By Gerry Hale
It is what it is, but that doesn't make it easier to figure out.
For sure, circumstances make tonight's game at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre a monster must-win event for the Bearcats when they take on the Pictou County Crushers.
Not too many observers would have predicted the Bearcats to be down two games at this point in the series. It's crunch time.
In the opening game, the Bearcats weren't even in it. In the second, they played well enough to win but couldn't get the goals.
In one game there was no evidence of passion or work ethic. In the other there was plenty of both.
When Robert Louis Stevenson penned his novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1886, he was referring to good and evil, not hockey.
If he was, he would be perplexed as to why a team could be so bad on one night, and so good the next. The Bearcats would have been a good study.
The Bearcat effort in the first game was called embarrassing. It was, and there's no way a positive spin could be applied to it.
The visiting Crushers served up a big dish of reality. They were battle hardened and ready to play.
Their game plan was simple and the execution masterful. Simply put, they wanted a good start, they wanted to get ahead, they wanted to finish all checks, and, they wanted to frustrate the Bearcats.
For whatever reason, Truro wasn't ready to play. There were flashes, but nothing of consequence and nothing sustained.
That wasn't the case Tuesday in Pictou County. Truro's energy and desire to compete were obvious from the get-go.
It was gut-check time and the Bearcats responded. It felt like and sounded like a playoff game.
Truro's best efforts and intentions were, however, hampered by some major defensive blunders. The Crushers fed on those.
Mistakes and consequences are a big part of any sport. You can look past them when a team is playing with heart.
There's plenty of life left in this Bearcats. They lived in the Crushers' end the last two periods of Tuesday's game and the Crushers would be the first to acknowledge that.
There's little doubt this is a pivotal game. A Bearcat win would clearly stop the bleeding, en route to a full recovery.
That's the plan.