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Bearcats taking nothing for granted in playoff series against Mariners

The Truro Bearcats owned the Yarmouth Mariners in the regular season, going 6-0 against their Eastlink South Division counterpart. On Thursday, the puck drops on a first-round playoff series between the teams.
The Truro Bearcats owned the Yarmouth Mariners in the regular season, going 6-0 against their Eastlink South Division counterpart. On Thursday, the puck drops on a first-round playoff series between the teams.

TRURO, N.S. – When it comes to playoffs, regular season stats mean little. For Shawn Evans, they mean even less.

“Means zero,” Evans, head coach of the Truro Bearcats, said matter-of-factly.

Evans was referring to his team’s success in the regular campaign against the Yarmouth Mariners, as the teams prepare for their first-round Maritime Junior Hockey League playoff series.

Truro won all six meetings against Yarmouth in the regular season.

“It’s a brand new start for everyone and they have a very good team,” he said. “They started 12-0, they were ranked in the top 20 in Canada basically until Christmas time; at the end of the day they finished two points behind us in the standings.”

No bulletin board material for the Mariners there.

And while the Bearcats were the better team head-to-head, Evans pointed out that the margin of victory on most nights was slim. Three of those games were decided in a shootout, while another was a one-goal regulation win. Truro did post two lopsided victories – 6-0 and 9-3.

“Means zero,” Evans, head coach of the Truro Bearcats, said matter-of-factly.

Evans was referring to his team’s success in the regular campaign against the Yarmouth Mariners, as the teams prepare for their first-round Maritime Junior Hockey League playoff series.

Truro won all six meetings against Yarmouth in the regular season.

“It’s a brand new start for everyone and they have a very good team,” he said. “They started 12-0, they were ranked in the top 20 in Canada basically until Christmas time; at the end of the day they finished two points behind us in the standings.”

No bulletin board material for the Mariners there.

And while the Bearcats were the better team head-to-head, Evans pointed out that the margin of victory on most nights was slim. Three of those games were decided in a shootout, while another was a one-goal regulation win. Truro did post two lopsided victories – 6-0 and 9-3.

Still, Evans is taking nothing for granted.

“They’re right there with us. A good team is not going to survive the first round of the playoffs, we’re hoping it’s not us.”

The Bearcats are a confident group heading into the post-season, and for good reason. They were one of the hottest teams during the final months of the schedule, winning 18 of their last 22 games.

Evans said second-half additions Nic Blanchard and Connor Morrison, along with the return of Noah Archibald from injury, was a big boost for the team.

The Bearcats don’t plan to stray from a game plan that has made them successful this season, and Evans stressed doing the little things right is important in the playoffs.

“We certainly need to respect some of their top players and we certainly need to respect their team and we do and we will, but we have to come first with how we play.”

The Bearcats are healthy coming into the series. Defenceman Mark O’Shaughnessy returns to the lineup after missing the final three weeks of the regular season due to a concussion.

Schedule

Thursday

Yarmouth at Truro, 7 p.m.

Saturday

Truro at Yarmouth, 7:30 p.m.

Monday, March 20

Yarmouth at Truro, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, March 22

Truro at Yarmouth, 7:30 p.m.

*Saturday, March 25

Yarmouth at Truro, 7 p.m.

*Sunday, March 26

Truro at Yarmouth, 7:30 p.m.

*Tuesday, March 28

Yarmouth at Truro, 7 p.m.

*If necessary

The matchup

Truro Bearcats

Record: 35-13-1-1

Standing: 2nd Eastlink South Division

Top scorers: Kyle Tibbo (47-41-88), Nic Blanchard (22-43-65), Brandon Hughes (22-42-64).

Top goalie: Jason Rioux (21-10-0-1, 2.93 GAA, .904 save %)

Yarmouth Mariners

Record: 32-12-2-4

Standing: 3rd Eastlink South Division

Top scorers: Aaron Maillet (16-43-59), Mateo Short (24-18-42), Andrew Martell (18-18-36)

Top goalie: Leif Hertz (16-11-0-1, 2.83 GAA, .904 save %)



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