PORT HAWESBURY: The number one team in the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League faced their first loss of the season last Friday night when visiting the East Hants Penguins.
“We had it over them for the last five minutes,” said Ken Wood, assistant coach of the first place Strait Pirates. “We tied it up, and had lots of great chances to score in the last five. We had a bad bounce with about 30 seconds left, and it turned into a breakaway and he buried it.
“It’s never easy to lose, especially the first loss of the year, but the boys know we’re a strong team and hopefully that will be one of our only losses of the year.”
As Wood mentioned, the Pirates scored with 8:28 left in the third due to an Olan Spears effort (from Cullen MacEachern), but East Hants’ Jesse Hamer had the game winner with 29 seconds left.
A big second period for East Hants gave the hosts three goals, resulting in a 3-2 lead going into the final 20 minutes. However, Josh Foster had a power play goal for the Strait in the middle frame, set-up by Brandon Dauphinee and Randon MacKinnon. In the first period, Avery Warner (from Brendan Kenneth Lanning and Jacob Keagan) had a Pirate goal.
Shots were dead even at 38-38, and Cody Smith served as the Pirate backstop. Smith has been having a great season, and has the third best goals against average (2.00) and third best save percentage (.932) in the league.
The loss leaves the Strait at 4-1.
“The dressing room is very different this year,” Wood said. “There’s a lot of confidence, and practices are a lot more upbeat, up-tempo, and everyone is really buying in.
“We’re very appreciative of the fan support so far this season, and we hope people keep coming out.”
This Friday, the Valley Maple Leafs (2-1) will visit the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre at for a 7:30 p.m. start.