The Truro Bearcats know where they want to be but they have to be there consistently.
Last Saturday, the club played the kind of game they need to play on a regular basis. It was one of the best efforts of the season. They played 200-foot hockey for 60 minutes, created chances, backed each other up and displayed the kind of grit that makes things uncomfortable for the opposition. Unfortunately, they were unable to penetrate the wall across the goal crease. The bottom line is winning, and, unless you score winning is impossible.
From this corner, the Bearcats’ tenacity was second to none they’ve displayed this season. Except for the outcome, it was an excellent junior hockey game.
Woodstock may have floundered by times this season but right now they’re gearing up for a real run at the Meek Division title. The Slammers may not like the bump and grind game but nobody plays better with a lead than they do. Playoff games in that division should be dandies.
Sunday, the Bearcats just weren’t up to the task in the opening period in Summerside. They weren’t ready and the Capitals took advantage. Summerside scored six goals and for the most part, the Bearcats didn’t make them earn them. Truro’s play away from the puck was too suspicious and the Capitals made them pay.
While the effort from Saturday’s game wasn’t duplicated, the Bearcats did show they were willing to play to the very last second. Teams noticed the Bearcats scored the last three goals of the game when it could have been easy to fold the tent.
The opening goal of a game is usually an important one. It tends to change the way the opponent plays which often results in opening up more ice.
There’s no question this Bearcat team has plenty of the right tools, but some players still want it to be easy. They need to realize it won’t be. The MHL has a large number of teams prepared to make life difficult.
Saturday, the Bearcats are in Yarmouth to face a very strong Mariners team. Over the last six weeks this club quietly overtook the Bearcats in the EastLink standings. Now the Mariners are third in the country and getting stronger. The seventh-ranked Bearcats know they will have their hands full but they’re looking forward to the test.
Before going too far down the road, there’s some important business to address before tonight’s midnight trade deadline.
It’s decision time.
Gerry Hale is media relations co-ordinator for the Truro Bearcats junior A hockey club