Bearcats clinch division title, complete sweep of Crushers

Staff ~ The Truro Daily News
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Truro off to league final with game 4 win in New Glasgow

TRURO – The Truro Bearcats are moving on to the Kent Cup final.

The Truro Bearcats defeated the Pictou County Crushers 4-3 in overtime Sunday in New Glasgow, completing a four-game sweep on the best-of-seven EastLink Division final. The victory sends the Bearcats to the Maritime Junior Hockey League final. File photo

The Hubtown squad punched its ticket to the dance Sunday when Daniel Poliziani’s goal at 7:28 into overtime gave his team a 4-3 victory, completing a sweep of the Pictou County Crushers in front of 1,413 in New Glasgow.

“It’s a big relief,” Poliziani, a 20-year-old native of Burlington, Ont., said. “We put so much hard work into this all year and we have one more step to go but it’s a great accomplishment for this team to sweep.”

The Bearcats now await a winner from the Meek Division final between the Dieppe Commandos and Miramichi Timberwolves. The Commandos lead that series 2-1.

Poliziani’s winner came as he took a drop pass from Tyler Morrison while entering the Pictou County zone. With a clear shot to the net, Poliziani decided to wait for traffic in front then took a wrist shot that hit goaltender Brandon Thibeau’s blocker and trickled over the goal line.

“It seemed like it took forever to cross the line,” Poliziani said. “I haven’t won in a while and it feels great to be winning.”

After sweeping the Valley Wildcats in four games in their EastLink Division semifinal, the Bearcats used the nine-day layoff to their advantage as the Crushers and Amherst Ramblers needed a seventh game to provide Truro an opponent in the division final. The Bearcats never broke stride against the Crushers, dominating the first two games of the series 6-2 and 7-2 before scratching out a 4-3 victory in Game 3 Saturday at RECC.

“We played to our strengths,” Bearcats coach Shawn Evans said. “Our opponent was banged up on the blueline and we tried to take advantage of that. We forechecked and tried to wear them down and maybe their seven-game series before worked in our favour.”

On Sunday, Daniel MacLeod gave his team a 1-0 edge mid-way through the first period and the Crushers had the Bearcats on their heels. But Truro found its game in the second period and took control as Daniel Perigo, Jeff Hanes and Morrison all scored in a two-and-a-half minute span for a 3-1 lead.

But with their season on the line, the Crushers weren’t going to let their rivals from Truro finish them without a fight. Evan Carmody cut the lead to 3-2 at 14:26 of the second period and Garret Holmes sent the contest to extra time with a tally in the middle of the third.

“We all knew it was do-or-die for them and we knew they were going to put their best foot forward,” Poliziani, who joined the Bearcats over the summer in a deal with the OHL’s Guelph Storm. “We knew they were going to come hard and we were ready for that.”

Chris Festarini’s 29 saves earned him the victory while Thibeau made 35 stops in the Pictou County net.

“It was a great hockey game,” Evans said. “It’s easy to say that when you win but you never know what’s going to happen in overtime. I thought we had the edge and we got the final bounce.

“We beat a very good hockey team and I never would have thought it would be over in four games but that’s a testament to 23 hockey players.”

 

sports@trurodaily.com

On Twitter: @tdnmatt

Geographic location: Pictou County, New Glasgow, Burlington

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