TRURO, NS. – The Truro Bearcats continued their early season struggles last week in the Maritime Junior Hockey League.
The Bearcats lost three straight road games, and have just one win in eight games to start the season.
On Oct. 5, the local squad ended a three-games-in-three-nights stretch with a 4-3 shootout loss to the Amherst Ramblers, one day after a 3-0 setback to the Fredericton Red Wings. On Oct. 3, Truro was edged 3-2 in a shootout by the South Shore Lumberjacks.
Of the Bearcats’ seven loses this season, three have come in a shootout.
“We haven’t quite played as a five-man unit well enough to succeed and we haven’t been able to find the big goal when we needed it – whether that be at a certain point in the game, whether that be in overtime, or whether that be in the shootout,” said Bearcats coach Shawn Evans. “And we need to play better.”
The schedule-makers haven’t been kind to the Bearcats. Truro has played just one home game this season, and this week will play three games in three nights for the second time in two weeks.
“Everybody gets three in threes; everybody gets the shitty part of the schedule at some point, so we got it now and there’s no excuses, and that’s the way it goes,” said Evans.
On Thursday, Oct. 10, the Bearcats visit the Pictou County Weeks Crushers, before an Oct. 11 home game against the South Shore Lumberjacks, (RECC, 7 p.m.). On Oct. 12, Truro visits the Yarmouth Mariners.
“If we survive this week and hang around in the standings, then we’re going to have to put the pedal to the metal after that,” said Evans. “I’m hoping down the road, we’ll look back at this and this will build some character for our team.
“We have a good team, but it doesn’t quite play as a group quite yet. We don’t stick with it, we panic … we have high expectations so when it’s not happening we’re not quite sticking to it, we get a little individualistic. Effort is good, but sometimes, for me, the effort is not within the confines of the group.”
Following is a recap of games from last week:
Amherst 4, Truro 3 (SO)
Finishing a tough stretch of road games in The Jungle, the Bearcats showed fight in the final stages of the game, as they overcame a two-goal third-period deficit to earn a single point.
Trailing 3-1, Cole Julian scored at 8:21 of the third to make it a one-goal game, while G Blackmore netted the equalizer with 23 seconds remaining and with goaltender Alec MacDonald on the bench for an extra attacker.
Spencer Blackwell scored his team-leading fifth goal in the first period.
Blackmore, Blackwell and Ben Higgins all failed to score in the shootout for the Bearcats.
Max Boudreau and Spencer Smith scored power-play goals for Amherst in the first and Robbie Burt had the other goal for the home team.
MacDonald was busy and made 40 saves, while Ramblers goaltender Joel Goguen made 30 stops.
Fredericton 3, Truro 0
Red Wings goaltender Jack Grant made 23 saves and was named the game’s first star.
Fredericton scored in each of the three periods, getting goals from Brady Patterson, Ethan Stuckless, on a power play, and Alex Pellerine in front of 1,021 fans at the Grant Harvey Centre.
Bearcats goaltender Sebastien Plamondon faced 36 shots.
South Shore 3, Truro 2 (SO)
The Bearcats led 1-0 after the first period on Spencer Blackwell’s fourth goal of the season. Carson Lanceleve, with his first, made it 2-0 at 2:22 of the second.
Bair Gendunov cut the lead in half at 8:02 of the middle frame and scored the game-tying goal at 3:01 of third.
Matt Sabean scored the shootout winner.
Bearcats goaltender Alec MacDonald made 32 saves, while Morgan Kini made 34 tops for the Lumberjacks.