By John DeCoste
The Summit Hyundai Valley Major Midget Wildcats continue to be runaway leaders in the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League.
The Wildcats won three times between Dec. 7 and 12 to improve to 25-2 on the season, with one shootout loss and one overtime loss, good for 52 points in 29 games and a 16-point bulge over the second-place Halifax Titans.
Valley blanked South Shore Mustangs 4-0 on Dec. 7 in Berwick and 11-0 on Dec. 8 in Bridgewater, then doubled Cole Harbour 4-2 on Dec. 12 at Cole Harbour Place.
In a rare Friday night game Dec. 7 in Berwick, the Wildcats and Mustangs met for their second of three straight meetings, and took a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes on second period goals by Eli Hughes and Lukas Kane.
Brett Tidman and Robert Patterson added third period goals for the final margin of victory. Michael Pettet made 18 saves for his first shutout of the season, while Mustangs’ goalie Cory Peterson faced 53 Wildcat shots at the other end.
The following evening was more of the same, other than the change in venue and the more lopsided final score. Valley led 5-0 after one period and 9-0 after 40 minutes.
Among the Wildcats padding their season-scoring totals were Hughes (three goals), Grant Janes (one goal, three assists) and Nick Blanchard (two goals, one assist).
Jacob McNutt, Ryan Parker and Tidman each had a goal and an assist, and Duncan McKie and Makail Parker also had single goals. Eric Chipman logged three assists, and Patrick Duggan and John Deacon two helpers apiece.
Justin Ritcey picked up his league-leading sixth shutout of the season – and arguably his easiest, facing just eight shots – and lowered his goals against average to a microscopic 1.59 per game. The Wildcats, meanwhile, had 59 shots on Mustangs’ goalies Peterson (who made 39 saves) and Cole Skinner.
On Dec. 12 in Cole Harbour, Blanchard had the hat trick, raising his league-leading totals to 32 goals and 63 points in 29 games.
The Wildcats took a 2-0 lead after one period, with Blanchard scoring both goals. After Cole Harbour responded on a pair of second-period goals from Cooper Boyd, Blanchard broke the tie with the eventual game-winner with 5:43 left in the second. McNutt scored just 10 seconds later to round out the scoring.
Pettet stopped 21 of 23 shots for the victory, while the Wildcats had 33 shots on Cole Harbour goalie Roman Bengert.
The Wildcats played their final games before Christmas Dec. 20-21, hosting South Shore again on Dec. 20 and Dartmouth Dec. 21.