The Antigonish Jr. Bulldogs were listless through two periods Wednesday afternoon at the Don Johnson Memorial Cup against the Kent County Koyotes. As any hockey player, executive or observer recognizes, it takes more than two periods before a game is decided, sometimes even more. While being outshot 51-26, the Jr. Bulldogs played an exceptional third period, never giving up for a second to edge the Koyotes 4-3 in a shoot-out. The teams played to a scoreless draw in the opening period before Miguel Richard scored with 6:32 elapsed to put the Koyotes in front 1-0. Adam Tkacz played exceptionally well in the second period including stopping the Koyotes on three point blank shots but the Bulldogs were lacklustre numerous times trying to get out of their own end.
The third period despite still being outshot by a wide margin of 22-9 saw Zachary Lorette slip down the right side of the New Brunswick net and let somewhat of a soft shot go which eluded Zachary LeBlanc in the Koyotes nets. It kept getting better for the Nova Scotia champions as Luke Baldwin scored with a high shot over LeBlanc to put them up 2-1. The Bulldogs then received a tripping penalty and 10 seconds after that assessment Julien LeBlanc was stopped cold by Tkacz. With only 4:22 left and New Brunswick serving a minor penalty, the Jr. Bulldogs were banging and pounding in front of the Koyotes net after Zachary Lorette carried the puck down the right side of the New Brunswick net and Bradley Armstrong scored on the power-play to give Antigonish a 3-1 lead. It was looking good for the Bulldogs until there were less than two minutes to play when Miguel Poirier on a soft roller through a maze of players scored to put the Koyotes within a goal. Then with less than a minute, the Koyotes tied it as Cedric Bastarche connected on a shot high to the left side which rang off the side of the goal post before entering the net and the game was tied 3-3.
In overtime, Lorette of the Bulldogs had the best chance to win it in 3 on 3 sudden-death after being left alone in front of the New Brunswick net but unable to lift the puck over and into the net. Fitzsimmons made an excellent effort skating the length of the ice and going straight in on LeBlanc to no avail. The five-minute sudden death ended tied at 3-3. Under Don Johnson Cup Rules, each team is allowed to take five shots in a shoot-out before it reverts to sudden-death. On the first shot in the shoot-out Miguel Richard went in on Tkacz and with him down, dumped the puck past him hight o his left side. Both goalies turned away all shooters until Sam Grant scored on the Bulldogs fourth attempt and the Koyotes failing on their fifth. Then with the game on the line Fitzsimmons tallied and the Bulldogs were 4-3 winners in an astonishing third period, overtime and shoot-out. The playoff picture remains wide open with Antigonish playing their final round-robin game of the tournament against Newfoundland Friday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. New Brunswick will play PEI at 12 noon.