In a see-saw battle – one with plenty of goals – the Antigonish Farmers’ Mutual Junior Bulldogs skated to a 10-8 victory over the Strait Pirates.
The Bulldogs rallied from a four-goal, second-period deficit in the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League tilt, Jan. 14, at the Antigonish Arena.
“They came out extremely hard,” Bulldog head coach David Synishin said, describing the visitors as a “strong offensive team.”
“They also skate very well and we started to scramble and panic,” he added.
Off the opening face-off, the Pirates took just seven seconds to provide a preview of the offensive explosion that took place between the perennial rivals.
After sniper Randon MacKinnon swooped in and tested Bulldog goaltender Charles Jensen, Josh Foster banged in the rebound for a 1-0 edge.
Christian Papineau, with his first of two – from Bryce Reynolds and Jackson Beck – who notched three assists, doubled the Pirate advantage.
Just more than 90 seconds later, at 12:34, Jacob Tompkins – from Brian MacDougall and Connor Fraser – put the Bulldogs on the scoreboard.
Taylor Leger knotted the contest on helpers from Ryan Kennedy and Giordano Saputo.
Before the end of the first, at 18:53, the Pirates regained the lead on a Papineau power-play marker.
Devin Sceles and Avery Warner assisted.
In the first five minutes of the second, the Pirates scored three consecutive goals to take a 6-2 advantage.
At the 42-second mark, Owen Higgins tallied from Beck, while Ryan Lawless scored – unassisted – less than two minutes later.
After that goal, Synishin replaced starting goaltender Charles Jensen with Jared Green.
It didn’t take long for the Pirates to solve the Antigonish native, when Cody Hinkley – from Reynolds and Beck – made it 6-2.
“I don’t think I played with or coached a team that came back from four goals down,” Synishin said.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we battled back, so we were pleased with the boys’ effort.”
Less than one minute later, at 5:06, Kennedy started the comeback when he converted a set-up from Leger.
Newcomer Jacob Nobbe, with his first goal as a Bulldog – unassisted – sliced it to 6-4, only 20 seconds after Kennedy tallied.
With the man advantage, MacDougall – from Saputo and Dylan MacLean – pulled the Bulldogs within one goal.
Nobbe completed the four-goal rally, with a power-play marker from Connor Fraser and Josh Cunningham.
“He has a great nose for the net, as people saw,” Synishin said of Nobbe, calling him a “welcome addition.”
At 17:49, Sceles regained the Pirate edge – 7-6 – from William Stewart.
At 4:15 of the third, Cunningham – from MacLean – pulled the Bulldogs even on the power play.
Only 34 seconds later, Leger – from Blair Fraser and Saputo – gave the Bulldogs their first lead.
Once again, the Pirates answered, with MacKinnon tying it 8-8, on a Callum Jordan assist.
With less than five minutes remaining in regulation time, Leger completed his hat-trick with the game-winning goal, on an assist from Kennedy.
Saputo sealed the deal with an empty-net marker.
Matthew Stymest made 21 saves in the loss.
Jensen, who was back in his crease for the third period, made 16 saves for the win, while Green provided six stops in his relief stint.
Two nights earlier (Jan. 12), the Bulldogs scored five unanswered goals in the first period, en route to a convincing 9-3 road victory over the Cumberland County Blues.
Saputo and Kennedy tallied two goals apiece, as part of three-point nights, while MacDougall notched three assists.
Cunningham and Tompkins finished with two points, including one goal each, while Devin MacLaughlin, Connor Fraser and Kurt MacLaughlin contributed two assists apiece.
MacIsaac, Mitchell Bowman and Leger also scored, while MacLean, Andrew Boyle and Brendan Richards chipped in assists.
Jensen made 25 stops.
“We are more of a blue collar team,” Synishin said, when asked about the 19-goal, two-game explosion.
“I would rather that we scored six or seven, and given up two or three, but we will take it.”
Back in action
The Bulldogs returned to action Jan. 21, in Trenton, against the Pictou County Scotians, with results unavailable at press time.
They will be on home ice Friday, at 7:30 p.m., when they host the Kameron Miners.
Pirates to host Blues
Cody Hinkley scored twice, but it wasn’t enough, as the Strait Pirates dropped a 6-3 decision to the Kameron Miners in recent Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League action.
The teams skated Jan. 12 at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre.
After falling behind 3-0, Devin Sceles put the home side on the scoreboard, with an unassisted marker.
After two periods, the Miners led 5-1.
In the third period, Hinkley cut the deficit to three, once again, on assists from Christian Papineau and Jackson Beck.
Hinkley rounded out the scoring for the Pirates, on the power play, with helpers from Avery Warner and Bryce Reynolds.
In the loss, starter Matthew Stymest and Peter Kopf made 13 and 11 saves, respectively, for the Pirates.
Back in action
The Pirates returned to action, Jan. 19, when they hosted the Miners, before hitting the road for a match-up with the Liverpool Privateers (Jan. 23).
Results were unavailable at press time.
The Pirates will be back on home ice Friday, when they welcome the Cumberland County Blues.
Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre.