PICTOU COUNTY – Although the point did little to help the Scotsburn Major Bantam Crushers in the NSMBHL standings, tying Saturday’s game 6-6 against Kings Mutual to wrap up their regular season was a boost for the 3-25-5 team.
The team opened the scoring in all three of their games over the weekend before losing the lead. Saturday was the only game they came back in.
“I think we all had enough of blowing games with the lead and we all just said we aren’t going to lose again after a good start,” said Scotsburn forward Jeff Skinner. “We just wanted to finish hard, get pucks to the net. That’s what we did today and we had a great finish.
“We were just keeping positive on the bench and on the ice and when they scored we wanted to stay as positive as we could to try and get some momentum back.”
Jared Livingstone led the team in scoring with two goals (game-tying goal) and an assist. Skinner had a goal and two assists, while Evan MacLennan (2) and MacKeil MacDonald rounded out the scoring.
Cody Burghardt and Austin Gough led Kings Mutual with two goals apiece, while Drake Batherson and Dylan Taylor added singles.
In goal Tyler Howe was pulled with just over 16 minutes remaining in the game, making way for Jaxon Maloney. Paul Janes and Kate Spooner shared time for Kings Mutual.
With the regular season finished the Crushers will face the first place ACCEL Hawks in the playoffs. Skinner said Saturday’s tie is important to showing they will continue to work hard regardless of where they sit in the standings and that they can put the puck in the net.
“It was a big game for us to show the other teams in the league that we’re not just going to give up after they score against us and lose,” said Skinner. “Going into playoffs it shows we’re ready to play and we aren’t going to be easy.
“I think for a moment we thought about those two quick goals in the third and knew we had to start going hard because we could’ve shut down right then and there, but we played hard and came back, scoring a couple goals,”
Crushers team captain, Matt Sartoris, wasn’t in the lineup on Saturday. Both Sartoris and coaching staff said he was likely healthy enough to play, but after “tweaking” a muscle earlier in the weekend they felt it was better to rest him until playoffs. Skinner said the team obviously missed having him in the lineup, but he felt the team stepped up on defence to fill his role.
“It was hard without one of our better defencemen, but we realize that we had to step up and I think we all did that,” said Skinner. “I think we played the way we would’ve with him, just a hard physical game and focusing on getting pucks to the net.”
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