Starting the weekend out on the road, the Maine Mariners traveled to the Colisèe Vidèotron in Troi-Rivières for a victorious Friday night matchup against the Lions. With a first period that seemed to drag on, Mariners’ player Brooklyn Kalmikov got one past former Mariner Zach Bouthillier to get Maine on the board with only 44 seconds left in the period. In the second period, the pace picked up, as the Mariners were able to notch two goals. Chase Zieky scored one at 7:13 in the second, and Curtis Hall had the other at 18:38. Going into the third period with a 3-0 lead, Adam Mechura for Maine made it 4-0 only 22 seconds in. Troi-Rivières only scored once within the game at 1:46 with a goal from former Mariner Alex-Olivier Voyer. The Lions were on a powerplay following Mariners’ Nathan Noel taking a two-minute minor for elbowing, as well as a matching penalty with Troi-Rivières’ Nicolas Lariviere for roughing, which allowed Voyer to score only ten seconds after and get one behind Mariners goalie Brad Arvanitis. Mariners’ Gabe Guertler responded to this a little over a minute later with his goal at 2:53, which was also only 12 seconds into a Mariners powerplay due to the Lions’ Jakov Novak being called for hooking. Now trailing 5-1, the Lions replaced Zach Bouthillier with Joe Vrbetic to guard the net. Even so, less than a minute later, at 3:39 in the period, Maine’s Gabriel Chicoine got one behind him. At 9:46, the Mariners’ top scorer of the season and recent ECHL player of the week, Alex Kile, scored to make the game 7-1. 16:00 into the third, Troi-Rivières’ Nolan Yaremko and Mariners’ Cameron Askew received matching five-minute penalties for fighting. Thirty-six seconds later, Lions player John Parker-Jones was called for a two-minute penalty for interference. The Mariners were able to capitalize on this, and Gabriel Chicoine made it 8-1 with his second of the night at 16:57. After a long two weeks of playing the Reading Royals a total of six times and winning only half of these games, the Mariners showed up and proved that they’re a force to be reckoned with, even if they’re teetering back and forth with last place in the division.
While the Mariners were having a blowout win against Troi-Rivières, their next opponent, the Newfoundland Growlers, fell 4-0 against the #1 team in the North Division, the Adirondack Thunder. Following their loss, the Growlers headed to Maine for two more games on Saturday and Sunday.
Unfortunately for the Mariners, their victory streak would not extend to Saturday night’s game against the Growlers. Kyle Keyser, was in net for the Mariners, as he was recently sent down once again from the Providence Bruins. In net for the Growlers was Vyacheslav Peksa. The first period of the game was relatively uneventful, with no goals and only one penalty, which was given to Maine’s Adam Mechura for high-sticking only 2:11 into the game. Moving into the second period, there were no penalties called, but there were a total of four goals scored. Newfoundland scored at 6:05, 8:58, and 12:00, these by Jackson Berezowski, Zach O’Brien, and Joe Gatenby. The second period saw the Mariners’ first and only goal, which was scored by Ethan Ritchie at 12:43. Technically, the Mariners did score again in the beginning of the first, when they accidentally shot the puck down to their own empty net on a delayed penalty at 4:04. The penalty was against Growlers’ Joe Gatenby for hooking, and their player Todd Skirving was credited with the goal. A scuffle broke out at 9:49 in the third, resulting in Mariners’ Zach Malatesta and Growlers’ Jackson Berezowski receiving matching five-minute fighting penalties. Newfoundland was able to get one more past Keyser, Zach O’Brien’s second of the night, leaving the game with a 5-1 final.
Thankfully, on Sunday afternoon, the Mariners were able to come out on top once again with a 4-2 win over the Growlers. Each team had different goalies in net for this game, both of whom also played for their respective teams in their Friday night matchups. Brad Arvanitits was in for the Mariners and Luke Cavallin for the Growlers. The Mariners won their Friday night game with Arvanitis in net, and the Growlers lost in a scoreless game on Friday with Cavallin in. This outcome repeated itself with Sunday’s win, with Arvanitis in for the Mariners and Cavallin in for the Growlers. This final game of the weekend was one that was filled with penalties as tensions from the previous night’s game only rose higher. The Growlers were first on the board at 9:01 in the first with a goal from Jackson Berezowski, only ten seconds after Mariners’ Gabe Guerter was sent to the box for roughing. Three penalties were called at 14:30 in the first, two against the Mariners and one against the Growlers. Mariners’ Cameron Askew served his time for unsportsmanlike conduct, while both Chase Zieky of the Mariners and Neil Shea of the Growlers served theirs for roughing. Just a few minutes after his penalty, Zieky got Maine on the board with a goal at 18:39. The period ended with matching penalties for Mariners’ Tyler Drevitch and Growlers’ Tate Singleton for roughing.
The Growlers were the only ones to receive any penalties in the second, one to Todd Skirving for holding and the other to Joe Gatenby for slashing. Mariners’ Zieky got his second goal of the night at 10:23 in the second, putting Maine in the lead. The Growlers responded at 17:55 with a goal by Matt Brassard. Going into the third period with a tie game, Mariner’s player Austin Albrecht scored at 1:15 with the game-winning goal for the Mariners, notably playing this night’s game with a cage on due to a broken nose from a hit into the boards Saturday night. The last goal of the game was by Mariners’ Ethan Ritchie at 7:38 in the third. This last period of the weekend was one that was full of penalties. At 4:10, Growlers’ Todd Skirving was called for interference. At 13:05, there were a total of seven penalties dished out between both teams. Alex Sheehy of the Mariners was called for a five-minute major for fighting and a ten-minute penalty for a secondary altercation, which landed him an escort off the ice for the remainder of the game. This would not be the only ejection in the period, as Mariners’ player Nathan Noel would have the same fate. He was called for a two-minute penalty for roughing and a five-minute penalty for fighting. For the Growlers, Joe Gatenby received a five-minute penalty for fighting, and Todd Skirving earned himself five minutes for fighting and ten minutes for the secondary altercation. 17 seconds later, at 13:22, Growlers’ Adam Dawe was called for slashing. 26 seconds after that, Mariners’ Zach Malatesta was called for hooking at 13:48. Only 34 seconds after this, Growlers’ Keenan Suthers was called for boarding at 14:22. 20 seconds later, at 14:42, Growlers’ Matt Brassard received two penalties, a five-minute major, and a ten-minute game misconduct for slashing. This won him a trip off the ice and out of the game. The quick succession of these penalties represents the hostility that was present on the ice. As if two players ejected wasn’t enough for one game, Mariners’ Cam Askew was also sent off after heading to the Growlers’ bench, which resulted in a two-minute penalty for roughing and a ten-minute penalty for inciting at 16:04. Finally, the 24th and final penalty of the game was dished out to Growlers’ Brennan Kapcheck for cross-checking.
The Mariners will return to the ice this Friday, February 2nd, where they will play the first of a three-game series in Portland against the Rapid City Rush, who are currently at #6 in the Mountain Division. Even though both teams sit at the same spot in their respective divisions, the Mariners’ unpredictability will leave each game of these games to truly be a toss-up on who will emerge the champs of the weekend.