A two goal effort by second-year forward Ryan Kennedy and another solid performance in goal by fellow sophomore Jared Green has the Antigonish Farmers’ Mutual Junior Bulldogs up two games to one in their first round Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League series versus arch-rivals, the Strait Pirates.
The Bulldogs defeated the Pirates 4-2 Tuesday night at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre and now take their one game lead in the best-of-seven series into a home-ice game four, Thursday evening at the Antigonish Arena. Puck drop is 7 p.m.
The Strait opened the scoring Tuesday on a short-handed goal by Branden Dauphinee which was answered by the Bulldogs’ Cory MacLellan, the overtime hero from game two.
Kennedy scored his first around two minutes after MacLellan’s goal and Antigonish took the 2-1 lead into the dressing room after one period.
A power-play goal by veteran defenceman Kieran Devine, in the first minute of the second period, increased the Antigonish lead to 3-1. The marker proved to be the only goal of the period.
Kennedy’s second goal early in the third period increased Antigonish’s lead to three, and while the Pirates were able to answer back with a Jacob Keagan tally at the 15:41 mark of the third, they weren’t able to close the gap any further and will now need to win three of the four possible games to win the series.
Connor Aucoin, Keegan Gauthier, Connor Fraser and captain Devin MacLaughlin picked up assists for the Bulldogs in the win, while Keagan added an assist to go with his goal, along with one assist by Bryce Reynolds, in answering for the Pirates.
Green made 30 stops in recording the win while Cody Smith made 23 in goal for the Pirates.
Following Thursday’s game four at the arena, the two teams are back on the ice the following night, Friday, at the civic centre for game five, a 7:30 p.m. start.
If necessary, Game six will be in Antigonish Sunday evening (7:30 puck-drop) and game seven would be Tuesday night in Port Hawkesbury; another 7:30 start-time.