© John DeCoste
Nick Blanchard, shown decked out for a recent 'Pink in the Rink' promotion, leads the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League in goals with 18 and points with 43 through his team's first 20 games
By John DeCoste
A new wrinkle this season in the Nova Scotia Eastlink Major Midget Hockey League has NSMMHL teams playing interlocking games against New Brunswick and P.E.I. teams that count in the standings of their respective leagues.
The Summit Hyundai Valley Wildcats travelled to New Brunswick Nov. 3-4 for a pair of games, Saturday against the Fredericton Canadians at Willie O’Ree Place in Fredericton and Sunday against the Saint John Vitos at Qplex in Saint John.
The Wildcats split the games, blanking Fredericton 4-0 then losing 5-4 in a shootout to Saint John. This improved their league-leading record to 16 wins, one loss, one shootout loss and one overtime loss for 34 points out of a possible 38 in 19 games.
On Nov. 3, the Wildcats led 1-0 after one period and 2-0 after two, then scored the only two goals of the final 20 minutes.
Tyler McDowell opened the scoring, and Jacob McNutt made it 2-0 in the second period. John Deacon added a pair of goals, one on the power play, in the third period, and also assisted on McNutt’s goal.
Justin Ritcey stopped all 33 shots sent his way for the shutout, while the Wildcats scored their four goals on just 17 shots on Fredericton goalie Connor Arnott.
The following afternoon in Saint John, the Vitos prevailed 5-4 in a shootout after the teams ended regulation time and overtime tied at four.
Saint John led 1-0 after one period, but the Wildcats fought back to tie the score at two after 40 minutes. The teams then had two goals each in the third period.
McNutt, Deacon, Brett Tidman and Makail Parker each had single goals for Valley, which was once again outshot, this time by a 35-22 margin.
Back in Nova Scotia, the Wildcats travelled to Bridgewater Nov. 6 and scored a 4-3 win over the South Shore Mustangs, their seventeenth win of the season.
Eric Chipman’s even-strength goal with 6:33 remaining in the third period broke a 3-3 tie and held up as the game-winner.
After a scoreless first period, the teams combined for five goals in the second, with Valley ending the period with a 3-2 lead.
Stone Harnish opened the scoring for South Shore, but Michael Dill tied the score for the Wildcats. Ryan Parker gave Valley a 2-1 lead, but Alex Nauss scored for the Mustangs to tie the score at two. The ’Cats took back the lead on John Deacon’s power play goal with 4:14 left in the period.
In the third period, Jarred Murphy scored with 7:08 remaining to once again tie the score, only to have Chipman untie it just 35 seconds later. Jacob McNutt assisted on both Deacon’s and Chipman’s goals.