Playoff series the talk of the town

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‘This is the hockey matchup fans have been waiting for'

The hottest sports topic in Truro and area during the past week has been a highly anticipated Maritime Hockey League playoff series.

Chris Festarini has backstopped the Truro Bearcats to two wins over the Pictou County Crushers in the MHL Eastlink Divison final series.

 

The Truro Bearcats and Pictou County Crushers have been the talk of the town, as the two fierce rivals faced off in the Eastlink Division final series.

Last Wednesday, the Bearcats opened the best-of-seven set with a 6-2 victory and followed it up with a 7-2 decision on Thursday at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre.

Greg Cream, 41, of Truro, a former junior A hockey player with Cumberland Grads of the Central Ontario Junior Hockey League, is one of many fans interested in this series.

"I think this is going to be a series the fans will love," Cream, a regular Bearcats follower, said. "I'm calling the Bearcats in six games. For fans who haven't been out, the hockey is really good. It would be nice to see bigger crowds at the RECC.

"The goaltenders, Brandon Thibeau, for Pictou County and Chris Festarini, for Truro, are very good. The Bearcats may have the slight edge. I feel the Bearcats have the most depth, in fact this just may be the best Truro club in a number of years."

Following hockey goes back to the 1940s for Truro's Charlie MacKinlay.

"I believe it's going to be a tough series," MacKinlay, 80, said. "This is the hockey matchup fans have been waiting for. The long layoff for the Bearcats and Pictou County needing seven games to get by Amherst are both factors. If I had to choose though I'd rather be the Bearcats, the rested team."

Tom Guinan has attended junior hockey for many years and he too is expecting a thrilling series.

"I'm looking for the Bearcats to step it up another notch in this series," Guinan said. "(Shawn) Evan's club is well coached, they'll turn it up. But both teams have real good goaltending and lots of talent. This will be a heck of a series."

Game 3 will be played tonight at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre. The opening face off takes place at 7 p.m.

*******

It was very saddening to learn of the passing of Lloyd Mitchell, 83, of Truro, late last week.

Mitchell, a good friend to so many of us, was proud to have grown up in the east end of Truro. In reflecting back, it was in the east end that Mitchell played his early hockey and baseball.

Mitchell was proud of athletes developed in Truro's east end. He loved it when east end names Randy Cameron, Ron and Bob Conrad, Cecil Caudle, Ralph Fullerton, Mac MacKinnon, Elwin Little, Howie Bailey, Donnie Cummings and others came up.

Mitchell's early baseball was played with East End Naturals. Later, he pitched softball for Montgomery Brothers, a power in the Truro Commercial Softball League during the 1950s. Mitchell made a number of Truro minor hockey all-star teams coached by the legendary Frank Grabowski during his youth. In 1946 he played on the Maritime champion Truro Midgets. Mitchell later played five years for Onslow and a couple seasons with 16X Debert in the Truro District Hockey League.

Mitchell shared one of his finest sports moments with me a few years ago.

"Bev Young, Norm Currie, Bob Conrad and I drove by car to New York City in 1953," Lloyd told me. "We found ourselves in Yankee Stadium watching the Yankees with Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra and Billy Martin play the Boston Red Sox. It was a trip that I'll never forget."

Giving to others in many ways, Lloyd spent 17 years with the Truro Fire Brigade, he was a member of the board of directors with the VON for seven years, he also served on the Butler Centre Board and Truro Town Planning Board and his involvement with Brunswick Street United Church extended well over 50 years.

We extend our sincere sympathy to Lloyd's wife Anne and family at this time.

TAGLINE: Lyle Carter's sports column appears every Saturday in the Truro Daily News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 673-2857.

Organizations: Rath Eastlink Community Centre, Eastlink Division, Central Ontario Junior Hockey League Mitchell's Truro Commercial Softball League Truro District Hockey League Yankees Boston Red Sox Truro Fire Brigade Butler Centre Board Truro Town Planning Board Brunswick Street United Church Truro Daily News

Geographic location: Truro, Pictou County, New York City Yankee Stadium

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