By John DeCoste
The Valley Maple Leafs had a busy past week with three games, and despite losing two of the three, remained tied for second place in the Fred Fox Division of the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League with a 12-8-4-2 record for 30 points.
The Leafs played a home-and-home series with Brookfield Elks, winning 8-2 on Jan. 8 in Brookfield, then dropping a 3-1 decision on Jan. 10 in Wolfville. Valley then lost 6-4 to the Pictou County Scotians on Jan. 13 in Trenton.
In Brookfield, the Leafs led 2-0 after one period and 5-0 after two, then outscored Brookfield 3-2 in the final 20 minutes.
Colin Gillis led the way offensively with a three-goal performance, giving the Middleton native eight goals on the season, and also earned an assist.
Jory Uhlman had two goals and two assists, Andrew Squires a goal and two assists and Joe MacDougall three assists. David Hayes and Austin Himmelman had the other Valley goals, while Travis Nevin and Andrew Kennedy scored for Brookfield.
It was a chippy game, with lots of after-the-whistle action, leading the referees to dish out 172 minutes in penalties. Valley had a 38-19 edge in shots on goal.
The same two teams were at it again on Jan. 11 in Wolfville, and it turned out to be a completely different game. The score was lower (3-1), the shots on goal were closer (38-26 Valley) and there were only 30 minutes in penalties.
Connor Baker gave Brookfield a 1-0 lead with the only goal of the opening period and Luke Short got the Leafs on the board early in the second before Brookfield iced the contest with a pair of third period goals by Geoff Burke and Drew McNutt.
In Pictou County on Jan. 13, Valley took an early 2-0 lead on power play goals by Jake Galbraith and Craig Anderson, and led 4-2 after two periods, but couldn’t hold on as the Scotians struck for four unanswered goals in the third period.
Galbraith ended up with two goals and Anderson and Mark Swain one each for the Leafs, who outshot Pictou County 42-37. Lucas Eshelman led Pictou County with a hat trick, and Brandon MacKenzie, Dustin Bowron and Brandon Verge had singles.