PORT HOOD: Only two games into the second round of the Cape Breton West/Pictou series, and things are getting very interesting as the Islanders skated to a big 8-1 win on Saturday but lost 4-3 on Sunday.
“We came out flying, but the series is tied 1-1,” said Islander coach Kyle MacDonald. “We’ll be ready next Friday.”
The series could be tidied up this coming weekend, granting that one of the two teams is able to pull back-to-back wins at the Pictou County Wellness Centre. The series is best-of-five, so the finish line is certainly in sight.
MacDonald said he wasn’t surprised to see Pictou play well enough to win, given that the Weeks are a mighty tough squad. That toughness was put on display in the first round of Major Midget playoffs, as the Weeks fought back from a 3-0 series deficit to drop the Cole Harbour Wolfpack in seven games. (Unlike the second round, the first round was decided in seven game series.)
“We knew we were in for a tough series, but when you win so big on Saturday some little part of you thinks it might be easier on Sunday,” MacDonald said. “We outplayed them on Sunday, but we weren’t as sharp around the net. Our passes weren’t as crisp on Saturday, and their goalie played well.
“It was a tough game all around, but we didn’t expect to roll through the playoffs untouched.”
The Saturday game was pretty much all Islanders, as the guys managed to get 38 shots on Pictou goalie Alexander MacDonald in the first period alone. MacDonald shared goaltending duties with Andrew MacLeod, and together the guys faced 63 shots.
Despite the first period firestorm, the Islanders only led 2-0 at the end of 20 minutes. The score was 6-1 at the end of two frames, and 8-1 at the final buzzer.
Islander goalie Colten Ellis was good as always, facing 42 shots. Avery Warner led scoring with two goals (one shorthanded) and an assist, and Fearghus MacDonald had a goal and two assists. Logan Chisholm had a pair of goals, one scored on a man-advantage, and Stephen Fox had a goal and an assist. Keenan Gillis had two helpers, and Logan Timmons and Jacob Stewart had a goal each. Offering helpers were Craig Ryan, Jacob Hudson, Calum MacPherson, and Malcolm MacEachern.
On Sunday, the Islanders outshot Pictou 41-29.
The score was tied after 20 minutes, with Pictou’s G. Blackmore and Islander Stewart (from Ryan and Hudson) connecting on a power play.
Pictou managed to edge ahead in the second, with Blackmore and Kevin Mason both going to the net. MacPherson (from MacEachern and Sean Stewart) scored for the Islanders, making it 3-2 going into the third.
Mason had his second goal of the game late in the third frame, and Warner (from MacLellan) scored on a power play with one second left.
This Friday, the series continues in Pictou at 7:30 p.m. Game four is also in Pictou at 7 p.m.