Truro finishes run to Christmas with a win
Truro Bearcats forward Cole Hawes is sandwiched between the Miramichi Timberwolves Matt Milson (17) and Nick Croft (3) during their Maritime Junior A?Hockey League tilt Saturday at Colchester Legion Stadium. The Bearcats won the game 5-1 to close out the pre-Christmas schedule on a victorious note. Matt Veno - Truro Daily News
TRURO - The Truro Bearcats finished their pre-Christmas schedule just they way they wanted Saturday; with a strong victory.
The Bearcats skated to a 5-1 win over the Miramichi Timberwolves in their Maritime Junior A Hockey League contest in front of 467 at Colchester Legion Stadium.
"It feels really good," said Bearcats forward Doug Burns. "I think everyone is going to come back looking forward to the next game."
The Bearcats move into the holiday break at the top of the Maurice Bent Division with 42 points and a 19-4-2-2 record, seven points clear of the Pictou County Weeks Crushers.
The Timberwolves (17-12-0-0) are second in the Roger Meek Division with 34 points, 25 behind the Woodstock Slammers (29-0-0-1) who clinched a playoff spot on the weekend.
Burns said the victory was a good way to bounce back from a 3-2 shootout loss to Bridgewater Friday.
"I think we needed it because we lost the night before in a game we definitely should have won," he said.
The Bearcats came out on fire and peppered Miramichi's Leo Podolsky with 18 shots in the first period. Defenceman Donnie Churchill found the back of the net at 6:00 and Burns scored at 12:02 to give Truro a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.
Truro didn't let off the gas in the second and Jamie MacIntyre scored at 9:34, followed by a Chris Ivanko marker at 16:49 when he lured Podolsky from the net, skated through the crease and slipped a backhander into the open cage.
Miramichi's Keith Grondin ruined Kirk Rafuse's shutout bid on the powerplay at 2:19 of the final frame, but Truro's Yuri Cheremetiev put the game out of reach with a powerplay tally of his own at 12:19 on a screened wrist shot he put top shelf.
Rafuse made 23 saves for the win while Podolsky finished with 33 stops.
Bearcats head coach Shawn Evans said his team's penalty kill in the first half of the contest was what made the difference for the Bearcats. Truro was able to kill three powerplays in the opening two periods and opened a 4-0 lead.
"Our penalty kill was good, especially in the first half and Rafuse made some good saves when we needed them," Evans said.
The coach also said he was happy with how his team played against a Miramichi squad that never gave up.
"(Miramichi) played extremely hard and were very determined on the forecheck," Evans said. "They didn't roll over when it was 4-0 and kept coming and I think that was good for our team."
Burns also said Truro had a good forecheck and the team got contributions from everyone on the ice.
"All four lines were going hard and forechecking and dumping pucks in," he said "Everyone gave 110 per cent."
The Bearcats are back in action Jan. 2 when they host the Campbellton Tigers at 7:30 p.m.