PORT HAWKESBURY: It was a slightly different venue for the Junior Pirates last Friday night, but the Dr. Carson and Marion Murray Community Centre served the maroon and white well in their 9-3 win over the host Cumberland County Blues.
“We weren’t happing giving up three goals, but they scored on a couple of lucky breaks,” said coach Taylor Lambke. “Overall, we were pretty happy with how we played.
“The biggest challenge is pushing each other every game and every practice. We can’t be satisfied with where we’re at. We have to keep pushing, and so far the boys have done a good job of that.”
A big seven goal first period – which the Pirates outshooting their hosts 23-3 – started the Strait toward their 11th win of the season. The Pirates are the team to beat in the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League, as their 11-1-1 record sits them in first place overall.
Randon MacKinnon led the Pirates with four goals, and Callum Jordan managed four helpers. Also good in the offensive zone were Bryce Reynolds, two goals and an assist; Jacob Keagan, three assists; Sebastian Vella, a goal and assist; Joshua MacMillan, two helpers; Avery Warner and Josh Foster, a goal each; and Branden Dauphinee, Taylor Pierce, and Owen Higgins, each with an assist.
Pirate goalie Cody Smith stopped 17 of 20 shots. The Pirates outshot the Blues 44-20.
Smith’s goals against average of 2.00 is the second best in the league, and his save percentage of .929 is the third best in the league.
“He’s always been a great goalie,” Lambke said. “He’s played on some tough teams, but now he’s enjoying playing on a winning team.”
The win is the sixth in a row for the Pirates. The last time the Strait lost was in overtime against the Cole Harbour Colts (3-2) on October 17. The only other loss the Strait suffered this season was on October 5 when visiting the East Hants Penguins (4-3).
Next Friday, the Pirates will be back on home ice for a 7:30 p.m. start against the Glace Bay Miners. On Sunday, the guys visit Antigonish.
“It’s a big weekend for us,” the coach said. “Those are two big division games against two really good teams.”