League News


Lumberjacks and Jr. Bulldogs in Provincial Championship Series

For the third straight year the Antigonish Jr. Bulldogs have advanced to the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League Veteran’s Cup Championship Series while the South Shore Lumberjacks with an incredible 1-0 overtime win have advanced for the first time since 2016-2017.

South Shore   1        Capstone Colts   0   (Overtime)
Daniel LeBlanc’s bullet slap shot from just inside the Colts blue line was the only goal of the game with 5:29 left in the first period of sudden-death overtime Friday night in Bridgewater as the South Shore Lumberjacks blanked the Capstone Colts 1-0.  It was the Lumberjacks eighth consecutive win of the playoffs after rebounding from a 3-0 deficit against the East Hants Penguins in the opening round, as they swept the Colts four straight in the Best-of-Seven Fred Fox Divisional Final.  The game did not get off to a good start for the Colts as they found themselves killing off a penalty for cross-checking before the game was three minutes old.  The Lumberjacks dominated this power-play outshooting the Colts 3-0 with Joe Osborne and Brendan Rideout both missing close in on two separate chances.  
The Colts first excellent opportunity came as Liam Andrews and Noah Latimer broke in on a 2 on 1 but Keegan Greencorn stood tall in the Lumberjacks net and turned a shot away.  Cohen Westlake then had a tremendous rush down the left-side for the Lumberjacks and he made it to the Colts net but just missed as he went directly in on Conar Brace who gave him no room to find any space for a good shot.  The Colts only other true scoring opportunity came when Latimer broke in from Greencorn’s right-side only to see Greencorn make a stick save off his shot which deflected the puck high and over the net.  The South Shore had a 9-6 advantage in shots in the opening period.
The second period was tight-checking from the opening face-off as the teams kept each other bottled up the entire period with no scoring opportunities to speak of.  The Lumberjacks could not connect on a pair of Colt minor penalties and were outshot 7-6 as the score remained 0-0 after forty minutes.
The third period began with the Lumberjacks enjoying 42 seconds on the power-play and strangely after such a tight-checking second period, play began to open up more as the Lumberjacks were foiled twice only 27 seconds into the period including Daniel Kline’s opportunity directly in front only to miss.  With four and a half minutes having elapsed, South Shore was swarming all over the Colts net but Brace turned away at least three shots leaving the Lumberjacks frustrated once again.  The Lumberjacks had to kill their first penalty of the game 6:15 into the third and with one minute remaining while playing short-handed, Ethan MacVicar literally stole the puck at the Colts blue-line and went in all alone only to be turned away by Brace.  Mid-way through the final period, the Lumberjacks were outshooting the Colts 8-3.  The Lumberjacks were then forced to kill their second penalty of the game mid-way through the final period of regulation.  The Colts missed twice close in which included Xavier Coggins excellent chance.  The final chance to end it in regulation was Cohen Westlake’s opportunity with just a minute left but Brace turned him away.  The Lumberjacks ended up outshooting the Colts 11-10 in the third for a 26-23 advantage after 60 minutes.
In the ten-minute sudden death overtime, Alec Howie was robbed blind less than two minutes in.  Daniel Kline and John Shubaly with terrific shots also were turned away by Brace.  Matt Jessome had the best chance for the Colts in sudden-death but he was turned away in front of the net by Greencorn.  It was then time for LeBlanc’s dramatic winner as he was provided with ample time from just over the Colts blue-line to wind up and he fired a laser shot at Brace which the Colts goalie did not move until the puck was past him as the South Shore won an absolutely incredible play-off game before a sold-out Lunenburg Health and Lifestyle Centre in Bridgewater. Joe Osborne and Ethan MacVicar both collected assists on the winning goal.  To ensure they could garner a seat or at least standing room, fans began arriving 90 minutes before the opening face-off.  The 50-50 winner took home almost $2500 in cash.  The Lumberjacks held a 5-2 advantage in shots in the overtime for a game advantage of 31-25.
The Lumberjacks were presented with the Fred Fox Divisional Championship banner by Fred Fx Divisional Vice-President Andy Woolaver at the conclusion.  A schedule for the 23-24 Championship series is expected to be released within the next 18-24 hours.  It will be the first time the 26-4-2 Bulldogs will play the 24-7-1 Lumberjacks since early last fall when the Bulldogs won 8-3 on October 21 in Antigonish and then 6-2 in Bridgewater on November 4th.  Due to these pair of wins, the Jr. Bulldogs have captured home-ice for the series with the winner advancing to the Don Johnson Memorial Cup in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland beginning April 23rd.
Elsewhere Friday:
Antigonish   5     Membertou Jr. Miners  3
The Bulldogs will now be seeking their third provincial junior championship in a row after defeating the Membertou Jr. Miners at home 5-3 Friday evening.  Zachary Lorette opened the scoring for the Bulldogs before Nathaniel Fuller kept his flaming scoring alive with a goal with only 35 seconds to play in the opening frame.
The Bulldogs scored a pair of unanswered goals in the second only 34 seconds apart by Daniel Chaisson and Cameron Bell.  The Jr. Miners then came to life early in the third to tie the game 3-3 in a span of 27 seconds as Sonny Kabatay and Tyson LeFrense tallied.  It stayed that way until Tully Grant continued his impressive playoff scoring for Antigonish with the game-winner and then an insurance marker with only 2:44 left in regulation.  The Bulldogs outshot the Jr. Miners 35-27.  Will Fitzsimmons collected three assists for Antigonish.
Mar 23, 2024