Junior Miners can’t battle back in Game 7 loss to Blazers

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Cape Breton Post - TJ Colello

GLACE BAY — The Glace Bay Junior Miners fell behind early and couldn’t regain ground on the Sackville Blazers in the end.

The Glace Bay Junior Miners suffered a 6-2 loss to the Sackville Blazers in Game 7 of the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League championship series on Sunday.

The Blazers took the seventh and deciding game of the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League championship series with a 6-2 win at the Bayplex on Sunday. The over 900 fans in attendance watched as the Blazers hoisted the Veterans Cup as league champions for the second year in a row.

“It was a hell of a year and a hell of a team of guys,” Junior Miners overage captain Brett Simmons said following the loss, sporting a full, playoff beard. “It was pretty even back and fourth all series, we just couldn’t get the win in the end.

“We just had to get more shots and more traffic to the net and we didn’t do a very good job of that unfortunately.”

Zack Thomas fired a hat trick for the Blazers in the victory. Two of his goals came on the power play and gave Sackville a 3-0 advantage in the second period.

Justin Hessian struck with a goal and added two assists, while Braden Kamermans and Kyle MacDonald chipped in a goal and a helper apiece. Hessian and Kamermans’ goals put the game out of reach in the third.

“(Glace Bay) has a great-coached team and you can tell what they do on the ice,” said Sackville head coach and general manager Dwight Dempster. “That’s a damn good team. We feel extremely fortunate — and a little bit lucky — to come out of that.”

Sean Ferguson put the Junior Miners on the board in the second period with a power-play goal. Tyler Pyke also found the back of the net midway through the third.

“The guys didn’t give up. We could have folded the tents after they went up 3-1, but we stuck with it, we stayed together and we stayed positive on the bench and in the dressing room. It’s the greatest bunch of guys I’ve ever coached,” Junior Miners head coach Kent Verbeski said with a brief waver in his voice. “It’s a hard-fought battle that could have went either way and in the end, they got a few more bounces than we did and they capitalized on their chances.”

Sackville goaltender Jonathan Boutin came up big in the championship. He turned aside 50 shots in the victory, and was named the most valuable player in the post season for his efforts.

The 19-year-old from Dartmouth missed all of last year with a shoulder injury after playing the previous season between the Valley Wildcats major midget and the former P.E.I. Rocket of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

“After not playing for a year, it feels great to come back and be able to win a championship,” he said.

Glace Bay netminder Nick Walsh stopped 26 shots in the loss.

The Blazers move on to the 2014 Don Johnson Memorial Cup Eastern Canadian junior ‘B’ championship in Port Hawkesbury. The tournament opens on Tuesday and is being hosted by the Strait Pirates.


On Twitter: @cbpost_sports

Organizations: Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Geographic location: Cape Breton, Glace Bay, Dartmouth Port Hawkesbury

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