Provincial banners up for grabs
Cape Breton teams competing at NSSAF hockey championships
A Red Cup Showcase title, a Highland Region championship, and now the Glace Bay Panthers hope to complete the hat trick this weekend in Bridgewater.
The Panthers will compete at the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Division 1 boys hockey championship starting Friday.
It’s been a bit of a layoff for the Glace Bay club. The firstplace team in the Cape Breton High School Hockey League last played in a competitive game on March 8, when they bested the Riverview Redmen 3-2 to win the best-of-five league championship series in four games.
Panthers head coach Ryan Boutilier said his club’s been keeping sharp by practising four days a week, and have incorporated some scrimmages into the mix.
“Everybody is really positive right now and having fun with what we’re doing, but we know we have to hit a switch come Thursday.”
The goaltending tandem of Kaine Drake and Connor MacKinnon has backstopped the Panthers, the former named Red Cup MVP. They’ve played behind what’s been a balanced attack.
“Overall, our coaching staff is extremely impressed with the strides we’ve made this year,” said Boutilier. “We got better each week, especially after Christmas, which is key to any team’s success.”
The Panthers will face North Nova, Lockview and Halifax West in Pool ‘A’. Pool ‘ B’ includes Citadel, Park View, Dr. J.H. Gillis and Sir John A. Macdonald.
Glace Bay plays Halifax West and Lockview on Friday and North Nova on Saturday. The semifinal winners on Saturday move on to the championship on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Next season, the Panthers will play host to the provincial championship. They’ll have 14 players eligible to return from this year’s squad.
The Division 3 boys hockey championship will be contested in Cape Breton this weekend. The Inverness Rebels will play host at the event, and will be joined by the Richmond Hurricanes of Louisdale, Bridgetown and Par-en-Bas. The Rebels took home a silver medal from last year’s tournament in Chester Basin, losing 5-2 to Par-en-Bas in the final.
Round-robin play opens on noon on Friday at the Dr. Bernie MacLean Cultural and Recreation Centre in Inverness. The second and thirdplace teams play in the semifinal on Saturday at 7 p.m., with the winner meeting the first-place team on Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Dalbrae Dragons will compete at the Division 2 boys tournament in Amherst, while the Glace Bay Panthers are in Bridgetown for the Division 2 girls championship.
The Highland Region champion Glace Bay Panthers will compete at the NSSAF Division 1 boys championship in Bridgewater this weekend. In the front, from left, are Kaine Drake, Robbie Harroun, Dylan Pimentel, Connor Harroun, Micheal Doucet, Zach Politte, Ryan Wilson, Jack Summerell, Connor Campbell and Connor MacKinnon. In the back row, from left, are assistant coach Stephen Gillard, head coach Ryan Boutilier, Parker Spencer, Christian Jackson, Logan Burke, Nathan Livingston, Kyle Moss, Drew Baxter, Justin McDougall, Chad O’Neill, Nolan Jewells, Logan Bresowar, trainer Tyler MacPhee, assistant coach Dwight Brown and assistant coach Daryl Lynk.