NEW GLASGOW – The North Nova boys hockey team won the NSSAF Division 1 regional banner for hockey this weekend for the first time in the history of the school.
On Friday night, the Gryphons hosted the Dr. JH Gillis Royals from Antigonish in the first game of a best-of-three series.
Although Antigonish opened the scoring in the first minute of the game, the Gryphons bounced back for a 3-1 win. Tommy Hayman evened the score in the first period and Craig Murray and Scott Graham added goals in the second frame.
There was no scoring in the third.
Logan Boudreau handled the goaltending duties, while Ryan Washburn had two assists with single helpers going to Allister Mason, Dylan Johnston, Sam Cameron and Hayman.
First-year defenceman Connor MacDougall said although he hadn’t been on the teams in the past that there was a certain buzz around the locker room this year.
“I wasn’t on other teams from the past few years, but the guys that had been around for a few years said from the beginning of this year that they felt we had a contender,” he said. “The team really came together quickly and worked well together all season.”
On Sunday, the Gryphons travelled to Antigonish and opened a three-goal lead in the first period. Hayman, Cameron and Tyler Chisholm scored for the Gryphons with assists from Graham, Chisholm and Hayman.
The Royals mounted a comeback in the second on two power play goals, but the Gryphons, behind the goaltending of Joel MacLean, kept Antigonish off the scoreboard winning 3-2 to take the regional banner.
“It got intense at the end of the game when they started coming back and everyone got on their heals, but everyone was into the game,” he said. “We all wanted it so bad that it kept us in it instead of backing down and allowing them to continuing to push us.”
The NNEC Gryphons now head to Sydney March 22-24 for provincials.
“I think we need to stick to the basics and take what we learned all year and put it all together,” said MacDougall. “We need to do all of those things and practice hard if we want to be successful at provincials.”