Hockey ri­valry to be re­newed in pre-sea­son ac­tion

The Casket - - SPORTS -

p.m.

Both teams are com­ing off play­off round losses to the even­tual league and Don John­son Cup cham­pion Ju­nior Min­ers.

“We have been work­ing re­ally hard to im­prove our team,” Lam­bke said of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s off-sea­son ef­forts.

That work in­cluded a pair of key ad­di­tions to the blue line – Liam Mack­in­non and Bren­dan Lan­ning.

“We didn’t de­fend very well, so we had to do some work there,” Lam­bke said.

Mack­in­non, a na­tive of Why­co­co­magh, cap­tained the Telus Cup cham­pion Cape Bre­ton West Is­landers in 2017, while Lan­ning, a Monc­ton na­tive, played 37 games last sea­son with the Val­ley Wild­cats of the Mar­itime Hockey League (MHL).

“We want to put the best team pos­si­ble on the ice,” Lam­bke said, not­ing the ex­pected im­prove­ments that have been made in the team’s ‘D’ and depth.

He an­tic­i­pated 35 to 40 play­ers in camp, which got un­der­way Sept. 4.

“We have a good group [re­turn­ing],” Lam­bke said, not­ing there is “al­ways go­ing to be com­pe­ti­tion.”

One of top of­fen­sive teams in the loop last sea­son, the Pi­rate bench boss ex­pects the same sort of per­for­mance dur­ing this cam­paign.

“We are go­ing to be fast and make things hap­pen,” Lam­bke said.

Be­tween the pipes, Cody Smith, who the Pi­rates ac­quired from the Ju­nior Min­ers, will see the ma­jor­ity of ac­tion, while re­turnees Matt Stymi­est and Peter Kopf will vie for the backup role.

“It was a re­build­ing year [last sea­son] – we were re­ally young,” Lam­bke said, adding fans should ex­pect the Pi­rates to be “hard­work­ing – every game.”

“We think we are go­ing to have a fun time this sea­son,” he added.

‘Good base’

Across the Canso Cause­way, the Bull­dogs opened their train­ing camp Satur­day (Sept. 8).

“The num­bers look good,” sec­ond-year head coach David Synishin said a few days be­fore that first gath­er­ing oc­curred not­ing it is dif­fi­cult to pre­dict the ex­act amount of play­ers.

“We have a good base,” he added.

Synishin and gen­eral man­ager Gerry Marigoni were busy over the sum­mer, in­clud­ing ac­quir­ing the rights to Tyler Dyck from the Val­ley Maple Leafs in late Au­gust.

Ear­lier in the month, Antigo­nish dealt the rights to Grant Fraser and Dy­lan Macdon­ald to the Pic­tou Sco­tians for NSJHL rights to Gatean Trem­blay, Luke Spicer and Mar­cus Nor­rad.

In an­other deal with the Maple Leafs, in July, the Bull­dogs ac­quired the league rights to Zachary Forsythe and Hunter Wood­land for their 2019-20 waiver draft pick for two turns and fu­ture con­sid­er­a­tions.

“It should be an in­ter­est­ing camp,” Synishin said, not­ing Marag­oni has also been work­ing hard re­cruit­ing po­ten­tial play­ers, who are study­ing at St. F.X.

As for the an­tic­i­pated makeup of the Bull­dogs, Synishin de­scribed the de­fense – back end – as “pretty good,” while the lineup will be “deeper up front.”

“We were so hard work­ing [up front] last year; this sea­son we think we are go­ing to have some more of­fense,” he said.

The only re­turn­ing goal­tender is Jared Green, so there are some spots in the crease avail­able with the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

When it comes to the ros­ter, there will be “holes to fill all the time.”

Along with the games ver­sus the Pi­rates, the Bull­dogs will face the Sco­tians on con­sec­u­tive nights in pre-sea­son play – Sept. 18 in Antigo­nish (7:30 p.m.) and Sept. 19 in Tren­ton (8 p.m.).

“It is a great op­por­tu­nity to see play­ers in game ac­tion,” Synishin said of the pre-sea­son sched­ule.

He added they also pro­vide play­ers with no ju­nior ex­pe­ri­ence to show how they can per­form at that level and against older ones.

Reg­u­lar sea­son starts

Both teams will launch the reg­u­lar sea­son Fri­day, Sept. 21, on home ice.

At the PHCC, the Pi­rates will wel­come the Liver­pool Pri­va­teers, while the ex­pan­sion Eska­soni Ju­nior Ea­gles will visit the Bull­dogs at Antigo­nish Arena.

Start time for both games is 7:30 p.m.

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