The Antigonish Farmers’ Mutual Junior Bulldogs put an official wrap on their 2018-19 season with a team banquet and awards ceremony, April 6, at Piper’s Pub.
Veteran defenceman Kieran Devine, a St. F.X. student who joined the Bulldogs after spending a season with the Pictou County Jr. ‘A’ Crushers, took home two awards during the afternoon event - top defenceman and regular season most valuable player (MVP).
“This was my last year of junior hockey … it definitely means a lot,” Devine, a third-year Bulldog, said, as players and their families mingled following the banquet.
“This is just a great group of guys and it was a great series to end it,” Devine said, referencing the Bulldogs’ near upset of the league-leading Strait Pirates in round one of the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League playoffs. After going up three games to one, the Bulldogs had the Strait on the ropes; but the Pirates won a dramatic game five in overtime and then won a back-and-forth game six, in Antigonish, before closing out the series in Port Hawkesbury with a shutout victory.
The international business student from Bainsville, Ontario said he made a good decision to join Antigonish.
“Just being closer to school, and I had a lot of fun,” he said, noting all the great connections he made as well, which includes former Bulldog forward Giordano Saputo who Devine will join next season in a pro hockey league in France.
Returning to the seven game showdown with the Pirates, Antigonish native Jared Green took home playoff MVP for his stellar performance in net for the Bulldogs.
“I knew how well I had to play against the Pirates, they’re a really well-rounded team,” Green, a second-year Bulldog, said.
“We all had to play well, so, I knew, I had to step-up and, maybe, the boys would follow suit … and we did, we had a very good series.”
Green, a third-year human kinetics student at St. F.X., agreed the series is a personal hockey highlight.
“I did what I could for the team which helped us get to game seven. Now I have to train hard in the off-season; I have my OA (over-age) year coming up, so it’s do what I can there and enjoy my last year,” Green said, an indication he has no intention of resting on his recent laurels.
Also picking up awards during the event were; 3-D (desire, determination, dedication) Award to captain Devin MacLaughlin,
rookie of the year to Zack Forsythe and Corey MacLellan (co-winners),
most improved player to Luke Drohan, true team player to Andrew Boyle, leading scorer was Fearghus MacDonald, Coaches’ Award to Jacob Nobbe and President’s Award to Tyler Dyke.
The event also marked the official end to head coach Dave Synishin’s two years behind the junior Bulldogs bench, as the Antigonish native announced late last month work commitments are forcing him to give up the role.
In his remarks during the event, the former junior Bulldog and St. F.X. X-Men player, and long-time St. F.X. X-Women hockey head coach, described his two seasons in the role as two of his best in hockey. Synishin noted the great support he had from the Bulldogs’ executive and his assistant coaches as being a big part of that enjoyment, but noted it was the players, from both seasons, who really made his time behind the Bulldogs’ bench special.