Mar. 18, 2019 – After dropping a tough game in Worcester on Saturday night, the Mariners returned home for a St. Patrick’s Day afternoon affair that they simply needed to win to keep a hold of third place. With Worcester and Manchester breathing down their collective necks and facing off head-to-head at the DCU Center, the Mariners were down two goals entering the third. But as they’ve proven many times before, you can’t count the Mariners out of any game. Even behind multiple times in a marathon shootout. Sunday’s game became an instant classic and dramatically set the stage for the final nine games of the regular season.
The week that was
Saturday, Mar. 16th – MNE: 3, WOR: 5
Putting their six game head-to-head win streak vs. Worcester on the line, the Mariners took a 1-0 lead early when Dwyer Tschantz tipped home a loose puck on the doorstep. A 1-1 game in the 2nd, the action opened up with teams furiously trading goals. Worcester took 2-1 and 3-2 leads, each quickly answered by Dillan Fox and Michael McNicholas respectively. Dylan Willick gave Worcester another one-goal lead and that one stood up. Barry Almeida added an empty netter in the game’s final minute. Worcester leapfrogged Manchester into a virtual tie with the Mariners – at 69 points each. FULL GAME RECAP
Sunday, Mar. 17th – NFL: 4, MNE: 5/SO
The puck was taking strange bounces in the opening period, as evident by the first two goals – one from Newfoundland’s Brady Ferguson and the answer by Maine’s Drew Melanson. Ferguson would add another goal plus an assist in the period as the Growlers jumped to a 3-1 lead. Dillan Fox briefly made it a one-goal game midway through the 2nd but then committed a turnover allowing Josh Kestner to restore the two goal lead. Melanson and Fox each scored again within a minute of one another near the middle of the third to force OT. In an 18-round shootout that had to be seen to believed, Wade Murphy scored twice to secure the win. FULL GAME RECAP, HIGHLIGHTS, and the FULL SHOOTOUT
Coming up (all times Eastern)
Fri, Mar. 22nd @ Worcester Railers – 7:05 PM (AWAY)
Sun, Mar. 24th vs. Manchester Monarchs – 3:00 PM (HOME) – COUNTRY NIGHT PRESENTED BY 99.9 THE WOLF
Friday will be the Mariners’ final trip to Worcester in the regular season. They are 3-3-0 at the DCU Center. The Railers are currently two points behind Maine for third place and one behind Manchester (who hosts Newfoundland on Wednesday) for fourth. The Monarchs visit Portland for their seventh and final time on Sunday afternoon. As part of Country Night, the first 500 fans through the door will receive a bandanna. 99.9 The Wolf will also be giving away concert tickets to summer shows including Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, and Old Dominion.
Next week, the Mariners embark on their last overnight road trip of the regular season, visiting Reading and Adirondack on March 29th and 30th. As they finish a busy 3-in-3 on the 31st against the Thunder at home, the Mariners will screen D2: The Mighty Ducks on the video board after the game. There are four games in the regular season-ending month of April, three at the Cross Insurance Arena. The full promotional schedule can be found HERE.
Standings update (top 4 make playoffs):
1. Newfoundland: 84 points, 8 games remaining (magic number: 4 pts)
2. Adirondack, 76 points, 8 games remaining (magic number: 12 pts)
3. Maine, 71 points, 9 games remaining (magic number: 17 pts)
4. Manchester, 70 points, 9 games remaining (magic number: 18 pts)
5. Worcester, 69 points, 9 games remaining
6. Brampton, 66 points, 10 games remaining
7. Reading, 63 points, 8 games remaining
*NOTE: The first tiebreaker is ROW (regulation and overtime wins). The Mariners currently hold that tiebreaker over Brampton, Worcester, and Reading, but lose it to Newfoundland, Adirondack, and Manchester.
-The Mariners lead all ECHL teams in wins when trailing after two periods, with 6
-After the 18 round shootout, the Mariners now lead the league in shootout attempts, with 41, and goals, with 15
-The Mariners have the league’s best shootout win percentage, with a 6-1 record (.786) (only Rapid City has more SO wins, with 7)
-Defenseman Brycen Martin became the first player in franchise history to record a three assist game on Sunday