There will be no trip to the RBC Cup this year for the Truro Bearcats.
The Carleton Place Canadians earned the rights to represent the East at this year’s national event, which gets underway this Saturday in Vernon, B.C.
After the first day of competition in the Fred Page Cup in Quebec, many felt the Canadians were the team to beat. Those thinkers were right on target.
The Canadians were big, skilled and quick. It’s obvious now why they finished regular season play ranked third in the country.
The Bearcats, going in as defending champions, played their best round-robin game against the eventual winners. On that night, there was little to choose between the two teams who played structured hockey.
That was the only game of the four played by Truro where the Bearcats got the opening goal. They had the Canadians on their heels and clearly planted doubt.
In the preliminary games against Quebec teams, the Bearcats were forced to play come-from-behind hockey, going into overtime in both and coming out the winner in one. Both of those teams were suspect in their own end, but downright dangerous in the offensive zone. Their speed and skill were impressive and the Bearcats didn’t handle the wide-open game well.
The semi-final game with the host, St. Jerome Panthers, was a missed opportunity. However, the Panthers scored early and the relentless attack and their familiarity with the rink proved to be too much to overcome.
Truro represented the MHL well. They played the game with pride and provided a physical component not so obvious with their competitors. Results could very easily have been different but they weren’t. A third-place finish was a fair result.
So, the Bearcats put closure on another special season, which saw them go further than most would have expected back in September. There were major accomplishments. When the season started, 128 teams may have had visions of an RBC appearance. The Bearcats were in the mix right up the last weekend prior to the national event. For that, all Bearcats should be proud.
Hats off to the seven 20-year-olds who played out there eligibility as a Bearcat. Whatever the length of time as a Bearcat, it was time well spent and loaded with memory.
Hats off to the junior teams still in the hunt: host, Vernon Vipers, Carleton Place (East), Toronto Lakeside Patriots (Central) and the Western representatives, the Yorkton Terriers and the Dauphin Kings.
Job well done.
Gerry Hale is the media relations co-ordinator for the Truro Bearcats junior A hockey club.