Bull­dogs edge Elks in ju­nior ‘B’ ac­tion

The Casket - - Classified - RICHARD MACKEN­ZIE richard­mac@the­cas­ket.ca

The Antigo­nish Farm­ers’ Mu­tual Bull­dogs moved to 2-0 on the young Nova Sco­tia Ju­nior Hockey League sea­son af­ter a 4-3 vic­tory over the Brook­field Elks, Sept. 28 at the Antigo­nish Arena.

Af­ter build­ing a 3-0 lead with just a lit­tles less than 15 min­utes to go in the se­cond pe­riod, it looked like the Bull­dogs were go­ing to quickly put the game out of reach as they fol­lowed up rookie Con­nor Au­coin’s goal with a num­ber of qual­ity chances, in­clud­ing cen­tre Fearghus Mac­don­ald on a long break­away from the far blue line.

Mac­don­ald’s at­tempt was forced wide by Elks’ goal­tender Se­bastien Au­coin, and credit has to go to the Brook­field side for scor­ing late in the se­cond, on a power play, and twice in the third to make a game of a con­test that looked like it wasn’t go­ing to be one, early on.

The Bull­dogs’ player of the game was vet­eran de­fence­man Kieran Devine who picked up two as­sists in the win. Other goal scor­ers were all lo­cal play­ers with Mac­don­ald scor­ing in the third and Ryan Kennedy and Spencer Bar­ron in the first. Kennedy added an as­sist for a two point night and also pick­ing up helpers in the win were Cory Ma­clel­lan, an­other Antigo­nish Mi­nor Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion prod­uct, and key ad­di­tion Kee­gan Gau­thier who has con­sid­er­able ex­pe­ri­ence at the ju­nior ‘A’ level.

Earn­ing his first win in his first ju­nior ‘B’ start was Antigo­nish’s Owen Mac­don­ald, who made 27 saves.

Bull­dogs gen­eral man­ager Gerry Marangoni talked about the new lo­cal tal­ent on the Bull­dogs this sea­son, join­ing vet­er­ans such as Lo­gan Deyoung, An­drew Boyle and the Ma­claugh­lin brothers; Devin and Kurt.

“These guys want to play for the black and gold, there is no two ways about it,” Marangoni, who has also spent a num­ber of sea­sons be­hind the Bull­dogs’ bench, said. “And it helps to bring a crowd in.”

Marangoni also talked about the ad­di­tion of Gau­thier and hav­ing Devine, who also spent some­time in the ju­nior ‘A’ ranks, back to start a sea­son with the team, af­ter miss­ing most of last year while away on a stu­dent ex­change pro­gram and then hav­ing is­sues with a re­lease.

“[Gau­thier] is go­ing to be a force in this league,” he said, not­ing Gau­thier played last year with the Yar­mouth Mariners of the Mar­itime Ju­nior Hockey League.

“He is a very smart player, in both ends of the ice, and can be phys­i­cally dom­i­nant when he needs to be. And he has a real ju­nior ‘A’ to ma­jor ju­nior qual­ity re­lease. He is a guy who can go to the net and wreak havoc, and if the puck lands on his stick, right away it’s off and in the back of the net.”

With Devine, he talked the im­por­tance of his lead­er­ship amongst a young de­fence corps.

“We have a very young ‘D’ core; we lost some key guys,” Marangoni said, re­fer­ring first and fore­most to Antigo­nish na­tive Brian Macdougall, who won best de­fence­man in the league in 2016-17 and was a force again last year; es­pe­cially around play­off time.

“We have a bunch of rook­ies so you re­ally need that vet­eran ex­pe­ri­ence back there to help bring some of these young guys along.”

The Bull­dogs will host the Sackville Blaz­ers this Fri­day evening at the arena. Puck drop is 7:30 p.m.

Richard Macken­zie

Antigo­nish Farm­ers’ Mu­tual Bull­dogs’ rookie for­ward Con­nor Au­coin cel­e­brates his se­cond pe­riod goal with line-mate Ja­cob Nobbe, a se­cond-year Bull­dog, dur­ing Antigo­nish’s 4-3 win ver­sus the vis­it­ing Brook­field Elks, Sept. 28.

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