PORT HOOD and ANTIGONISH, N.S. - The Cape Breton West Major Midget Islanders and Nova Major Bantams are forced into a similar objective after their first weekend of playoff hockey March 2 and 3 – win on the road next weekend.
The Islanders, playing at home versus the Valley Wildcats, split their games played Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. The Islanders lost a tough opener, 3-2 in double overtime, before bouncing back in a big way Sunday, with a 10-2 win.
The best-of-five series now shifts to Berwick and the Kings Mutual Century Centre for the remaining games; to be played Friday (March, 8, 7 p.m. puck-drop), Saturday (3:30 p.m.) and, if necessary, Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Sam Grant led the way offensively for the Islanders on Sunday; assisting on half of his team’s goals. Fellow Antigonisher Darren Waterman, the captain of the Islanders, notched a hat-trick while adding an assist, while Dave Matthews scored twice and picked up two helpers.
Defenceman Neil MacLean had three assists while Lewis Taylor and Matthew Ellis each had a goal and an assist.
Matthew Raike, Daniel Gillis and Lowell MacDonald scored the other Islander goals while Ben MacLellan and Luke Gould each recorded two assists, and single assists went to Daniel LeBlanc, Luke Hadley and Jason Johnson.
Goaltender Kenzie MacPhail, just back after representing Nova Scotia at the Canada Winter Games, recorded the win by making 29 stops.
In Saturday’s OT defeat, Waterman and Ellis did the scoring with Matthews, MacLean and MacDonald picking up assists. It was a game the Islanders trailed by two after one, tied up in the second, and remained tied until the 17:30 mark of the second OT period.
MacPhail made 35 saves in the loss.
The Novas margin for error is even less than the Islanders after they dropped the opening game of their best-of-three series, versus the Cole Harbour Pro Hockey Life Storm.
Played Saturday (March 2) at the Antigonish Arena, it was a game the Novas found themselves chasing, after being down 3-1 following the opening period.
They would cut the deficit to one on a couple of occasions (3-2 and 4-3) but the Storm did add an insurance marker and were able to escape with a 5-3 victory.
Cadyn Power scored twice for the Novas in the loss with Jacob Cook scoring the other goal, and Liam Berthiaume, Ray MacKinnon and Tyler Peddle each picking up an assist.
Jack Milner and Jeffrey Quinn both saw time in goal for the Novas.
The Novas will need to win both games at Cole Harbour Place this weekend. Game two goes Saturday with a 6:30 p.m. puck drop and Sunday, if necessary, starting at 11 a.m.
The winner will advance to the provincials, to be held in Pictou County, later this month.