Truro drops just third game in 2014 to Bordertown rivals, still in first
TRURO - As much as the Truro Bearcats and their fans would like to, they just can't win ‘em all.
Truro Bearcats defenceman Daniel Poliziani battles for the puck amongst a group of Amherst Ramblers payers Sunday during their Maritime Junior Hockey League tilt Sunday at RECC. The Bearcats lost he game 5-2. Matthew Veno - Truro Daily News
The grind of facing tough opponents in the EastLink Division nearly every time out just makes it too difficult to come away from each matchup victorious. It was evident Sunday at RECC as the Truro Bearcats fell 5-2 to the Amherst Ramblers in front of 623 fans.
"You don't like to lose but the competition is heavy in our division and you're not going to win every night," Bearcats head coach Shawn Evans said. "And you're not going to win every night if you don't play to your strengths and (Sunday) we did not."
In spite of the result, the Bearcats (30-11-0-2) still sit atop the EastLink Division by one point over the Pictou County Crushers (28-10-0-5) thanks to a 6-3 win over the Yarmouth mariners Saturday at RECC.
Both clubs have nine games remaining in the regular season.
The Ramblers (27-13-0-1) sit in third spot, six points behind the Crushers.
The Bearcats had won the past three meetings between the clubs heading into Sunday's contest and hold the edge in the season series 4-2.
But the Bearcats weren't themselves on Sunday. Arguably the hottest club in the Maritime Junior Hockey League since the Christmas break with 11 wins in 14 games, Truro just didn't have what it took to garner another victory on Sunday.
"We played helter skelter hockey," Evans said. "We need to play as a group, as five-man units and when we don't do that we're very vulnerable. We left ourselves very vulnerable (Sunday).
"We knew they were desperate and we didn't match that desperation and we paid the price."
Amherst jumped out to a 1-0 lead 14:14 into the game when Nick Cass notched a power-play tally.
Truro's Brandon Pye answered just 2:03 into the second period but Ross Martin restored the one-goal lead for Amherst just 30 seconds later.
Tyler Morrison pulled Truro even at 11:16 before Robert Davis gave the Ramblers a lead they would never relinquish at the 15-minute mark.
Ryan Caswell and Justin Thomas, into an empty net, sealed the deal in the third period for Amherst.
Chris Festarini made 26 saves while Richard Tingley walked away with the win after a 24-stop performance.
The Bearcats may have been robbed of some momentum with eight minutes remaining in the third period. Trailing 4-2, Jordan McNaughton, who with 14 goals is approaching the team's record of 17 by a defenceman in a season, fired a shot from the point. The goal judge turned on the light and Truro's celebration music fired up, but referee Jason Blanchard waved it off and the play continued in spite of the cries of fans behind the net who insisted they also saw it cross the line.
Pye shrugged off the call after the game.
"When something like that happens you just have to take it in stride and move on and keep with your game," the 19-year-old native of St. John's, Nfld, said. "I don't know if it went in, I didn't see it but it's something you just have to move past."
Pye agreed with his coach's assessment of the game and his team's play.
"I think we came out of the gate kind of slow and we weren't really playing as a five-man unit up and down the ice and that's when we're good," he said.
The Bearcats have until Friday to regroup. Truro hosts the Valley Wildcats (18-19-4-1) at RECC at 7 p.m. before the Dieppe Commandos (25-11-2-4) come to town Saturday at 7 p.m.
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