League News


Pens Head Coach and Jacks GM not focused on Jacks four game sweep in reg. season.

The South Shore Lumberjacks and East Hants Penguins open their Best-of Seven Fred Fox Divisional Semi-Final in the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League Playoffs tonight at the Lunenburg Lifestyle Centre in Bridgewater at 7:30 p.m.  The fact the Lumberjacks finished the season 13-3-0 while the Penguins went 5-6-1 over the past 11 games has no true meaning when it comes to playoffs according to Penguins Coach Laurie Isenor and Lumberjacks GM Jim Bottomely.  The South Shore finished at 24-7-1 for 49 points while the Penguins concluded their season at 22-8-2 for 46 points.
Isenor said, “we may have lost all 4 games during the regular season, I have spoken to the team and have no real concerns about this issue lingering in the back of their minds as it is playoff hockey now and a new season and players are thinking only playoffs, not what happened during the regular season.”  For the record the Lumberjacks scored wins 5-3, 4-1, 5-2 and 6-4 outscoring the Penguins 20-10 in the four games.
Privateers GM Bottomely is of the same opinion saying, “it is a new season, the regular season has passed us by and the four games we won against them will not mean anything as the guys know four more wins will be required to advance to the Fox Division Final.”  Isenor said, “it will be paramount that we play good hockey and execute properly.”  Isenor added, “South Shore is very well coached and the series will be a whole new game.”
Both Isenor and Bottomely were asked about Special Teams and what that will mean for this series, Isenor explained, “it will be huge as we will have to play tighter and execute when provided with the chances.”  Devin Meagher scored 5 of the Penguins 7 short-handed goals this season and Isenor believes both Meagher and Nick Veinot who scored 8 times and added 22 assists will play a critical role for the Pens on special teams.  Isenor said, “the team’s power play will have to be the very best as they are playing the Lumberjacks who scored 9 more power-play goals in the regular season 34-25.  East Hants scored five more short-handed goals than the Lumberjacks,  most likely the team with the Best Power-play will win the series.”
The Lumberjacks scored 142 goals in the regular season compared to the Penguins 133 while defensively the South Shore permitted 89 goals against compared to the Penguins 92.
Lumberjacks GM Bottomely like Isenor believes Discipline will be the key to the series and when teams have the power-play they are simply going to have to find a way to bury the puck.”  Bottomely says you can’t take anything away from the Pens who have advanced to a pair of League Championship series in recent years.  He agreed with this writer that the half-way point is where they turned their season around in going 13-3-0 in their final 16 games.  The Lumberjacks will be missing a key player to start the season in Brennan Coleman who is suffering from an upper body injury .  Coleman who played high school last year for Parkview had scored 14 goals and added 19 assists for 33 points until his injury.  Bottomely is hopeful he can return shortly.  Coleman is a rookie this season as is Cohen Westlake who also played for Parkview last season.  Westlake finished the season with 17 goals and 24 assists for 41 points, just 3 points shy of being tied for the League Scoring Championship.  Alec Howie, Daniel Kline and Joe Osborne all scored 16 goals apiece for South Shore.
As for Goaltending, both Isenor and Bottomely hold tremendous confidence in their net minders.  Bottomely says Keegan Greencorn has played better than anyone ever expected finishing with a 16-7-0 record and a 2.77 goals against average, a .915 save percentage while stopping 711 of the 777 shots he faced.
For East Hants, Isenor said, “Marcus Pettipas has played superbly all season for us going 14-10-0 with a 2.99 goals against average and .912 save percentage.”  As for players the Lumberjacks will have to keep a close eye on, they include Noah Comeau who led the League in assists with 28, Devin Meagher who finished one goal behind Liam Andrews of the Colts for the League Goal scoring lead with 23 while Brody Fraser with 17 goals and Logan Durno with 13 were other top marksmen for the Penguins.
The following is the Divisional Semi-Final Schedule awaiting the two teams:
Game 1 — Fri Mar 1/24 —— at South Shore Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre — 7:30 p.m.
Game 2 -  Sun Mar 3/24 —  at East Hants Sportplex —  6:30 p.m.
Game 3 -  Wed Mar 6/24 — at South Shore Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre — 7:30 p.m.
Game 4 — Fri March 8/24 —   at East Hants Sportsplex — 7:30 p.m.
X Game 5 — Sat March 9/24 — at South Shore Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre — 7:00 p.m.
X Game 6 — Mon Mar 11/24 - at East Hants Sportsplex — 8:30 p.m.
X Game 7 — Tues Mar 12/24 — at Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre — 7:30 p.m.
Mar 1, 2024