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Valley Maple Leafs still hanging onto playoff dreams

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Blake Meech playing spectacular in nets

WINDSOR — The Valley Maple Leafs are fully cognizant that while they have not been eliminated from playoff contention, earning a spot won't be easy.

Heading into weekend play, the Leafs had four games to play.

However, considering the Leafs’ recent play, making the playoffs can’t be ruled out.

On Feb. 1, in Windsor, the Leafs took on the Liverpool Privateers and left the hometown rink with a 5-3 victory.

The Leafs lead 2-1 after the first, thanks to goals by Taylor Brown and Peter Drohan, who scored on the power-play. The Privateers’ Connor Barnhill also scored on the power-play.

The Leafs went up 3-1 early in the second, with a goal scored by Ian Drysdale. Barnhill scored midway through the period to close the gap to 3-2. With two seconds remaining on the clock, Tristan Bowley added a marker for the Leafs to hold a 4-2 lead heading into the third.

Barnhill, who was on fire for the Privateers, scored his third and final goal of the evening with 4:47 remaining in the period. Drohan then added an empty net goal to ensure the victory in the dying seconds of the game.

In nets for the Leafs was Blake Meech, who turned away 38 of 41 shots.

In earlier play

Meech had another spectacular game for the Leafs when the Valley squad upended the Liverpool Privateers 3-1 in a make-up game Jan. 30 at Hants Exhibition Arena.

Meech stopped 37 of 38 shots as he led his team to within seven points of the fourth and final playoff position in the Fred Fox Division of the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League.

The Leafs used a call-up Jan. 30 as Gregor Yoell scored a pair of goals.

Yoell’s first goal put the Leafs up 1-0 after the opening period before Dylan Crews, on the power-play, tied it for the Privateers at 1-1 after two periods.

Yoell’s second goal of the evening was followed by an Ian Drysdale marker, which clinched the win for the Leafs.

The Leafs finished January with a 4-4 mark and were on a three-game winning streak heading into their bout Feb. 1.

The win by the Leafs put them five points out of playoffs, with four games remaining on their schedule.

Liverpool, without question, has a better schedule than the Leafs in their final regular season games as they play a home and away with the 1-24-3 Brookfield Elks and their opponents, in their final five games, have a combined record of 36-39-7.

The Leafs play strong contending teams in Port Hawkesbury, Sackville and Cole Harbour at home while playing one game on the road in East Hants.

Compared to Liverpool’s opponents, the Leafs’ opponents have a seasonal record of 74-25-6.

The Leafs had one other game recently, which was on Jan. 25 at the Hants Exhibition Arena. They thumped the Pictou County Scotians 8-4.

The Valley outshot the Scotians 45-36 and had a huge third period when they scored three unanswered goals to secure the win.

The Scotians were up 1-0 after one period and then went up 2-0 before the Leafs tied it with a pair from Patrick Halpin and Drohan 55 seconds apart. The opening three goals in the second period were scored within a span of 1:18.

The Scotians went back in front 3-2 before Drohan, who finished with three goals on the night, scored to tie the game 3-3.

The Scotians went up again 4-3 before Chad Woodill scored for the Leafs to tie the game at 4-4 once again. The Pictou goal and Woodill's goal came only eight seconds apart.

Kyle Keddy then gave the Leafs their first lead of the game at 5-4 with only 3:24 to play in the middle period.

Keddy added a power-play goal to make it 6-4 in the third period and it stayed that way until there was only 1:27 left and the Scotians, with their net minder pulled, gave up an empty net goal to Drohan.

Tristan Cavanagh then tallied with only five seconds left to make the final 8-4 for the Leafs. Brown and Luke Russell both contributed three assists in the win.


Remaining regular game schedule

Feb. 9 — Leafs vs. Sackville in Windsor

Feb. 15— Leafs vs. East Hants in East Hants

Feb. 22— Leafs vs. Cole Harbour in Windsor

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