By Gerry Hale
Familiarity does breed contempt.
That's a bit harsh, but as this Kent Cup final developed as a series, it became clear that the newly developed post-season rivalry had taken on traditional playoff characteristics.
Neither team knew a whole lot about the other. It showed in the opening game, which lacked intensity and desperation. The Bearcats did enough to win the game but neither team played at a level expected.
The Commandos lost the opening one but derived from it that, if they played to their ability, they not only deserved to be in it, they could win it.
That's exactly what they did when they returned to Dieppe. Their strength was skating and they utilized it. They gave Truro its first playoff loss and did it with confidence.
The series was now on. The intensity level had elevated and all the testiness associated with it surfaced.
Both teams rely heavily on speed and quickness and any efforts to thwart that are met with mixed reaction. There's no question the Commandos lost composure in the third outing.
The drama in the fourth game really drew the attention of the viewing public. For some, it was Fife's goal with 15 seconds remaining in regulation time to send it into overtime. For others, it was Blanchard's goal to win it 1:35 into the second OT period. It all depended on which side of the fence you were on.
Coming into Tuesday's game, the series had shifted to a best-of-three competition. A great sense of urgency has been instilled and wiggle room has been greatly reduced.
For a while Tuesday, it appeared home-ice magic would be terminated, however, the Commandos squandered a two-goal lead as the Bearcats roared back with four third-period goals for a 5-4 win.
That kind of outburst was unexpected but the situation demanded a formidable response. For pure excitement it was unlike any other period in this year's Bearcat playoff run.
The Bearcats need one more victory to claim their third MHL championship and that chance comes tonight in Dieppe. That task is a big one and it won't be an easy one.
Dieppe wants to live to play another day. Speed, forecheck and steady play got them this far. They're confident the series will come back to Truro on Saturday.
Those who thought this series would be ant-climatic were well off the mark. It's been a good one between two good teams.
Go Cats Go!
Gerry Hale is media relations co-ordinator of the Truro Bearcats junior A hockey team.