With their fourth win of the season, the Valley Junior A Wildcats have already matched the 2012-2013 win total of their MJHL predecessors the Metro Shipbuilders – and it’s only take them six games to do it. Instrumental in the team’s solid start has been the play of the line of Brad Ryckman (not pictured), Grant Janes, left, and Mike Molloy. Ryckman, a former Shipbuilder, leads the team in goals with six. – John DeCoste, www.kingscountynews.ca
By John DeCoste
What a difference a year can make.
Just six games into the 2013-2014 regular season, the Junior A Valley Wildcats already have as many wins as their predecessors, the Metro Shipbuilders, managed all last season.
The Wildcats improved their record to 4-2 in the Maritime Junior Hockey League with a 5-2 win over the CIBC Wood Gundy Lumberjacks Sept. 27 in Bridgewater and 3-1 victory over the Woodstock Slammers Sept. 28 on home ice.
On Sept. 28, the Wildcats overcame a 1-0 deficit after two periods by scoring three unanswered goals over the final 20 minutes.
Justin Thomas, one of the former Metro Shipbuilders on the roster, got Valley on the board with an even-strength goal two minutes into the third period. Thomas then netted the eventual game-winner, his second of the game, at 13:22. Linemates Colby Tower and Anthony Cardinal assisted on both goals.
Brad Ryckman rounded out the scoring with an empty net goal at 19:52 with the Wildcats on the power play.
E.J. Faust had opened the scoring for Woodstock with a power play goal at 14:11 of the second period. It was the only goal allowed by Wildcats goalie Blade Mann-Dixon, who ended up stopping 27 of 28 shots and was picked as the game’s first star.
In Bridgewater on Sept. 27, Ryckman, the Wildcats’ leading scorer thus far with six goals in his first six games, had the hat trick to lead Valley to victory.
The Wildcats fell behind early on Jesse MacInnis’s goal, but Cardinal’s shorthanded marker midway through the second period tied the score at one.
Ryckman’s first goal, with eight seconds left in the period, gave Valley a lead they would not relinquish.
In the third period, Ryckman with two and Brandon Weir with one increased the lead to 5-1 before Ryan Daley rounded out the scoring for the Lumberjacks, who finished with a 34-32 edge in shots on goal as Mann-Dixon was again solid.
Midgets, Bantams lose matchups
Neither the Midget nor Bantam Wildcats were as fortunate, with each team seeing action once on the weekend. The Midgets lost 5-4 to Halifax in a shootout, while the Bantams dropped a 7-3 decision to Pro Hockey Life Harbour Storm.
At the Halifax Forum Sept. 29, the Midget Wildcats and Halifax McDonalds battled through regulation time and overtime tied at four.
Ryan Parker had three goals, one of them on the power play, for the Wildcats. Brett Tidman, also on the power play, had the other Valley goal.
The teams were tied at three after one period, and were tied 4-4 after two. The third period and overtime were scoreless.
On Sept 29 at Cole Harbour Place, Harbour Storm broke open a 2-1 game by scoring five of six third period goals to score their win over the Kings Mutual Bantams.
Jonah Vidito, Josh Foster and Hunter Woodland scored the Kings Mutual goals, with Vidito and Woodland’s goals both coming on the power play.