WINDSOR, N.S. - The Avon River Rats continue to struggle against the Eastern Shore Thunder after losing six of eight regular season games.
The Rats opened their 2017-2018 Nova Scotia Regional Junior Hockey League Playoffs on Feb. 17 in Musqudoboit Harbour falling by one goal 3-2 to the Thunder before coming back to Windsor and losing 5-4 in double overtime on Feb. 18.
The River Rats stayed with the Thunder throughout the two games and neither team was able to build a significant lead.
During Saturday’s game in Musquodoboit, the Rats were up 1-0 after one period and Eastern Shore 2-1 after forty minutes.
Logan Cleveland scored the Rats first period goal while the Thunder scored a pair of goals 17 seconds apart with less than five minutes to play in the second.
The Thunder went back up 3-1 in the third before Justin MacLellan scored with just 1:28 remaining in the third to make the 3-2 final.
Eastern Shore outshot Avon 45-40 with Carter McMullin being called upon to make significant saves and finish the game with a .933 save percentage.
Sunday’s game in Windsor was a knuckle-cracker as the game went to double-overtime before the Thunder scored 3:09 into the second overtime period for a 5-4 win and a 2-0 lead in the Best-of-Seven Semi-Final.
Eastern Shore held a 2-1 lead after one period with Will Trenholm scoring for the Rats and then Justin MacLellan and Kyle Armsworthy with only 13 seconds remaining in the second period tied it for the River Rats at 3 after the Thunder grabbed a 3-2 lead.
MacLellan’s goal tied it for Avon earlier in the second. MacLellan then scored just 1:05 into the third to put Avon up 4-3 before Eastern Shore scored forcing overtime.
The teams will play Game 3 at the Eastern Shore Community Centre at 7:00 p.m. on Feb. 24 before returning to Windsor on Feb. 25 at 7:00 p.m. for Game 4.