This time last year, the Truro Bearcats were sitting in second spot in the Eastlink Division, third overall in the league.
Now, 12 months later, they're in a similar situation.
Last year's regular season became a race to the finish. A few mid-January adjustments helped bring Truro to the top of the division. Just prior to the start of playoffs the Bearcats made the long awaited move to their new digs at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre. It was an adjustment for sure.
The inaugural junior game on the Community Credit Union Arena ice surface was played before a capacity crowd. Clean, bright, sharp and comfortable were accurate descriptions for the new facility.
The initial playoff round with the Pictou County Crushers was a dandy. Down two games, the Bearcats stormed back to win the division semifinal in seven. It was a tough, intense series which will be long remembered by Bearcats fans, but longer for the Crushers.
Next up was a grueling match-up with the Amherst Ramblers. The Bearcats took that one in six games, but were forced to go deep into their tank.
The championship series with the Summerside Capitals was one most league observers had predicted for months. Summerside won it in five games but not one of the victories was an easy one. The Capitals won the Kent Cup and the right to represent the MHL in the Fred Page Cup.
The Host Bearcats did what they set out to do - win their first Fred Page Cup. They knocked off the Lachine Maroons, the Cornwall Colts and the Summerside Capitals in round-robin play. The Cup final was a double overtime win over the Summerside Capitals and a ticket to the RBC Cup national championship.
The RBC was a let down in many ways. The tank was drained but there was just enough left to make life difficult, once more, for Summerside.
Most of what happened over the last 12 months bears repeating. The current crop of Bearcats would like nothing more than another kick at those cans.
It's back to work this Saturday when they host the Woodstock Slammers at RECC. Sunday, the team travels to Summerside.
The stretch drive should be an exciting one again this year. The Bearcats are up to the challenge and trust their supporters are ready for the trip.
TAGLINE: Gerry Hale is media relations co-ordinator for the Truro Bearcats junior A hockey club