The Junior A Crushers wanted to make the Pictou County Wellness Centre a tough place for opponents.
So far, so good.
The Crushers climbed back from an early deficit to edge the Amherst Ramblers 3-2 on Thursday, notching their second win in as many games on home ice.
“It’s a good thing that we’re having these one-goal battles early in the season,” said Crushers coach Mike Danton. “It helps build character.”
Looking for their first win of the young Maritime Hockey League season under ex-Crushers coach Doug Doull, the Ramblers came out with some jump and went up 2-0 in the first period on goals from Max Boudreau and Robbie Burt.
But the Crushers settled down and would tie the game before the end of the first 20 minutes: Jaden Mason navigated tight quarters in front of the Amherst net and wristed home a high shot, then Jake Martin neatly re-directed a pass from Calum MacPherson to even the score.
Late in the second period, the Crushers took the lead for good, when Kevin Mason broke down the left side wing and snapped the puck in short-side on Ramblers goalie Joel Goguen, who counted 37 saves on the night.
The Crushers held that lead the rest of the way, killing off a long two-man Amherst power play in the third period and getting 29 saves overall from goaltender Andrew MacLeod, who made his second straight start in the Crusher net.
“Andrew had another big game,” said Danton, although he said it’s too early in the season to call MacLeod the starting netminder, “and the penalty killers were good, doing their job.”
Crushers’ forward Jaden Mason said there were a lot of positives to take away from the win.
“We are getting lots of opportunities offensively, tons of chances,” the assistant captain said. “But it’s early in the season, people are getting used to new faces and we’re still working on our systems. Once we get in a little more work, they’ll start going in.”
The Crushers (2-0) are at home to the Truro Bearcats on Sept. 27, and play their first road game of the regular season on Sept. 29 at the South Shore Lumberjacks.