TRURO – Kyle Morrison’s biggest goal of the season may not help him in the scoring race, but it certainly helped his team in a big way Sunday against the Yarmouth Mariners.
Morrison, the Truro Bearcats’ leading scorer with 83 points (33G, 50A) in 48 games, netted the shootout winner in a 5-4 victory in front of 1,178 fans at RECC.
"It was a big relief," Morrison, a 20-year-old Mississauga, Ont., native, said. "I haven't had much luck in shootouts lately so to score with my dad and grandfather here watching was special and it was huge for the team."
The victory extends the Bearcats (36-9-0-5) lead over the Mariners (35-10-2-3) to two points atop the MHL’s Eastlink Division. Truro has two regular-season games left, beginning Tuesday in Dartmouth against the Metro Shipbuilders (4-45-1-1) before returning home to face the Woodstock Slammers (28-16-2-4) Friday at 7 p.m. That contest is a make-up from Feb. 9.
The Mariners also play Tuesday against the Bridgewater Lumberjacks (10-38-0-3) and Friday against the Pictou County Crushers (27-18-4-1).
The Bearcats have been heating up at the right time, taking back first place with a 9-0-0-1 run in their past 10 games.
"It was a huge win," the six-foot, 191-pounder said. "We control our own destiny from here and that's where you want to be at the end of the season."
Morrison is in the thick of a race of his own, trailing Summerside’s Danny Chiasson by just one point for the league scoring lead. Only an assist separates the pair.
Morrison, Truro’s first shooter, notched the only goal of the showdown and finished the night with an assist on Jordan Coccimiglio’s second goal mid-way through the third period.
Dylan McGuigan scored a minute later to give Truro a 4-3 lead before Cody Castro sent the game to overtime with a powerplay marker with 4:20 remaining.
It was clear early on Yarmouth was out to avenge their 6-1 loss to Truro at Mariners Centre Friday. Kyle Campbell put the visitors up 1-0 when his shot took a deflection off a defending stick and fooled Truro goaltender Shayne Campbell, who made 27 saves for the win.
But Colby Lanceleve pulled the Bearcats even just 3:16 into the second period and Coccimiglio gave the home side a 2-1 lead with a power-play tally at 7:23.
Then Yarmouth pushed back, taking a 3-2 lead after Colin Campbell and Ben MacSwain found the back of the Truro net by 1:42 of the third.
Travis Wilkins made 31 stops in the Yarmouth crease.
The game featured its share of rough play. Truro forward Grant West was sent to the showers at 11:51 of the third period for checking to the head while Yarmouth’s Jared Hicks was shown the door just 1:24 into the game for hitting from behind.
"I think we had a resilient effort out there," Morrison said. "We pulled out a couple big kills and got a couple timely goals and got the win."