TRENTON – The Pictou County Scotians didn’t think their season would end so early.
The Scotians compiled a 21-7-6 record during the regular season and felt confident that the experience gained from winning a Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League championship last season would help set them up for a deep playoff run.
But once the playoffs got underway, they faced an Antigonish Bulldogs club that was playing well (11-4 in their final 15 regular season games) and determined to knock off the defending champs.
Pictou County fell behind 3-0 against Antigonish in the best-of-seven, and while Pictou County made a series out of it, they could not completely recover, losing Game 6 last Friday at Antigonish Arena.
“We had very high expectations, from the (front office) all the way down to the staff members,” head coach Brandon Verge said Monday, after a few days to reflect on the end of their season. “It was very disappointing that we didn’t go further.”
He said the Scotians “played horrible” in Game 1 of the series, and couldn’t get the breaks in the next two games – one of them an overtime loss, the other a game that was decided late in regulation in the Bulldogs’ favour.
“They worked hard,” he said of the Bulldogs, “and they got some bounces.”
He said discipline “was an issue all year,” as it would be in the playoffs, where the Scotians spent too much time in the penalty box.
“You try to address it as much as you can (as a coach), but in the end, it’s up to the players.”
The Scotians are losing three players to graduation (captain Ryan Dunfield, Ryan MacDonald and Morgan Timmons), while Blair Dewtie and Colin Holmes likely won’t be back due to work commitments, and goaltender Blake Meech is now property of the Brookfield Elks.
Verge himself might not return the Scotians bench next fall, depending on where his career as a schoolteacher takes him.
“It’s really up in the air right now, to be honest. I don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Verge, who said he will inform the organization of his intentions in the next month or so.