Strait Pirates continue to allow 'bad beats' in Junior B loop
The Strait Pirates went all-in with second-best hands and suffered a pair of bad-beats in Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League action on the weekend.
Brennan Delaney, of the Strait Pirates, watches as his shot gets behind Pictou County goalie Ben Goss for the Pirates' first goal in Friday's Junior B game at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre.
In their last two games before the Christmas break, the Pirates fell 4-3 to the Pictou County Scotians on Friday at home then got clubbed 11-2 by the Miners in Glace Bay on Saturday.
With a dozen games left in the regular season, the two losses put the Pirates in danger of not having home ice again this year in the NSJHL playoffs. They currently sit two points ahead of the Scotians, with Pictou having 14 games remaining.
Players writing exams played havoc with the Pirates’ lineup in Friday’s game at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre. They were down to one regular centreman with Marc Bourgeois, and had David Greencorn and Steven Campbell taking draws in the absence of Kenzie Dowie, Brandon Boudreau and Scott MacLean. Troy Hillier and defenceman Nathan Hayes were also out. As well, affiliates Connor MacLaughlin and Dakota Bernard were called up from Spryfield’s Jr. C team.
The Scotians opened the first period with a powerplay goal and then scored two more on the rush to take a 3-0 lead.
Brennan Delaney put the Pirates on the board at 7:54 of the second period with some dogged work in the Pictou crease with Gavyn Connell-Helle and Bryson Landring mucking it out in the corners.
However, Pictou replied two minutes later to regain the three-goal lead heading into the third.
The Pirates, who had 12 shots against Scotians netminder Ben Goss in the first and 20 in the second, peppered him with 26 shots in the third, resulting in a pair of goals by Bourgeois.
Pirates goalie Marcus Otmar was pulled with 2:33 left in the third for an extra attacker that resulted in the second goal by Bourgeois at 19:30 but left little time for scoring the equalizer.
The Pirates had Dowie, Boudreau, Hayes, MacLean and Hillier all back in the lineup Saturday, but the Miners were determined to show who was who at home.
“I don’t mind giving credit to the other team when it’s due, and they came at us hard and didn’t let up,” said Pirates coach Tim MacMillan.
“We put everything we had into Friday’s game, and we outplayed the hell out of them. The effort was there, but like so many times in the past against Goss and Pictou, we came up short. So going to Glace Bay, we were spent mentally with the guys who had been writing exams, and spent physically with the guys who played the night before.”
MacMillan said the team has three weeks to heal old wounds and rejuvenate themselves, including starting goaltender Shawn Jeffrey, who will be back between the pipes in the new year from an undisclosed injury.
“Let’s see what the money games bring. We have 12 games in the second half, and if we’re going to have home ice in the playoffs, then we’re going to have to go out and beat Glace Bay and beat Pictou. It’s as simple as that.”
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