Islanders getting hot at the right time

PORT HOOD: The Cape Breton West U18 Islanders have won five of their last six games in the Nova Scotia U18 Hockey League.

Last weekend, the Islanders split a weekend series in Dartmouth against Steele Subaru U18.

“To go up and split against Dartmouth, we look at that as a win for sure and a big weekend for us going forward,” coach Nick MacNeil told The Reporter.

On March 20, the Islanders started with a 3-0 lead before eventually winning 3-2 after Dartmouth scored twice in the third period.

Leading the way for Cape Breton West was Landon MacIntosh with two assists, while Jack MacDonald, Marcus Larade and Jacob Cooke each had one goal. Also getting assists were Liam Trenholm, Leyton Stewart and Bryce Thomson.

Goalie Adam Tkacz made 25 saves to get the win.

The next day, Dartmouth fired 37 shots at the Islanders’ net to skate to a 5-1 win.

Once again, Larade scored for Cape Breton, with assists by Keir Jordan and Lowell MacDonald.

With four games remaining, including three at home, MacNeil said his squad is playing well at the right time after some struggles early in the second half.

“After the break, we kind of struggled for the first couple of games,” MacNeil said. “We played a good first weekend, then we went into a rut where we played a few bad games, then there were a few games where we played really good and didn’t win. Now it seems like the boys are getting rewarded for their play. They’ve been working extremely hard on and off the ice.”

The Islanders now have a record of 12-10-3 good for third place overall in the league.

On March 27, Cape Breton West will travel to the Membertou Sport and Wellness Centre to face the Sydney Mitsubishi Rush, then the next day they will host the Rush in Port Hood at 3 p.m.

On April 2 and 3, the Islanders host the league leading Halifax McDonalds at the Al MacInnis Sports Centre.

As for playoffs, MacNeil said the ice will be removed from the Al MacInnis Sports Centre on April 4, and the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre will be their home rink.

Their biggest priority now is securing home ice for the playoffs, the coach added.

“We still have to finish strong in these next four games and these are big points in the standings so we’ll just keep pushing,” he added.