Thursday night the Pictou County Weeks Crushers showed the Yarmouth Mariners they weren’t a team to be taken lightly, defeating them 8-2, the same score they lost by just before the holidays.
The Crushers did all the little things right; blocking shots, finishing checks, winning one-on-one battles, as well as potting four power play goals. On top of their skaters successes, goaltender Brandon Thibeau made 40 saves to help his team pick up the win and earn first star honours.
“I felt good and I try to do the same things every day to the feel the same every game,” he said. “Today I got lucky a couple times, but the boys played well and let me see the shots and we were communicating really well.”
Thibeau said the communication aspect of the game has been crucial for him, as well as the team. He said Thursday night communication was near perfect between himself and his defence core.
“I was talking to them and they were talking to me well tonight,” he said. “They were really welcoming in that way when I got here and they’re doing a great job.”
Picking up the win by making 40 saves means big praise for the goaltender. Losing at times can mean blame being placed on the goaltender, but Thibeau said gaining praise by beating Yarmouth was a testament to how his team played as whole, not just him individually.
“Sometimes it can go either way,” said Thibeau. “Your goaltender can either get the blame or get the praise, but you’re expected to produce every night no matter what and ignore the praise and the blame. When your team plays that well it makes it easy for a goalie, so you get praise when the team plays well too.”
Knowing Thursday was a statement game for his team he said it was a big boost for them. Throughout the week the team was working towards the game with the expectation of winning, possibly not by as much as they did. He said it was a combination of hard work and following the coaching staff’s plan.
“Every night our guys work hard and there’s no question there, but it’s nice to see a plan come together and for us to produce like that,” said Thibeau. “When you work hard like that and a plan comes together, no matter who you play the result will come out well.”
Sunday the team travels to Woodstock for a 3:30 p.m. puck drop before another game Tuesday against Bridgewater. Thibeau said the team will be put to the test in the next number of games.
“You have to prepare the same for every game regardless of whether you’re playing a lower seeded team or higher seeded team and that’s what we have to do the next five games,” he said. “That will be a big test for us.”
Pictou County Weeks Crushers 8
1st Nick Parker from Jordan Moore and Evan MacEachern 5:31 PP
1st Evan Carmody from Jordan Moore and Mitchell Shewfelt 6:57 PP
1st Nick Parker from Bruce Hornbrook and Evan Carmody 10:42
1st Nick Parker from Cody Squires and Corey Bennett 19:58
2nd John Mullally from Daniel MacLeod 2:52
2nd Garrett Holmes 13:50
2nd Evan Carmody from John Mullally and Jordan Moore 14:49
3rd Cody Squires from Garrett Holmes 15:20 PP
Yarmouth Mariners 2
1st Zach Henry from Ben McSwain 8:34 PP
1st Kyle Campbell from Colin Campbell 15:32
W: Brandon Thibeau 40 saves
L: Travis Wilkens 13 saves
Chase Guadet 15 saves