TRURO, N.S. – The Truro Bearcats face a tough test Wednesday when they host the Maritime Junior Hockey League’s top team.
The Edmundston Blizzard will visit the Rath Eastlink Community Centre for a 7 p.m. start.
The Blizzard (28-8-3-0) have won two in a row and enter the contest as the No. 19-ranked team in the latest Canadian Junior Hockey League rankings.
“The start of the game for us is very important; we don’t want them to get the jump on us and get comfortable and get a lead,” said Bearcats coach Shawn Evans. “We want to make sure, come third period time, we have an opportunity to win the hockey game.”
Truro has been on a hot steak lately and has won five of its last six games, including a 4-0 victory in its latest outing against the Miramichi Timberwolves.
The Bearcats (19-16-1-1) currently hold down the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastlink South Division, six points ahead of the Pictou County Weeks Crushers.
“We’re trying to change our mentality, and at the end of the day you are what you are, and right now we're a fourth-place team fightin’ and scrappin,’” said Evans.
“We’re playing a simple game and we need to play it real hard and really well.”
Aside from a strong work ethic, Evans said the Bearcats have been playing a better team game lately.
“I find they’re playing a little bit more for the guy beside them,” he added. “Right or wrong, we made no deals at the (trade) deadline and I decided if we were going to get something going, the group that we have was going to have to decide to get something going.”
Rookie Alec MacDonald will start in the Bearcats net tonight. MacDonald, the backup to starter Kevin Resop, has played just seven games this season, but has been brilliant with a 1.82 goals against average and .920 save percentage. He’s coming off an 18-save shutout against the Timberwolves last Friday.
“He hasn’t played a lot, but when he’s played he’s played well,” Evans said. “We have three games this week so both goalies will play. We obviously don’t have any complaints with Resop at all, but I’m throwing Alec in there against the top team and I’ll expect him to do well, play well and play just the way he’s been playing, which is giving us a chance to win.”
The Blizzard have won all three previous meetings against the Bearcats this season.
Wednesday's game is the second in a six-game home-stand for the Bearcats, who host Pictou County on Friday and Campbellton on Saturday.