The Wildcats lost 3-2 to Kensington at home, but went on to defeat Charlottetown 8-3 the following day. Pictured is one of the Wildcats goals. - Gary Manning
By Jennifer Vardy Little
The Valley Midget Wildcats may have lost their Dec. 7 game against Kensington, but powered back for a definitive 8-3 win over Charlottetown the following day.
A tough loss on Dec. 7 saw Valley lose to Kensington 3-2 at home in Berwick. Parker Ryan and Eli Hughes scored the two goals for the Wildcats, while Alexander Rawding had assists on both goals. Michael Dill and Taylor Brown also had assists.
Brett Tidman scored a hat trick Dec. 8 to help lead Valley to victory, putting an end to a four-game losing streak just in time for a trip to Quebec this week.
The Wildcats, in recognition of a strong finish and a trip to nationals last year, have been invited to the Reebok invitational, explained head coach Dan Turner.
“We did so well last year at nationals that we were invited. This tournament includes the top 15 Quebec teams, and they invite five others,” Turner said.
“It will be a good for their confidence – all three round robin games we have are against Quebec, and they’re known for being one of the best leagues in the country.”
Round robin play begins Dec. 11 and will continue until Dec. 13, with playoffs held over the weekend.
At home, the Wildcats are in the middle of the pack in the Major Midget League, where they currently sit in fourth place. With just nine regulation games left in the season, Valley will be looking for some wins to help move up a spot in the standings.
“The top four in the league are really close, and the bottom four are really close – there are two teams tied for fifth, and there’s quite a bit of space between us and them,” Turner said.
“We’re very confident right now. In a best four of seven, we’d be happy with anyone.”
The main focus in the next few games will be ensuring the entire team is on the same page, he added.
“When we’re all on the same page and going in the right direction, playing our game, we’ll win,” Turner said.
They’ll next face off against Cole Harbour on Dec. 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Junior A Wildcats
Valley split a pair of games on the road last weekend, with a 4-1 win over Campbellton Dec. 6 and an 8-0 loss to Miramichi Dec. 7.
Grant Janes – back from a game with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League – picked up two markers and an assist Dec. 6 in Campbellton.
Colby Tower had a goal and an assist, while Mike Molloy had the final goal for Valley. Brad Ryckman had two assists, while Kaden Ruest, Pat MacIsaac, Chris Clark and Austin Harding had the other assists.
Bobby Palzer – between the pipes for Valley in place of Blade Mann-Dixon, who suffered a shoulder injury in a game Nov. 30 – had the win. Palzer made 25 saves in 26 shots on goal.
The next night did not go quite as well for the Valley squad, who was shutout by a tough Miramichi team. Palzer made seven saves and allowed three goals before he was replaced by Max Feener, who faced 31 shots and made 26 saves, allowing five goals.
Valley is back in action Dec. 12, when they’ll face off against the Weeks Crushers in Pictou County before returning home for two weekend games. On Dec. 13, they’ll play the Amherst Ramblers in Kentville at 7:30 p.m., where the first 50 fans will get in free with a donation to the food bank. The following night, they’ll play the Crushers again with a 7:30 p.m. game, during which a teddy bear toss will be held.