PORT HOOD: The Quad County Islanders put together a very solid three periods when facing the Metro East Inferno in the championship game of the Midget AA Girls provincial championship last Sunday morning, but a late empty net goal gave visiting Halifax a 3-1 win and exclusive rights to the provincial banner.
“I don’t know if emotions got the best of us, but a 3-1 game with an empty net goal – it’s hard to get any closer than that,” said coach Darren MacDonald, moments after the final buzzer. “We came so far this year, and this game was a case of Halifax getting a couple of bounces. That’s what games like this are all about.”
After a scoreless first period, the Inferno drew its only penalty of the game when Olivia Conrod was dinged with a two-minute minor for tripping. The call came with just 49 seconds played in the second, and it led to Islander Chloe Gillis (from Keely MacPhail and Bryanna Smith) scoring on a mad scramble at the goal line.
The officials had a long chat after the play, but ultimately decided Gillis had scored.
The Islander lead was short lived as Halifax’s Jenny O’Brien (from Emily Edwards) beat Quad County backstop Taylor Cremo on the following play. With 5:51 left in the period, Conrod (from Edwards and Emily Forbes) tipped a shot to lift Halifax to a 2-1 lead.
With just over two minutes left in the period, Islander Skylar Kennedy was called for hooking. That led to a huge penalty kill for the Islanders.
“You have to be ready for every situation in a game, and our girls certainly were,” said MacDonald, adding that kill set the Islanders en route for a very competitive third period.”
The Islanders had a decided edge in play in the final period, but were unable to find the equalizer. Halifax’s Rhonda Knight scored with under a minute left on an empty net.
Despite the loss, Coach MacDonald said the girls ought to have their heads held high.
“This year, the stars didn’t like up in the championship game,” he said. “But to be the second best team in Nova Scotia with a 3-1 empty netter, that’s something to be very proud of.”
Individually, the Islanders managed some nice hardware for their weekend efforts. Gillis was named the Tournament MVP and also recognized as the weekend’s leading scorer (six goals and one assist). Hannah Graham was given the sportsmanship award, and Eryn Lefort was named all star goalie.