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Valley Maple Leafs lose in home opener, hoping to build offence

Luke Russell, number 91 with the Valley Maple Leafs, heads for the puck during the first period of play against the East Hants Penguins.
Luke Russell, number 91 with the Valley Maple Leafs, heads for the puck during the first period of play against the East Hants Penguins.

BROOKLYN, N.S. – It wasn’t the result they wanted, but Valley Maple Leafs head coach Brett Fletcher says he’s hopeful the team will start to gel as they continue to develop over the season.

The Valley Maple Leafs were defeated 4 – 2 in their opening home game against the East Hants Penguins at the Newport and District Rink on Sept 18, 2017.

“The first period, we didn’t play very well at all, offensively we’re just not there yet,” Fletcher said following the game. “Our defence and goaltending kept us in the game, but we’re not getting any scoring as of yet.”

Fletcher said the second period saw some hope for the Maple Leaf’s offence, but it wasn’t enough to secure a win.

“Late in the third period we got a bad penalty called on us and they scored on the power play and put the game out of our hands,” he said.

Fletcher highlighted the goaltending of Christopher Clokie as well as the promise of local player Ben Dixon, who tried out forward for the game, performing very well for someone normally slotted in defence.

Valley Maple Leafs goaltender Chris Clokie steels himself as the puck approaches the net during the opening game in Brooklyn.

“We’re still trying to find ourselves as a team, we’ve been on the ice a couple of times together, losing a close one in Antigonish on a bad bounce,” he said. “We will find ourselves, we just need some more forwards.”

This was the Maple Leaf’s first home game, which are normally played at the Hants Exhibition Arena, but that facility is currently being used for the Hants County Exhibition.

Fletcher said they wanted to try to get some home games in early this season.

“It is nice to have a couple games early on in the season at home,” he said. “To be able to use that nice facility in Brooklyn, we don’t have to play all of our games on the road early on.”

The Maple Leafs will be playing their next home game on Oct. 1, 2017 against the Port Hawkesbury Strait Pirates at the Newport and District Rink starting at 5:30 p.m.

In the meantime, the Leafs will be on the road against Cumberland, Sept. 22 and East Hants, Sept. 29.

Russell Lake, number 91 and Cameron Tobin, number 8, make an attempt on the East Hants net, but come up a bit short.

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