ANTIGONISH: The Nova Major Bantams scored their 17th win of the season last Saturday in a 3-1 final against the South Shore Lumberjacks.
“It was nice to get the win,” said head coach Jamie Mattie. “There’s only 10 games left, and South Shore is middle of the pack but we figured they’d be tough, fighting for playoff positioning. We told them [the Novas] to be ready to play a one or two-goal game, because that’s what these last games are going to come down to.
“It was a solid outing. We had good goaltending, and they had good goaltending. We’re going the have to win those close ones as the year goes on.”
The Lumberjacks drew first blood in the first period at the Antigonish Arena, but Tully Grant (from Marcus Pelly-Conrad) and Tyler Peddle (from Rory Wood) had second period goals, lifting the local squad to a 2-1 lead going into period three.
Wood (from Riley Sampson and Peddle) popped a third period goal for the Novas.
Goalie Jeffery Quinn faced 30 pucks.
Mattie said Quinn and the Novas’ other backstop, Jack Milner, have a healthy rivalry that’s resulted in some great goaltending.
“They try to outdo each other when they get the opportunity, and I think that competitiveness is putting them on the top of their game,” Mattie said.
All told, the Novas have allowed only 56 goals this season – the lowest in the league. Milner’s save percentage of .915 is the best in the league, and Quinn is right there with him at .905.
Six second-year defensemen are also contributing to the Novas’ strength in their own end.
The Novas are also in possession of the top scorer in the league, Peddle, who put away 45 goals and 19 assists in just 23 games. He might be the top sniper in the league, but Coach Mattie noted the Novas have loads of other firepower as well.
The Novas were slated to play the Bedford Barons last Sunday, but the game was postponed due to bad weather. The game is rescheduled for the weekend before the playoffs begin.
That game ought to be a pivotal one, as the Novas and Barons are situated at the top of the league. Right now, the Barons are in first place by two points over the Novas, but the Novas have a game in hand.
This Saturday, the Novas host the Barons at 5 p.m. at the Antigonish Arena. This too ought to be an interesting game, as the Barons lead their regular season series with the Novas 1-0. The teams play three times in the season, and that head-to-head record will be the decision maker if the squads are tied in the standings.