PORT HAWKESBURY: With the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League (NSJHL) playoffs in view, the Junior Pirates have picked a great time to get hot.
“We’re playing some good hockey at the right time,” said Taylor Lambke, Pirate coach. “We have four wins in a row, and we have nine of our last 10 possible points. We had an overtime loss to Liverpool before the winning streak started. We’re pretty happy with that.
“I think you’re starting to see the maturity of our team come out. Key moments are a lot more composed, and we’re a lot more confident in our play.”
The Pirates dropped the Antigonish Bulldogs twice last weekend. The Pirates won 4-2 on home ice last Friday, and they also won 7-1 in Antigonish on Sunday.
The weekend leaves the team at 13-15-3-1, just two points shy of catching the Bulldogs for third place in the Sid Rowe Division. Catching Antigonish might be a tall order, but the Strait does have a shot.
The Pirates two remaining games are against the Cumberland County Blues (1-23-1-0) and the Pictou Scotians (19-7-3-3). While the Scotians have a very good record, the Pirates are winning their regular season series 3-2.
“We have to see how the schedule shakes out for Antigonish,” Lambke said. “Out game Sunday [against Pictou] could be pretty important for the standings.
“We’re happy with how our game is going right now. That’s pretty much all we’re focused on. You’re going to play an opponent in the first round, so it doesn’t really matter who it is – you have to win.”
Last Friday night, Pirate Bryce Reynolds (from Jordan Moss on a power play) scored the game winner with 2:39 left in the third. Reynolds also assisted on Avery Warner’s empty net insurance goal with four seconds left in the game.
Randon MacKinnon (from Riley Keeling) and Ryan Lawless (from MacKinnon) handled the Strait scoring in the second. Matthew Stymest faced 33 pucks for the maroon and white.
Scoring from Antigonish were Devin MacLaughlin and Brian MacDougall. Charles Jensen faced 34 shots for the Bulldogs.
On Sunday, only MacLaughlin scored for Antigonish. That goal came in the third period, after all but one of the Pirate goals were scored.
Leading the offense for the Strait were Josh MacMillan, a goal and two assists; Moss and Reynolds, a goal and an assist each; Warner, Cody Hinkley, Josh Foster, Christian Papineau, a goal each; and MacKinnon, Jackson Beck, and Nicholas MacGillivary, all of whom had helpers.
Stymest faced 35 pucks, and Bulldog Charles Jensen faced 29.
Next Friday, the Pirates are off to visit the Cumberland Blues.