Pirates up against division rivals

PORT HAWKESBURY: After their game last Friday night was canceled, the Pirates will face two division rivals this weekend.

The game scheduled for November 20 at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre against the Cumberland County Blues was cancelled because Blues players were unable to travel from New Brunswick due to COVID-19 restrictions. A make-up date will be announced at a later date.

“They had a three-game weekend, so it wasn’t just one trip down, they had to go through Membertou and Eskasoni as well, to only have half a team, that’s tough going,” Pirates assistant coach Tim MacMillan said.

This weekend, the Canadian Tire Strait Pirates have two big games, the first is against the Junior Miners this Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in Port Hawkesbury. The Miners are only two points ahead of the Pirates in the Sid Rowe Division.

Coach Tim MacMillan said they are looking to avenge the 10-2 beat-down the Miners gave them at home on November 13. Since these are their last two games until the new year, he said they are even more important.

“It should be good hockey for the fans too. We’re promising a better game against the Miners,” he said. “We said our last meeting with the Miners was a test, and let’s say, it didn’t go particularly well. It’s a fresh start, we now know what the Miners will bring. They’re a good team, they bring a lot of speed. There are so many young players that hadn’t seen them before at that real game speed. They overwhelmed us, and it’s one of those games where everything went wrong. Not much went right.”

Then on Sunday, the Pirates will travel up Highway 104 for their first game of the season against the Antigonish AA Munro Junior B Bulldogs at the Antigonish Arena, start time is 7:30 p.m. The Bulldogs sit atop the Sid Rowe Division with 10 points, four ahead of the Pirates.

“What a big weekend, when you’re playing our two biggest rivals in one weekend,” MacMillan noted. “No bigger rival than Antigonish, just given the proximity. We’re looking forward to the opportunity of playing them, another good team.”

While the Pirates have three players among the league’s points leaders – Avery Warner, Josh Foster and Gregor Yoell – the Bulldogs have four players in the 25 top – Sam Mattie, Keegan Gauthier, Ryan

MacLellan, and Fearghus MacDonald.

“They’re balanced, they’re a good team right through,” MacMillan stated. “They’re solid all around, a good hockey club.”

Before they take on the Pirates, the Bulldogs will host the Cumberland County Blues on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

“We’re still planning on playing and we’ll play as long as we’re allowed to,” MacMillan added.