Blues playoff dreams dashed by Bulldogs

Dave Mathieson
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Published on February 08, 2014

Dmitrii Anikin goes for the puck. Anikin scored the Blues lone goal.

Published on February 08, 2014

Colborne cuts across the face of the Bulldogs goal-face and gets a shot off.

Published on February 08, 2014

Zach Rushton and Dmitrii Anikin check a Bulldog.

Published on February 08, 2014

Colborne skates around Bulldog defenders.

Published on February 08, 2014

All eyes are on the game officials after they called a penalty with 6:20 left in the game and the scored tied 1-1. Paul Atkinson, Blues assistant coach, called the refs over to the Blues bench after the penalty was called.

Published on February 08, 2014

The Bulldogs celebrate after going up 2-1 at only 10 seconds into the power play.

Published on February 08, 2014

The Bulldogs went up 3-1 on another powe play goal, and that's when the Blues got in the face of a game official...

Published on February 08, 2014

Blues goaltender Jessie Cox smacked the official on the back of the leg as he skated away.

Published on February 08, 2014

Cox was ejected from the game for the incident.

Published on February 08, 2014

The Blues continued to question the officials after Cox was ejected.

Published on February 08, 2014

Knowing their longest-serving player, Jesse Colborne, won't be heading to the playoffs in his final season of junior hockey, Blues players crowded around Colborne to console him and thank him for his years of service. Colborne was part of the team that won the 2010 Don Johnson Cup. Blues coach Grove Sutton walks past the huddle.

Cox given indefinite suspension after hitting official with stick

SPRINGHILL – The Cumberland County Blues long-shot dream of making it to the 2014 Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League playoffs ended Friday night in Springhill.

“It was just as I predicted. I said the team that stayed out of the penalty box would win the game and we didn’t do it,” said Terry McManaman, Blues general manager, immediately after the game.

With the game tied 1-1, the Blues were issued a penalty with 6:20 left in the game.

The Bulldogs scored on the power play with 6:10 left in the game.

“It could have been anybody’s game up until six minutes left in the third period, and then they scored about 10 seconds into the power play,” said McManaman.

The Bulldogs scored another power play goal with 4:23 left in the game. Up 3-1, the Bulldogs scored an empty net goal with 37 seconds left in the game, winning 4-1.

The Blues were issued a total of 11 penalties in the game to the Bulldogs five penalties. Six of the Blues penalties came in the last 6:20 of the game, while the Bulldogs didn't have one penalty in that same time period.

Coming into Friday’s game the Blues needed to win their four remaining games of the season and the Bulldogs needed to lose all their games.

With the win the Bulldogs will play the Glace Bay Miners in the 2014 NSJHL playoffs.

“Full compliments to Antigonish,” said McManaman. “They came in and played a very good road game. They were very disciplined.”

Dmitrii Anikin scored the Blues lone goal a little over two minutes into the game off a pass from Steven Whittle.

“It was a tight game, and the game should have been decided by the two teams not decided by a power play,” said McManaman. “This game meant so much it should have been decided by five-on-five.”

Many fans thought the penalties were unwarranted and spent much of the last six minutes of the game heckling the officials.

After the Bulldogs scored their third goal on the power play several Blues, including Blues goaltender Jessie Cox, got into the face of one of the officials, and when the official skated away Cox smacked him in the back of the lower leg with the blade of his goalie stick.

Cox was issued an indefinite suspension. The length of his suspension will be determined by Hockey Nova Scotia.

McManman says Cox’s action was out of character.

“Frustration took over on Cox’s part,” said McManaman.

"The emotions of several bad calls, the emotions of him knowing he did everything he could to try to get us to the playoffs, and the emotions of knowing that his junior career is finished and he’s not going to make the playoffs made him frustrated,” said McManaman. “He’s a true gentleman and ambassador for our team but his emotions took over.

"Without Jessie Cox and the season he had for us we would have been eliminated way back in November,” added McManaman. “He’s been, in my opinion, the MVP of the league. He gave his heart and soul every game, sometimes making 50 and 60 stops. You couldn’t ask for more.”

Cox made 31 stops on 34 shots in Friday’s game, while Bulldogs goaltender Brandon MacDonald made 25 stops on 25 Blues shots

Another player overcome by emotions at the end of the game, in the form of tears, was Blues veteran Jesse Colborne.

Colborne played on the Blues Don Johnson Cup championship winning team in 2010 and is the longest serving Blues player.

"Colborne, without a doubt, he wanted to make the playoffs. He’s been our best player since November,” said McManaman.

The Blues have three more games left in the season.

On Sunday they travel to the Pictou County to play the Scotians.

On Friday they play their last home game of the season against the Port Hawkesbury Strait Pirates, and then they play their final game of the season next Sunday in Port Hawkesbury.

“We’d like to go out with three wins, no doubt about it,” said McManaman.







Organizations: Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League

Geographic location: Glace Bay, Antigonish, Pictou County Port Hawksbury

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