Junior Pirate enter Christmas break as league’s top team

PORT HAWKESBURY: Although the Liverpool Privateers have had a good season, it’s hard to say they were the odds on favourite to snap the Strait Pirates’ 11-game winning streak — but the Privateers did just that last Saturday.

“They’re playing some good hockey lately, and they got us on a good opportunistic time to take advantage of us,” said Pirate bench boss Taylor Lambke, following the 6-4 loss. “We only had three defenseman playing Saturday night; four other defensemen had exams. Plus, we had to travel and we played the night before. They didn’t.

“I think we played a good game. We outshot them by about 20, but their goalie played well. Overall, the effort was there and we competed. It’s just a situation where they got us at a good time and took advantage of it.”

It was one of two games the Pirates had on the weekend, as the Strait dropped the Eskasoni Eagles 5-2 on Friday.

On Friday night, despite a short bench, the Pirates jumped out to a three-goal lead before Eskasoni got on the board in the second.

Leading the Pirate charge were Branden Dauphinee, three assists; Avery Warner, a goal and assist; Josh Foster, two helpers; Matthew Morgan, Jacob Keagan, and Callum Jordan, all with goals; and Hunter Woodland and Ryan Bakker, both with helpers.

Cody Smith was in net, and he faced 25 shots. The Pirates outshot Eskasoni 34-25.

“Eskasoni is a young team and they have a lot of skill,” Lambke said. “They play hard, and in the second, they came to life.”

On Saturday, Liverpool jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first, but the Pirates battled back in the second, tying the game at 4-4. A late-period goal proved to be Liverpool’s game winner.

Leading scoring for the Strait were Keagan, three goals and an assist; Devin Sceles, a goal; and Morgan, Foster, Christian Papineau, and Sebastian Vella, all managing assists.

The Pirates outshot Liverpool 39-29, and Smith was the Pirates’ netminder.

The Maroon and White now enter the holiday break as the number one team in the provincial Junior League, with a record of 17-2-1. The Strait will be off until after the holidays, when they return to the Civic Centre on January 11 to host Glace Bay.