Cats win provincial title

Staff ~ The Truro Daily News
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Truro tops Bedford in midget A hockey final

TRURO - The Truro Rolling Phones Bearcats didn't have to look far to find motivation on the weekend at provincial midget A hockey championship.

The Truro Rolling Phones Bearcats won the provincial midget A hockey championship Sunday at Colchester Legion Stadium with a 3-1 win over the Bedford Blues in the final. The Bearcats posted a 3-1 record in the round-robin to qualify for the final. Members of the team are, front, Brandon Archibald. First row, from left, coach Brad Dillon, Coleman Porter, Ryan Bakker, Bryson Crowell, Ryan Porter, Matt Crowell, Caelan Blaikie and Brendan Wheeler. Second row, assistant coach Steve Crowell, Isaac Culgin, Josh Gamblin, Jacob Dillon, Brandon Bolger, Justin Zachariah, Taylor Daigle and Nick Graham. Missing is Nathan Hurlburt, trainer Mark Hurlburt and assistant coach Hazen Gamblin. Matthew Veno - Truro Daily News

They had witnessed for months just how hard their parents, coaches and volunteers had been working to organize the tournament, held at Colchester Legion Stadium, and get the team ready to compete.

So, on Sunday, they paid back those who helped them with a provincial title thanks to a 3-1 victory over the Bedford Blues in the final.

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"The tournament staff put in a huge effort to get this going and it's great we could win it for them," Bearcats defenceman Nick Graham said as his teammates celebrated on the ice. "The team pulled together and we did this."

Not only did the Bearcats give their volunteers a sweet gift, but they also presented one to the Truro and Area Minor Hockey Association, which boasts its first provincial midget A crown since 1979-80.

The Bearcats looked the part of champions all weekend, rolling through the round-robin portion of the event with a 3-1 record. However, none of that mattered to the Blues.

In spite of the Bearcats leaping out to a 1-0 lead just 1:27 into the game thanks to a Josh Gamblin goal, the Blues knotted the contest at 10:05 when Bret Himmelman scored.

The Bearcats, determined to win in front of their home fans, got a goal from Jacob Dillon two and a half minutes later to grab a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

Truro weathered a second-period push by Bedford thanks to some timely saves from Nathan Hurlburt before Dillon sealed the deal with an empty-net tally at 14:47 of the final frame.

"It was brutal having to watch the clock wind down," Graham, a Valley resident, said. "It's one of the toughest things I've had to do but it felt great when it finally ended."

Hurlburt made 15 saves before going down with an injury with about four minutes left to play. Brandon Archibald came in and stopped the only shot he faced.

Bedford goaltender Logan Whitford made 21 saves.

Coach Brad Dillon said his team's depth played a big part in Sunday's victory. He was able to utilize all four lines with equal effectiveness, leaving his players fresh at the end of the game.

"There's lots of teams that shorten their bench and go with a few key players but we could rely on everybody and the players know we have that confidence in them and they respond to that," he said. "Everybody pulls their weight. This was a team effort top to bottom and that's been the key for us all year."

Graham said he and his teammates were confident on Sunday morning they could clinch the title given how they had played leading up to the contest.

"We played Bedford before and they're a great team and a great program," he said. "But we felt we could do this if we worked together and we worked hard and this is what it came down to and I think we did a great job of pulling it off."

sports@trurodaily.com

On Twitter: @tdnmatt

Organizations: Area Minor Hockey Association

Geographic location: Colchester Legion Stadium

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