The Midget AAA Wildcats' defence has been shored up with the return of Duncan McKie from Major Junior and Junior A tryouts. – John DeCoste, www.kingscountynews.ca
By John DeCoste
The Summit Hyundai Valley Midget AAA Wildcats opened their 2013-2014 regular season on a positive note with a 2-1 win over Newbridge Academy Gladiators.
The Wildcats struck early on first period goals Sept. 12 by Mitchell Singer and Michael Dill, then held on for the victory at home in the Kings Mutual Century Centre in Berwick. Michael Pettet was solid in the Valley goal.
Newbridge’s only goal, a power play marker, came off a deflection in the second period. Pettet was particularly solid in the third period, and according to head coach Dan Turner, “made four big saves late” to preserve the win, all of them on “point- blank shots from the slot.”
The second-year goalie, he said, “has a natural ability to make the big saves in tight,” when it matters the most.
“We came out flying and carried the play in the first period. Then we got caught up in some penalties and gave up some of our momentum,” Turner said.
He felt the Valley defence, a concern entering the season due to its overall youth, “played solid as a whole, but our play as a team in our end needs some work.”
The Wildcats, he added, were fortunate that Pettet was solid in nets and stood strong for the win.
Prior to the game, the Wildcats’ provincial and Atlantic championship banners were hoisted into place along the arena concourse.
Several graduated members of last year’s squad were in attendance, and former head coach Nick Greenough (now with the Junior A Wildcats) participated in a ceremonial puck drop.