Slow off the mark, Islanders regain mojo in game two of Major Midget playoffs
The bubble had to burst sooner or later.
Cape Breton West's Brad Kennedy causes some strife in the Tradesmen slot area, picking up three assists in Sunday's 5-2 win to even their Major Midget AAA playoff series at 1-1.
The Cape Breton West Islanders got their scoring mojo back in the second period of game two with the Cape Breton Tradesmen, just in time to stave off a two-game hole in their best-of-seven Nova Scotia Major Midget AAA quarterfinal playoff series.
The Tradesmen were riding high following a dominating 4-0 win at the Al MacInnis Sports Centre on Saturday night.
And despite numerous good scoring chances in the first period by the Islanders on Sunday afternoon, it was the Tradesmen who held a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.
It seemed the Islanders’ goal-scorers were snake-bitten at the worst possible time.
But sometimes all it takes is a so-called ugly goal to end a drought.
Jack MacQuarrie, who had been in on several of the earlier scoring chances, got the ugly one at 1:05 of the second period with the Islanders on a powerplay.
Forechecking hard on the second powerplay unit, MacQuarrie got a feed from Brad Kennedy, who plays the point with the extra-man advantage, and delivered a shot to the crease area of the Tradesmen net. The puck deflected off a defender’s skate and past a surprised Jordan Latour in the Tradesmen net.
From that point on you could see a change in the Islanders’ step.
Two minutes later Kirkland Bernard picked up a rebound on a Randon MacKinnon shot and flicked a backhander past Latour for a 2-1 Islanders’ lead.
And at 12:37, Nick Pino and Connor MacEachern were off to the races on two-on-one, with Pino finishing with the eventual game-winner to make it 3-1.
The Tradesmen scored a powerplay goal at 7:08 of the third period, but the Islanders responded quickly. As Colby Tower patrolled the backboard, Floyd MacDonald got himself in position in front of the Tradesmen net, called for the puck, and didn’t disappoint with a nice pick to make it 4-2 at 8:47.
Tower rounded out the scoring at 16:22 with a modified spin-a-rama in the slot after being denied on one side only to plunk it in the ocean on the other. Hard-hitting Konnor Timmons and Kennedy, with his third, assisted on the play.
Connor MacEachern, the Islanders’ captain, said they had only themselves to blame for going one down in the series on Saturday.
“We came in taking it pretty lightly after the last couple of games in which we beat them by large margins. We expected to do the same without putting the effort in,” he said.
“We talked about it afterwards, and the coaches helped us take some positives from that game, which were put into practice today. We were more aggressive and faster to the puck, and it paid off.”
MacEachern said now that they got their scoring touch back, he expects their powerplay will also improve. The Islanders were 0-for-4 Saturday and 1-for-5 on Sunday.
“It’s not so much that it’s not working at home, but it’s not working against this team,” said MacEachern. “Hopefully in Sydney it will start working like it can.”
Game three of the series is being played in New Waterford on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Game four moves to Centre 200 in Sydney on Sunday at 1 p.m.
The series returns to Port Hood for game five on Tuesday, Feb. 12th, 7:30 p.m. at the Al MacInnis Sports Centre.
If necessary, game six will be played Wednesday, Feb. 13th, 7:30 p.m. at Centre 200. Game seven would be played in Port Hood on Saturday, Feb. 16th, at 6 p.m.
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