SACKVILLE: The Strait Pirates will host the Sackville Blazers for first game of the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League (NSJHL) league championship tonight (April 5) at at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.
On Friday, March 29, the Blazers dropped the East Hants Penguins 5-3 before a sold out Sackville Stadium to win the Fred Fox Division Final in six games. Part of Sackville’s success lies at the feet of goalie Justin Sumarah, who had a fantastic playoffs so far.
He and Pirate goalie Cody Smith have been the two best netminders in the NSJHL playoffs, with Smith leading the league in save percentage (.937) and Sumarah sitting just behind (.934).
Sackville also have some firepower up front, with Regan MacDonald (eight goals and six assists, 11 games), Matthew Berrigan (seven goals and six assists, 11 games), and Andre Picot (five goals and eight assists, 11 games) all connecting for the Blazers.
The Blazers are coming off a tough series with the Penguins, as the Penguins were the number two team in the league (and first in the Fred Fox Division) during the regular season.
Of course, the Strait Pirates will likely give the Blazers an even greater level of competition, as the Pirates were the regular season champs and, in their two regular season meetings, dropped Sackville both times. The Pirates beat the Blazers 3-2 on September 24 and 4-1 on September 28.
As an indication of how well the Pirates did this season, the maroon and white captured three awards from the league: the Team Executive Award, the Coach of the Year Award, and the Top Goaltender Award.
“Congratulations to President Adam Rodgers, General Manager Tim MacMillan, Manager Bob McCall and all team executive members for an incredible season,” said Dan Boyd, Public Relations Director for the NSJHL. “The Pirates are the league’s oldest franchise having played for 54 years since being formed in 1965.”
Boyd also tipped his hat to Pirate coach Taylor Lambke, who led the team to its first division championship since the 2011-2012 season.
“His team lost only three games of the 32 they played this season while being the top defensive team in the league, allowing only 68 goals against in 32 games and being the second most offensive club next to East Hants as the Pirates scored 183 goals in 32 games for an average of 5.75 goals a game,” Boyd said.
With that, Boyd also congratulated Pirate Cody Smith for his excellence in net.
“He was named the league’s top netminder after an incredible record of 22-2-1 and allowing only 49 goals in 1453 minutes of action for a .934 save percentage,” Boyd said.
The schedule for the championship series was not finalized at presstime, but check out nsjhl.ca for updates.