Bearcats look to nab title on the road

Joey Smith
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Truro one win away from third Maritime Junior Hockey League championship

TRURO - The Truro Bearcats expect nothing less than a tough battle Thursday night when they travel to Dieppe in search of a Maritime Junior Hockey League crown.

Jordan McNaughton of the Truro Bearcats wins a race for the puck during Game 5 of the MHL Kent Cup final on Tuesday in Truro. McNaughton and his teammates have an opportunity to win the league crown Thursday in Dieppe.

"Every time we've gone there this year they've given us a good run so we can't expect it to be easy," Bearcats defenceman Jordan McNaughton said on Tuesday, following his team's 5-4 win over the Commandos at the RECC in Truro. "They know that they're on the edge of the cliff and they're going to come out and give us their best effort and we gotta match it."

The Bearcats take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven championship series into Thursday's Game 6 at the Arthur J. LeBlanc Arena (7:30 p.m.), where they look to secure a third Maritime league title since returning to the fold in 1997.

"We're trying to keep our window small and we're trying to concentrate on the start and on the first period, and that's about as far as we've communicated," said Bearcats coach Shawn Evans.

The home team has won all five games in the series, and the Commandos look to hold serve and continue that trend tonight on Olympic-sized ice. Dieppe has lost just once in eight post-season games at home.

"The series is far from over in our minds," Commandos coach Jeff LeBlanc said after Tuesday's setback. "We're very good on our home ice. We've had a lot of success in the playoffs and all year on our home ice, so we're gonna give it our best effort on Thursday night and hopefully they'll be a Game 7 here on Saturday."

The Bearcats, however, are looking for history to repeat itself, as Truro's previous two championships were won on the road – 2005 in Campbellton and 2007 in Summerside. Evans coached both of those teams.

"That would be nice, but you gotta win a game in order for anything to occur," Evans said. "We're just trying to keep the mindset very simple, and we know that Dieppe plays a very consistent, team-oriented game. There will be nothing handed out for free."

On Tuesday, the Bearcats rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the third period and got a power-play goal from McNaughton with 43 seconds remaining to earn victory in front of 1,097 fans.

Organizations: Maritime Junior Hockey League, RECC

Geographic location: Campbellton, Summerside

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