NEW GLASGOW – When Bradley Shea dropped his arms Mark Vokey knew it had happened.
© CHRISTOPHER CAMERON - THE NEWS
Weeks Major Midgets forward Mark Vokey looks for space with Kensington Wild defenceman Bailey Webster staring him down during Thurday night's game at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
A hard slap shot from the point with 18 seconds left in the third period by Vokey found it’s way through a crowd and past Shea to give the Weeks Major Midgets (1-0) a 4-3 victory over the Kensington Wild (0-2).
Vokey led the Weeks Major Midgets (host) with two goals and two assists in their opening game of the Atlantic Major Midget Hockey Championships. Sam Jay had two goals to lead the Wild (P.E.I.) offensively.
“I think you can tell when the goalie and all players on their team react whether it went in or not,” said Vokey about his game-winning goal. “I find five-hole goals are hard to tell if they go in or not anyways.”
In the first period Weeks went to the power play as Parker Ronahan took a four-minute head contact penalty. With 2:53 killed off by Kensington they got into more trouble as Bailey Webster took a holding penalty to put the Wild down two men for 1:07.
Only nine seconds into the five-on-three advantage Vokey opened the scoring for Weeks.
Holding their lead for most of the period it was a clean break by Jay that looked like he would give Luke Melanson one of his biggest tests of the game, but Weeks defenceman Matt Sartoris worked to catch up to Jay. After swiping for the puck he took Jay’s feet our from under him. The referee pointed to centre ice for a penalty shot.
Jay scored on the opportunity to tie the game 1-1 with 3:59 left in the first period.
He would give the Wild their first lead of the game 9:35 into the second period, with Michael Evoy and Austin Taylor picking up assists on the play.
Kensington pushed their lead to two as Kyle Pinksen scored at the 5:54 mark of the third. With what looked like a two-on-one forming Melanson came out to play the puck. He got it as far as the line, where Pinksen picked it up and put it into the empty net.
Down by a pair it was captain Lane Cormier’s power play marker with 4:52 remaining in regulation that breathed some life into the Weeks bench. Stepping off the sideboards he snapped the puck far side off the post and in past Shea. The goal was both the second of the game and second power play marker for the host team.
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Exactly two minutes later Kensington paid for another penalty, an interference call against Dillon Wall.
Cody Johnston beat Shea to tie the game 3-3.
Both teams had a few chances, but neither had a bounce go their way until Vokey put the puck on net in the dying seconds that someone broke through. With the format of the tournament had he not scored it would’ve simply ended in a tie.
“They’re a big physical team, so it’s hard to stay composed, but the other guys on your team help you stay composed,” said Vokey. “Just throwing the pucks on net seemed like the thing to do because they’re big and physical and it was hard to do too much.”
Melanson made 26 saves for Weeks to open the tournament with a win. Shea made 25 saves in his second game of the day. He faced 45 shots in their opener against Halifax.
Vokey said after the game that Kensington did a good job of pressuring him on the puck, but that he was also double shifted from time-to-time to get some open ice and face different defensive matchups. Even though his line with Johnston and Cormier was getting lots of ice time he said he wasn’t feeling fatigued.
“I wasn’t and I don’t know if they were, but I don’t think so,” he said. “When Dave asks if we’re good to go it seems to always be the answer – that we’re going.
“I feel just like the end of the season and am good to go.”
Friday they take on Central (N.L.) at 1:30 p.m. before an 8 p.m. game against their NSMMHL rival Halifax McDonalds.
“We want to come out strong and get two wins right off the bat because the next two teams after that, Halifax and Saint John, are the strongest teams probably.”
Weeks were 3-5 on the power play, while Kensington were 0-2.