Valley goaltender blocks 83 shots in match against Miramichi
The Valley junior A Wildcats fell 5–4 in overtime against the Miramichi Timberwolves Feb. 12 in Berwick, but after the game no one was talking about the final score.
Instead, focus was on Wildcats goaltender Jacob Stewart who put in one of the best goaltending performances in Maritime Hockey League history, making 83 saves in the contest.
Stewart, a 17-year-old from Quispamsis, New Brunswick, was acquired at the MHL trade deadline from the Truro Bearcats as part of the deal that sent Nic Blanchard to Truro. He began the year with the Blainville-boisbriand Armada of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and played a back-up role before being sent down to the MHL to get more ice time and experience.
Wildcats head coach Nick Greenough says Stewart’s incredible performance showed why he began the year playing major junior hockey.
“We got one point on the back of Jacob Stewart and we’re really proud of him. You give up 83 shots, and he gave us a chance to win. He made some huge saves for us.”
“This is the perfect situation for him,” says Greenough. “He’s going to see the rubber, and he’s embracing it. I expect the Q will be knocking on his door again very shortly.”
Despite being outshot 60–16, Valley was leading the game 4–1 after two periods. Junior B call-up Stewart Kennie had two goals to lead the offense with singles from Donovan Rehill and Tarek Paranica.
Playing with another short bench due to injuries, the Wildcats ran out of steam as the Eastlink North Division leading Timberwolves came back to tie the game in the third period. Brooklyn, Nova Scotia native Makail Parker scored the overtime winner for Miramichi.
Greenough once again praised his group of just 13 players who nearly knocked off one of the top clubs in the league.
“Everyone played well. I said to the boys after the game, earlier in the year we were looking for character and it was nowhere to be found. Right now our guys are showing up, they’re competing, they’re playing well. These guys are learning to play hard and my hat’s off to all of them. It was fun to be a part of,” Greenough said.
“Stewart Kennie had an unreal game. It’s nice to see a kid like that be able to get on the score sheet and score some big goals. He’s coming up and buying into the program, and could be playing himself into a spot here next year.”
The junior A Wildcats have just one game coming up this weekend, a Feb. 19 afternoon contest on the road in Dieppe against the Commandos. Despite a tough schedule to end the season that includes games against most the MHL’S top teams - including Pictou County, Amherst, Yarmouth and Dieppe - Greenough says he’s looking forward to the test.
“We’ve got a win against Dieppe this year. It’s going to be fun to see some of our former Wildcats and play against them. Right now, we’re taking it day by day. Just showing up and competing. If we have our compete level each day, the results will follow.”