With notes from Grant Creighton
The Digby Mariners beat the Central Kings Gators for the first time in the last four years.
The Mariners hosted the Gators in Bridgetown on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 2 and beat them 4-2.
The Gators’ Jacob Shepherd assisted by Seth Morton and Jordan Rockwell opened the scoring four minutes into the game.
But the Mariners responded just 27 seconds later to tie the game: Nathan Janson rifled one from the slot to the back of the net on a sweet passing play from Dawson Acker and Digby captain Myles Creighton.
Creighton scored another for the Mariners at the 3:33 mark of the first--Logan Carman kept the puck in at the point and passed to Noah Thomas who delivered a hard shot at Gator’s goaltender Jason Strong.
The rebound squirted to Creighton and he deposited it to give the Mariners a 2-1 lead, which they took to the dressing room after the first period.
The second period was back and forth with chances being turned away at both ends by the netminders Strong and Digby’s Bryceon Wade.
Chris Demaine scored the only goal of the second, unassisted on a great rush with six minutes remaining in the period.
The Mariners went into the third with a 3-1 lead.
The third period was all goalie action, with several goalmouth scrambles at both ends and the goalies standing tall.
A goalie was the actually the first to score in the third: Gator’s Ben Best had shed the pads to play forward Sunday and cashed in on a feed from Connor Gough to narrow the score to 3-2 with eight minutes left.
The Mariners had several good scoring chances with the puck bouncing all around the posts but refusing to go in.
Finally, with four minutes left, Demaine dented the twine from the slot on a feed from Thomas.
Wade turned away all the Central Kings’ offerings from that point on to protect the Mariners 4-2 win.
“Just another day at the office for Wade as he continued his strong play with another solid performance between the pipes,” said Mariners’ manager Grant Creighton. “The team played a solid game today in their home away from home. The boys were looking to avenge the 6-4 loss to Central Kings in their only other league meeting this season.”
The Gators were just one point behind the Mariners heading into Sunday’s game and a tough end-of-season schedule will make it hard for the Gators to make up the three-point deficit now.
Sunday’s win was also a milestone for the Mariners in terms of points total in the Valley High School Hockey League.
The Mariners now have 11 points on five wins, six losses and an overtime loss – that’s the highest for Digby since returning to the VHSHL three years ago.
The Mariners had to move both games from the past weekend to Bridgetown because of mechanical problems at the Digby rink.
“We’d like to extend a special thanks to the staff of the Bridgetown Arena and particularly Steve Clayton for hosting our two games this weekend,” said Creighton.
The Mariners are back in action next weekend with a home and home exhibition series against the Bridgewater Vikings.
They play at the new Bridgewater arena (Lunenburg County Lifestyle Center) on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 6:30 p.m. and then return home on Sunday, Feb. 9 for a game at 1 p.m.