Central division shines

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Snowstorm doesn’t slow all-star action or fan support

After a first period that saw them outskated and outshot, the Central division showed they came to play Sunday, winning the Junior C all-star hockey game 6-3 in Digby Area Arena.

Players from Halifax Thunder and South Shore Wild were no-shows, perhaps dissuaded by the weather and a forecast of as much as 20 centimetres of snow, but the three all-stars from Cape Breton make the trip and Donald MacSween of the New Waterford Jets was named game MVP.

There must be something in the number seven. MacSween and Nick Turner, both wearing the number on their jerseys, accounted for four of the Central team’s six goals, and both got an assist on a goal by Kenny Stevens of Chester.

The West division had dominated the pre-game skills competition and carried that edge into the first period when it seemed all the action was around their opponents’ net. Some remarkable goaltending by Chris Banfield of Harbour Crunch kept Central division in the match.

When the first period ended 1-1, Central must have found inspiration in the dressing room because they scored three goals in the second period to take a 4-2 lead, and added two more in the final frame, to the West’s single.

The weather made some changes in the rosters of both teams. With just Banfield showing up as netminder for Central, he was joined by Chris Hersey of the Valley Keith’s, who had been nominated for the West all-star squad.

And with West a little short-handed, Keith’s captain Eric Cook dressed for West and showed all-star form. He was a physical presence in the game and his 81 kph slapshot won the ‘hardest shot’ skills competition.

Cook’s performance earned some of the loudest fan noise, and from a crowd that was the largest of the season despite the weather.

Keith’s official Daniel Harvieux said he was pleased by the number of fans who showed and the team will cover its costs of hosting the annual all-star game.

Jesse Hopkins of the Barrington Ice Dogs opened scoring for the West at 7:46 of the first period, but the team then watched as Central put in four in a row, the last with 18 seconds left in the second period.

It looked like West was going to be shut out in the middle frame, but as the buzzer sounded the puck was already in the air on a shot by Marc Macintosh of the Clare Lions, and it slipped over the pads of goalie Chris Hersey.

There were few penalties assessed in the match, three to Central and two to West.

Central division teams with players Sunday were Avon River Rats, Chester Clippers, New Waterford Jets, Fundy Phantoms and Harbour Crunch.

West teams were Valley Keith’s, Clare Lions, Barrington Ice Dogs and Yarmouth Mariners.

Organizations: West division, Ice Dogs

Geographic location: Cape Breton, Avon River, New Waterford

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