The Dalbrae Dragons had the pressure on in the third but Rebels goaltender Hunter Forance put on a show to preserve a 2-1 victory in Inverness on Dec. 28. In the photo, Dalbrae’s Brad Chandler and Ben Van Zutphen buzz Forance’s net as Josh Bennett and Carson Buchanan help out on defence.
-by Bill Dunphy
When your goaltender faces about 60 shots in a game – about 30 of them coming in the third period – and you pull out a 2-1 win, it’s safe to say he stole one.
Inverness/Baddeck Rebels’ coach Carl MacKinnon agreed with that assessment on Friday, Dec. 28, following his team’s win over the Dalbrae Dragons in Cape Breton West High School Hockey League action at the Inverness Arena.
“Turkey legs may have been a factor (for the skaters) but you have to give the game to Hunter; he stole the game when we needed him to,” said MacKinnon.
The two teams played a scoreless first period as players on both sides found their legs after the Christmas break.
The Rebels took the lead at 1:42 of the second period. A big hit by Frankie MacNeil on Dalbrae’s Colin MacMillan freed up the puck, with Trent MacNeil getting it to the point where Will Basker’s drive through traffic found the back of Boyd MacIntyre’s net.
A powerplay opportunity late in the period allowed the Rebels to go up 2-0. Dusty Bernard, working down low, passed to Ross Mullins on the blueline, whose slapshot was tipped by Michael Cameron for the score.
The third frame was a remake of the Martin Brodeur Enterprise car rental commercial as Forance faced shot after shot in a period dominated by a desperate Dragons’ squad.
Dalbrae went on a powerplay at 9:09 but a backhanded glove save by Forance was the only highlight of the two minutes.
However, Dalbrae finally got one past Forance at 12:41. With a faceoff to Forance’s left, Brad Chandler won the draw, which was picked up by Ben Van Zutphen who found a seam through a crowded crease for the score.
The Dragons pressed even harder in the final two minutes. MacKinnon called a Rebels’ time out at 13:46 and Dalbrae pulled MacIntyre for an extra attacker, but the Rebels’ defence preserved the 2-1 victory.
“We’ve been two weeks without a practice, so you have to give the D credit, who came up with a good effort,” said MacKinnon.
“We need to work on our play in all three zones. And special teams will play a big role this year and our powerplay will be our focus at practice.”
Meanwhile in the Cape Breton West High School Hockey League, the Richmond Hurricane strengthened their hold on first place with a 5-2 win over the Rebels on Jan. 4 in Baddeck.
Cameron Britten, Adam Sampson, Duncan White, Danny McNamara, and Thomas MacNeil scored for the Hurricane.
Cameron and Frankie MacNeil answered for the Rebels.
And Dalbrae’s woes continued at home on Dec. 30 when the SAERC Saints skated to a 7-1 win over the Dragons.
Bradley Kersten had a goal and four assists while Harrison MacFadyen and Brady White each scored twice for SAERC, who led 2-0 and 5-1 by periods. Brady MacNeil and Jake MacDonald had the other Saints’ singles.
Ben Van Zutphen scored the lone Dalbrae goal to spoil Chase MacPherson’s shutout bid.
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