Cabot Highlanders in contention

Pictured is the 2020-2021 edition of the Cabot Highlanders of the Nova Scotia U16 AAA Hockey League.

PORT HAWKESBURY: The Cabot Highlanders are in contention in the Nova Scotia U16 AAA Hockey League.

On Saturday, the Highlanders lost a tight 2-1 game to the ChiroCare Kings at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre. Daniel Chaisson was the lone goal scorer.

The Highlanders lost the next day, this time 7-0 to the ChiroCare Kings.

The weekend losses leave the Highlanders at 4-4 in a tie for fourth place in the league.

“It’s good start,” second-year head coach Jesse MacLean told The Reporter. “Last year, I was coming from high school, I wasn’t really too sure on the league itself, and I never really coached a lot of these players, so having the experience of the year in the league now and then getting to know more guys and making friendships last year, it was easier getting ready for camp this year.”

Noting their “competitive” camp which attracted more than 30 prospective players, MacLean said they picked 20 for their roster, and since then they’ve been very competitive, including wins against the league’s strongest teams like Dartmouth, Halifax and Moncton.

“The top five teams are all within a couple of points of each other,” MacLean noted. “There’s a little drop-off after that. Early on in this year, you want to get as many wins as quickly as you possibly can because you don’t want to be on the outside looking in coming down the stretch. You want to take advantage of every point you get from the start to the finish of the year.”

After a 5-6-1 record in exhibition play, the Highlanders started off the year with a 4-1 win over the Voyageurs on October 24, helped by two goals from Damon MacDonald, and one each from Brady MacNeil and Angus Aucoin.

The next night, the Highlanders lost 4-3 to the Voyageurs despite two goals from MacNeil and a lone tally by Logam McGrath.On October 31, the Highlands got back in the win column with a 5-2 victory over the Basin Armada in their regular season home-opener. For the home side, MacNeil again had two goals, to go along with markers from McGrath, as well as Colin Vanzutphen and Jonathan Dunphy.

They next day, the Highlanders fell 3-2 to the same squad, despite goals from MacNeil and McGrath.

The Highlanders then lost another road game, this time 4-3 to the Thunderbirds. McGrath had two goals in the game, while Dunphy and Daniel Chaisson each dented the mesh once.

The Highlanders got their revenge the next day with a 4-3 shoot-out win over the Thunderbirds, helped by goals from McGrath, Dunphy and Andrew Murray.

Along with players leaving the Major Bantam team and the Cape Breton West Bantam AA team, MacLean said the team is fortunate to have seven returning players from last year.

“We’re a fast team,” MacLean said. “There’s a lot of speed on this team. I like the look the look, we’re fast, we have talent.

“We like to move the puck around. We have some size, I don’t think we’re an overly huge hockey team, but we’re physical.”

Cabot Highlanders

2020-2021 schedule

November 28 6:45 p.m. Cabot Highlanders at Admirals

November 28 at 11:45 a.m. Cabot Highlanders at Admirals

December 5 at 6 p.m. Valley Wildcats at Cabot Highlanders

December 6 at 12:30 p.m. Valley Wildcats at Cabot Highlanders

December 12 at 5 p.m. Cabot Highlanders at ChiroCare Kings

December 13 at 11 a.m. Cabot Highlanders at ChiroCare Kings

December 19 at 6 p.m. Admirals at Cabot Highlanders

December 20 at 12:30 p.m. Admirals at Cabot Highlanders

January 2 at 5:30 p.m. Cabot Highlanders at Basin Armada

January 3 at 12:15 p.m. Cabot Highlanders at Basin Armada

January 9 at 6 p.m. Voyageurs at Cabot Highlanders

January 10 at 12:30 p.m. Voyageurs at Cabot Highlanders

January 24 at 1 p.m. Cabot Highlanders at Cape Breton Jets

February 5 at 8 p.m. Cabot Highlanders at Fundy Thunder

February 6 at 6 p.m. Fundy Thunder at Cabot Highlanders

February 13 at 6 p.m. Cape Breton Jets at Cabot Highlanders

February 14 at 2:30 p.m. Cabot Highlanders at Cape Breton Jets

February 20 at 6 p.m. Fundy Thunder at Cabot Highlanders

February 27 at 7:30 p.m. Cabot Highlanders at Fundy Thunder

March 6 at 6 p.m. Cape Breton Jets at Cabot Highlanders

March 13 at 3 p.m. Cabot Highlanders at Valley Wildcats

March 14 at 2:15 p.m. Cabot Highlanders at Valley Wildcats

March 20 at 6 p.m. Thunderbirds at Cabot Highlanders

March 21 at 12:30 p.m. Thunderbirds at Cabot Highlanders