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SPORTS SCENE – By Lyle Carter: Bearcats MacLeod steps it up a notch

Truro Bearcats fast-skating left-winger Cam MacLeod has been outstanding during playoff hockey.
Truro Bearcats fast-skating left-winger Cam MacLeod has been outstanding during playoff hockey.

TRURO, N.S. – Cameron (Cam) MacLeod of the Truro Bearcats has gone into another gear.

That’s how it appeared during Truro’s exciting Maritime Hockey League playoff series win against Yarmouth Mariners. MacLeod scored three important goals and added an assist as Truro defeated Yarmouth four games to one.

Skating miles and displaying outstanding speed, the dedicated 170-pound, second-year left-winger, was brilliant.

“Every player on our team has stepped it up since playoffs started,” MacLeod, 19, a Dartmouth native, said. “We all know what’s at stake, we all want badly to keep winning. I credit any improvement in my play to my linemates and teammates.”

An increase in attendance at Bearcats home games has not gone unnoticed by the Nova Scotia Community College student. There were 1,845 fans on hand at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre as Truro defeated Yarmouth in Game 5.

 “We definitely notice the difference when we have a big crowd,” MacLeod commented. “The building gets really loud when we score. This really helps motivate

us. Looking around the building and seeing most of the seats full, it’s a big help in knowing the people in the area are supporting our team.”

MacLeod, who scored 19 goals and added 14 assists in regular season play, spoke of the importance of playoff games as his club looked to open their best-of-seven

Eastlink South Division final series tonight against Amherst Ramblers.

“We have to try to win every playoff game,” he said. “We have to create momentum, we have to have the mindset that we’re in a hard, important series. We’ll play it a game at a time, we’ll try to keep an even keel and not put unnecessary pressure on ourselves. Our hockey club is where we want to be, we’ve prepared ourselves all year for this moment.”

Looking back, the 2014-15 season is memorable for MacLeod. Playing under Steve Crowell’s coaching, the Dartmouth Newbridge Academy Gladiators won both Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada Major Midget hockey championships. An early hockey experience also stands out.

“A memory that comes to mind, during my early minor hockey days, I played novice and my dad (Harold MacLeod) coached me. The important role my dad played in my early hockey career, that helped me a lot in getting to where I’m now at in hockey.”

Tonight, the Bearcats host the Ramblers for a 7 p.m. start at the RECC for Game 1 in their playoff series.

Studying these two team’s rosters, this should be one

tremendous hockey series.

* * * *

Goaltender Carmen Aikens did not realize that ‘Sport Scene’ has a few scouts beating the bushes.

Was he surprised when I telephoned him and asked how he had managed to play 100-plus games in goal since back in early September, 2016.

The amazing goaltender played for Henderson’s Pirates, the 55-plus hockey team that made a strong showing in national competition in Ontario.

He plays for Richie Crowell’s All-Stars, a pickup team playing three mornings each week at Colchester Legion Stadium,on Wednesday afternoons he stops pucks in a competition once called “Billy Hockey” after

former Truro Bearcats star Billy MacIntyre. He also answers requests from teams needing a goaltender for pickup games.

“I retired from Michelin in 2015,” Aikens, 55, of Truro, said. “I still play occasionally at the Westville Rink with some guys from Michelin. I’ve played as many as three games in a day and six times within a week. I find it hard to say ‘no’ if a team needs a goaltender.”

Aikens is very modest regarding his goaltending ability.

 “I’m just a guy who likes to play. If I happen to have a good game, it really makes everything worthwhile. Sure, there are times I wonder why I give so much time to hockey? I guess it’s spending time with some great guys, there’s real good camaraderie and we have

as much fun in the dressing room as out on the ice.”

Aikens played minor hockey from peewee up to midget. Not the only goaltender in the family, his wife Elizabeth plays goal for Cooks Lawn Maintenance at Deuville’s Rink and for the 55-plus women’s team Geri Hat Tricks. Elizabeth and the Hat Tricks play in a tournament

this weekend in Charlottetown.

Also a distinguished runner, Aikens has ran eight marathons including Montreal, Toronto and Florida.

Lyle Carter’s sports column appears Saturdays in the Truro Daily News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 902 673-2857.         

Goaltender Carmen Aikens never tires of lacing on the big goal-pads.

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