PORT HAWKESBURY: Last Friday night, the Strait Pirates put together a four-goal second period to help them score a 5-3 win over the number one team in the provincial Junior league, the Sackville Blazers.
“It was probably our most complete game of the year,” said head coach Taylor Lambke. “I liked a lot of what I saw. I think we defended well, managed the puck well in the neutral zone, and generated offense off our cycle and off the rush. That was very positive, and I’m very happy with the game.
“There’s probably a bitter taste in a lot of guy’s mouths from last year’s finals [where the Pirates and Sackville battled for the provincial title]. We got to know them pretty well in a six game series, and there’s a bit of hate between the teams.”
It was a big night for Avery Warner, who had the Pirates’ first goal of the game (from Bryce Reynolds) at 10:48 of the first period. He also connected for the Pirates in the second, at 4:56 with Reynolds and Josh Foster setting him up.
Joining Warner in the second period scoring were Reynolds (from Jacob Keagan) on a power play opportunity, just 11 seconds before the Warner goal. Also scoring on a man-advantage was Brendan Kenneth Lanning (from Austin Woodland and Olan Spears) with 8:04 played. Another Pirate goal came at 9:16, once again on a power play, with Gregor Yoell (from Keagan and Spears) putting the puck in the net.
It was a tough game for Sackville goalie Jonathan Pickrem, who allowed all five Pirate goals. Pickrem’s night was made none-the-easier in the latter half of the second, as Keagan broke down the ice on a partial breakaway. The Pirate lost his edge and, a second later, collided with Pickrem with a serious impact.
Pickrem, who’s usually great for the Blazers with a 7-3 record and save percentage of .902, was tagged out by fellow goalie Adam Fisher, who shut the door on 12 of 12 shots in his 26:32 minutes of play.
For the Pirates, Cody Smith stopped 31 of 34 shots.
On Sunday, the Pirates had one of the other big guns in the league, the East Hants Penguins (12-6-1). The Pens are locked in a three-way tie for second place in the league.
This time out, Austin Woodland (from Hunter Woodland and Matthew Raike) had the lone Pirate goal in a 3-1 loss. Smith faced 35 shots, only three more than his East Hants counterpart Chris Malette.
“It was a solid game and a very entertaining game for the fans,” Lambke said. “There were good chances at both ends. We gave up the third goal late, but we had lots of chances to tie it up.”
This Friday night, the Pirates will host the Penguins for a 7:30 p.m. start. On Saturday, the Strait is off to visit Eskasoni Eagles.
The Pirates are still on the winning side of the league, as they sit in fifth place overall (just two points shy of joining the three-way tie for second) with a record of 10-5-1-2.