Bracegirdle earns game MVP nod
Penguins nip Blues 2-0 in Johnson Cup final
SPRINGHILL The Cumberland County Cool Blues showed a lot of guts, but it wasnt enough in the end as the East Hants Penguins defeated the host team 2-0 Sunday to win the Don Johnson Cup.
While the Penguins have been an offensive juggernaut all season, the club rode tight defence and solid goaltending from championship game MVP to the Atlantic championship at the Richard Calder Arena.
We knew they were going to be tough and Im not just saying that. Its a tribute to Ronnie (Reynolds) and his coaching staff to have his team ready. They played their hearts out and really made us earn it, Penguins coach Laurie Barron said.
Trevor MacKenzie, who earned tournament MVP and top forward honours, scored what proved to be the game-winner with 51 seconds left in the first period while Darcy Morrison added some insurance four minutes into the third.
All year weve been called an offensive club that could only win if it scored six or eight goals. Weve worked really hard and its a tribute to Bracegirdle, our defence and even our big guns, who came back and helped out in our own end, Barron said.
Despite the loss, Reynolds was holding his head high knowing his team threw everything it had at the Penguins.
They battled hard. They did everything they could to win this for the fans, Reynolds said. Some people said we were going to be the worst host team ever, but we proved a lot of doubters wrong. We had a chance to win it.
Reynolds said its a tribute to the program to make it to the regional final in only its third season since moving from Oxford. He also feels the final berth will be something to build on for next season.
Graduating captain Joel Stronge fought back tears when he described the ride hes had this season.
Words cant describe how proud I am to have been part of this team, Stronge said. They came to the rink ready to play every game and we stuck up for each other. We were a family. Its something Ill never forget. I made some friends Ill never forget. Ive never been this close to a group of teammates before. Its going to be hard to leave.