Newfoundland has been eliminated and the host Liverpool Privateers have clinched the fourth and final playoff berth at this year’s Don Johnson Memorial Cup in Liverpool, Nova Scotia. What remains unknown is where New Brunswick, PEI and Nova Scotia Champions the Antigonish Jr. Bulldogs will finish. A PEI win Friday night will vault them into first place with 9 points or even an overtime win against the host Liverpool Privateers will give them eight points and a tie with Antigonish. PEI would win the tie breaker as they defeated Antigonish in the round robin 4-2 on Wednesday. New Brunswick finished at 2-1-1 for 7 points and can only secure second spot if Liverpool were to defeat PEI Friday night. In play on Friday:
Prince Edward Island 4 New Brunswick 1
In the opening period, Sebastien Gould was denied after going in practically all alone until a great last minute poke check denied him a goal. It only took seconds later and the Kensington Vipers Reese Wyand with players banging all around the New Brunswick net jammed a rebound home for a 1-0 Vipers lead. A small dispute erupted after PEI thought they had gone up 2-0 but the officials gathered for a brief 90 second conversation and all were in agreement the whistle had blown proper to the puck entering the net. Ryder Howatt tired to make it 2-0 when he went in alone but PEI played great defence throughout the opening twenty minutes and held a 12-6 edge in shots. Joshua Breault of the Kent Coyotes hit Reese Wyand with a solid check between centre ice and the New Brunswick blue-line leaving Wyand sprawled on the ice.
In the second period, as we all know goals are scored in mysterious ways and Brent Ballum scored a strange one as he was falling to the ice near, he somehow got his stick partially on the puck and somehow managed to squeeze it low into the right hand corner of the net for a 2-0 PEI lead. Just 1:10 later Reese Wyand made it 3-0 on a wrist shot from 15 feet out. The Island played two men short for 36 seconds but stood the test. New Brunswick later played 2 men down for 11 seconds. PEI outshot New Brunswick 20-9 in the middle period and were up in shots 32-15 after forty minutes. In the third, Julien LeBlanc brought New Brunswick back to within 2 goals with a shot from the point, only seconds after the Koyotes had rung a shot off the crossbar. Nick Reeves scored an empty net goal to wrap up the game’s scoring and give PEI the win. New Brunswick had pulled their goaltender with 3:00 left in regulation. PEI finished with a 41-21 shots advantage and won 29 of the game’s 50 face-offs.
Antigonish 5 Newfoundland 2
The Conception Bay North Stars needed to win in order to stay alive for a play-off berth but mere seconds after Kyle Petten was sent to the penalty box for unsportsmanlike conduct, a crash of bodies took place around the Newfoundland net and the puck could not be covered by the Newfoundland goaltender and Sam Grant put the Nova Scotia Champs up 1-0. Zachary Lorette then scored only 15 seconds later and Antigonish was up 2-0. The Bulldogs kept applying pressure and Luke Baldwin had a goal stolen from him on a fabulous glove save by North Star Ryan Petten. A few moments later Bulldogs goalie Adam Tkacz robbed Matthew King. Something rarely seen in hockey but the Bulldogs Ethan Twolan was assessed a double minor for head contact but 48 seconds later the Bulldogs scored short-handed to go ahead 3-0 despite being outshot 11-10 in the first period. In the second, Sam Grant had a goal stolen from him by Petten in the CBN nets. Cameron Lohnes was denied by Tkacz on a clear cut break away with Tkacz making a great blocker save. Zachary Lorette made it 4-0 Bulldogs when he scored from the right face-off circle but CBN finally got on the scoreboard with 4:22 left in the second when Dawson Crane drilled a shot between Tkacz’s legs. Crane scored again to make it 4-2 Antigonish in the third but Ethan Twolan added the final goal of the game late to give the Bulldogs the 5-2 win. Tkacz stood out for the Bulldogs as he stopped 45 of 47 shots as Antigonish was outshot 47-28 including 19-10 in the third period.