By John DeCoste
The Summit Hyundai Valley Midget Wildcats are off to the NSMMHL final following a 3-1 win in game seven of their semi-final series against the Cape Breton West Islanders March 9 in Berwick.
Trailing the series three games to two entering game six March 7 in Port Hood, the Wildcats staved off elimination with a 4-1 victory to force a seventh and deciding game.
On March 9, Valley had to come from behind after Troy Hiller opened the scoring for the Islanders just 1:11 into the first period. Grant Janes got the Wildcats on the board with an even-strength marker at 7:04.
After a scoreless second period, team captain Rory Graham netted the eventual game-winner at 10:03 of the third, an even-strength goal assisted by Janes and Nick Blanchard.
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Blanchard, who ended up with a goal and two assists in the game and 10 goals and seven assists in the series, rounded out the scoring with just 18 seconds left in the game.
Justin Ritcey stopped 27 of 28 shots in the Wildcats' goal, which his teammates had 34 shots on Blade Mann-Dixon.
On March 7 in Port Hood, Blanchard had three goals and Brett Tidman one for Valley, which led 2-0 after one period and 3-0 after 40 minutes.
The Wildcats will now move on to face the Dartmouth Taylor Flooring, 4-2 winners over Halifax in game six of their semifinals series Saturday evening, in the league final. As regular season champions, Valley will have home ice advantage in that series, the schedule for which had not been finalized.