PORT HAWKESBURY: The Strait Pirates dominance in the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League continued last weekend as the boys dropped the second and third place teams in the Sid Rowe Division, the Glace Bay Miners and the Antigonish Bulldogs.
“One of the keys to our game is work ethic,” said Pirate coach Taylor Lambke. “If we can bring the work ethic every game, we have a lot of talent and skill. I think we did a good job of playing a full 60 minutes on Friday, and we got the result we wanted.”
Lambke noted the Pirates had over a full month off, leading to the Friday game, but a couple of hard practices had them game-ready, when hosting the Miners and visiting the Bulldogs.
The weekend leaves the Strait at 19-2-1, good for 39 points and the number one position in the league. The East Hants Penguins trail the Pirates by two points for top spot.
Last Friday, the Pirates contained the Miners to two goals in a 5-2 win. Holding off the Miner offense is not a small chore, as Glace Bay is the second best offensive team in the league, managing 134 goals in just 23 games. (The Pens are top dogs in offense, with 144 goals in total.)
“We had more of a dynamic game plan on Friday night,” Lambke said. “We wanted to do a little more line matching. I think our guys did a great job of executing. They were ready on the bench for changes and matchups. Honestly, the two goals they scored – I thought they were more breakdowns in our end then them creating offense against us.
“We did a really good job slowing them down in the neutral zone, making sure we were in a good position in our end.”
Indeed, in the first period, the Pirates managed two big penalty kills to keep the first 20 minutes scoreless. In the second, Devin Sceles (from Randon MacKinnon and Austin Woodland) and Josh Foster (from Brendan Kenneth Lanning and Bryce Reynolds) both connected in the first seven minutes, making the score 2-0. The Foster goal was on a power play.
Later in the period, Matthew Morgan (from Ryan Bakker and Olan Spears) scored low on the blocker side through a screen. The score was 3-2 at the end of 40 minutes.
The third period saw Spears (from Branden Dauphinee and Morgan) score early on a man-advantage. With 1:16 left, Avery Warner (from MacKinnon) rounded out the Strait’s scoring.
Cody Smith faced 24 shots for the Pirates, who outshot Glace Bay 36-24.
“We had a really good crowd Friday night,” the coach said. “We had a lot of people in the building, and we’re looking forward to having the fans keep coming. They got a team they can be excited about and proud of.”
Last Sunday, the Pirates put the hurt on the Antigonish Bulldogs in a 7-1 final.
Sceles led the Pirate offense with two goals and a helper, and Jacob Keagan had a goal and two assists. Foster had a goal and assist, and both Woodland and Warner had two assists each. Reynolds, Spears, and Christian Papineau had single goals, and helpers came from Morgan, Dauphinee, MacKinnon, Bakker, and Sebastian Vella.
The Pirates outshot the Dogs 38-32, and Smith was in net for the Strait. Sharing goaltending duties for Antigonish were Sebastien Aucoin and Brandon Connors.
Bulldog Tyler Dyke (from Cory MacLellan and Coady MacKillop) handled the Bulldog scoring.
This Friday, the Pictou Scotians will visit the Pirates for a 7:30 p.m. start at the Civic Centre.