Big first period helps Bearcats beat Slammers

Staff ~ The Truro Daily News
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TRURO – The first period was all the Truro Bearcats needed Wednesday to inflict enough damage to beat the Woodstock Slammers.

Truro Bearcats forward Colby Lanceleve, centre, celebrates with teammates Jacob Smith, left, and Phillip Fife after scoring his team's fourth goal in the first period of their Maritime Junior Hockey League tilt against the Woodstock Slammers Wednesday at RECC. The Bearcats went on to win the game 7-2. Matthew Veno - Truro Daily News

The Bearcats used five first-period goals to defeat the Slammers 7-2 in front of 369 fans in a rare Wednesday night battle at RECC.

The win restores the Bearcats (33-11-0-2) three-point cushion over the Pictou County Crushers (30-10-0-5) atop the EastLink Division while the Amherst Ramblers (28-14-0-1) and Yarmouth mariners (27-16-2-1) are tied for third place, 11 points behind.

The win was Truro’s third in a row and its 14th in 16 games since the Christmas break.

“It was really nice to get the win tonight,” Bearcats forward Jacob Smith, who scored a hat trick and added a pair of assists, said. “The team has been playing well lately.”

On the back of a victory in just how the Bearcats wanted to roll into this weekend, which sees Truro host the Yarmouth Mariners Saturday at 7 p.m. before the Valley Wildcats (19-21-4-1) come to town Sunday at 2 p.m.

Smith started the barrage just 3:12 into the game when he stickhandled his way through a Woodstock defender and beat Slammers starter Tyler Snow, who made three saves on eight shots and lasted just 17 minutes.

Then the goals came fast and furious.

Bearcats captain Phillip Fife added to the lead six minutes later before Smith scored his second on Truro’s fourth shot of the game just 10 seconds after.

Massimo Matteau cut the lead to 3-1 30 seconds later before Colby Lanceleve faked one direction in the corner then cut back quickly to shake a Woodstock defender before walking in the slot and scoring.

Daniel Poliziani rounded out the period with Truro’s fifth with three minutes remaining, ending Snow’s night

“We came out buzzing and we found ways to score,” Smith, a 19-year-old Sudbury, Ont., native said. “It was really good to see the boys gelling and playing as a team.”

It continued for the remaining 40 minutes.

Although Woodstock’s Kraig Pasher managed to claw one back for his team with the only goal of the second period at 12:36, Smith completed his hat trick at 8:02 of the third frame, giving him a team-leading 26 goals in 41 games, for a 6-2 Truro lead.

Jordan Wentzell iced the contest at 14:53.

Chris Festarini made 29 saves for the victory.

Matt Jenkins, who replaced Snow, made 21 saves the rest of the way.

Smith said he and his teammates put a strong emphasis on coming out and starting strong against a Woodstock team that was hungry to avenge an 11-2 thrashing the last time it visited RECC.

“Coach just said it’s not going to be an 11-2 game again and that we had to come out hard because they’re a good team,” Smith said. “So we were ready to go and it worked to our advantage.”

Smith said the Bearcats are obviously happy with how they’ve been playing of late, especially at this point in the season with just six games remaining in the regular season.

“It’s definitely good going into playoffs,” Smith said. “We’ve got momentum and we’ve got a lot of experience and winners in the room with the Fred Page Cup last year. We’re really starting to play as a team and as a five-man unit out there.”

On Twitter: @tdnmatt

Organizations: EastLink Division

Geographic location: Pictou County

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