Wyatt Stark picks up a goal for the Valley Midget AAA Wildcats in game five of the best-of-seven series against the South Shore Mustangs Feb. 11, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Valley team’s dreams alive. The Wildcats lost the game 4-3, which ended their playoff run. See a slideshow of photos from the game at KingsCountyNews.ca – Gary Manning photo
The season is over for the Valley Midget AAA Wildcats after they lost the first round of their playoff series to the South Shore Mustangs, four games to one.
After dropping the first two games of the series at home, the 'Cats, fourth-place finishers in the regular season, lost game three 5-4 in overtime Feb. 8 in Bridgewater. Valley stayed alive with a 4-3 win Feb. 9, also on the road, but the fifth-seed Mustangs closed out the series with a 4-3 win Feb. 11 in Berwick.
Wildcats’ head coach Dan Turner said that despite the series loss, he didn’t believe Valley was outplayed.
“We played them five games, and at the end of the day, we ran into hot goaltending. Sometimes that’s the way it goes.”
In game five, Alex Rawding opened the scoring for the Wildcats at 3:43 of the first period, the only goal of the first 20 minutes. The Mustangs replied with three goals in a little under six minutes in the second for a 3-1 lead.
Wyatt Stark made it 3-2 at 16:23 of the second, and Lukas Kane tied the score with an unassisted goal at 3:44 of the third, but Travis Parks netted the game-winner for South Shore at 11:09 of the third, scoring on a penalty shot.
Final shots on goal were 46-24 in favour of the Wildcats, who had a 19-4 advantage in the third period alone. Nicholas Dawe was the difference, stopping 43 of the 46 shots he faced. Michael Pettet turned aside 20 of 24 shots in the Valley net.
Turner described game five as “a tough way to end our season. We had a goal called back, and had a penalty shot called against us” that resulted in the winning goal.
The result, he admitted, was “unexpected,” given the Wildcats had won all four regular season games between the teams, the most recent three weeks before.
At the same time, the Mustangs “were a different team than they were earlier in the season. They have some different players, they work hard, and they capitalized on their chances really well.”
Turner stressed, “there was nothing I would have done differently,” in game five and in the series as a whole. “We shadowed (leading scorer Keith) Getson, and I thought Tanner Forrest did a great job, but other players stepped up and got the job done.”
See a slideshow of photos from the game here.