SPRINGHILL - It took little more than a minute for the Antigonish Bulldogs to sap much of the strength from the Cumberland County Blues Sunday afternoon at the Richard Calder Arena in Springhill.
The Blues lost 13-5, and were already down 3-0 at 1:01 into the first period of the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League contest.
"It's definitely disappointing, for sure," said Blues rookie Forest Gallagher. "You come in knowing it's a do or die type thing and you're hoping to do well but that first minute killed us."
The Blues now have only three games left in the regular season, and went into yesterday's contest fighting the Bulldogs for the final playoff spot in the Sid Row Division.
"It was our most important game of the year and it was our worst game of the year," said Blues coach Rob McLure after the game.
Tim MacDougall put the Dogs up 1-0 at 11 seconds into the game, and then he scored his second goal 50 seconds into the game.
Nathaniel Letcher gave the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead just 61 seconds into the game.
"If it wasn't for that first minute it would have been a lot closer game but it's hard to stay in a game like that when you're fighting from behind," said Gallagher.
The Bulldogs went up 4-0 with 17:24 left in the first period, but the Blues cut the lead in half before the end of the frame.
Zach Anderson scored with 6:54 left in the first off passes from Mike McLure and Serge Boiverst.
Jesse Colborne scored the Blues second goal with 4:55 left in the first, with McLure getting the assist.
The period ended with Antigonish up 4-2.
The Bulldogs scored five goals in the second period, two of which were shorthanded, and the Blues score three goals in the second period, one of which was shorthanded.
Paul Gulliver scored two of the Blues goals, and Kyle MacKenzie scored one goal.
Jessie Colborne and Tyler Gould each assisted on two of the goals and McLure got one assist. The score was 9-5 at the end of the second.
The Bulldogs outscored the Blues 4-0 in the third period, giving them the 13-5 win.
After the game coach McLure said he takes personal responsibility for the loss, and said the Blues win as a team and lose as a team, but added that there are some players in the dressing room that need to take a look in the mirror as well.
"Am I a little disappointed in my boys and how they responded early in the game? Yes I am, but I don't want to point fingers," said McLure. "But one of the greatest challenges of this team is that there are a few players that need to work on taking personal accountability as well."
Blues general manager Terry McManaman agrees and said the team got lazy, but said it was understandable.
"We got behind 4-0, and that's what happens," said McManaman. "Everybody sits on the bench with their head down. Psychologically it's tough to overcome. We can stand here and point fingers but we don't want to do that."
Gallagher doesn't want to point fingers as well.
"Its not coaching problem and it's not the goalies fault," said Gallagher. "You win as a team and lose as a team and you just have to brush it off."
Jessie Cox and Matt Caron both played in goal for the Blues. They faced 44 shots, while the Blues had 24 shots on Bulldogs goaltender Patrick MacNamara.
The Blues play the Brookfield Elks Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
"The players know they didn't go hard today but they're going to make it up in Brookfield," said McManaman. "They're going to go hard in Brookfield."
More pictures of the game can be seen on the slide show section at www.cumberlandnewsnow.com