Islanders ready for playoffs

Islander goalie Kenzie McPhail was given a nod for making Team Nova Scotia which will compete at the Canada Games. He’s seen here with (from left) Paul MacIsaac, Islander vice president; Alfred Poirier, Inverness County’s deputy warden; minor hockey players Rossi MacKinnon and Neil MacKinnon; and Brian MacInnis, Islander president.

PORT HOOD: The Cape Breton West Islanders, having finished the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League season at 15-19-2-0, will enter the league playoffs on the first weekend of March. They’ll also be entering the playoffs on home ice.

The Islanders will battle the Valley Wildcats on Saturday, March 2 at 6 p.m. and on Sunday, March 3 at noon. Both games take place at the Al MacInnis Sports Centre.

The best-of-five series continues at the Appledome in Berwick on Friday, March 8 at 7 p.m. The remaining games, if needed, take place in Berwick on Saturday and Sunday. Start time is 3:30 p.m. for both.

The Wildcats finished in fourth place with a record of 22-13-1-0.

While the Valley has had a markedly better record than the Islanders, the teams have sized up fairly well when going head-to-head. Indeed, the two teams started the 2018-19 season with a pair of games against each other.

The Valley won the first one 4-3 (on September 15 in Berwick), and the Islanders won 4-2 (on September 16 in Berwick). The squads faced off again on October 6, again in Berwick, with the Islanders winning 3-1.

From there, the Islanders hosted the Wildcats for a pair on the weekend of November 10 and 11. The Valley won both outing by scores of 6-4 and 5-4 respectively.

The Valley’s Cameron Whynot is a player to watch, as he finished the regular season scoring race in seventh place (13 goals and 27 assists for 40 points). Of snipers, Whynot is also the scrappiest of the lot with 93 penalty minutes (third highest in the league).

Gregor Yoell (19 goals and 20 assists, 39 points) and rookie Blake Deacon (14 goals and 23 assists for 37 points) also lead Valley offense.

The Wildcats have a pair of rookie goalies, with Grant Sanford (3.12 goals against average) and Connor Juurlink (2.66 goals against average).