By Jody Jewers
SPRINGHILL - The Cumberland County Blues continued their spotless postseason in the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League with a 5-3 victory over the Strait Pirates last night in Port Hawkesbury.
Cumberland, which swept aside the Pictou County Scotians in the opening round in four straight games, takes a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Sid Rowe Division final. The Blues won the opener 5-1 in Springhill on Friday.
"I was very pleased with how our team played this weekend," Blues head coach Dave Hyatt said.
"Guys were stepping up into different roles and playing more minutes than they were supposed to because we had some guys go down. Guys were killing penalties that normally don't, we converted Justin Landry - who has played defence his whole life - to forward and he did a great job. Just a gutsy effort all around."
The Blues finished Sunday's game with 13 skaters, with Jeff Deruelle and Jordie Shaw ejected for checking from behind, and captain Cody Roach (undisclosed) and Tyler Collins (collarbone) going down with injuries.
Matt Noiles led the way for the winners with two goals and an assist, and Zach Carson added a goal and a pair of helpers.
Collins and Roach also scored, and Garrett MacArthur picked up a pair of assists. Andrew Court earned the win in goal, making 19 saves.
The teams were tied 2-2 after a period. Cumberland led 4-2 after 40 minutes.
On Friday, the Blues spotted the Pirates the first goal of the game 3:11 after the opening faceoff before scoring twice in the first period and three times in the second to take command.
Seth Crowe, with two, Roach, Ryan Smith and Dave Burke had the goals for Cumberland. Court steered aside 20 shots.
The Blues could also be halfway to a return to the Don Johnson Cup Atlantic junior B championship. Tournament host St. Margarets Bay Ducks defeated the Brookfield Elks 4-1 in the opener of the best-of-seven Fred Fox Division final Saturday. Should St. Margarets Bay win that series, the Blues-Pirates series winner automatically qualify for Atlantics.
"Our guys realize we could be two wins away from going back to Atlantics, which has been our goal all season," said Hyatt.
"But we're not there yet. Strait is a very good team and we're only halfway there, so there's still a lot of work to do."
Cumberland returns to Port Hawkesbury for Game 3 this Friday, then will host Game 4 in Springhill on Sunday at 5 p.m. The Blues will also host Game 5, if necessary, on March 26.