LOUISDALE: The Cape Breton West Islanders made them work for it, but at the end of the weekend, the Strait-Richmond Pirates claimed their third consecutive league championship.
“It took two overtime periods, but this is just a humongous win for us,” said Leon Burt, coach of the Strait-Richmond crew. “I’m so proud of the kids.”
The Pirates won the championship game at 2:47 of the second overtime period, when Logan Clannon one-timed a centring pass from Trent Diggdon to beat Islander backstop Christian Doucet on the blocker side. Ethan Richards also assisted on the goal.
Clannon (from Lindan Parsons and Richards) also had the Pirates’ second goal of the game, a power play goal, giving his crew a 2-1 lead early in the second. Ethan Bernard (from Brayden Marchand) and Marchand (unassisted) rounded out Pirate scoring.
On the Islander side, Dylan Aucoin (from Brayden Larade) had a first period power play goal, and Brady Aucoin (from Donovan Chiasson and Parker Fiset) popped one past Pirate goalie Liam Burt in the second.
The Islanders’ third goal came with 3:13 left in the third, when Chiasson (from Dylan Aucoin) tied the game at 3-3, forcing overtime.
Burt said he and the Pirates knew the Islanders were on the attack.
“My main focus was trying to keep the kids focused,” he said. “Three minutes left in the game, we still had the chances. We just needed to keep the shots on the net, and we knew we’d get that goal.
“The West’s coaching staff did an awesome job. Those kids were ready to go.”
Earlier in the tournament, the West and Strait-Richmond also had a tough outing in round robin. That game ended in a 4-4 tie on Saturday afternoon.
“We were down 4-1 early in the second period, and I kept telling the boys just keep getting the shots on the net. That’s what we did,” Burt said. “We kept the shots on net, and we came back to tie it 4-4. That was a big momentum boost for us. It put us in first place, and we took it from there.”
This was the first time the Cape Breton Midget A League decided its championship by a Cape Breton Cup tournament. Burt said he and the Pirates were happy to serve as hosts at the Richmond Arena.
“Every team from the bottom to the top came to play. It was an amazing weekend of hockey,” he said.