PORT HOOD: The Cape Breton West Islanders U18 team recorded a shut-out and a shoot-out loss in play last weekend.
On Saturday night, the Islanders beat the Weeks Majors 3-0 at the Al MacInnis Sports Centre. Cody Van de Sande opened the scoring in the first period, and it remained at 1-0 until Bryce Thomson came through with a big power play goal late in the third period, followed by a goal from Marcus Larade with 10 seconds to play.
“The team played very good, we got a couple of insurance markers late in the third,” coach Nic MacNeil noted. “I thought our team played extremely well in the first period, we set the tone early, we had lots of opportunities. We’re playing more as a team and we’re getting pucks to the net very well. We have to capitalize on some of our chances. We let up in the second period on Saturday night but we came out and had an excellent third period. We shut the door defensively.”
The Islanders recorded 30 shots on net, and Tkacz made 20 stops for the win.
“Our goalie Adam Tkacz was outstanding in the win. It was a good team effort. We came out playing well,” MacNeil said. “He was solid; a couple of really prime scoring opportunities that Pictou had, and he had to make some big saves.”
On Sunday afternoon, the Weeks Majors get their revenge with a 3-2 win in a shoot-out. After the Majors got out to a 1-0 lead, Jacob Cook tied it for the Islanders on a power play in the second period.
Leyton Stewart scored with less than five minutes left to notch the game at 2-2 after the Majors scored twice in the third frame to make the score 2-1.
“I was very impressed with the team. Even though we lost, I thought we had a lot of good chances. We hit at least six or seven posts, their goalie made an outstanding save in the shoot-out on one of our guys. Maybe it just wasn’t our day, but there’s a ton of positives to pull from it. Our goalie, Jack Milner was solid in net,” the coach noted. “We were bouncing, we were doing lots of good things out there. We controlled most of the play in the third.”
With a 3-2-1 record, Cape Breton West now sits in fourth place in the U18 Nova Scotia Hockey League.
“We have a short season and we know that we have to push these guys every day. They have to know how important every period is in a shortened season because it could be the difference between winning and losing a game. I’m very impressed with the team so far… We’ve been in every game that we’ve played, by one goal or two goals at the most. There’s even a game or two where we could’ve come out on top,” MacNeil added. “There’s going to be some learning curves throughout the year, for different people, some ups and downs, highs and lows, but the coaching staff are very confident in what we see on the ice so far.”
The Islanders are back on the ice Saturday, November 14 and 15 on the road against the South Shore Mustangs.
Cape Breton West will be back at home on November 28 and 29 against Cole Harbour.