PORT HAWKESBURY: The Antigonish Bulldogs gave the Strait Pirates a bit of a wake-up call last Sunday night in game two of their best-of-seven playoff series, as the Bulldogs edged the Pirates 3-2.
“It’s playoff hockey, and Antigonish is playing desperate and hard right now,” said Pirate coach Taylor Lambke.
“They played hard both nights, and we didn’t play particularly well either night. We played one good period on Friday, and maybe a 10-minute stretch of good hockey last night [Sunday]. We’re trying to get into that playoff mode.”
Despite losing on Sunday, the Strait managed a 4-2 win in game one last Friday.
Lambke noted that the Strait entered play-offs with a fairly soft schedule. In their last four games, the Strait scored over 10 goals in three of them. Their last truly competitive game reached back to a February 6 outing against Glace Bay, which the Strait won 2-1 in a shootout.
“It takes a couple of games to get ready to go, and I think the boys had their wake-up call,” Lambke said. “You look at those games we played going into play-offs, they were nightmares. Antigonish came ready to play Friday night, but once we responded we were okay.
“We had a chat after last night’s game [Sunday]. There’s no time to mess around, and we have to get back to playing our game. We’ll come out firing and get back into the series.
“It’s not bad to get a wake-up call now and then.”
On Friday, Antigonish’s Connor Fraser (from Logan Deyoung and Devin MacLaughlin) scored with 5:00 remaining in the first, beating Pirate goalie Cody Smith who ended up facing 31 shots. Just 14 seconds later, Taylor Pierce (from Branden Dauphinee) evened the score. Both goals were on a man-advantage.
Pierce picked up his second of the game with 19 seconds left in the second, with Dauphinee and Josh Foster assisting.
Halfway through the final frame, Olan Spears (from Brendan Kenneth Lanning and Cullen MacEachern) had the game winner, and chasing him was Hunter Woodland (from MacEachern and Spears) with 6:47 remaining.
Antigonish’s Spencer Barron (from Kieran Devine) had a power play goal with 1:28 remaining.
Bulldog goalie Jared Green faced 28 shots.
On Sunday, the Bulldogs once again outshot the Pirates. This time around, Smith faced 38 shots and Green faced 34.
Scoring with just under four minutes played in the first was Bulldog Zachary Forsythe (from Connor Aucoin), and managing a Pirate goal five minutes after that was Pierce (from Matthew Morgan and Dauphinee).
The second period was scoreless, and in the third Antigonish’s Barron (from Ryan Kennedy) and Pirate Jacob Keagan (from Spears and Morgan) traded goals.
The overtime game winner came from Cory MacLellan (from DeYoung).
Game three takes place tonight (March 5) at the Civic Centre. Game four takes place in Antigonish on Thursday, March 7 at 7 p.m., and game five is this Friday at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre at 7:30 p.m.