PORT HAWKESBURY: No doubt about it, the Glace Bay Miners managed a decisive win in game one, but the Strait Pirates are now in the drivers seat, with three games played in their first round playoff series.
“Whether you lose 9-1 or 3-2 in overtime, it’s only one game,” said Pirate coach Taylor Lambke, speaking to The Reporter after his crew assumed a 2-1 series lead.
As the coach indicated, the Pirates lost 9-1 in game one last Wednesday. Game two was a 3-2 Pirate win last Friday night, and the Strait also won on Saturday, that time in a 6-1 final.
“You have to have a short memory and move on. Fans that went to the game Friday night and Saturday night got their money’s worth for sure.
“Even though the score was 9-1, there were a lot of things in the first half of the game that I really liked. Once we got down a few, we started chasing the game and we got in trouble. But credit to our guys, we bounced back with a big effort Friday night and carried that effort into Saturday night. We’re up 2-1, and taking it one game at a time.”
That first game saw Major Midget call-up James Beaton (from Jason Johnson and Austin Woodland) score for the Pirates with 6:44 played in the second. The score was 1-1 at that point, but eight unanswered Miner goals (five on Pirate Cody Smith, and four on Hunter Forance) made it a long night for the Strait. The Pirates were outshot 49-21.
On Friday, a three-goal second period resulted in the Pirates’ second game success. Scoring on a power play was Joshua MacMillan (from Branden Dauphinee and Johnson). Also scoring were Jacob Keagan (from Josh Foster and Avery Warner) and Warner (from Beaton and Dauphinee).
Smith backstopped the Pirates and faced 31 shots. Miner Kaine Drake contended with 25 shots.
Don’t go away…
Smith was also the man in game three, and he turned away 50 of 51 shots. Kaine faced 33 shots.
The Pirates led 3-1 after the first 20 minutes and, after a scoreless second, the Strait popped three more in the third.
Gregor Yoell (two goals) was the leading scoring for the Strait. Also having a great game were Johnson and MacMillan (a goal and assist each), and Josh Foster (two helpers). Matthew Raike and Cullen MacEachern had a goal each, and helping out with assists were Dauphinee, Keagan, Jordan Etheridge, and Islander AP Liam Trenholm.
Trenholm and Beaton, along with Islander Brant Timmons, are welcome additions to the squad, Lambke said.
Game four is this Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre.
“We could put them down 3-1 and put their backs against the wall, and they’re fighting to get back in the series,” Lambke said. “It should be a really good, entertaining game. We fully expect them to push. We’ll have to match it.”