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Three points in three weekend games for Valley Wildcats

Head coach Nick Greenough rapidly talks strategy with his players in a late-period time out.- Gary Manning photo
Head coach Nick Greenough rapidly talks strategy with his players in a late-period time out.- Gary Manning photo

BERWICK - Three seemed to be the number of the weekend for the Valley junior A Wildcats Jan. 16-18.

The team played three games, netted three points out of a possible six and were down three of their top players.

John Deacon, Grant Janes and captain Anthony Cardinal, three of the top five scorers, were notably missing from the lineup due to illness. To help fill the vacant spots on the roster, head coach Nick Greenough brought up Eli Hughes and Drake Batherson from the midget Wildcats.

“It helped us fill out our lineup, and it allowed them a chance to get some experience at this level,” he said.

However, it didn’t help the Wildcats win the Jan. 16 game against the South Shore Lumberjacks on Jan. 16. The Wildcats dropped a 4-1 decision in a game in which, according to Greenough, his team “just didn’t show up.”

South Shore, he said, played hard and deserved the win.

“You have to give them credit. Our guys didn’t (play hard),” he said. “Maybe they were looking at the standings and got a bit overconfident.”

Jesse Hamer had the only goal for the Wildcats against South Shore, which came in the first period, but South Shore came back to score four unanswered goals in the win. Shots were even at 30 apiece.

 

Nine-round shootout

The Wildcats then travelled to Truro Jan. 17, still minus Deacon, Janes and Cardinal, in a shootout loss to the Bearcats 1-0. The Wildcats picked up a point for the shootout loss.

The game, which was scoreless through regulation play and a five-minute overtime, went to an 18-shot shootout. Nick Bruce and Myles McGurty scored for the Wildcats in the shootout, while Jake Primeau, Daniel Perigo and Jordan Wentzell had shootout goals for Truro, with Wentzell getting credit for the game-winner.

“It was the first time in my years coaching midget and junior. You see it a little bit more at the next level, and in the NHL,” Greenough said of the nine-round shootoff.

Shots on goal through regulation time and overtime were 38-26 in the Wildcats’ favour.  Truro goalie Jacob Fancy and Wildcats’ netminder Blade Mann-Dixon were the game’s first and second star, respectively.

 

Win at home

By a quirk in the schedule, the same two teams hooked up again Jan. 18 in Berwick, and this time the Wildcats earned a 3-2 victory, moving to within three points of the third-place Bearcats in the standings.

Deacon, recovered enough from his illness to return to the lineup, had the winning goal, a power play marker at 10:43 of the third period that broke a 2-2 tie.

Justin Doiron opened the scoring for Truro in the opening minute of the first period. Bruce tied the score with a power play goal at 7:13, assisted by Deacon and Brady Atwater, but Colby Lanceleve gave the Bearcats back the lead at 17:43.

Mitchell Jones’s even-strength goal, the only scoring of the second period, tied the score at two. Deacon’s game-winner was the only goal in the third period. The final shots on goal were 35-28 in favour of the Wildcats.

The game, which was filled with intensity and passion, saw the two goalies, Fancy and Mann-Dixon, have what Greenough described as “a bit of a disagreement” at centre ice. There was some pushing and shoving, but no punches were thrown and no penalties assessed.

“Sometimes some passion in the game is a good thing. You don’t see as much of it anymore,” he said.

Greenough expected Janes and Cardinal to be at practice this week and in the lineup for the Wildcats’ Jan. 22 game in Pictou County.

 

New assistant coach

Greenough will have some extra help behind the bench in the coming weeks, making up for the loss of T.J. Smith, who recently took over the head coaching job in Yarmouth. The new assistant coach for the Wildcats is  Brent Gauvreau. Originally from Sudbury, Gauvreau, 34, recently relocated to Halifax for his work, and “will be helping us out around his work schedule.”

