Colts can’t beat back Attack

Dave Mathieson
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AMHERST  – The Amherst Colts lost what might have been their biggest game of the 2013-2014 Nova Scotia Junior C Hockey League regular season.

“They’re a top team in the league and we’re a top team in the league and there’s going to be some back and forth,” said Colts assistant coach Vaughn Martin after a 4-3 loss to the Spryfield Silver and Black Attack Sunday afternoon at Amherst Stadium.

Spryfield took a commanding six point lead atop the NSJCHL standings after the win. They have 43 points to the Colts 37. The Barrington Sea Star Ice Dogs are in third place with 32 points.

“If this team (Spryfield) was in third or forth place I would say we played a poor game, but they made better use of their chances than we did ours.”

Spryfield took a 1-0 lead with 3:27 left in the first period but the Colts Aaron Crocker scored less than two minutes later tying the game 1-1 before the teams went to the first intermission.

Ben Heaurde and Ryan Legere assisted on the goal.

The Colts went up 3-1 early in the second period off goals from Andrew Barron and a power play goal from Matt Richard. David Lockerby and Sullivan Cullen assisted on the Barron goal and Crocker and Ryan Horseman assisted on the Richard goal.

The Attack made it a 3-2 game with 12:20 left in the second and that’s how the second period ended.

Nobody scored for the first half of the third period but the Attack scored two goals in less than two minutes, tying the game 3-3 with 8:43 left in the game, and then going up 4-3 with 7:03 left in the game.

“When we worked hard we were all over them, and when we didn’t they were all over us,” said Martin. “It takes 60 minutes of hockey to win a hockey game, and if we would have played 60 minutes like when we were really going it would have been all right.”

The Colts Bradley Oostrem faced 51 shots in the game, while his teammates had 38 shots on Spryfield goaltender Alex Mader.

Martin had praise for his goaltender but not so much praise for his team’s defensive play.

“Oostrem has been great. For our backup goalie to come in when our starter is down, I give him full marks,” said Martin. “The goaltender never let us down but our defensive coverage is poor. I preach about our defensive coverage at practice but, you know, Junior C players play at this level for a reason.

“We certainly have talented kids. A couple of them could be playing Junior A hockey and more than enough of them could be playing Junior B, but they play here because they think it’s going to be less effort, and have to put out less and have to do less, but that’s not necessarily the facts,” added Martin. “You still have to play with your heart, you still have to play to your strengths every night. You can’t take a shift off. You have to play shift to shift. We got guys who didn’t play shift to shift, and it wasn’t our bottom lines, it was our top lines that didn’t play shift to shift.”

Martin compares hockey to the game of snooker.

“People who play snooker know they don’t win games for what they make, they win games for what they leave, and if you’re going to leave a lot you’re going to lose a lot of games,” said Martin. “We left a lot in our end and found ourselves behind the eight ball at the wrong time of the game.

“If it would have been earlier in the game with more time left on the clock I’m quite sure we could have come to the forefront,” he added. “But when you leave it until the last minute you can’t beat the clock. The clock was there and the time ran out on us.”

Despite the fact that their chances of finishing first in the league are in serious doubt, Martin says his team will do well come playoff time.

“I don’t want the kids to get down and I don’t want the fans to get down because we’re going to be there,” he said. “It’s nice to finish first but if we don’t finish first and finish second that’s just the way it is.

“When the playoffs come we’ll be ready and we’ll be around for more than one round of the playoffs.”

The Colts have four games left in the regular season, three on the road and one at home. Their last game is at home against the Clare Lions on Feb. 2, at 4 p.m. at Amherst Stadium.




Organizations: Nova Scotia Junior C Hockey League, Barrington Sea Star Ice Dogs

Geographic location: Amherst Stadium

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