And then there were two. Following a pair of semi-final sweeps, the Pinnacle Growlers and Traction Central Impact will meet for the NLU18MHL Championship. The top seeded Growlers eliminated the Tri Pen Osprey in four games, while the third seeded Impact upset the East Coast Blizzard in four games to book their spot in the league finals.
During the regular season, the Growlers won the season series over the Impact 6 – 2. During those 8 head-to-head matches, the Growlers scored 33 goals while Central had 18.
After four games played for all teams in the post-season, two Central players lead the playoff scoring race. Ethan Simms scored 7 goals and 11 points in his four games against the Blizzard, including a pair of hattrick performances. Not far behind is Alex Kelloway who tallied 3 goals and 6 assists over four games. Mark Corbett leads the Pinnacle Growlers in playoff scoring with 5 goals and 6 points through four games. Liam Hodder, Finley Dobbin and Nolan Avery each have 5 points for the Growlers.
In the crease, the goalies have been spectacular. Clay Ryan and Jack Barrington each played two games for the Growlers in their semi-final win. Ryan made 53 saves on 59 shots over two games, giving him a 3.00 GAA and an .898 save percentage. Barrington meanwhile allowed just 1 goal over his two wins, making 62 saves. Barrington posted a 0.5 GAA and an .984 save percentage. Adam Hedges played every minute of the Impact's four-game win over the Blizzard. Hedges stopped 127 of 137 shots against, including 56 saves in a double overtime win in game two of the series. Hedges posted a 2.30 GAA and a .927 save percentage.
Teams are off for the remainder of February as the playoffs pause for the Canada Winter Games in PEI. The Finals will begin Saturday, March 4 in St. John's. The winner of the Newfoundland and Labrador provincial title will compete at the Atlantic Championships, happening this year in Fredericton, New Brunswick.