“The kids in the room there battled right from number one and I’m real proud of them." - Greenough
© Gary Manning
The Wildcats ended their playoff run with a 5-0 loss to Truro in Game 4 of the best-of-seven series.
It’s a wrap for the Wildcats’ inaugural season.
A 5-0 loss to Truro March 22 in Game 4 of the playoff semifinal series ended the year for the Valley squad, but many have dubbed them the ‘little team that could.’ Few people imagined that the Wildcats would make the playoffs at the start of the season, let alone defeat the Yarmouth Mariners in the miniseries to secure a spot in the semifinals.
“From the start of the year, we set some goals out and we’ve accomplished those, and probably even a little further than a lot of people gave us credit to,” said Greenough. “The kids in the room there battled right from number one and I’m real proud of them, going from where they were last year with the wins and losses. They’re a long way from where they were and we’ve made some major steps. We’ll get to where the Truros of the world are, too.”
Valley captain Anthony Cardinal played on the Metro squad last year and came to Kentville when the team was sold last summer. The difference between this season and last year was astounding, he said.
“Look at last year – we came off with four wins. To go in and win a miniseries when nobody thought you had a chance was amazing,” Cardinal said. “It’s a huge difference here.”
The Wildcats are in good shape for next season. Most of their older players were traded earlier in the year for younger players or draft picks.
“For the most part, that’s our team for next year, with a few younger guys. We’re happy. We’re happy with how we look,” Greenough said.
Only three Valley players will age out – Pat MacIsaac, Brad Ryckman and Brandon Weir won’t be eligible to play junior A next year. Truro, in comparison, is a much older, veteran team.
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“They have a lot of older guys compared to us, we’re just starting out,” Cardinal said. “We’re only losing three guys to next year, unless we lose guys for higher leagues. For a young team like us, to get this far, was great.”
Although the Wildcats were unable to win a game against Truro this year – including the four playoff semifinal games in this series – Greenough said he was quite pleased overall with his team’s performance.
“We made mistakes and they’ve got a real strong team over there, and when you make mistakes, they take advantage of them,” he said. “We hung with them and we’re happy. It’s something for our young kids to build off of. At the start of the year nobody said we’d be in this position, so it’s a good opportunity for them to experience playoffs.”
For Cardinal, despite the semifinal loss, it was still a great experience.
“I’m extremely proud of these guys, going from a team that won four games and having two 16-year-olds and mostly 18-year-olds, winning a miniseries against a team that is filled with 20-year-olds – it was amazing,” he said, adding that one of the highlights from this year will be the double overtime win against Yarmouth on home ice to clinch the playoff spot.
The Wildcats might be hanging up their gear for a few months, Valley residents can expect to still see their presence, Greenough added.
“We’re going to be real involved in the community over the summer – we want to be a community-based team, and this is the first year. They got plenty of great things out of us.”