The Valley Maple Leafs are edging closer to the top of the Fred Fox Division standings after defeating the visiting St. Margaret's Bay Ducks 3-1 Nov. 10.
The teams played a scoreless first period, basically trading hits and shots on net.
In the first period, Jonathan Biron, of the Bay Ducks, received two penalties amounting to 12 minutes off the ice. The Leafs had a total of eight minutes, representing four separate penalties.
The Bay Ducks opened the scoring in the second period with 8:22 gone. Connor Hirtle, from Steven Wakeham, was the only Duck to best Mitch Culley in nets.
The Valley Maple Leafs were quick to tie it up, with a power play marker courtesy of Windsor's Mark Swain, from Luke Short.
The game turned scrappy midway through the second period, with several penalties being called.
For the Bay Ducks, Riley Hemstock received two minutes for cross-checking, then, a few minutes later, five minutes for fighting and a game misconduct. A two-minute penalty for being the instigator was doled out to Ryan Langille.
Brice Hirtle received two minutes for being the instigator, four minutes for leaving the bench plus a game misconduct. At the same time, Wakeham, of the Bay Ducks and formerly of the Windsor Royals, threw off his gloves and charged towards the stands. He received a gross misconduct 15:16 into the period.
For the Maple Leafs, Alex Seyforth received five for fighting and a game misconduct, as did Roland Provencal, less than two minutes later. The goalie also received two minutes.
The Leafs were quick to strike the Ducks in the final frame, doing so just 2:18 in. The game-winning goal marked Luke Short's third tally of the season. Assists went to Swain and Mt. Uniacke's Jake Galbraith.
The Leafs potted one more to ensure the victory, this one coming 7:59 into the third from Craig Anderson. Short assisted on this goal as well, giving him a three-point night.
The final frame was tame when it came to penalties, with the Leafs receiving just one two-minute time-out and the Ducks receiving a total of four minutes.
In total, the Ducks accumulated 35 penalty minutes during the game, while the Leafs had 22 minutes.
Following the game, Head Coach Josh Dill said he was pleased with how his team performed.
“I thought we played very well in the offensive zone,” said Dill. “We did not turn the puck over... in the neutral zone. Tonight we got the puck deep and worked their defence and got the puck to the net. I think we played a pretty solid game.”
Culley was in nets for the win, stopping 32 of 33 shots on goal. Tommy Nicholson was tagged with the loss. He faced a total of 47 shots.
Dill said the team is noticing the younger players are coming into their own.
“A few of our younger guys are starting to pick it up,” said Dill, citing Anderson, Kyle Kavanagh and Nick MacKenzie as stand outs.
“They're all first year guys and they are playing the puck real well.”
The Valley Maple Leafs will be looking to keep their winning streak over the Ducks alive when they travel to St. Margaret's Bay Nov. 17.
The Leafs' next home game is Nov. 24 at 7:30 p.m. in Kentville against the Sackville Blazers.
Dill hopes to see a healthy audience come out to support the team.
“We're playing good hockey. We're finishing our hits. There's a few fights. It's fast hockey. I think everyone should want to come out and watch.”
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Members of the Valley Maple Leafs are growing out their moustaches in support of Movember — a worldwide fundraiser drawing attention to prostate cancer.
To donate to the cause, search for the 1st Annual Valley Maple Leaf Mo Bro's group at http://ca.movember.com.