Highlanders show heart in Sunday showdown

Landon MacIntosh popped a goal for Highlanders last Saturday night at the Civic Center.

PORT HAWKESBURY: The Cabot Highlanders showed lots of heart last Sunday when fighting back from a third period, two-goal deficit to scare up a 5-4 shootout win over the Tantallon Admirals.

“With about four minutes left, we got a powerplay and we took a time out,” said Jesse MacLean, head coach of the Highlanders. “We drew up a play and it worked perfectly off the draw. The defenseman let a shot go, it went past a couple of bodies, and that made it 4-3.

“After that, we had a 2-2 rush, but our guy lost the puck and their defenseman was right there, but somehow he [Logan McGrath] swung his stick and it went right over to Matthew Burns, and he slid it through the 5-hole.”

Overtime started with a 4-on-3 power play for the Admirals, but the Highlanders endured and scored twice in the shootout, with Drew MacDonald and Burns both connecting. The Admirals missed two shots, meaning the Highlanders captured the win.

Cabot captain Keir Jordan led the Highlanders with a goal and assist last Sunday.

“It was huge for us,” MacLean said, noting that Cabot had three home games between Sunday and last Wednesday. “Things didn’t go our way against the Jets [last Wednesday]. We outshot them 40-25, but we couldn’t bury it.”

The Cape Breton Jets pulled a 4-2 win. Last Saturday, the Admirals were also at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre. That time, they used a three-goal second period to manage a 4-3 win over the hosts.

“We outshot the Admirals 24-4 in the third period, and we lost that one too,” MacLean said. “It was a mixture of different things: good bounces for them, bad bounces for us. Some puck luck just wasn’t there. You put up 40 shots in two consecutive games, it can get to you.

“Down 4-2 with four minutes left, some teams would have quit, but we kept pushing,” the coach said. “It was a much needed win for our group.”

Andrew Murray (foreground) and Marcus Lerade helped the Cabot Highlanders to a 5-4 win last Sunday after falling behind by two goals in the third period.

On Sunday, Cabot managed a two-goal lead early in the first, as Keir Jordan (from Miles Farnsworth) and Stephane Delaney (from Brent O’Handley) put the puck in the net. The Admirals popped a goal later in the first.

After a scoreless second, the Admirals had three unanswered goals before O’Handley (from Jordan and Landon MacIntosh) and Burns (from McGrath and Jack MacDonald) scored their goals. Cole Goss backstopped the Highlanders.

The weekend leaves the Highlanders at 5-7-1-2, good for 13 points and fifth place in the eight team league.

The Highlanders are on the road this weekend, but the crew will return to the Civic Centre on the weekend of December 7 for two games against the Valley Wildcats. The Saturday night game is at 6 p.m., and the Sunday outing is at 12:30 p.m.