Truro can clinch EastLink Division final with win Sunday in New Glasgow
TRURO – The Truro Bearcats have the Pictou County Crushers on the ropes.
Truro Bearcats forward Daniel Perigo fires a shot on net during Game 3 action Saturday against the Pictou County Crushers in Game 3 of the EastLink Division final at RECC. The Bearcats won the game 4-3 to take a 3-0 stranglehold on the best-of-seven affair. Game 4 is Sunday at 7 p.m. in New Glasgow. Matthew Veno – Truro Daily News
Now, on Sunday, they look to finish off their Mount Thom rivals and sweep the Crushers from the Kent Cup playoffs.
The Bearcats, the Maritime Junior Hockey League’s regular season champions, nipped the Crushers 4-3 in front of 1,873 fans Saturday in Game 3 at RECC, setting up Sunday’s showdown in New Glasgow. Game time is 7 p.m. Truro holds a 3-0 cushion in the best-of-seven EastLink Division final.
“I think we just need to rest up (Saturday night) and come (Sunday) with the same mentality that we’ve been coming to every game with,” Bearcats defenceman Daniel Poliziani, who scored twice in Saturday’s contest and was named the first star, said. “If we do that I think (Sunday) should be a fun game.”
Unlike the first two games of the series, which saw Truro outscore Pictou County 13-4, the Crushers put up much more fight in Game 3.
It looked as if Truro might be off to another runaway victory when Poliziani, a five-foot-eight, 175-pound defenceman from Burlington, Ont., gave his team a 1-0 lead just 2:33 into the game. But Garret Holmes answered for the Crushers just a minute later and Mitchell Deruelle gave Pictou County its first lead of the series at 8:24.
But the Bearcats refused to roll over as Kyle Tibbo picked up a loose puck in the crease and knocked it in to tie the game 2-2 by the first intermission.
David Stephens pushed the Crushers back into the lead with a powerplay goal just 1:06 into the second period but Poliziani evened the score with his second at 11:38. Daniel Perigo, with a wrist shot from the half boards that fooled Crushers goaltender Brandon Thibeau, gave his team a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Chris Festarini made 29 saves for the Bearcats while the Crushers got 33 stops from Thibeau.
Poliziani said the victory was an important one for his club, not just because it gives Truro a 3-0 stranglehold on the affair, but because the Bearcats showed they could stand up to pressure and still come away victorious.
“It really shows our character,” he said. “That’s the first time that we’ve really been tested in this series and in the playoffs this year so it’s a great character win for our team.”
Poliziani said he and his teammates knew the Crushers would eventually find their game and were ready when it happened.
“I think we just had to stick to our game plan and that’s what we did,” he said. “We got pucks deep and got on their defence and it helped.”
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