The Antigonish Farmers’ Mutual Junior Bulldogs, spearheaded by victories on back-to-back nights, extended their winning streak to four games in Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League action.
“Obviously, it is really nice to see the progression,” Bulldog head coach David Synishin said, noting the effort of everyone as individuals and a team.
“And, a by-product of that, usually, shows up in wins for your team,” he added.
For that to continue, Synishin said, the Bulldogs will have to maintain their focus on team play and being “hard-working.”
“If you want to win championships, you also have to have that effort on the ‘D’ side [of the puck],” he added, in stressing the importance of defensive play.
In a 4-1 victory over the defending league champion Pictou County Scotians, forward Devin MacLaughlin led the Bulldog attack with three points, including two third-period goals.
In the first period, Jacob Tompkins opened the scoring for the home team, on assists from MacLaughlin and Giordano Saputo.
Less than one minute after the Scotians tied it, Patrik MacIsaac regained the Bulldog lead, with what turned out to be the game-winner.
Kurt MacLaughlin and Josh Avery chipped in assists.
After a scoreless middle stanza, MacLaughlin sealed the deal with consecutive goals over a three-minute span in the latter half of the third period.
Saputo notched the lone assist on both markers.
Jared Green made 25 saves for the win.
One night earlier (Dec. 7), on the road, Connor Fraser contributed one goal and three assists in a 7-2 victory over the Brookfield Elks.
In the first period, the teams exchanged goals, with Fraser tallying – shorthanded – from Taylor Leger, who finished with three points.
After four unanswered goals, including three consecutive with the man advantage, the Bulldogs jumped to a 5-1 lead.
Just 43 seconds in the middle frame, Dylan MacLean started the power-play spurt, on assists from Fraser and team captain Brian MacDougall.
Leger, with what turned out to be the winning goal, made it 3-1 after two periods, with Fraser and MacDougall, once again, assisting.
In the third period, Blair Fraser – from MacIsaac – gave the visitors a three-goal advantage.
Leger, with his second, from Fraser and Tompkins, made it 5-1.
After the Elks got on the board, the Bulldogs wrapped up the scoring on a pair from Ryan Kennedy, with Saputo and MacLaughlin assisting on both markers.
Green made 21 stops for the victory.
“It is really nice to see. He was solid and certainly made some big saves for us, when we needed them,” Synishin said of the Antigonish native’s effort in consecutive victories.
Cody Hinkley tallied four points, including a natural hat-trick in the first period, as the Strait Pirates skated to a 7-5 win over the Cumberland County Blues, Dec. 8, in Springhill.
After a high-scoring first period, the visitors led 3-2, on the strength of Hinkley’s three markers, including one on the power play.
After Taylor Pierce gave the Pirates a 4-2 edge, the home team knotted the contest before the end of the second period.
Early in the third period, the sides exchanged goals – with Jackson Beck the marksman for the Pirates.
With less than five minutes remaining in the third period, Riley Keeling, unassisted, scored the game-winner.
Christian Papineau, on the man advantage, provided an insurance marker.
Pierce, Papineau and Joshua MacMillan chipped in two-point games for the Pirates.
Matthew Stymest made 38 saves for Pirates, who garnered a 53 to 43 shots-on-goal advantage.
The Bulldogs and Pirates faced-off, Dec. 15, at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre – the final pre-Christmas regular season game for both teams.
Results were unavailable at press time.
Both teams will return to action Friday, Jan. 5, on home ice, when the Bulldogs host the Blues and the Pirates welcome the Scotians.
Puck drop for both match-ups is 7:30 p.m.