Bat­tle royale brew­ing

Four di­vi­sional ri­vals in the thick of fight for play­off berths

Truro Daily News - - sports - TRURO NEWS STAFF

TRURO, N.S. – Four teams. Two points.

As in­cred­i­ble as it may be, that’s the way things stacked up this week in the Mar­itime Ju­nior Hockey League.

The Eastlink South di­vi­sion had Amherst Ram­blers and Truro Bearcats tied for sec­ond place with 49 points. The Pic­tou County Crush­ers and South Shore Lum­ber­jacks were dead­locked for the fourth and fi­nal play­off spot – but just a point back of Amherst and Truro, each with 48.

Three of the four teams saw ac­tion last night – Yar­mouth was in Amherst, the Crush­ers in Truro. The Mariners ap­pear poised to lock up first place in the di­vi­sion – though it’s ap­par­ent, pretty much anything could hap­pen – as they sit with 58 points; the Val­ley Wild­cats are the league’s cel­lar-dwellers, with 23, well back of the pack.

The Bearcats posted their sixth straight win Satur­day, a 5-1 de­ci­sion over the Ram­blers at the RECC. That, af­ter a 4-2 vic­tory the night be­fore against the visit­ing Grand Falls Rapids.

Sun­day, how­ever, in Sum­mer­side, the Bearcats’ six-game win streak came to a halt as the league-lead­ing Cap­i­tals dou­bled Truro 4-2. Sum­mer­side, this week ranked sec­ond in the Cana­dian Ju­nior Hockey League, along with Ed­mund­ston, Fred­er­ic­ton and Camp­bell­ton have al­ready punched their tick­ets to the play­offs. Grand Falls and Mi­ramichi are out.

CAP­I­TALS 4 BEARCATS 2

Af­ter a score­less first, the Cap­i­tals took con­trol in the mid­dle frame to lead 4-1.

Ben Hig­gins had his 36th goal of the sea­son to put Truro on the board and Ja­son Im­beault added the other Bearcats’ marker late in the third.

Car­son Mack­in­non, Ed Mcneil, Ryan Roberts and Marc-an­dre Le­couffe scored for the Caps.

Goalie Se­bastien Pla­m­on­don faced 40 Sum­mer­side

shots in the Truro net, while the Bearcats had 19 shots at the other end.

BEARCATS 5 RAM­BLERS 1

Satur­day’s con­test got off to an in­ter­est­ing start. Be­fore the close of the first pe­riod Truro was en­joy­ing a 3-1 lead, on fewer than 10 shots.

James Walker, Spencer Blackwell and Lu­cas Parsons tal­lied for the Bearcats while Caleb Rich had what would be Amherst’s lone goal on the night. Hig­gins scored in the sec­ond. Slid­ing on his back, he was some­how able to roof the puck on net­min­der Matthew Nor­more to make it 4-1. Cur­tis Heffernan scored mid­way through the third to round out the 5-1 fi­nal.

Net­min­der Alec Mac­don­ald turned aside 33 of 34 shots for the win.

Walker, with a goal and two as­sists, and Im­beault, with three helpers, each fin­ished the night with three points.

BEARCATS 4 RAPIDS 2

Fri­day night, with the teams dead­locked at two, Hig­gins scored the win­ner with just 34 se­conds re­main­ing in reg­u­la­tion time.

Im­beault, Walker and Blackwell, with an emp­tynet­ter had the other Truro goals.

Matthew Mackay and Bran­don Brazeau replied for Grand Falls.

Mac­don­ald tended goal and faced 35 shots, while his team­mates fired 21 at the Rapids’ net.

Wed­nes­day’s out­ing against the Crush­ers marked the Bearcats’ fourth game in six days.

Fri­day they’re on the road to face South Shore and Satur­day they’ll travel to Yar­mouth for a con­test against the di­vi­sion-lead­ing Mariners.

Fri­day, Feb. 28, Truro is back at the RECC to face the Fred­er­ic­ton Red Wings at 7 p.m. and the fol­low­ing night they host the Mariners, also at 7 p.m.

TRURO NEWS PHOTO

Ben Hig­gins of the Truro Bearcats man­aged to lift the puck over Amherst net­min­der Matthew Nor­more dur­ing sec­ond-pe­riod ac­tion Satur­day night. The Bearcats im­proved their stand­ing in the MHL’S south di­vi­sion with a 5-1 vic­tory over the Ram­blers.

TRURO NEWS PHOTO

Truro net­min­der Alec Mac­don­ald turns aside a shot dur­ing MHL ac­tion Satur­day night in the Truro Bearcats’ 5-1 win over the Amherst Ram­blers.

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