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Bearcats snap losing streak with impressive victory over Lumberjacks

Ben Higgins of the Truro Bearcats leads the charge back to the bench after scoring his first goal of the MHL season on Friday against the South Shore Lumberjacks.
Ben Higgins of the Truro Bearcats leads the charge back to the bench after scoring his first goal of the MHL season on Friday against the South Shore Lumberjacks. - Joey Smith

TRURO, N.S. – The Truro Bearcats needed a spark and it was their top line that provided it.

The forward trio of Ben Higgins, G Blackmore and Spencer Blackwell stepped up to combine for seven points – including all five goals – as the Bearcats downed the South Shore Lumberjacks 5-2 on Friday, Oct. 11 to snap a five-game Maritime Junior Hockey League losing streak.

Higgins – captain of the squad – netted two goals and set up another, while Blackwell fired home his team-leading sixth and seventh snipes of the season, and Blackmore chipped in a goal and a helper to lead the Bearcats past the No. 10 nationally ranked Lumberjacks before a crowd of 700 at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre.

“How that game went tonight is how it was drawn up in the coach’s mind before the season started,” said Bearcats coach Shawn Evans, who was pleased to see his top line break out offensively.

“Those guys put a lot of pressure on themselves to want to produce and do well, and tonight was their night.

“They’re not going to get five goals every game; I hope they do, but those are three good hockey players and when they’re on the same page they’re pretty tough to stop.”

Indeed.

Blackwell scored a power-play goal at 11:27 of the opening period, while Higgins got the monkey off his back with his first of the season at 5:54 of the second, also on a power-play, off a sweet goalmouth feed from rookie Lucas Parsons.

Brandon Paquette, on a PP, and Brandon Stone pulled the visitors even with a little under seven minutes left in the middle frame, however, Blackwell restored the Truro lead at 16:34 for a 3-2 Truro edge after 40 minutes.

Blackmore and Higgins scored in the final two minutes of the third to ice it.

“From Man 1 to Man 20 tonight, they played a good, solid game,” Evans said of his club. “If we could follow that up every night we’ll move up in the standings.”

Evans also had high praise for the checking unit of Luke Macmillan, Caleb Hart and Cole Julien, who drew the shut-down assignment against the Lumberjacks’ top forwards, including Logan O’Neil and Bair Gendunov.

Truro goaltender Alec MacDonald made 28 saves, while the Bearcats pumped 39 shots at Lumberjacks netminder Ty Grant.

It was a much-needed victory for the Bearcats, who entered the contest with just one win in their first nine games. Schedule-wise, it’s been a grind, as they have played eight of their first 10 on the road.

It doesn’t get any easier for the Bearcats, as they board a bus bound for southwestern Nova Scotia on Saturday, Oct. 12 for a road game against the Yarmouth Mariners. It will be the third time in the young season Truro has travelled to Yarmouth. The Bearcats lost both previous contests.

“We haven’t beaten them in so long I forget what it feels like,” said Evans. “They’ve got a good, smart team down there, it’s never easy; this is our third kick at it so maybe the third time’s gonna be the charm for us.”

Snapshots

Blackmore was awarded a penalty shot in the second period. He beat Grant with a high shot, but not the iron, as he rang the puck off the crossbar on the glove side.

Three stars: 1. Ben Higgins, Tru; 2. Spencer Blackwell, Tru; 3. G Blackmore

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