The Antigonish Farmers’ Mutual Junior Bulldogs will hit the ice for a pair of Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League games this weekend.
Friday night, on the road, the Black and Gold will visit the Cole Harbour Colts, while Sunday they will host the East Hants Penguins.
Puck drop at the Antigonish Arena is set for 7:30 p.m.
“I think, so far, it is going pretty well,” veteran forward Giordano Saputo said of the Bulldogs’ early-season performance.
“We have a good group of guys and, I think, we have a pretty skilled team – on paper – compared to the league.
“Our record doesn’t really show the kind of team we have – I think we let a couple games slip away,” he added.
As the season moves forward, and team members “get more and more comfortable playing with each other,” Saputo noted, “we will be doing a lot better.”
He was asked about what the team needs to do to secure more wins.
“We need to focus on playing a full 60 minutes,” Saputo said.
“There are some games where we started off slowly – kind of got in a hole and had to battle back – and there are other games, where we had the lead, and we let it slip away towards the end of the game.
“That is something that has been, definitely, been addressed and we are going to have to work harder at playing a full 60 minutes,” he added.
Shaft from Miners
The Junior Miners, with six goals in the third period, skated to a 6-3 victory over the host Bulldogs in recent action.
After the first period, on goals from Devin MacLaughlin, from Connor Fraser and Saputo, and Brian MacDougall, from Josh Cunningham, Antigonish led 2-0.
After a scoreless second period, the Miners trimmed the lead to one goal, earlier in the third, but the Bulldogs answered – just 26 seconds later – with a marker from Logan Deyoung, on an assist from Giovanni Akeson.
The Miners rallied and sealed the win, with five unanswered goals, including an empty-netter, in the final eight minutes of regulation time.
Braden Henwood made 23 saves in the loss.
Across the Canso Causeway, the rival Strait Pirates will also skate twice this weekend.
They will host the Sackville Blazers Friday, at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre, in a 7:30 p.m. tilt, before hitting the road Sunday night for a match-up with the Pictou County Scotians.
On back-to-back nights, the Pirates played a pair of one-goal games in recent action.
After falling behind 2-0, Oct. 15, the Strait got a third-period power-play marker from Bryce Reynolds, on assists from Owen Higgins and Riley Keeling, but could get no closer against the Blazers.
Matthew Stymest made 23 stops.
That road setback came on the heels of a 3-2 overtime win, on home ice, over the Valley Maple Leafs.
Dawson MacLean notched the game-winner, unassisted, at 2:41 of the extra session.
The Pirates led 2-0, after two periods, on goals from Avery Warner (MacLean and Morgan Timmons) and Randon MacKinnon (Joshua MacMillan and Josh Foster).
The Maple Leafs scored twice, unanswered, in the third period to force OT.
Stymest had 27 saves for the win.
The Bulldogs and Pirates wrote the latest chapter in their long-time hockey rivalry Oct. 22, at Antigonish Arena.
Two days earlier (Oct. 20), the Pirates welcomed the defending league champion Pictou County Scotians, while the Bulldogs visited the Valley Maple Leafs.
Results were unavailable at press time.