TRURO – They may have left it a bit late, but the end result is all that matters for the Truro Bearcats.
The Bearcats (24-6-0-4) scored three goals in the final four minutes to win 5-3 and snatch two points away from the Pictou County Crushers (20-14-4-1) Saturday in front of 560 fans at Colchester Legion Stadium. The victory avenged a 3-2 shootout loss to the Crushers in New Glasgow on Thursday.
“We worked really hard and played hard all three periods,” Bearcats defenceman Patrick Downe, who scored on the on the powerplay at 16:21 of the third period to make it 3-3, said. “After the shootout loss it was good to get a big win like that.”
The victory allowed the Bearcats to gain ground on the Yarmouth Mariners (27-8-1-0), who lost 4-3 to Summerside Saturday, in the Maritime Junior Hockey League’s EastLink Division. The Bearcats pulled to within three points of the first-place Mariners with a pair of games in hand.
“Every game from here on is big,” Downe said. “So that was a huge win for us and it was big in the standings.”
Downe’s tally sparked Truro’s late-game outburst. Philip Fife gave the Hubtowners a 4-3 lead with 1:16 to go and Travis Fernley iced the deal on an empty-net tally with 35 seconds on the clock.
But it wasn’t like the Bearcats hadn’t been trying before that. Truro peppered Brandon Thibeau with 49 shots while allowing just 18 through to Shayne Campbell, who picked up his 18th victory of the season.
Downe said it was Truro’s perseverance which allowed the team to win.
“We had a lot of opportunities and a lot of shots but Thibeau was playing really well,” the six-foot, 195-pound New Maryland, N.B., native said. “But we’ve got a character team and kept fighting and got some bounces at the end of the game and capitalized on them.”
The Crushers jumped out to a 2-0 lead 16:06 into the contest with powerplay goals from Mitchell Deruelle and Evan MacEachern.
Grant West answered for the Bearcats 27 seconds later to cut the lead to 2-1.
Kyle Morrison notched a man-advantage tally of his own for Truro at 8:19 of the second frame to knot the tilt before Garrett Holmes scored at 10:26 to restore Pictou County’s lead.
Downe also chipped in a pair of assists as did Dylan McGuigan and Alex Hazelhurst.
“Campbell made some big saves to keep us in the game and hanging around in the third period and we just told ourselves in the dressing room if we keep putting pucks on net they’re going to go in and we got some bounces and they did,” Downe said.
The Bearcats get the week to rest up before a run of three games in as many nights on the weekend. They kick off the set Friday with a trip to Bridgewater to battle the Lumberjacks (7-31-0-2) before hosting the Dieppe Commandos (18-13-1-3) Saturday and the Amherst Ramblers (22-8-3-2) Sunday.