PORT HOOD: When Adam Sampson was asked how it felt to pop five goals in his team’s 6-3 win over the Inverness/Baddeck Rebels to claim the Highland Regional Division II banner, the sniper said the first words that came to him probably weren’t fit for print.
“But it sure felt good to help the boys out and get it done,” he said, as the Hurricane players and parents, coaches, trainers, girlfriends, and well-wishers flooded the ice at the Al MacInnis Sports Centre, the site of Richmond’s celebration.
“Inverness has a great goalie, the MVP of the league, and he fought hard for them. It was a tough game.”
The Hurricane and Rebels were the last two teams standing following a busy weekend of Cape Breton West high school hockey. Both teams advance to provincials.
The game was 1-1 after the first 15 minutes of play, with Hurricane Cameron Britten taking advantage of a turnover at 1:59 to give his crew a one-goal lead. Rebel Michael Cameron (from Ross Mullins and Dusty Bernard) connected just minutes later to tie the game.
With the majority of play even in the second period, the Hurricane killed a five-on-three late in the frame, and just after that, with 53 seconds left, Sampson scored his first goal (from Jacob Cotton).
Just 11 seconds into the third, on a beautiful set-up by Britten, Sampson snapped home his second goal of the game low on the glove side of Rebel netminder Hunter Forance. Also assisting was Danny McNamara. That put the game at 3-1.
Bringing Inverness to within one was Cameron (from Mullins and Bernard) with 5:03 played in the frame. That goal, like Cameron’s first, was on a power play.
Bernard had a moment of brilliance when cutting down the right wing, just 30 seconds after the Cameron goal, and slipping across to beat Hurricane goalie Luke Sampson. The unassisted goal tied the game at 3-3.
After that, Sampson managed the game winner (from Duncan White) with a wrist shot from the slot. He also had an unassisted goal with 2:05 remaining and an empty netter (from Britten and McNamara) with 12 seconds left.
Richmond coach Robert MacDonald said he takes his hat off to the Rebels for a competitive game.
“All game we felt we had something special here,” he said. “This was the second of our three goals. The first was to win the league, and now we’re the regional champs. We’d like the league championship next. We want it all. We’re really going for it.”
Richmond has lots of depth, MacDonald said, and the players know what they can do. The Hurricane will host the SAERC Saints for the league championship game tonight (March 6) at the Richmond Arena. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.
“We have three great lines of guys, three great lines of defence, and our goaltending is stellar too,” MacDonald said. “This is a special year for us.”