WINDSOR, N.S. — With both teams missing players due to exam time, the Valley Maple Leafs and Glace Bay Junior Miners dug deep when they met in Windsor Dec. 8.
“We were playing against a strong Cape Breton team. They were missing some guys due to exams but so were we. We were both in the same situation,” said Brett Fletcher, the head coach of the Leafs, following the game.
“I found that game was fast-paced and it was back and forth and it was tight. It was kind of nice to see it go that far. It's a little stressful but it was a fun game to watch.”
They played a scoreless first period, with both goalies standing strong in nets.
The second period saw the Leafs' Kyle Keddy, from Cody Burghardt, score within the first minute of play. Burghardt, from Sean Anderson and Keddy, then gave the Leafs a 2-0 lead with 5:37 remaining in the period. With 52 seconds to go, Kelly Yates put the Junior Miners on the scoreboard from Iain MacLean and Hunter Christmas.
It looked like the Leafs were going to hang onto the win until the dying minutes of the game when Colton Marchand, from Jacob Keagan and Chad O'Neill, tied the bout. The score remained knotted 2-2 and forced overtime. When nothing was decided after the five minute overtime period, the teams went to a shootout. The Leafs' Ethan Rendell-Watson then scored the game winner.
Logan Cooke suffered the loss for Glace Bay, stopping 38 of 40 regulation attempts on net, while the Leafs' Brett Davies recorded the win. He faced 32 shots on goal.
Fletcher said they were pleased with Davies' performance as they opted to give starting goalie Christopher Clokie a break due to being injured earlier in the month.
“Last week, Clokie had a little incident on the ice and just went to the hospital for precautionary reasons. He's OK,” said Fletcher.
“Clokie is doing fine... but we just decided to give Davies a shot and he played well and got the win for us.”
The team has one more game to play to close out the 2017 portion of league play. They take on the Cole Harbour Colts on Dec. 15.
Looking to 2018
Fletcher said fans will be in for a treat when the Leafs resume play in the new year.
“We're doing well. Our division is tight. Every point counts. Getting two points from the other division is important but we can't leave anything on the table because it's so close,” said Fletcher.
The Leafs play in the Fred Fox division of the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League. The top four teams are the Cole Harbour Colts, East Hants Penguins, Valley Maple Leafs and the Liverpool Privateers. As of press time, one point separates the Colts from the Penguins for first place, with the Leafs six points back. The Sackville Blazers and Brookfield Elks round out the division.
The Sid Rowe division is comprised of the Glace Bay Junior Miners, Pictou County Scotians, Antigonish Farmers' Mutual Junior Bulldogs, Port Hawkesbury Strait Pirates and the Cumberland County Blues.
“It's good hockey to watch,” said Fletcher, noting the team is starting to gel more.
Jan. 5, 7:30 p.m. — Leafs host the Sackville Blazers at the Hants Exhibition Arena
Jan. 10, 7 p.m. — Leafs travel to take on the Liverpool Privateers
Jan. 12, 7:30 p.m. — Leafs host the Brookfield Elks at the Hants Exhibition Arena
Jan. 13, 7:30 p..m. — Leafs travel to take on the Liverpool Privateers
Jan. 17, 7:30 p.m. — Leafs travel to take on the Cole Harbour Colts
Jan. 19, 7:30 p.m. — Leafs host the Liverpool Privateers at the Hants Exhibition Arena
Jan. 21, 5p.m. — Leafs host the East Hants Penguins at the Hants Exhibition Arena