PICTOU COUNTY – After losing a pair of games in Halifax to open the NSMMHL playoffs, the Weeks Major Midgets now have to win or go home after falling 4-1 in Game 3 Monday night at home.
What started as a balanced game looked like it would go in Weeks favour after the Halifax Titans took a four-minute penalty for head contact. Pictou County couldn’t capitalize, struggling to get the power play set up in Titan territory, not scoring.
Then at 17:00 Halifax would break the scoreless tie off the stick of Drew Packman. The Titans held onto the 1-0 lead for the remainder of the period.
In the second frame the Weeks Major Midgets found themselves in penalty trouble and Halifax was able to capitalize twice. Their first power play goal came at the 7:16 mark from a Brett McNeil point shot. After Pictou County took a too many men penalty late in the second period Jack Patterson scored to increase the Titan lead to 3-0.
“They have a strong power play and we discussed it before the game that we cannot go in the box against them,” said assistant coach Troy Peters. “We can’t be taking selfish penalties against them because the last three games have proven that their power play is potent and they get a lot of offence off the power play.”
The Weeks Major Midgets took another penalty in the final five minutes of the second period, but with some pressure short-handed were able to score their first goal as Cody Johnston lifted the puck over a sprawled out Nicholas Dawe. The Titans were unable to score on the remainder of their power play, taking a 3-1 lead into the second intermission.
In the third a hope for a comeback came with six minutes remaining in regulation as the Titans took another four-minute penalty for head contact. The Weeks squad called a timeout and pulled goalie Luke Melanson during the power play, but their efforts to score late fell short. Halifax added an empty-net goal short-handed, Packman’s second of the game, to take the game 4-1.
After the game when asked about the team struggling on the power play, Peters said it came down to not moving the puck fast enough.
“They played very aggressive on the penalty kill and what we were doing is playing them quite passive,” he said. “In order to get them out of position we need to move the puck quicker and move our feet when we actually get the puck. Instead we were stationary when we got the puck and they were on us. In turn the puck was out of their end.”
The team now has to regroup for Game 4 at the Pictou County Wellness Centre on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. Peters said the team as a whole needs to bring a solid effort, rather than pieces of the whole.
“I think the tools are there and what it came down to tonight was a solid effort,” he said. “About 50 per cent of our guys that brought that effort and 50 per cent that didn’t. Basically there isn’t a lot that needs to be fixed x-and-o wise. Right now it’s playoff hockey and it comes down to who’s willing to move their feet, finish their checks, play the physical game and drive the net.”
“We have to match their effort.”
Weeks Major Midgets 1
2nd Cody Johnston 17:58 SH
vs. Halifax Titans 4
1st Drew Packman 17:00
2nd Brett McNeil from Ethan Marsh 7:16 PP
2nd Jack Patterson from John MacDonald and Brett McNeil 15:46 PP
3rd Drew Packman 17:35 EN
W: Nicholas Dawe 21 saves
L: Luke Melanson 30 saves
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