WESTVILLE – Up 2-0 through two periods against the Dr. JH Gillis Royals, the Northumberland Nighthawks looked poised to go 2-1 in their NSSAF girls hockey round-robin playoffs, but a strong third by the Royals led to a comeback and a 2-2 tie.
Scoring for Northumberland were Marli Johnston and Shauna Wright. Kara Mason was in goal for the Nighthawks, while Breanna MacDonald was between the pipes for the Royals.
Nighthawks captain Isobel DeMont said the team played a great first and second period. She said they were pressuring the Royals well and were moving their feet faster to get to the puck, but the team got away from that work ethic slightly in the third.
“We let them have more time and space than we should have and had a lack of pressure both in their zone and ours,” she said. “I think it came down to momentum, which they took a hold of after their first goal and we were more timid to pressure in the third for whatever reason.”
In the NSSAF girls hockey round-robin playoffs the team now has a tie, win (against NNEC) and a loss (against CEC). This weekend the team plays the Royals again on Friday in Antigonish before travelling to Truro on Sunday to play CEC. On Monday they wrap up the double round-robin playoffs at home against North Nova. The top team advances to provincials with the second place team moving into a qualifier against a Cape Breton school to be determined.
DeMont said after the game that if they hope to make it out of the region without the qualifier that they need to work on playing better third periods. She said the team has played well early in games throughout the season, but struggle to hold momentum and leads late in regulation time.
“We go into every game expecting to win,” said DeMont. “With a 2-0 lead going into the third we need to finish out those games strong, but that said one point today is better than none and I’m glad we held on for the tie at the end of it. Throughout the season we've had a number of games that we've held leads going into the third and we need to close those out better if we want to make provincials.”
This weekend with three games in four days on top of a number of players also playing on the Saturday with other teams she said the team will need to make sure they rest when they have the chance.
“We need to make sure we rest and conserve our energy going into the weekend if we want to do well against CEC and JH Gillis to start the weekend,” she said. “If we stay well rested we should have no problem with our energy level on Monday.”
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