Nova Major Bantams drop league leaders

ANTIGONISH: The Nova Major Bantams evened their record to 2-2 last weekend, with a 5-4 win over King’s Mutual on Saturday and a big 11-3 win over the Harbour Storm on Sunday. The Novas are in seventh place after the weekend.

“That first game, we were up by three going into the last minute of play when we decided to have a malfunction,” said head coach Mike Stewart. “That’s a good learning opportunity to play a full 50 minute hockey game.”

The outing against Cole Harbour, the number one team in the 11-team league, had the Nova offense doing anything but resting on the Sabbath.

“We looked at it as an opportunity to play to our potential, to play a top-ranked team in the league, and all credit to the kids for going out and executing. They did a great job.”

Stewart said that, going into the October break, the big win over Cole Harbour gives the team a sense of purpose. The provincial Major Bantam league will be on hiatus this weekend, as the Atlantic Challenge Cup takes place in Moncton.

The Novas have a number of players taking part. Sarah Stewart will play for Team Nova Scotia U16 Female as an underager, and there are four Novas on the U14 Male team including Rory Wood, Tyler Peddle, Ray MacKinnon, and Leyton Stewart.

On Saturday, as Coach Stewart said, the Novas were up by three goals late in the third. Wood (from Liam Trenholm) scored in the first, and Kenzie Cameron (from Brent O’Handley) had a second period goal. In the third, Peddle (unassisted), Jacob Cook (from Ryan Digout and Peddle), and Trenholm (from Peddle) all put the puck in the next. The Cook and Trenholm goals were on a power play.

For the Novas, goalie Jack Milner faced 28 shots. The Novas were outshot by Kings Mutual 28-27.

On Sunday, the Novas were up 4-0 at the end of the first and 7-1 at the end of the second, en route to the 11-3 final. Nova goalie Jeffery Quinn faced 38 shots, and Nova shooters put 52 pucks on the Dartmouth tandem of Nolan Cheeseman and William Forbes.

All but three Nova Skaters were in on the scoring, either by putting the puck in the net or setting up a goal. Leading the charge were Wood, a goal and three assists; Peddle, two goals and an assist; Cadyn Power, three assists; Tully Grant, two goals; Liam Berthiaume, Cody MacDougall, and Cook, all with a goal and assist; Trenholm, Kenzie Cameron, and MacKinnon, all with goals; and Digout, O’Handley, Ben Kennedy, and Cody Van de Sande, all with helpers. The MacKinnon and Grant goals were on a man-advantage.

The Novas will return home on the weekend of October 13. On Saturday, the Novas host the Bedford Barons at 5 p.m. at the Antigonish Arena. On Sunday, the Gulls will challenge the Novas at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre at 12:30 p.m.