RIVERVIEW, N.B. - After two weeks off for Christmas, the Pictou County Bantam AA Crushers took part in the Riverview Winter Classic tournament in New Brunswick, Jan. 5-6.
The Crushers’ first opponent was the Riverview Bantam AA Blues, the top team in their league. The opening stanza was back and forth action with the goalies shining in a scoreless opening period.
The players took over the show in the second, with the Crushers opening the scoring midway through when Myles Farnsworth won a faceoff and got it back to Adam Farrell, who made no mistake in giving his team a lead.
Just 12 seconds later, Riverview tied the game and soon scored another to make it 2-1. Ross Martin tied the game at two for the Crushers at 7:22.
In the final minutes of the period, Riverview added two more to make it 4-2 but Ryan Denny scored for Pictou County before the period ended, making it 4-3.
The Crushers continued to play hard and forced the play in the third and were rewarded; Tanner Steele scored the tying goal and Covey Cameron netted the winner on a hard shot from the point, for a 5-4 victory. Assist came from Martin (2), singles from Steele and Farrell.
Xander Vohs played strong in nets.
Later that afternoon, against Moncton Hawks Bantam AA, Pictou County scored first with a goal by Cam MacKinnon and Martin added another late in the period for a 2-0 lead. Moncton scored first in the second, but the Crushers got two from Noah MacDonald and Farrell. Moncton would score another only to be answered by Cameron of the Crushers, to end the period with Pictou County up 5-2.
In the third, the Hawks added one and again Cameron answered, finding the five-hole with a blast from centre ice. Jacob Fraser made some big saves in the third earning the 6-4 win for Pictou County. Assists came from Martin, Chris Avery and Brent Chapman.
The Bantam AAs finished the opening day of the tournament in first place of their pool. On Sunday, Crushers needed a win or a tie against NB East Phantoms Bantam Minor AAA to go to the championship game. The Phantoms scored, but the Crushers proved they could play alongside them for a very entertaining game. After the Phantoms went ahead 2-0, the Crushers created chances but could not capitalize until 8:21 of the third, when MacKinnon finished off a scoring play with Steele and Adam Fraser.
Pictou County ran into penalty trouble after that, but Dylan Kontuk, Camden Kelly, Farnsworth and Denny combined to kill a 5-on-3 late. Vohs earned player of the game for an outstanding performance in nets, keeping the game close for an exciting ending as the Crushers fell 2-1.
Next weekend, the Pictou County Bantam AAs will take part in the Royal Canadian Legion Challenge Cup in Sydney.