Scotians can clinch series with Pirates tonight
TRENTON – The Pictou County Scotians hope to keep things rolling tonight in their NSJHL series with the Strait Pirates after being the first team to win back-to-back games.
© CHRISTOPHER CAMERON - THE NEWS
The Pictou County Scotians can wrap up their first round NSJHL series with the Strait Pirates tonight with a win. Winning back-to-back games the Scotians have taken a 3-2 lead in the series. Puck drop tonight in Port Hawkesbury is 7:30 p.m.
After trailing twice in the series, the Scotians bounced back both times and now have a 3-2 series lead against their Sid Rowe rivals. Just a year ago Pictou County was in a similar position, leading the series after five games. Port Hawkesbury eventually went on to win and advance to the division final.
Captain Brandon Verge says the team is aware of that and wants to use it as motivation to finish the series out tonight on the road.
“There’s a couple guys that thought about it and it’s a little frustrating knowing that we could’ve got past them, but it comes back to this year and we try to remind everyone that they beat us last year so we want to give it to them and earn our way to the Do(n) Jo(hnson),” he said.
Verge said tonight the key will be focusing on the basics like chipping pucks off the glass, continuing their forecheck and using all four lines. He knows their power play has been successful in scoring, but so has Port Hawkesbury’s, so they need to stay out of the box.
“We know they have (Gavyn) Connell-Helle in front of the net and he’s hard to move, (Marc) Bourgeois who can shoot the puck and (Mitchell) Balmas who is a great underage player,” he said. “They have one really good line that can come out and kill us if we’re in the box, but looking at matching lines I think we’ve been doing it both home and away, so the coaches are pretty happy with who we’re up against. We just have to bring our game basically.”
Sunday’s 7-2 win at home will also be key for the Scotians according to Verge. Having a big win and taking a lead in the series boosted their confidence overall as a group.
“It was unreal because we basically just played the third and fourth line in the third period, so it got them confidence and I think there was only a few guys that didn’t get a point in that game, so it brings everyone’s confidence up,” he said. “We kept it under three goals, which we try to do every game, so we were happy there as well.”
Should Pictou County win tonight they will advance to play the Glace Bay Miners in the Sid Rowe Division final as the Miners won four straight over Antigonish to advance. If they lose they will play Game 7 Sunday night at the Trenton Arena.
Winning sooner than later will be important for the Scotians, according to Verge, as Glace Bay will have at least a week off before the division final.
“It’s extremely important so that we can get to practice right away and work on a couple systems,” said Verge. “They have a couple guys that we’ll have to worry about for sure. Especially against Glace Bay they have a solid three or four lines, five of the top defencemen in the league and their goaltending has been great so far. We just need to shut Port Hawkesbury down, so we can think about Glace Bay coming up soon.”
At a glance
Feb. 21 Pirates win 4-2
Feb. 23 Scotians win 5-2
Feb. 26 Pirates win 4-1
Feb. 28 Scotians win 5-4 (2OT)
March 2 Scotians win 7-2
Tonight: Game 6 at Port Hawkesbury
Sunday: Game 7 at Trenton (if necessary)