Big second period lifts Crushers past Ramblers in Game 3
NEW GLASGOW – “A leader should lead by example.”
© CHRISTOPHER CAMERON - THE NEWS
Weeks Crushers forward David Stephens breaks into the Amherst Ramblers zone during Game 3 of their Eastlink Division semifinal series with Amherst tonight at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
Regardless of whether that’s sometimes used a cliché in sports, that’s exactly what happened Tuesday night at home for the Weeks Crushers.
Assistant captain Garret Holmes led the team with four points on a goal and three assists, while captain Nick Parker scored twice, one being his 100th goal as a Crusher, to defeat the Amherst Ramblers 4-1.
“It was just one of those nights I guess,” said Holmes. “It was just working hard through all the zones of the ice, caught some good breaks and just hard work down low (that led to his four point night).”
The win gives Pictou County a 2-1 lead over Amherst in their best-of-seven Eastlink Division semifinal series. Game 4 is slated for Thursday night in Amherst.
Holmes opened the scoring for Pictou County 2:58 into the second period, after neither team was able to break the gridlock in the first.
Six minutes later Crushers assistant captain Jordan McInnis padded the lead with his second goal of the playoffs.
Parker added a third for Pictou County in the second period, giving them a 3-0 lead heading into the final 20 minutes.
In the third period Parker scored his second of the game and 100th as a Crusher at the 3:34 mark, stepping off the sideboards and slapping a rocket past Richard Tingley on the power play.
Amherst would answer with a power play goal of their own, on their second opportunity, 10:22 into the third. Thomas beat Brandon Thibeau, who had made 26 saves at that point.
Both teams had power play chances in the final nine minutes, but were unable to score as Thibeau went on to make 33 saves for the win.
“Thibeau played great tonight and definitely kept us in it throughout the whole game,” said Holmes. “We look for him to be huge in the net and he is. He’s an important player on our team.”
Tingley turned aside 36 Crushers shots in the loss.
“Last Thursday we had a lot of power plays in the first and capitalized on our special teams, so that was probably a difference in that game, but tonight I thought we were better five-on-five than we were the last two games,” said Holmes after the game about what was the key to their win in Game 3.
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Holmes doesn’t expect or think there should be any trouble carrying momentum from tonight’s win forward to Thursday. He admitted that it will be tough to break the trend of the home team winning each game, but if they focus on their game they should be fine.
“It’s going to be huge because we’ve gotta go into their barn and we know it’s a tough place to play, so we’ve got to be mentally prepared to try and steal one on their ice,” said Holmes. “I think just focus going into the game (is the key). We can’t let the atmosphere get to us. We just have to play our game, play smart, play Crushers hockey.”
Pictou County Weeks Crushers 4
2nd Garrett Holmes from Jordan McInnis and Harrison Wood 2:58
2nd Jordan McInnis from Garrett Holmes and David Stephens 8:53
2nd Nick Parker from Garrett Holmes and David Stephens 14:49
3rd Nick Parker from John Mullally and Garrett Holmes 3:34 PP
Amherst Ramblers 1
3rd Justin Thomas from Cam MacDanald and Willie MacDonald 10:22 PP
W: Brandon Thibeau 33 saves
L: Richard Tingley 36 saves