PORT HAWKESBURY: The Strait Pirates were unable to garner a win last Friday when hosting the number one team in the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League, the Glace Bay Miners. Coach Taylor Lambke is not amused.
“I just don’t think we brought a very good effort,” he said, following the 7-1 loss. “I didn’t think the guys competed hard enough. I’m not sure if we were on a low after the loss to Antigonish [a 10-8 loss on January 14], but it was like we didn’t have a whole lot of energy.
“Glace Bay came to play, and I don’t think we did on Friday.”
Most likely, the Pirates and Miners will face each other in the first round of the NSJHL playoffs, as the Miners are in good shape to finish atop the division. Following the weekend, it looks more likely than ever that the Pirates won’t be catching the Antigonish Bulldogs for third place.
The Strait is 9-15-2-1, and the guys trail Antigonish by nine points.
“If we’re going to beat them in the playoffs, we have to work a whole lot harder than that,” he said. “When we use our speed, skill, and compete hard, we can beat any team in this league.”
The Miners have now swept their regular season series with the Strait, but the Pirates were more competitive than a first glance might indicate.
On November 26, the Pirates fought back from a three-goal deficit to lose 4-3. On November 6, the score was locked at 3-3 early in the third, but three goals late in the period made for a 6-3 Miner win.
The teams had a competitive game on January 12, with the exception of a second period that saw the Bay score four goals, paving the way to a 6-3 final.
On September 16, the Miners used home ice advantage in a 7-3 win that would have been 5-3, were it not for two goals late in the third. On November 3, the Miners used an empty net goal to win 6-3.
Last Friday, Avery Warner had the solo goal for the Pirate cause. The unassisted goal came at 9:08 of the second period. At that point, the Miners had already run up a four-goal lead. The visitors added three goals in the final 20 minutes for a 7-1 final. Four Miner goals were on a power play.
Sharing goaltending duties for the Strait were Peter Kopf (allowing three of 16 shots) and Matthew Stymest (allowing four of 19 shots).
Other action included a third period scrap between Pirate Owen Higgins and Miner Keegan Marcott, who comes from Port Hood.
This Friday, the Pirates will host the Cumberland County Blues (1-25-1-0) for a 7:30 p.m. start. On Monday, January 29, the Strait will play host to the Pictou Scotians (17-5-3-3) at 7:30 p.m.