LOUISDALE: The final game of the Cape Breton West High School Hockey season saw the SAERC Saints nearly derail the Triple Crown plans of the Richmond Hurricane. However, with a 6-3 final in last Wednesday’s league championship game, the Hurricane added another banner to an already brimming award case.

“We went from sitting in a classroom wondering how a teammate was going to be, to being three-time champions,” said Robert MacDonald, Hurricane coach.

Hurricane sniper Danny McNamara and Saint goalie Chase MacPherson face each other during the Cape Breton West High School Hockey League championship.

“We won the league [regular season], the regionals, and the league banner. We did a few other things too, like taking Cole Harbour to the bitter end in our tournament, and we had a big fundraiser game against Sydney Academy.”

The fundraiser was for Spencer McNamara, a young man from Richmond Academy who is still recovering from a car accident that left him hospitalized on September 25, 2018.

McNamara was a mainstay with the hockey team.

“I think about the guys on the team and how resilient they are, when it came to rising to the occasion and scoring the big goals,” MacDonald said. “This is a storybook year for us.”

In the championship, Danny NcNamara led Hurricane scoring with a pair of goals, and Trent Diggdon, Cameron Britten, Adam Sampson, and Duncan White all dented mesh as well. The winning goalie was Luke Sampson. The coach said those players really lit the fuse for the Hurricane all season.

The Richmond Hurricane captains collected the league banner and trophy last Wednesday. The guys are also holding the jersey of teammate Spencer McNamara, currently recovering from a car accident at the QEII. Pictured are (from left) Xavier Sampson, Adam Sampson, Thomas MacNeil, Cameron Britten, and Danny McNamara.

Replying for the Saints were Brady White and Harrison MacFadyen.

SAERC didn’t make things easy on Richmond, as the Port Hawkesbury-based team had a one-goal lead in the first and killed a five-on-three at the end of the frame. However, MacDonald said the first SAERC goal served to settle the Hurricane down.

“We just got back to the work ethic we had in the first three games [leading to the league championship],” he said. “The boys knew one goal wasn’t going to ruin us.”

While the Hurricane won the league championship, SAERC coach Stan MacNeil said he was very happy with what he got out of his squad – not only in the league championship but in the season leading to it.

“The coaches and myself are very impressed,” he said. “We never expected to be in the finals with such a young group, and the way they performed totally impressed us. We’re the youngest group in the league, and I think we’re ahead of the curve. The experience they gained at regionals and in the league championship will do great things for them.

“Playing in front of 200 or 300 fans is a big thing for a kid.”

MacNeil said the championship game was a competitive one and a good way to have finished off the season.

“Without a few suspect calls in the third period, I think five-on-five we were the better team,” he said. “It could have gone either way.

“They took advantage of their power plays, and we didn’t — not as well as we did earlier in the season. We just didn’t do the dirty stuff around the net we needed to win the game.”

SAERC’s Harrison MacFadyen tries to slip around Hurricane Lachlan Boudreau.