Islanders battle at Moncton tourney

PORT HOOD: It was a tough weekend for the local Major Midgets.

The short-staffed Cape Breton West Islanders took part in the annual Monctonian Challenge Hockey Tournament over the weekend. The team opened the tournament with a 1-0 loss to the Tri Pen Osprey. Head Coach Nick MacNeil said the game was very close, noting the Osprey goaltender stood on his head.

In the second game, the Islanders were again shut out, losing 4-0 to the Rothesay Netherwood School. MacNeil said Rothesay is a tough team.

“I saw some good things for sure,” MacNeil said of the losses. “The first game, we definitely deserved to win that one and the boys played extremely well. In the second game, Rothesay was a strong team and they kind of took it to us a little bit.”

The Islanders turned it around in their final tournament game, dropping the Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild 4-2. Daniel LeBlanc scored twice while James Beaton and Bryce Thomson potted singles.

“We played an excellent game against Kensington and found a way to win,” said the coach. “We had three lines all weekend, six defensemen with an AP (call-up). These pains with being short is going to help the boys out when we start to get a little healthier.”

MacNeil said the win was a confidence boost for his squad.

“When we work and stick to our game plan, we’re right there with any team, honestly,” said MacNeil. “I think we’re just going to keep on pushing them, keep on being positive and hopefully things will get turned around during the regular season for us.” The Islanders are on the road this weekend, with a pair of games against the South Shore Mustangs on tap.