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Gryphons win Northern NS league title

NEW GLASGOW – The NNEC Gryphons won the Northern Nova Scotia High School Hockey League championship Saturday at the Pictou County Wellness Centre in a thrilling 2-1 game over the CEC Cougars.

NNEC Gryphons net-minder Matt Murray keeps his eye on the puck as his teammates defend the crease on Saturday. KEVIN ADSHADE – THE NEWS

Kirklin Murray scored on the power play with 50 seconds remaining in the first period with Jacob Pentz and Taylor Publicover assisting.

Pentz scored what proved to be the winning goal 20 seconds into the second, assisted by Carson Dunbar. The Cougars scored five minutes into the third, but net-minder Matt Murray was solid in the net and the Gryphons played well in front of their goalie to take the 2-1 win and win the first ever NNSHSHL championship banner.

The weekend started with an exhibition game Friday afternoon against East Hants when Amherst was unable to make the trip due to bad weather.

NNEC lost 3-1 with Jacob Pentz scoring the only goal from Chris Brooker and Tyler Baird.

On Saturday, the Gryphons faced the Dr. J.H. Gillis Royals from Antigonish who had beaten the Dalbrae Dragons earlier in the day in the single elimination playoff format. Pentz opened the scoring assisted by Ethan Snell.

Antigonish tied the game on a power play before Pentz scored to end the first, assisted by Chris Brooker.

Pentz opened the second frame with his third of the night assisted by Kirklin Murray and Taylor Publicover.

Antigonish scored once more before the floodgates opened for North Nova when they scored six unanswered goals to take the game 9-2.

Publicover added two goals while Brooker, Sean Duggan, Murray and Carson Dunbar each added a goal.

Assists went to Colin Holmes with four, Pentz with two, as well as Murray, Publicover, Dunbar, Snell, and Ryan MacDonald with singles.

Murray had the win in nets.

CEC beat East Hants in the other game to set up a NNEC versus CEC game Saturday night.

North Nova has earned a spot in the regional banner playoffs as they finished first in the league.

Antigonish and Truro will play a best two out of three series next week and NNEC will play the winner of that series the following week to determine the winner of the regional banner. 

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