It was not to be for the Pictou County Wear Well Bombers.
The Bombers tied their first two games and won their third, but their only loss in their fourth game foiled their advance to the playoff round that resulted in the St. Margaret’s Bay Gulls winning top honours.
The Bombers tied the Gulls 4-4 to open the schedule on Thursday.
“Our team performed about as well as it possibly could,” Bombers’ head coach Jon Sim said. “We tied the team that ended up winning the tournament.”
Tournament most valuable player Lucas Canning’s two goals and one by Blaise MacDonald gave the Crushers a 3-1 lead in the second period.
The Gulls tied the game in the third period before Kiefer Avery’s goal restored the Crushers’ lead.
The Gulls tied the game with 19 seconds left.
The Gulls outshot the Bombers 37-20.
MacDonald’s two goals late in the third period lifted the Bombers into a 3-3 tie with the Cole Harbour Storm in their other game on Thursday.
Dylan Kontuk scored for the Bombers in the first period that ended with the Storm ahead 3-1.
Each team took 30 shots in the game.
Canning’s third goal of the game into an empty net ensured a 3-1 victory for the Bombers over the ACCEL Physio Hawks of Halifax.
The Hawks outshot the Bombers 34-24.
The Bombers’ fate hinged on their game against the South Shore Lumberjacks, who scored twice in the last minute to win 5-4.
The Lumberjacks tied the game on a power-play goal with their net empty and tallied the winning goal six seconds later.
Cameron MacKinnon, Canning and Avery gave the Crushers a 3-1 lead in the first period, but the Lumberjacks got one goal back in the second period and tied the game in the third period before MacDonald restored the Bombers’ lead.
The Bombers were officially eliminated from the playoffs when the Hawks defeated the Lumberjacks 4-2. They needed a South Shore win and a Hawks loss to advance.
The Gulls needed overtime to edge the Hawks 2-1 in the championship game, while South Shore defeated the Joneljim Cougars of Cape Breton 5-2 in the bronze medal match.
“We beat Halifax, which ended up the second-place team, and we were 30 seconds from beating South Shore, but some things didn’t go our way,” Sim said. “It’s unfortunate how some things happened because the kids deserved better. They played their butts off.”
The Bombers can return just two players from this season’s roster: Ben Wallace and Zach MacInnis.
From left: Cole Sellers was named an all-star defenceman, Lucas Canning was named tournament most valuable player and Thomas Gariepy was named top goaltender at the Nova Scotia Major Bantam Hockey Championship. (Goodwin photo)