By John DeCoste
The Summit Hyundai Valley midget Wildcats finally got what they had been waiting for since the start of their NSMMHL semifinal series with the Cape Breton West Islanders - a win on the road.
Facing elimination in the best-of-seven series in game six Thursday evening in Port Hood, the Wildcats forced a seventh and deciding game Saturday evening in Berwick with a 4-1 victory.
Regular season scoring champion Nick Blanchard scored three goals for the Wildcats, who led 2-0 after one period and 3-0 after two.Valley claimed the win despite being outshot for the first time in the series, 38-25 - a redemption of sorts for Justin Ritcey who stopped 37 of the 38 shots he faced.
Brett Tidman opened the scoring for the 'Cats with a power play goal at 5:21 of the first period. Blanchard made it 2-0 with 3:09 remaining in the period, then scored the eventual game-winner 1:50 into the second period with the Wildcats playing shorthanded.
Garrett Lambke got Cape Breton West on the board with 5:33 left in the third period, but that was as close as the Islanders would get. Blanchard iced the victory - and completed his hat trick - with 34 seconds left on the clock.
Game seven is an 8 p.m. start Saturday evening at the Kings Mutual Century Centre in Berwick.