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Crushers will roll into New Brunswick, searching for answers

Jaden Mason in action against the Yarmouth Mariners on Oct. 24.
Jaden Mason in action against the Yarmouth Mariners on Oct. 24. - Kevin Adshade

WESTVILLE ROAD, N.S.

Things are tightening up at the bottom of the South Division.

The Pictou County Crushers head into the Maritime Hockey League weekend tied with the Truro Bearcats for fourth place in the division, although the Crushers (6-7) have three games in hand on Truro and four on the cellar-dwelling Valley Wildcats, who in spite of a rough start to their season, have snuck to within two points of those teams.

Those around the team say the Crushers need to elevate its compete level.

“If you’re a fan and came to watch us play,” Crushers coach Mike Danton said, “you’d say ‘if these guys just (expletive) worked hard, they wouldn’t lose a game’.”

The Crushers are coasting along, winning just enough to keep their heads above water, and Danton said the team collectively needs to get more grit in their game: be willing to take a punch in the face and not retaliate, lay it on the line when blocking shots, do whatever it takes to win the little one-on-one battles.

He called the trio of Jake Martin, Evan Gallant and Cal MacPherson the Crushers’ most effective line “and the reason they’re our most effective line is fairly simple – they are players who can’t get by on skill alone. They have to work hard every shift, every practice.”

The Crushers dipped under the .500 mark when they were beaten 6-4 by the Wildcats on Nov. 2 in Berwick. Martin, Andrew Antle, Kevin Mason and Dallas Farrell had the Crusher goals, and Aiden Hickey had two assists.

“Right now, we’re just having a hard time finding our identity, playing together as a team,” said Gallant, who added that the team morale was low after the loss in Valley.

“Maybe it opened eyes for a lot of us, that there are things we need to address before we take a turn for the worse. We need to be much more accountable.”

The Crushers make their first trip of the year to New Brunswick, when they take on the Campbellton Tigers (Nov. 8) and Miramichi Timberwolves (Nov. 9).

“We are definitely looking for two big wins,” said Gallant. “I think that would be a turning point for us.”

Kicked out of the Pictou County Wellness Centre (PCWC) for 10 days to allow for the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event (they’ve been scrounging for practice times at local rinks), the Crushers’ next home game is Nov. 14 against the Yarmouth Mariners.

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