The Strait Pirates will face-off against the defending champion Pictou County Scotians Friday in Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League action.
Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre.
“We are playing some good hockey, so we like where we are headed,” first-year Pirate head coach Taylor Lambke said.
In a pair of match-ups earlier this season, the Strait were the victors.
“They have a veteran team and they are looking to make an impact in the division,” Lambke said of the Scotians.
When asked about keys to victory, he noted, the Pirates will have to use their speed.
“We want to pressure their ‘D’ and get pucks in deep,” Lambke said, adding they want “to spend more time in their end.”
Two nights later (Dec. 3), the teams will get together for a re-match at the Trenton Arena.
In recent play, the Pirates doubled the rival Antigonish Farmers’ Mutual Junior Bulldogs – 6-3 – on home ice.
“It was a big division game, so we knew it was an important one,” Lambke said.
In the opening 12 minutes of the first period, the Strait jumped to a 3-0 advantage.
“We were able to get off to a fast start,” Lambke said.
Olan Spears, on assists from Devin Sceles and Christian Papineau, put the Pirates with a power-play tally.
Avery Warner doubled the lead, unassisted, while Randon MacKinnon – from Josh Foster and William Stewart – gave the Strait a three-goal advantage.
Before the end of the period, Spears’s second of the game was sandwiched between a couple power-play goals from Bulldog forward Devin MacLaughlin.
The Pirates led 4-2 after the opening 20 minutes.
Foster, on the man advantage, scored the lone goal of the second period, on an assist from MacKinnon, to give the Pirates a 5-2 edge.
In the third period, Warner – from Bryce Reynolds and Dawson MacLean – stretched the Strait margin to four goals, before veteran Bulldog forward Giordano Saputo finished the scoring.
“We played a full 60 minutes, so the boys really deserved the win,” Lambke said.
Matthew Stymest backstopped the Pirate victory with 32 saves.
Edged by Colts
The following night (Nov. 18), on the road, the Pirates coughed up a four-goal lead in a 6-5 overtime loss to the Cole Harbour Colts.
The Strait took a 2-0 edge after one period, on goals from Morgan Timmons and Jackson Beck, with Cody Hinkley, Jordan Moss, Foster and MacKinnon collecting assists.
After the Colts got on the board, the Pirates scored three unanswered goals to take a 5-1 lead after two periods.
Taylor Pierce, from Warner, gave the Strait a two-goal cushion, before Callum Jordan – from MacKinnon and Foster – made it 4-1.
With less than two minutes remaining in the middle frame, Beck notched his second, from Hinkley and Pierce.
With four third-period goals, including the game-tying marker from former Antigonish Bulldog forward Keith Leadbeater, with 90 seconds remaining in regulation, the Colts forced overtime.
Nicholas Buckborough, unassisted, scored his second of the game in the extra session.
Peter Kopf made 38 saves for the Pirates.
Back in action
Over the weekend, the Pirates battled the Liverpool Privateers (Nov. 24) and Junior Miners (Nov. 26).
Results were unavailable at press time.