Gauvreau retired in 2011, following a 14-year pro career with stops in the AHL and ECHL as well as several years in Europe. He and Greenough are no strangers - they were teammates with the Mississippi SeaWolves of the ECHL in the 2001-2002 season.

“He’s been a good friend for a while,” Greenough added.

The team played three games, netted three points out of a possible six and were down three of their top players.

John Deacon, Grant Janes and captain Anthony Cardinal, three of the top five scorers, were notably missing from the lineup due to illness. To help fill the vacant spots on the roster, head coach Nick Greenough brought up Eli Hughes and Drake Batherson from the midget Wildcats.

“It helped us fill out our lineup, and it allowed them a chance to get some experience at this level,” he said.

However, it didn’t help the Wildcats win the Jan. 16 game against the South Shore Lumberjacks on Jan. 16. The Wildcats dropped a 4-1 decision in a game in which, according to Greenough, his team “just didn’t show up.”

South Shore, he said, played hard and deserved the win.

“You have to give them credit. Our guys didn’t (play hard),” he said. “Maybe they were looking at the standings and got a bit overconfident.”

Jesse Hamer had the only goal for the Wildcats against South Shore, which came in the first period, but South Shore came back to score four unanswered goals in the win. Shots were even at 30 apiece.

 

Nine-round shootout

The Wildcats then travelled to Truro Jan. 17, still minus Deacon, Janes and Cardinal, in a shootout loss to the Bearcats 1-0. The Wildcats picked up a point for the shootout loss.

The game, which was scoreless through regulation play and a five-minute overtime, went to an 18-shot shootout. Nick Bruce and Myles McGurty scored for the Wildcats in the shootout, while Jake Primeau, Daniel Perigo and Jordan Wentzell had shootout goals for Truro, with Wentzell getting credit for the game-winner.

“It was the first time in my years coaching midget and junior. You see it a little bit more at the next level, and in the NHL,” Greenough said of the nine-round shootoff.

Shots on goal through regulation time and overtime were 38-26 in the Wildcats’ favour.  Truro goalie Jacob Fancy and Wildcats’ netminder Blade Mann-Dixon were the game’s first and second star, respectively.

 

Win at home

By a quirk in the schedule, the same two teams hooked up again Jan. 18 in Berwick, and this time the Wildcats earned a 3-2 victory, moving to within three points of the third-place Bearcats in the standings.

Deacon, recovered enough from his illness to return to the lineup, had the winning goal, a power play marker at 10:43 of the third period that broke a 2-2 tie.

Justin Doiron opened the scoring for Truro in the opening minute of the first period. Bruce tied the score with a power play goal at 7:13, assisted by Deacon and Brady Atwater, but Colby Lanceleve gave the Bearcats back the lead at 17:43.

Mitchell Jones’s even-strength goal, the only scoring of the second period, tied the score at two. Deacon’s game-winner was the only goal in the third period. The final shots on goal were 35-28 in favour of the Wildcats.

The game, which was filled with intensity and passion, saw the two goalies, Fancy and Mann-Dixon, have what Greenough described as “a bit of a disagreement” at centre ice. There was some pushing and shoving, but no punches were thrown and no penalties assessed.

“Sometimes some passion in the game is a good thing. You don’t see as much of it anymore,” he said.

Greenough expected Janes and Cardinal to be at practice this week and in the lineup for the Wildcats’ Jan. 22 game in Pictou County.

 

New assistant coach

Greenough will have some extra help behind the bench in the coming weeks, making up for the loss of T.J. Smith, who recently took over the head coaching job in Yarmouth. The new assistant coach for the Wildcats is  Brent Gauvreau. Originally from Sudbury, Gauvreau, 34, recently relocated to Halifax for his work, and “will be helping us out around his work schedule.”

Gauvreau retired in 2011, following a 14-year pro career with stops in the AHL and ECHL as well as several years in Europe. He and Greenough are no strangers - they were teammates with the Mississippi SeaWolves of the ECHL in the 2001-2002 season.

“He’s been a good friend for a while,” Greenough added.

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