PORT HAWKESBURY: The Antigonish AA Munro Junior Bulldogs took the Canadian Tire Strait Pirates 4-3 in overtime last Friday night at the Civic Centre.
Jacob David Nobbe scored in the extra frame, with assists from Sam Mattie and Cory MacLellan, to give the Bulldogs their tenth win of the year.
“We don’t like to lose but, big picture, we were happy with the overall game,” Pirates assistant coach Tim MacMillan noted. “It was a great game, it really was.”
Jake MacDonald opened the scoring for the Bulldogs, following almost eight minutes later by a tying marker from Pirate Zachary Forsyth.
Bulldog Darren Waterman opened the second with a goal not two minutes into the frame, but that was followed by a tally from Pirate Cameron Gillis and a power play goal from Matthew Ellis for the Strait.
Mattie, the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League’s scoring leader with 24 points, scored just under two minutes into the third period to tie the game.
Prior to the game, the Pirates held a tribute to long-time volunteer and supporter Dave Hudson who passed away in January.
Port Hawkesbury town councillor Jason Aucoin thanked the organization for the ceremony on the family’s behalf.
“Dave has been a long time pirate fan and worked the clock for the Pirates for many, many years,” Aucoin noted. “It was very classy of the Pirates to acknowledge Dave. It means a lot to our family. To Bruce Lee for writing the speech and have a standing ovation was the perfect way to acknowledge Dave.”
MacMillan said the Pirates had been waiting to host a ceremony honouring Hudson once public health restrictions were eased.
“Dave was around the team for a very long time, in many ways; billeting players, he had other hats even before he took on the scorekeeper role,” he noted. “He was associated with the club for a long, long time. Now we’ll look to others to fill the void.”
Goalie Mike MacMullen, who the Pirates recently acquired from Antigonish, was solid in net.
“He made some big saves all the way through,” Pirate’s assistant coach Tim MacMillan noted. “He really only knew about the trade that morning. He stepped right in and played an extremely good game.”
Along with the new net minder, the Pirates traded defenceman Jason Johnson to the Junior Miners and acquired Jack Neilson and Tyler Cooke.
“The bottom line is that we’ve improved our goaltending situation and our forwards are deep,” he explained. “Our defence; we have a lot of forwards back there right now playing. They’re helping us out back there but we’re definitely looking for another (defenceman) or two before the deadline.”
Two nights later, the Pirates forged a comeback to eke out a 9-8 win on the road against the Eskasoni Junior Eagles. Cameron Gillis scored six goals for the Strait, including the OT winner.
“That’s an insane game,” MacMillan said. “I can’t remember the last time a Pirate scored six goals, especially in a game where we had to fight the whole way back to win… To score six times in a meaningful game was amazing.”
Down 7-4 heading into the final frame, the Pirates scored four times in the third, before the Eagles tied the game with 1:38 remaining in regulation.
“Mike MacMullen came in off the bench and he stopped a breakaway with under a minute to play, and then we went to overtime and he stopped another breakaway,” MacMillan recalled.
That same night, Antigonish lost 3-2 on the road to the Pictou County Scotians.
Overcoming a 2-1 Bulldogs lead, the Scotians scored with 3:49 remaining to tie the game, then notched the game winner with 19 seconds left to hand the Bulldogs their first loss of the year in regulation time.
The Pirates will be hosting Eskasoni on Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre, then they are on the road the next night to take on the Junior Miners.
Antigonish is taking on the Miners at 7 p.m. on Feb. 26 at the Antigonish Arena.
The Bulldogs remain in top spot in the Sid Rowe Division with a 10-1-0-1 record, while the Pirates sit in fourth place with a record of 4-5-1-0.