Halifax Beats Yarmouth to Finally Escape from Basement
Troy Ryan was able to sit back and relax on Sunday afternoon as his team won an emotionally draining overtime game vs. the visiting Yarmouth Mariners at the Halifax Forum.
Why was Ryan so casual?
He was reduced to the role of spectator after being suspended in accordance with MJAHL rules. Explain rule.
Despite his absence from the bench, Ryan’s Lions rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat Yarmouth 5-4 in a game that featured a flurry of explosive plays, bone rattling hits, 3 ties, and 3 lead changes.
Not bad for a contest that was an absolute snooze-fest after the first period. As the teams struggled to find their legs and avoid the distraction of the impending Christmas break, it appeared that 1 goal might do the trick as both teams seemed noticeably fatigued, each playing their third game in four days.
A Dylan King goal early in the second period got the fireworks started and the two teams would go on to score a total of 9 goals, featuring 9 different goal scorers.
Yarmouth seemed in control midway through the second period after Neil Coombs scored on a penalty shot to give the Mariners a 3-1 lead.
But Brendan Taylor scored a power play goal with 42 seconds remaining in the second period, followed by a stellar individual effort by Bradley Macdonald early in the third to knot the game at 3.
Cole Harbour’s Michael Crawley scored on the power play to give Yarmouth the lead once more, but Robbie Veriker fired one past Mariner’s goalie Alex Newman right off the faceoff to tie the game at 4 and send it to Overtime.
Travis Perry took control of a loose puck in the neutral zone, put a dandy move on Yarmouth defenseman David Wilband, then fired the game winner high and to the glove hand of Newman to give the Lions their 7th victory in 11 games.
The win gives the Lions a .500 record heading into the Christmas break and propels them out of the basement of the Maurice Bent division.
The Lions now have 26 points, good for fourth place. Yarmouth has 26 points as well, while the Amherst Ramblers take up residence in the basement with 24 points. The Lions have played 4 fewer games than Yarmouth and 7 less than Amherst.
South Carolina’s James O’Reilly had a goal and an assist for the Mariners, while Robert Green of Saint John scored the Mariner’s first goal of the game.
The win capped a wacky and arduous final weekend of first half hockey for the Lions.
On Thursday night the Lions were game for the nationally ranked Woodstock Slammers but faltered down the stretch to lose 5-3. The win was the Slammers 23rd straight and the New Brunswick team has yet to lose a game in regulation time, suffering only 1 shootout loss on the season.
The next night Halifax travelled to Amherst and persevered through a high scoring slugfest with the Ramblers to pull out a 7-5 victory. The game was marred by several fights in front of a raucous crowd which led to the suspension of several Lions’ players, including high scoring winger, Kyle Dilosa. Dilosa, Justin Belanger, and Ben Clarke were each assessed 2 game suspensions in conjunction with MJAHL rules and will each miss 1 more game after serving the first game today.
It’s been a long road to respectability for the Lions. Reaching .500 and getting out of the basement is a big statement for a team that won only 10 games last season, and lost their first three of this campaign.
Halifax is now 12-9-2 in their last 23 games. The team will have over two weeks off before getting back to business on Thursday, January 7th at the Forum, as the Miramichi Timberwolves come to town. Game time is 7:00 and will be webcast on Fasthockey.com.