With three goals and six points in four games, newcomer Alex Feltmate has been a pleasant surprise for the Valley Maple Leafs so far this season. Despite suffering their first loss of the season Sunday in Berwick, the Maple Leafs continue to lead the Fred Fox Division with a record of three wins and one loss. - John DeCoste, www.kingscountynews.ca
By John DeCoste
The Glace Bay Junior Miners scored three unanswered goals in the third period to break up a scoreless game and hand the Valley Maple Leafs their first loss of the Nova Scotia Junior B Hockey League Sept. 29 in Berwick.
Valley had improved to 3-0 on the season with a 4-0 win over the Cumberland County Blues Sept. 27 in Springhill.
Sunday’s game between Glace Bay and Valley remained scoreless until Lincoln Bradley scored for the Miners at 8:08 of the third period. Valley had the edge in play in the opening period, with Glace Bay taking more of an advantage in the middle frame.
Chris Ross made it 2-0 Miners with 7:37 remaining in the third, and Johnathan O’Brien rounded out the scoring in a 3-0 victory with an empty-net goal at 19:53.
Glace Bay outshot the Maple Leafs 36-27, with rookie Nick Walsh stopping everything aimed his way for the shutout. Mitch Culley was solid in the Valley goal, stopping 34 of 36 shots.
On Friday, it was Culley who was perfect in goal, making 17 saves as Valley outshot Cumberland County 40-17.
Two goals by Alex Feltmate, one of a number of newcomers on the Maple Leafs roster, and one by returning player Andrew Squires staked Valley to a 3-0 lead after one period. Squires added his second of the game, a power play goal, in the second period to round out the scoring.
“We have a good group,” said Leafs’ head coach Josh Dill. “They’re working hard, and the pucks have been going in for them.”
In a close lead, however, “a good finish is probably going to be more important,” he said.
“Our goal is to make the playoffs and finish as high as we can. Hopefully, we can continue to build on the start we’ve had.”
In terms of key players in the early going, Dill said Feltmate, a native of Fletcher’s Lake, is off to a good start.
Feltmate had three goals and three assists in his team’s first three games, playing on a line with veterans David Hayes and Colin Gillis.
The Maple Leafs also have “a new line, all rookies,” made up of Matthew Viney, Jonathan Hunson and Evan Denley, who are all playing well, although Denley wasn’t in the lineup Sunday.
As of the start of the week, Valley’s 3-1 record was good enough for first place in the Fred Fox Division, two points up on East Hants and Eastern Shore.