It wasn’t the perfect start to the season for the new Pirates.
They fell to the Ancaster Avalanche 6-3 in front of a packed Pelham Arena
They showed signs of improvement since the preseason.
The Pirates got on the scoreboard first, with a goal from Shawn Rooke before penalty trouble took the wind out of their sails.
Two consecutive power play goals brought Ancaster to the dressing room with a 3-1 lead after the first period.
Pelham came out with the same energy as the first with two quick goals by Riley O’Connell and Pelham native Thomas Young.
Pirates continued to outplay the Avalanche until another penalty call saw players scramble to cover their men, allowing any easy scoring opportunity and the eventual game winner.
Brock Ackerman, the Pelham Pirates new captain, said the team came out with high expectations.
“We didn’t know what to expect coming in,” Ackerman said. “I think we surprised a lot of people that we hung around the entire game, so it’s really exciting what is happening with this team.”
Ackerman played with the Pirates last year, where he finished the season with 39 points. He will be asked to lead the offensive production but also mentor younger players on the roster.
“I remember being young and looking up to the captain when I first joined, so I’m happy to provide that to this group of young guys,” Ackerman, who finished the night with an assist, said.
“Many of them it was their first game of junior [hockey] so they handled it really well.”
Another standout from opening night was from goaltender Matthew Camilleri. Timely saves provided a chance for overtime until the Avalanche scored halfway through the third.
Ackerman said the importance of goaltending on a young team often goes unnoticed. Last year, the Pirates suffered in that department, nearly leading the league in goals against, something neither the captain nor the coach wants to repeat.
“We’ve got two great goalies between the pipes so if we tighten up our discipline on ice, we should be in pretty good shape moving forward.”