PICTOU COUNTY - Thursday night the Weeks Crushers will face the 2013 Fred Page Cup host Truro Bearcats at the Pictou County Wellness Centre, hoping to continue to improve since shuffling their lineup.
It will also be the first game back in Pictou County for Mitchell Deruelle since returning to the MHL during last week’s trade deadline. He said he was given the choice to stay with the Moncton Wildcats or return to the Weeks Crushers.
“Once the trade deadline in the ‘Q’ happened we had a good player come in, so they asked me if I wanted to stay there or I could come back to junior A,” he said. “It was kind of like a mutual agreement. They gave me the option to stay there and be in a fourth line role, but I told them I wanted to come back here.”
Through two games with the Crushers he has two goals and four points. He said he’s already comfortable on the ice again with the team.
“It took a couple of days to see where I’d fit, but I think we have a good idea now where I’m going to fit, so hopefully I can make them better and vice-versa,” said Deruelle. “I know I’ll be playing with (Nick) Parker and people will probably rotate out on the other wing, but right now it’s Garrett Holmes.”
In his third season with the Crushers he knows the rivalry against the Bearcats all too well. He expects a tough game on Thursday night, but also believes the team will be prepared for what Truro throws at them.
“Playing Truro in the past were always big games because we have a huge rivalry with them and these next two games we’re home-and-home against them so hopefully we can pull two wins out of it,” he said. “I’m expecting our team to have two competitive games against them and pick up the four points. We know it will be tough, but are confident we have what it takes.”
Although the Crushers and Deruelle are confident, so are the Bearcats. Truro head coach Shawn Evans said their team is confident as well after the trade deadline last week. He said every team is in the same boat, knowing what they have for the remainder of the year.
“We’re all in the same boat at this time,” said Evans. “You have what you have and you have to sort it out and make it work. You can banter back and forth over who has this guy and who has that guy, but the bottom line is we all want to find out who has the best team, it’s about who you have and don’t have, it’s about how you play and that will determine all of our fates.”
Evans said even though this will be the first time facing the Crushers since they added Tim Rose, Evan Carmody and Deruelle, that they are focusing on their own game and not what the Crushers will bring on Thursday and Saturday.
“We aren’t worried about focusing on them, not at this stage, first and foremost you need to worry about yourself,” he said. “We’re trying to improve how we play and you need to do that before you worry about your opponents. We know they’re good, but we need to focus on our game if we want to be successful.”
Goals for: 142
Goals against: 134
Vs. Truro Bearcats
Goals for: 134
Goals against: 77
Record against Bearcats: 0-2
Game time: 7 p.m. at the Pictou County Wellness Centre