Focus pays off for the Hubtown squad
TRURO – The focus of the Truro Bearcats shone through Thursday night.
Truro Bearcats forward Colby Lanceleve battles with Pictou County Crushers defenceman Cole Hutchinson during Game 2 of the Maritime Junior Hockey League's EastLink Division final Thursday at RECC. Truro won the game 7-2 to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 3 is Saturday at 7 p.m. at RECC. Matthew Veno – Truro Daily News
All the team wanted to talk about was how it won Game 2 of the EastLink Division final 7-2 – taking a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven affair over the Pictou County Crushers – and how it wants to maintain that focus going into Game 3 Saturday at RECC.
There wasn’t much interest in discussing the shenanigans that marred Thursday’s third period, including a mixup between Bearcats goaltender Chris Festarini and Pictou County forward Mitchell Shewfelt, touching off a melee that involved everyone on the ice.
“What went on in the third period, others can decide for themselves what they saw and what they think,” Bearcats coach Shawn Evans said. “My job is to get us focused for Game 3 and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Festarini, who made 23 saves, and Shewfelt became mixed up after Festarini made a stop with Shewfelt on the doorstep with just over four minutes remaining. Shewfelt ended up on top of Festarini and throwing punches, which quickly drew Bearcats defenceman Cal Gloade into the fold and everyone else on the ice followed.
Bearcats forward Brandon Boutilier, who scored a goal and added a pair of assists, chalked it up to frustration. Truro held a 6-2 lead and things had gotten progressively more chippy as the clock ticked down in the third period.
“That’s the way things go,” Boutilier said. “Teams get frustrated. It’s the playoffs. We just need to stay composed and hopefully not get into that stuff.”
As it had in Game 1 Wednesday in New Glasgow on the way to a 6-2 win, Truro controlled the first 40 minutes of Thursday’s tilt in front of 1,344 fans.
Brandon Bazinet got the Bearcats on their way just 2:04 into the game before Jacob Smith gave the home side a 2-0 cushion when he stickhandled through the slot and went upstairs on Crushers goaltender Devon Tremblay.
Boutilier found the back of the net for a 3-0 Truro lead at 6:26 of the second period before Brandon Pye got in on the act just a minute later with a powerplay tally.
But the Bearcats let up to start the third period and the Crushers took advantage, cutting the lead to 4-2 by the 13:05 mark thanks to goals just one minute apart from Garrett Lambke and Nick Parker.
“There’s a certain way we need to play and for the first 40 minutes we certainly did that,” Evans said. “(Pictou County) is a team, they can strike quickly and they can strike often and we’re very respectful of that.
“That should be a lesson learned for our hockey team,” Evans added. “In the playoffs you need to play 60 minutes and we got away with it tonight.”
It acted as a wake-up call for the Bearcats. Tyler Morrison gave his team a 5-2 edge before Jordan Wentzell extended the lead to 6-2 a minute later.
After the dust settled from the line skirmish, Kyle Tibbo notched a powerplay marker at 17:03 to round out the scoring.
Tremblay stopped 34 shots in the Pictou County net.
“It definitely feels good but the job isn’t done, we’re only 50 per cent of the way so the boys just have to keep pushing,” Boutilier said. “We’re coming out strong and that’s the key to our success right now and we can’t complain with the effort the boys are giving.”
Evans agreed, adding staying fixated on the task at hand is the most important thing for his team to remember.
“We’re in a good position but you don’t get rewarded for being in a good position, you get rewarded for winning games,” Evans said. “We’ve got to keep that on our mind and keep that in focus, not anything else.”
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