Feb. 24, 2020 – It’s been a major grind for the Mariners through the first two months of 2020. After playing 15 games in January, the Mariners will wind down their 14-game February with two this week – and a third on Sunday to open March. 2020’s third month will provide some relief – with a total of 11 games, seven of which are at home, and nine of which are played in New England (Portland or Worcester). The Mariners sit third in the North Division, ten points up on a playoff spot, in a sandwich between second and fourth place, with a two point buffer in each direction. Sunday afternoon begins a big four game home stand and features an appearance by the Kelly Cup and the honoring of a local hero.
The week that was
Tues, Feb. 18th – MNE: 2, NFL: 1
For as good as Francois Brassard was on Saturday, he was even better Tuesday, making 34 saves to help the Mariners take back-to-back games in Newfoundland. Aaron Luchuk, who would be traded the following day, scored the lone first period goal for the Growlers before Greg Chase tied it up in the 2nd period. Terrence Wallin netted his team-leading seventh game-winner midway through the third. FULL GAME RECAP & HIGHLIGHTS
Weds, Feb. 19th – MNE: 5, NFL: 2
Despite giving up the first goal of the game for the third time in four contests at Mile One Centre, the Mariners jumped on Growler goalie Maxsim Zhukov with three in the first from Conner Bleackley, Dillan Fox, and Alex Kile – Kile’s goal coming on a 5-on-3. Newfoundland got the game back to a one-goal margin in the third but Kile score again to restore the two goal lead. Ryan Culkin’s empty netter capped off the third win in a row at Mile One Centre – a first for a visiting opponent in Growlers franchise history. FULL GAME RECAP & HIGHLIGHTS
Sat, Feb 22nd – MNE: 2, ADK: 1
The Mariners continued a stellar run defensively, keeping their opponent to two or fewer goals for the fifth game in a row, as goals from Bleackley and Kile were enough for Connor LaCouvee. The Thunder didn’t score until midway through the third period, when Mike Szmatula banked one off LaCouvee’s back from below the goal line. The Mariners win in Glens Falls was their seventh in a row, and they improved to 12-4-0-0 overall against the Thunder this season. FULL GAME RECAP
Sun, Feb 23rd – NFL: 4, MNE: 1
A visibly fatigued Mariners team just didn’t have it from the get-go in their return to Portland after the five game trip. The Growlers pounced early with a pair of goals before the game was five minutes old and when they took a 3-0 lead through one, the hole was too deep for the Mariners to climb out of. Jeff Taylor scored Maine’s lone goal while Justin Brazeau and Evan Neugold had two points each for a Newfoundland team that snapped a four game losing streak. The Growlers took a very even season series, 6-5. Over 3,000 fans turned out on a Sunday afternoon for “Miracle Night,” as the Mariners wore 1980 Team USA-inspired uniforms and screen the movie after the game. FULL GAME RECAP & HIGHLIGHTS
This week’s schedule (all times Eastern)
Weds, Feb. 26 @ Reading Royals – 7:00 PM (AWAY)
Fri, Feb. 28 @ Wheeling Nailers – 7:05 PM (AWAY)
Sun, Mar. 1 vs. South Carolina Stingrays – 3:00 PM (HOME) – TICKETS
The Mariners jump back on the road for a pair of games, Wednesday at Reading and Friday at Wheeling. Wednesday night’s game will be a battle for 2nd place in the North Division, with the Mariners currently trailing the Royals by two points. Friday’s trip to Wheeling is the first ever in Mariners history. The Nailers came to Portland last February and lost to the Mariners, 4-1. All games air on the Mariners Broadcast Network, with pregame coverage beginning 15 minutes prior to puck drop. The radio broadcast streams free on MarinersOfMaine.com/listen or the Mixlr App. A video stream is available on a subscription or pay-per-view bases through ECHL.tv in HD, with the “AWAY” audio option carrying the Mariners broadcast.
On Sunday afternoon, Northeast Charter and Tour Co. presents “Reading Night,” as the Mariners will recognize members of their inaugural “Read with ME” summer reading program. The ECHL’s championship trophy, the Kelly Cup will also be in the building for fans to view and take photos with. During the 2nd intermission, the Captain Joel Barnes Community Service Award will be handed out to one of three finalists, which were named this past week. Captain Barnes tragically passed away in the line of duty exactly one year ago to the day of the game. The Mariners’ opponent is the South Carolina Stingrays, who currently possess the best record in the ECHL. Puck drop is 3 PM, and fans can skate with the team after the game. Groups of 10 or more can get discounted tickets by calling 833-GO-MAINE. Individual tickets can be purchased at MarinersOfMaine.com, at the Trusted Choice Box Office inside the Cross Insurance Arena, or by calling 207-775-3458. For all Saturday and Sunday home games, Family Four Packs are available when purchased in advance. Family four packs include four tickets, four food and drink vouchers, and four Mariners can koozies, starting at $80.
The Mariners “Magic Number” is calculated by the combination of points gained and points “not gained” by the first non-playoff team (Adirondack). For example, each Mariners win reduces the number by two, and each overtime or shootout loss reduces it by one. Conversely, each Adirondack regulation loss reduces the number by two, and each Adirondack overtime or shootout loss reduces it by one. The top four teams in the division make the playoffs, with the top two getting “home ice advantage” in the first round.
The Mariners remain home for the first four games of March. On March 6th, it’s Throwback Night against the Reading Royals at 7:15 PM presented by Partners Bank, as the Mariners wear original Mariners jerseys with Mariners AHL alumni on hand. Sunday March 8th is “I Love the 90s” against Worcester at 3 PM with a postgame full team autograph session after the game. The full promotional schedule can be found here.
The Mariners and the Cross Insurance Arena are collecting books for the remainder of the regular season for Ronald McDonald Charities of Maine. Fans who donate three or more books will receive a ticket to a Mariners weekday game. Both children’s and adult’s book donations are welcomed. Items MUST be donated at the Promotions Port to the right of the main security gates. While donations will be accepted at the Mariners office and other Cross Insurance Arena events, fans are not eligible to receive tickets unless the items are donated at a Mariners game