Major midget series shift to Cape Breton
Islanders and Subways, Tradesmen and Weeks tied 1-1
SYDNEY — Cape Breton’s two entries in the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League have shifted home-ice advantage in their favour, as their league quarterfinal series resume this weekend.
The sixth-place Cape Breton West Islanders, with a 4-1 win over the third-place Dartmouth Subways last Sunday at the Dartmouth Sportsplex, evened their best-of-five series at 1-1 after a 5-2 Dartmouth triumph the day before. The Islanders host the Subways for Game 3, Saturday at 6 p.m. and Game 4, Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Al MacInnis Sports Centre in Port Hood.
“Our goal was to get a split up there last weekend, but leaving there Sunday, we still had a bad taste in our mouth knowing that we kind of gave them the game Saturday night with a few mistakes,” said Islanders head coach Craig MacInnis. “If we played as good as we did Sunday, we could have a 2-0 lead right now, we feel.”
Matthew Miller, who led the Islanders in regular season scoring, has taken his act into the post season as well. He scored three goals in Sunday’s triumph.
“His play was very good Sunday. He raised his game to a playoff level, which Saturday night he really didn’t do,” said MacInnis, also noting the play of forward Marc Bourgeois and goaltender Kyle Ferdinand last weekend. “ We had more guys than just Matthew on Sunday going well, that’s for sure, but he definitely raised his game up offensively, started shooting the puck and started skating again, which was nice to see.”
The Tradesmen, the fifth-place team, are in the same boat as their west-island counterparts. They opened their series with the fourth-place Weeks Major Midgets with a 5-4 overtime triumph, Saturday at New Glasgow Stadium, but the Pictou County club rebounded with a 4-3 overtime win the next day to even the series. Games 3 and 4 will be played at Centre 200, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 10:25 a.m.
“I think we were pretty well evenly matched, finishing fourth and fifth in the standings is a testament to that,” said Tradesmen head coach Aaron Rice. “For us, I think the difference is going to be whether or not we can tighten up in our own end and keep pucks and get pucks out and score on our power play.
“I know that was a big difference on Sunday. We had three, five-on-threes and weren’t able to capitalize on them and were having problems chipping pucks out, so if we were able to tighten up in those areas, I think we’re going to have success.”
Kyle Farrell and Brock Morrison of the Tradesmen are leading the team in playoff scoring so far with two goals and two assists apiece. The duo teamed up on the game-winning goal in Game 1 of the series, with Morrison finding the back of the net twice in the triumph.
Linemates Farrell, Colin Campbell and Morrison finished one-two-three respectively in the regular season scoring race. Farrell (36 goals, 32 assists) and Campbell (30 goals, 38 assists) boasted 68 points apiece, while Morrison (30 goals, 31 assists) had 61 points. It’s the first time three Cape Breton teammates accom- plished the feat since 1993-94, when Robbie Sinclair, Derrick Pyke and Chris Angione of the then Cape Breton Jeans Experts did the same.
But Rice said along with his big three and the likes of captain Devon Muir, goaltender Michael Bourgeois has also stepped up his game in the post season thus far.
“ He’s really made some big stops at key times that’s really given our team the lift we needed at the right moment and taken momentum and put it in our favour,” he said.
Game 5 of the Tradesmen/Weeks series, if necessary, is scheduled for Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the New Glasgow Stadium. Game 5 of the Islanders/Subways series will be played at the Dartmouth Sportsplex, but a time and date has yet to be scheduled.
In other quarter-final series, the league-leading Halifax Taylar Made Security Titans are up 2-0 over the eighth-place Valley Sport Swapper Wildcats and the second-place Cole Harbour Major Midgets are also up 2-0 over the seventh-place Canadian Tire Mustangs.