Eliminated from playoffs, waiting for Atlantics

Christopher Cameron
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Weeks unable to score in third period in elimination game with Newbridge

NEW GLASGOW – It’s not the way they wanted to get to Atlantics, but Weeks will take a number of positives out of their first-round series loss to Newbridge.

Weeks Major Midgets forward Doug Barton tries to slide the puck through Newbridge Gladiator goalie Aaron Mantle’s pads during Saturday night NSMMHL action at the Pictou County Wellness Centre. Weeks lost the game 3-1 to be eliminated from the league playoffs. 

Saturday night they were trailing 3-2 in the series going into Game 6 at the Wellness Centre.

Down 2-0 just over five minutes in the game, Cody Johnston’s second period goal wasn’t enough to comeback against the Newbridge Gladiators, who added an empty-net goal with 14 seconds remaining in the third to win 3-1.

Weeks lost their NSMMHL series 4-2 to Newbridge who now advance to play the Cole Harbour Wolfpack, while Halifax plays South Shore.

“I’m very happy with the effort in the second and third,” said head coach Dave MacIntyre. “I don’t think we came out and played as well as we had planned on playing in the first, but the second and third was all guts, all heart, all effort and even through the adversity that was definitely thrown at us, I’m proud of how they reacted to it.”

Luke Melanson turned aside 54 Newbridge shots in the Weeks loss, while Aaron Mantle made 19 saves in the victory.

Usually losing a series would mean the season is over, but as hosts of the Atlantic Major Midget Hockey Championship April 3-6 at the Wellness Centre they now need to use the next month and a half to prepare in other ways.

“I think we’re going to look at that now because we didn’t even look at it because we planned on moving forward,” said MacIntyre. “We’re going to talk it over with the coaching staff to see what’s best. Obviously we have some injuries right now and guys want to heal, so it won’t hurt to take a week or so off and then get our heads focused on what we need to do going forward.

“This isn’t the way we wanted to get to Atlantics, but if we look at our season losing 16 or 18 games in a row and coming back and playing as well as we did since Christmas – obviously that will be the hardest series they have physically – I’m proud of what the boys did.”

Every province represented at the four-day tournament will be playing until late March, so they will be in game shape. They will be more exhausted though. MacIntyre said they’ll work hard to be rested, but also in the best shape possible for April 3.

“We’ll make sure we’re doing high flow drills, game-like situations and see what we can do to get in scrimmage situations and those type of things to make sure the guys are still in game shape,” he said. “We’ll make sure we’re ready when the drop of puck comes.”

When asked about the ebbs and flows of the series, with blowouts on each side, MacIntyre said that is part of the game at this level.

“It’s just the emotions of 15- to 17-year-old kids,” he said. “They worked hard and – at a certain point when you get up by four goals you look at what you need to work on because you’re playing tomorrow again. If you’re down by four or five goals in the third period the chances of coming back aren’t very high, so you keep working and try to work on things you can carry over into the following game.”

 

Series recap

Game 1: 6-3 win for Newbridge

Game 2: 6-3 win for Newbridge

Game 3: 7-1 win for Weeks

Game 4: 6-5 win for Weeks

Game 5: 9-1 win for Newbridge

Game 6: 3-1 win for Newbridge

 

christopher.cameron@ngnews.ca 

On Twitter: @NGNewsChris

Organizations: Newbridge, Wellness Centre

Geographic location: South Shore

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