PICTOU COUNTY – “We obviously needed a good start and we got fired up beforehand on Saturday, went out and finished our checks and made a statement.”
The statement came across loud and clear to the Truro Bearcats and fans of both teams, the Weeks Crushers are ready to play and the Bearcats can’t take them lightly during the Eastlink Division semifinal series. Mitchell Deruelle said the Crushers were confident heading into Truro on Saturday that they could draw first blood.
“This was a big game for both teams obviously,” he said. “We needed to stick to our game, which we did and we felt that them moving into their new building was something we could take advantage of because the ice surface is different for them, but similar to ours at the Wellness Centre. I think we definitely took advantage of it and it helped us.”
Game 2 is tonight at the Pictou County Wellness Centre at 7 p.m.
Deruelle and his line mates Nick Parker and Garrett Holmes definitely got to the Bearcats leading the Crushers with two goals and six points in Game 1. He said having Holmes rejoin the line late in the season was great for their chemistry.
“I can’t really explain why we work so well together, we just got put together last season and just click as a line,” he said. “Holmes is a work horse and gets pucks in the corners and never gives up on the play. Parker’s speed is huge for us too, we just find a way to work really well together.”
Although their line led the team to open the series, Deruelle said that they couldn’t take all the credit. He said every line played their roles perfectly and they simply outworked Truro’s lines.
“We just outworked them all over the ice,” he said. “They might be bigger as a whole, but we’re quicker and more agile than them. By finishing our checks it wears them down and we have four really strong lines so rolling all of them keeps us from getting gassed. Everyone followed our game plan and continuing to do that will help us to be successful.”
As a 19-year-old line Deruelle recognizes his line is looked to lead, but said the Crushers rookies and younger players step up themselves when it comes to big games.
“We try to play our best to help lead the team, but our young guys step up their play without us having to say anything to them,” he said. “All of our rookies are great players and know how to up their game when needed.”
On Monday Truro Bearcats head coach Shawn Evans said that their approach to game 2 needs to be taken a step at a time and that means making sure they first put out a solid effort.
“We embarrassed ourselves with our play in game 1,” the coach said. “We haven’t played that poorly in a long time. We’ve got to play better before we can win. But now we know the error of our ways and we need to address them.”
With files from Matt Veno.
On twitter: @NGNewsChris