PORT HAWKESBURY: It was a Thanksgiving Day trip to Sackville that was lean on points but, given a mighty third period, Pirate coach Taylor Lambke said the Strait’s 4-3 loss almost felt like a win.
“When you have to kill off nine straight minor penalties in the second period, you better have a good third,” he told The Reporter on Tuesday morning, noting that the referees didn’t cut the Strait any breaks when it came to blowing the whistle.
“That’s Sackville on a Monday night, I guess. I told the refs we’re a pretty good team five-on-five, but unfortunately we didn’t get to see that very often. I was proud of how we handled everything last night. We lost our composure in the second because it was frustrating, and I can live with some penalties, but to call nine straight minors seemed a little ridiculous.”
Lambke wasn’t fooling about the penalties assigned, as the Strait was indeed shorthanded for the lion’s share of the middle frame. However, Pirate goalie Cody Smith stifled the Sackville Blazer on all but one opportunity in the second. A two-goal first period ensured the hosts were up 3-0 at the end of 40 minutes.
Just 33 seconds into the third, Avery Warner (from Branden Dauphinee) scored shorthanded. Not long after that, Josh Foster (from Olan Spears and Gregor Yoell), and Bryce Reynolds (from Warner and Brendan Kenneth Lanning) both scored for the Strait, evening the game at 3-3, but Blazer Wyatt Michaluk got the drop on Smith with 5:56 remaining to lift his team to a 4-3 win.
“We fought through it,” Lambke said. “We got to find a way to stay disciplined in that moment, but kudos for those guys for not giving up. It was the best period we played all year.
“I’m not going to go into too many dressings rooms with a smile on my face after a loss, but I was pretty giddy last night. It’s positive to know your team’s coming to life.”
The Pirates were busy on the weekend, as they racked up four points over Friday and Saturday night.
The guys connected for a 7-4 win over the Liverpool Privateers at home on Friday. On Saturday, they dropped the Brookfield Elks 6-3 on the road.
On Friday, the Pirates led 2-1 after the first 20 minutes, with Jacob Keagan (from Spears) managing his first of two goals and Jordan Etheridge (unassisted) scoring on a funny bounce – straight from the Pirate zone.
The Strait had a penalty called on them at 8:21 with Liverpool in possession of the puck, so Liverpool pulled its goalie for an extra attacked on the delayed call. The puck was shot behind the Strait net and, after a strange bounce or two, was en route through the neutral zone and headed straight for Liverpool’s empty net. Etheridge was credited as the scorer.
The second period saw scoring from Keagan (from Cullen MacEachern), Cruz Pazos (from Jason Johnson and Josh Foster), Foster (from Lanning and Keagan) on a power play, and Foster (unassisted).
The Pirates final goal was a shorthanded effort in the third by Warner (unassisted).
The Pirates outshot Liverpool 45-35, and Smith backed up the Strait.
On Saturday evening, Peter Kofp backstopped the Strait. This time out, the Pirates outshot the Elks 61-45.
Reynolds led the charge with two goals, and Dauphinee, Foster, Spears, and Pazos all had a pair of assists each. Joshua MacMillan, Keagan, Johnson, and Etheridge had goals, and Lanning and MacEachern had single assists.
“Brookfield was pretty beat up, but we did our job and got the two points,” the coach said.
The Pirates are switching things up this weekend, as the boys are off to Hants County to play the Valley Maple Leafs on Friday. However, this Sunday will have the Strait return to the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre for a 5 p.m. start against the Cole Harbour Colts.