TRENTON – The Pictou County Scotians opened their playoff quest on Wednesday in Membertou against the Jr. Miners after clinching third place in the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League’s Sid Row Division.
Scotians’ head coach Mike Stewart says he’s confident his charges will acquit themselves well after drawing the Miners in a best-of-seven series by defeating the Antigonish Bulldogs 4-1 on Monday in their last regular-season game.
The Miners’ home game resulted in a 4-0 victory over the Scotians on Wednesday in Membertou while the Scotians tied the series Thursday in Trenton by defeating the Miners 7-3. It will be followed by games in Trenton starting at 6:45 p.m. today, Friday in Membertou and Sunday starting at 6 p.m. in Trenton.
Stewart said he thought the Scotians were full value for their win over the Bulldogs.
“We have to play one game at a time, but if the guys play like they did Monday they can beat anybody,” he said. “We had a full lineup and they came out to play.”
Caelan Blaikie scored twice, while Campbell Burrows and Logan Vandemeerakker each added a goal and an assist to lead the Scotians’ offence.
Matthew Murray was in top form as he stopped 39 of 40 shots, but his teammates played well in front of him.
The Scotians killed all five penalties they were assessed in the second and third periods.
The Bulldogs and Scotians were in a virtual tie for third place after Jacob Pentz scored three goals and Vandemeerakker added a goal and three assists in the Scotians’ 7-4 victory over the Eskasoni Eagles on Saturday.
Blaikie and Campbell Burrows and Robert Burrows got the other goals.
Pentz and Vandemeerakker ended the season with 51 points each, with Pentz compiling 34 goals and 17 assists and Vandemeerakker totalling 12 goals and 39 assists.
Jeremy McFarlane was close behind with 49 points, while William Kelly ended with 47 points.
The next three games of the Miners-Scotians series, if necessary, are scheduled for March 7 in Membertou, March 10 in Trenton and March 13 in Membertou.
Scotians’ goalie Matthew Murray reaches to smother the puck during the third period of their NSJHL regular-season game with the Antigonish Bulldogs on Monday in Trenton. The Scotians won 4-1 to draw the Junior Miners of Cape Breton in their opening playoff round. (Goodwin photo)