The Windsor Royals went into their game Feb. 15 at the Hants Exhibition Arena needing a win to keep their first place hopes alive in the Fred Fox Division of the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League. A win over the Ducks would have tied the two teams at 47 points and put the Royals first place entering the final weekend of the 2011-12 regular season. However, some things are just not meant to be as the Royals, who have now lost all five games to the Ducks this season, saw the Ducks complete the season sweep with a 2-1 win.
Austin Himmelman opened the game's scoring taking a perfect pass from behind the net off the sticks of Jory Uhlman and Brian Naugle to make it 1-0 Royals mid-way through the first period.
The score stood 1-0 after 20 minutes but 4:35 into the second period Jesse Colborne, of the Ducks, snapped Royals' goaltender Jacob McKendry's shutout streak at 281 minutes and 25 seconds or four games, two periods and 25 seconds of hockey.
The game was a typical Ducks-Royals affair, end-to end hustle, plenty of fast skating and exceptional goaltending from both sides.
The Bay Ducks connected for the winner with 5:15 left in the game but the Royals poured on the energy in the late stages of the final period, missing at least two superb scoring chances when Ducks' goaltender Thomas Nicholson stood his ground.
The Royals outshot the Ducks 37-31.
The win bumped the Ducks up to 49 points and the Royals stayed at 45 going into the Royals' final regular season game of the season Feb. 17 against the Cumberland County Blues.
The Royals entered this game in a must win situation as they needed a win and two East Hants losses in order to clinch second place in the Fred Fox Division standings.
The Royals picked up the win 4-2 over the fourth place Sid Rowe Division Blues but the Royals still had to fight hard against the short-staffed Blues team.
The Blues entered the year as being the Number 1 offensive club in the league but it was their defense, which was ranked dead last, that caused them problems in 2011-12.
The Royals defense was able to handle the hard-charging Blues who dominated play at times. Windsor took advantage of the scoring opportunities provided to them.
The Royals grabbed a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. The opening goal came after the Blues gave the puck away 10 feet in front of their own net, allowing Brian Naugle to pounce on it and slam it home for his 14th goal of the season.
Mark Swain followed Naugle's goal as he tipped a hard blue-line shot by Brandon Parker after Parker took a pass from Jake Andrew Galbraith.
David Hayes scored the nicest goal of the night for the hometown team as he split the Cumberland defense and skated in alone and put the puck in the high right hand corner.
However, just 40 seconds after Hayes made it 3-0, the Blues' Geoff Burke, with his 21st goal of the season, made it 3-1. Burke is one of the league's top scorers, having also recorded 39 assists this season for 60 points.
The Blues, who outshot the Royals 35-30, started the third period very strong and in the opening six minutes dominated play trying to tie the score up. But, McKendry more than held his own in fighting off the barrage of chances being given up by his Royal teammates.
J.F. Lefort ended the game's scoring for the Royals with an empty net goal with just seconds remaining on the clock.
Dan Boyd, the Hants Journal's freelance sports writer, took over the role of interim president for the Windsor Royals near the end of 2011.