Valley Maple Leafs' goalie Mitch Culley holds the fort in Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League action against the Brookfield Elks Friday evening at Acadia Arena in Wolfville. Brookfield prevailed 4-3 in a game that went to two round of a shootout before Travis Niven scored the game-winner. Valley went on to drop a 3-1 decision Saturday at Eastern Shore Mariners, but remains in second place in the increasingly-competitive Fred Fox Division. John DeCoste
By John DeCoste
It was a tough weekend for the Valley Maple Leafs, who picked up only one of a possible four points from a pair of weekend games in the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League.
The Leafs lost 4-3 to Brookfield Elks in a shootout Dec. 7 at Acadia Arena, then dropped a 3-1 decision to Eastern Shore Mariners in a road game Dec. 8.
The results leave Valley in second place in the Fred Fox Division with a record of 10 wins, four losses, three shootout losses and two overtime losses for 25 points, two behind first-place Sackville and two ahead of third-place Eastern Shore.
On Dec. 8, in a rare game in Wolfville, the Leafs fell behind Brookfield 1-0 on Devon Muir’s goal in the opening minute of the game. Austin Himmelman replied for Valley, tying the score with just five seconds remaining in the first period.
The teams then split a pair of second period goals, Josh Crouse scoring for the Maple Leafs and Shane Piercey for Brookfield to tie the score 2-2 after two periods.
The story was the same in the third period. This time, the Elks took the lead on a goal by Liam Carr, only to have Nick MacKenzie tie the score with 4:22 remaining.
The game went to overtime, and then to the second round of a shootout, before Travis Niven netted the game-winner for Brookfield.
The Leafs picked up a point for the shootout loss, which allowed them to move temporarily into a tie for first place in the division.
The following evening at the Eastern Shore Arena, the first period was scoreless and so was the second until Scott MacDonald opened the scoring for the Mariners with 13:45 remaining in the period. The 1-0 lead held up until 6:17 of the third period when Jonathan Fogolin scored to make it 2-0 Eastern Shore.
Jake Galbraith got Valley on the scoreboard, making it 2-1 with 6:41 left in the third, but just 37 seconds later at 6:04, Jordan Cox restored the Mariners’ two-goal lead, rounding out the scoring in a 3-1 win.
Eastern Shore ended up with a 36-25 edge in shots on goal, while on Friday, the Maple Leafs outshot Brookfield 34-21 in regulation time and overtime.
The Maple Leafs and Mariners are back at it this Friday evening, Dec. 14, a 7 p.m. start once again at Acadia Arena. On Saturday, Valley travels to St. Margaret’s Bay for a 7 p.m. game against the Bay Ducks.