TRURO - The Truro Bearcats scored perhaps their biggest road win of the season Sunday in Amherst.
Truro Bearcats forward Brandon Pye, left, and defenceman David Mosher battle in front of goaltender Chris Festarini against Amherst Ramblers forward Justin Thomas during their Maritime Junior Hockey League contest Sunday in Amherst. Truro won the game 5-4 to take over top spot in the EastLink Division. Dave Mathieson – TC Media
The 5-4 victory in front of 585 fans at Amherst Stadium pushed the Bearcats (26-9-0-2) into top spot in the Maritime Junior Hockey League's EastLink Division and brought the Hubtown crew's roster even closer together as players battled for each other in what became a physical affair.
"I'm really pleased for the players," Bearcats coach Shawn Evans said. "We knew it was going to be a 60-minute battle and we obviously knew what was at stake at theis point in the season. It was a big road win for us."
The win pushed the Bearcats one-point past the Pictou County Crushers (24-9-0-5) at the top of the EastLink table and drove a three-point wedge between Truro and Amherst (25-12-0-1) as teams near the final month of the regular season. Truro holds a game in hand over both Amherst and Pictou County, and two over fourth-place Yarmouth (23-13-2-1).
"Nothing is decided yet but it was a big stepping stone for our team," Evans said.
The Ramblers struck first just 42 seconds into the game when Serge Boisvert beat Bearcats goaltender Chris Festarini, who made 37 saves for the win.
But the Bearcats ran away with a 3-1 lead by the end of the opening period with goals from Jacob Smith at 3:28, Kyle Tibbo 10 minutes later and Daniel Perigo with less than a minute remaining.
Smith gave the Bearcats a 4-1 cushion just 1:34 into the second frame before Robert Davis clawed one back for Amherst seven minutes later.
Bearcats blueliner Cal Gloade restored Truro's three-goal lead 1:32 into the third stanza before Amherst's Cam MacDonald and Justin Thomas made it close as Amherst made a late-game surge.
"It was white-knuckle airlines for us for a bit," Evans said. "They have a very good team but we found a way to hang on."
Colby Lanceleve collected three assists for the Bearcats and added a fight near the mid-point of the second period with Bruce Hornbrook.
The affair also saw two other fights, with Truro defenceman Ryan Moore taking on Ross Martin in the second period and Truro captain Phillip Fife dropping the gloves with Travis Howe early in the third.
Evans said although he doesn't promote fighting in the game, he was happy to see his players step up to meet the challenge laid down by the big, tough, veteran-laden Ramblers.
"When players step up and do that, they don't do it for themselves," he said. "They do it for the ‘T' on the front of their shirt and that's what pleased me."
The victory came after the Bearcats dropped a 4-3 decision to the Dieppe Comandos (25-8-2-2) Saturday at RECC after pasting the Bridgewater Lumberjacks (2-33-3-2) 9-0 Friday in Bridgewater.
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