PORT HAWKESBURY: The Junior Pirates rallied for a 3-0 win last Monday night to tie their best-of-seven championship series with the Sackville Blazers 1-1, thanks in part to a two-goal performance by Olan Spears and a shutout by Cody Smith.
“Similar to the first game, we controlled a lot of the play,” said coach Taylor Lambke, speaking to The Reporter Tuesday morning – all of seven hours after he arrived home following the road trip to Sackville.
“I think we played well in game one but just couldn’t find a way to score. Last night, we found a way to get on the score sheet and we locked it down defensively. We’re all pretty happy with the game.
“We had a lot of shots in game one, but we let him [Blazer goalie Justin Sumarah] see them. Last night, we got bodies to the net to make things uncomfortable for him. We did a good job of that.”
Lambke is right about the Pirate offense in game one, as shooters put 39 on the Sackville ace. Nonetheless, Sackville managed a 3-1 win. The goals Sackville managed, Lambke said, all related to breakdowns the Pirates made.
“If we eliminate those breakdowns, it’s going to be hard for them to score,” he said.
“You have to be patient with these guys. They like the trap and to clog it up, and in game one that’s what they did. They kind of bored us to death, then they get a break and score and we end up chasing the game. Last night, they had to chase the game and that’s difficult for them without a high-powered offense.”
In game one, only Randon MacKinnon (from Joshua MacMillan and Devin Sceles) was able to score.
MacKinnon’s goal came with 48 seconds left in the second period, evening the score at 1-1. Seven minutes before that, Blazer Ryan Prosser was able to beat Pirate goalie Cody Smith.
Smith was sharp as well, closing the door on 22 of 25 Blazer shots. Wyatt Michaluk had the game winner for Sackville, snapping home a Patrick Oxner feed with 3:44 played in the third. Nicholas McFarlane added a quick one just a minute and a half later.
In game two, Spears’ first goal came with 3:59 left in the first, and Sebastian Vella had the helper. With 45 seconds left in the frame, Austin Woodland (from Jacob Keagan) made it 2-0.
Spears also scored with 4:20 played in the second, with Christian Papineau assisting.
“Olan was very good last night,” Lambke said. “He’s been a lock for us all year, anchoring his line with Cullen MacEachern.
“Last night, he made a beautiful solo effort going around a defenseman to finish it; his second one, he went to the net and banged home a rebound.”
Smith faced 32 shots for the Strait, and Sumarah was a busy man dealing with 48 pucks.
Game three of the championship series will take place at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre this Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.
The rest of the schedule sees the teams meet next Monday, April 15 (Sackville, 8 p.m.); Tuesday, April 16 (Port Hawkesbury, 7:30 p.m.); Friday, April 19 (Sackville, 8 p.m.), and Saturday, April 20 (Port Hawkesbury).