.
This was the second time in the Blizzard’s young history that they faced the Yarmouth Mariners in the post-season. The Blizzard had defeated the Mariners in the 2018 series finale in six games (4-2).
The Mariners will represent the MHL at the Centennial Cup National Championship, presented in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, May 11-21.
Champions of the Eastlink North Division, the Blizzard were never able to impose their rhythm against a very well balanced and flawless team that the Mariners represented. In the previous rounds, the Blizzard beat the Miramichi Timberwolves in six games and the Summerside Western Capitals in four.
The Blizzard will need to replenish their roster as they will lose eight 20-year-olds who were the core of the team: Olivier Coulombe, Alex Arsenault, Jérémy Duguay, Patrick LeBlanc, Tristan Fortin, Thomas Boucher, Mitchell McLeod and Brandon Casey. General Manager Steve MacPherson and his colleagues will now have the task, in the coming weeks, of preparing for the MHL draft.
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Yarmouth Mariners won their first playoff championship since the 2019 season. Photo by Percy Picard
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Contact: Hugues Chiasson, vice-president communications – The Edmundston Blizzard; (506) 740-0623 – cell phone