TRURO - Now the Truro Bearcats are eager to show everyone what they're really made of.
The Hubtown squad has already displayed its immense talent this season, blasting through its first 18 games before suffering a regulation loss. But teams are measured by how they respond to adversity and the Bearcats (16-1-0-1), fresh off a 5-3 setback to the Campbellton Tigers (6-4-1-0) last Saturday, are itching to get back on the ice and into the win column as they play three games in as many nights starting tonight in Woodstock.
"I think we're more amped up for this weekend than we have been for any other," Bearcats defenceman Brandon McMartin said. "It's a big weekend. Three games in three nights is going to be a big test coming off a loss and we have something to prove."
Following tonight's 7:30 p.m. date with the always-tough Slammers (11-7-1-0), the Bearcats return home to face the Yarmouth Mariners (14-4-0-0) Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Colchester Legion Stadium. On Sunday, the Miramichi Timberwolves (10-6-1-0) come to town for a 7 p.m. tilt.
The Bearcats were caught off guard by a Tigers squad which managed to make Truro pay for every mistake it made. The setback ruined a perfect record nearly two-months in the making. But the Bearcats are looking at the upside.
"Losing was tough, obviously, but you've got to sometime" McMartin, a six-foot-two, 199-pound Toronto native, said. "You just have to learn from it and we know what we have to do now to be better."
Suffering a loss has also helped loosen the players up. Now they can play without thoughts of trying to preserve a perfect record creeping into their minds.
"There was some pressure there," McMartin said. "But now that's gone and we can just go do what we do best."
That is to play simple hockey in their own end and take it to the opposition by holding it deep in the zone and putting pucks toward the net.
It won't be easy, however. The Slammers always seem to bring their best for the Bearcats and took Truro to overtime in their first meeting of the season. The Mariners, ranked No. 16 in Canada, have stayed just a few steps behind No. 2 ranked Truro all season. The Bearcats have the edge in head-to-head matchups with a 4-2 victory in their only tilt.
After a slow start, the Timberwolves have found their stride, going 7-2-1 in their past 10 games.
"All three are good teams and you can't take anyone lightly," McMartin said. "Anybody can beat anybody."