NEW GLASGOW – The post-game scene in the Weeks Crushers locker room was somber Wednesday night.
© CHRISTOPHER CAMERON - THE NEWS
Weeks Crushers forward David Stephens, left, and Truro Bearcats defenceman Mitchell Scott race for the puck during Game 1 of the Eastlink Division final on Wednesday night at the Wellness Centre.
With Game 1 of the Eastlink Division final with the Truro Bearcats played at home at the Wellness Centre the Crushers wanted to have a positive start. Unfortunately they didn’t.
From the first period to the end of the third the Bearcats balanced offence provided two goals a period en route to a 6-2 victory, albeit one was scored with less than a second remaining in regulation.
“I don’t know, it’s probably a combination of a few things,” said Pictou County head coach Jason Malone after the game about what caused his team to struggle in Game 1.
“At the end of the day we weren’t the hockey club that we needed to be to be successful, but the good thing is we get to get on the bus and go make a difference tomorrow night in Truro.”
Game 2 is Thursday night at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre, with Game 3 also in Truro on Saturday night. The fourth game of the series is Sunday back in New Glasgow.
Malone said he doesn’t think having to play back-to-back games in Truro, since Tuesday’s was moved to Thursday because of weather, is a major issue.
“At the end of the day you need to play the games and it’s not – I don’t think it’s that big of a deal really,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that you lose Game 1 at home, but still having said that you need to go out and win some games in Truro regardless. We know what to expect there. It’s a good atmosphere to play in. It’s very comfortable and our guys are ready to go and we’ll bounce back.”
Jordan McNaughton led the Bearcats in scoring with three assists, as six different Truro players found the back of the net against Brandon Thibeau. Brandon Bazinet and Daniel Poliziani scored in the first period, before Kyle Tibbo and Jacob Smith added tallies in the second.
Both Brandon Pye and Jordan Wentzell rounded out the scoring for Truro in the third.
Mitchell Deruelle and Regan Spears scored the two goals for Pictou County.
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Thibeau made 39 saves in Pictou County’s loss, while Chris Festarini made 37 to pick up the win.
“With him I think you need to realize that he’s a big goaltender and he plays his position well,” said Malone about having trouble scoring on Festarini. “He’s always very square to the puck and it’s tough to beat a guy clean like that. You need to get traffic. You need to get second and third opportunities and you need to keep the game simple. Obviously if you have the opportunity to pass around him you’ll take it, but I think our guys need to start taking pucks to the net and playing simple hockey as opposed to complicating it.”
After the game during the team discussion in the room, Malone said the players understood they needed to be better and will be in their next game.
For live updates throughout Game 2 visit www.ngnews.ca.
Pictou County Weeks Crushers 2
1st Mitchell Deruelle 18:42
3rd Regan Spears from Mitchell Shewfelt 10:52
Truro Bearcats 6
1st Brandon Bazinet from Jacob Smith 4:46
1st Daniel Poliziani from Jordan McNaughton 16:25 PP
2nd Kyle Tibbo from Phillip Fife 2:30
2nd Jacob Smith from Tyler Morrison 14:00
3rd Brandon Pye from Tyler Morrison and Jordan McNaughton 8:28
3rd Jordan Wentzell from Cal Gloade and David Mosher 19:59
W: Chris Festarini 37 saves
L: Brandon Thibeau 39 saves