Pirates rally in third to open Jr. B season with 5-4 win
-by Bill Dunphy
Kenzie Dowie began celebrating his first goal as a Strait Pirate before it slid into the net past a frantic Ben Goss in the Pictou Scotians goal, giving the Pirates a 3-1 lead early in the second period of Friday's Junior B game in Port Hawkesbury.
A big save on a breakaway and two powerplay goals in the third lifted the Strait Pirates to a 5-4 win over the Pictou County Scotians in the opening game of the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League season at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre on Friday.
The save was provided by Louisdale native Shawn Jeffrey, playing his first game in a Pirates’ jersey since 2009-10 when he was a call-up from the Cape Breton West Major Midget Islanders.
Tied 4-4 late in the third, a blocked shot sent two Scotians on a two-on-one, with Jeffrey coming out to challenge the shooter for the save.
A minute later, at 18:09, Ontario import forward Kenzie Dowie won a battle in the corner of the Pictou zone, emerged with the puck and dished off to Morgan Timmons, who fired it past goaltender Ben Goss for the winner.
“That was a huge, huge save Shawn made; I almost blew a tire on that one,” said Pirates captain and veteran blueliner Dale MacIntosh. “Having a goaltender make a save like that lifts your spirits. We came out against the league’s best goalie and put five past him. It’s a great way to start.”
While opening-night jitters and unfamiliar linemates can lead to some ugliness on the ice, the Pirates came together quickly against a veteran team.
The penalty-kill was called upon early with the Scotians getting three straight powerplays in the first period.
After the third successful kill, Pirates rookie Steve Campbell, of St. Peter’s, broke the ice with his first Junior goal at 17:44, taking a feed from Brennan Delaney and going top-glove on Goss for the score.
With 55 seconds left in the first frame, David Greencorn took a breakaway pass from Matt Papineau and made it 2-0 Pirates.
But with time on the clock and no time to relax, the Scotians got one back with 32 seconds left.
The Pirates went ahead 3-1 with a Dowie powerplay goal at 3:33 of the second, combining with MacIntosh and Americo Pino.
A Cadillac one minute, a a go-cart the next, the wheels came off the Pirates’ game for the remainder of the period as Pictou scored three unanswered even-strength goals to take a 4-3 lead after 40 minutes.
“This is one of the best group of guys I’ve ever played with,” said MacIntosh. “We turned it around; guys were blocking shots; everybody wants to win. Seeing that gets you into the game.”
Another Pirate penalty-kill early in the third was followed by Pictou getting caught with too many men at the end of their powerplay, which was followed by a roughing penalty to Goss, giving the Pirates a two-man advantage.
Eleven seconds in and Troy Disipio, another Ontario import, made his presence known with the tying goal on a play with rookie Gavyn Helle at 11:00.
Shots on goal were about even, with Jeffrey seeing 29 and the Pirates replying with 30 on Goss.
It was the only game of the weekend for the Pirates, who resume play at home this Friday at 7:30 p.m. against the East Hants Penguins. On Saturday the Pirates are on the road to St. Margaret’s Bay for an 8 p.m. against the Bay Ducks.
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