AMHERST – The Junior A Crushers are inching their way into the playoff mix.
Led by two goals from Jacob Hickey, the Crushers went into Amherst Stadium for a New Year’s Eve matinee game and toppled the Ramblers 5-2, pulling to within four points of the Truro Bearcats in the Maritime Hockey League standings.
Truro, with a 14-14-1 record, owns the final playoff spot in the South Division, and the two teams will square off Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
Pictou County (11-13-3) also has two games in hand on the Bearcats.
In Amherst, Crusher penalty killers played a key role in the outcome; they twice were two men short for long stretches and both times managed to fend off the power play of the Ramblers (12-5-9).
Michael Dill and Dylan Riley each had a goal and an assist, Marc Gagnon assisted twice and Alex Bonaparte broke a 15-game scoring slump with a second-period goal, his first since Oct. 20.
Will Bower and Brock McEwan scored for Amherst and Crushers goalie Luke Melanson turned aside 27 shots to get the win.
The Crushers are 3-1-1 in their past five games.