SUMMERSIDE — The Kensington Moase Plumbing and Heating Vipers took a major step towards solidifying a playoff spot at the 2014 Don Johnson Memorial Cup in Port Hawkesbury, N.S.
Jordan Mayhew, who was set up by Kyle Doucette, scored at 1:34 of overtime to give the Vipers a 4-3 victory over the host Strait Pirates in a round-robin game in the Eastern Canadian junior B hockey championship tournament on Thursday night.
“The winning goal was a highlight-reel goal,” said Vipers head coach Wade Waddell. “It was an NHL shot by Jordy Mayhew coming down the wing.
“I don’t think he (Mayhew) could have fired it any truer or harder. It was right under the (cross) bar, and I don’t think there are too many goaltenders who could stop it.”
Mayhew has scored a tournament-leading five goals in three games.
The win leaves the Vipers with a 2-1 record. Kensington closes out round-robin play against the Fredericton Capitals from New Brunswick today at 4 p.m.
Although there are different scenarios that could still play out on the final day of round-robin play, a Vipers’ win over Fredericton will guarantee the defending champions a playoff spot.
“We are in a pretty good position for a playoff spot,” said Waddell. “We are building for the weekend, and there are some good teams here.
“We are taking it one step at a time, and this is a big win to help move us closer to our goal of getting to the weekend.”
Each of the six teams will play four round-robin games, with the top four moving on to Saturday’s semifinals. The championship game will be played Sunday afternoon.
Thursday, Adam Wight scored two goals during regulation time to lead the Vipers and earn player-of-the-game honours. Ty Price (1-1) also scored for Kensington, which received other assists from Brett Hogan (2), Mayhew, Spencer Montgomery and Zen Hamil.
Mitchell Balmas (1-1), Ryan Langille and Dale MacIntosh answered for the Pirates, who rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the third period to force overtime.
The first period was scoreless and the Vipers took a 2-1 lead into the second intermission.
The Vipers outshot the Pirates 32-25.
Grant Grady registered the goaltending win over Keagan Butler.
“I don’t know if we had our best game, but it was entertaining just the same,” assessed Waddell. “On a positive note, I thought we had a great effort from our goaltender.
“Grant was phenomenal, he made some big saves and we had a great effort from our defence. They were phenomenal as well.
“We were sluggish at times, but that’s part of being in a short tournament like this with quick turnarounds. Some of the guys who were sluggish still found a way to contribute.”
GP W L T F A Pts
Ontario 3 3 0 0 19 8 6
Nova Scotia 3 2 1 0 18 15 4
Kensington 3 3 1 0 16 13 4
New Brunswick 3 1 2 0 12 15 2
Newfoundland 3 1 2 0 8 16 2
Hosts 3 0 3 0 11 17 0
Kensington 4 Hosts 3 OT
Nova Scotia 5 New Brunswick 2
Ontario 6 Newfoundland/Labrador 2
Nova Scotia vs. Newfoundland/Labrador, 12 p.m.
Kensington vs. New Brunswick, 4 p.m.
Ontario vs. Hosts, 7:30 p.m.
New Brunswick 9 Hosts 4
Kensington 6 Newfoundland/Labrador 2
Ontario 7 Nova Scotia 5
Semifinal, 3 p.m.
Semifinal, 7 p.m.
Final, 2 p.m.
Ontario: Casselman Vikings
Nova Scotia: Sackville Blazers
P.E.I.: Kensington Vipers
New Brunswick: Fredericton Capitals
Newfoundland/Labrador: Avalon Capitals
Hosts: Strait Pirates