St. John’s teams make strong opening statements

John
John Browne
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Privateers down defending champions from Halifax 4-3; Leafs rally to tie the Nova Scotians 2-2

Kyle Tibbo (right) of the St. John’s Maple Leafs has the puck bounce off his body on a defensive-zone clearing attempt by Zachery Anderson (5) of the Halifax Titans during their opening-day game at Atlantic major midget hockey championship at the Jack Byrne Arena in Torbay on Thursday night. The Leafs scored twice late in the third period for a 2-2 tie. Also in on the play are Connor Donaghey (13) of the Maple Leafs and Alex MacNeil (4) of the Titans. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

The St. John’s Maple Leafs scored twice in the final five minutes of the game to earn a 2-2 draw with  the Halifax Taylor Made Titans in the Atlantic major midget hockey championship tournament Thursday night at Jack Byrne Arena in Torbay.

The St. John’s Pennecon Privateers, the other provincial entry in the five-team tournament, edged the Titans 4-3 in the tourney opener Thursday afternoon.

“When we went down 2-0, I told the guys  to keeping going and that’s what they did,” said Maple Leafs’ coach Darren Halloran.

“It’s a huge confidence boost for us.”

Connor Donaghey and Kyle Tibbo had the goals for the Leafs, who were unable to capitalize on a pair of two-man advantages in the game.

Brad MacEachen and Justin Doiron scored for Halifax.

The host Maple Leafs, who went down 2-0 with eight minutes left in the third period, were able to pick up the pace in the final 10 minutes against a Halifax team that looked a bit tired after having played earlier in the day.

Halloran said his team was a little embarrassed by losing the provincial final in four straight games to the rival Privateers .

“We came together over the past couple of weeks and decided this is an Atlantic championship and we’re going to do whatever it takes to win,” he said.

“We know we’re the underdogs and it’s OK if every team here takes us lightly. We want to surprise them every time we step on the ice.”

Both goaltenders played very well. Dylan Burry made 31 saves for the Leafs, including a stop on a first-period breakaway by Doiron. Mason McDonald turned aside 32 drives in the Nova Scotia net. While he gave up two third-period goals, McDonald also made three superb saves in the final 20 minutes.

The goalies were selected the players of the game, although Halifax defenceman Alex MacNeil was easily the most exciting player on the ice.

Scheduled to start at 8 p.m., the puck didn’t drop until 8:35 p.m. following the opening ceremonies; the replacement of a section of the glass behind the net and a 10-minute player warm-up.

Privateers 4, Titans 3

Marcus Cuomo and Luke McCaw each scored twice and goaltender Matthew Jenkins made 40 saves to pace the Privateers’ over Halifax,

John Mullally, MacEachen and John MacDonald scored for the  Nova Scotia champions,  while  Titans netminder Jacob Fancy stopped 23 Privateers shots.

Alex Hazlehurst was the player of the game for Halifax, while Nick Lindstrom got the nod for the Privateers.

In the other game played Thursday, the Moncton Flyers from New Brunswick doubled the Cornwall Superior Thunder of Prince Edward Island 4-2.

Grant Grady was selected player of the game for Cornwall, while Shane Dallaire was named Moncton’s best.

jbrowne@thetelegram.com

SCHEDULE

(at Jack Byrne Arena, Torbay)

Today’s games

10 a.m., St. John’s Privateers vs Prince Edward Island

1:30 p.m., St. John’s Maple Leafs vs New Brunswick

5 p.m., Prince Edward Island vs Nova Scotia

8 p.m., St. John’s Privateers vs St. John’s Maple Leafs

Saturday

9 a.m., New Brunswick vs Nova Scotia

12:30 p.m., St. John’s Maple Leafs vs Prince Edward island

3:30 p.m., New Brunswick vs St. John’s Privateers

Sunday

1 p.m., Championship game

Organizations: Halifax, Maple Leafs

Geographic location: Atlantic, Torbay.The St. John, Nova Scotia New Brunswick Moncton Torbay Prince Edward Island

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