MHL’s Crushers host Bearcats Thursday

Sports

The Pictou County Weeks Crushers will test the Truro Bearcats this week in their last two MHL pre-season games.

The teams will meet at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Pictou County Wellness Centre and at the same time on Saturday in Truro.

The games follow two one-goal losses, including a 4-3 verdict on Sunday against the Summerside Western Capitals at the Wellness Centre. The Caps nipped the Crushers 3-2 in overtime on Saturday in Summerside.

Crushers head coach and assistant general manager Doug Doull said the games against Truro will be important for both teams.

“We know they have some real high-end forwards coming back,” he said. “They’re always strong, even though they graduate players as we did. By the weekend we’ll have an idea of the team we’ll have, as they will, so it will be a good test for us. I think they’ll be hungry to play us.”

The Capitals took the lead twice before winning Saturday’s game at 1:10 in overtime.

Ryan Roche tied the game on a power-play goal in the second period for the Crushers, while Michael Dill’s goal with just one second left in the third period forced extra time.

The Capitals outshot the Crushers 30-26 and their goal was the only shot in overtime.

Alec Lindberg started in goal for the Crushers on Saturday before being replaced by Luke Melanson, the former Weeks Major Midgets goalie who joined the Crushers after a trade with the Bearcats on Aug. 19.

The Bearcats received Calen Blaikie and a third-round pick in the 2018 draft in the deal.

The Crushers answered the Capitals’ first goal in the first period Sunday with three goals in less than two minutes by Alex Bonaparte, Alexis Roy and Benji Curtis. The Caps scored shortly after the Crushers’ flurry and tied the game midway through the second period before going ahead to stay early in the third period.

The Crushers outshot the Capitals 36-21, including 9-3 in the third period, but could not draw even.

Cole McLaren played the first half of the game before being replaced by Danny Vautour.

“I liked a lot of things about both games,” Doull said. “I think they’re similar to us. They’re young and have good top-six players.”

The Crushers open their regular season at home on Sept. 8 against the Amherst Ramblers and have three games the following week.

 

Crushers forward Evan MacLennan, 17, tries to centre a pass from behind the Capitals’ goal during the third period of their pre-season hockey game on Sunday at the Pictou County Wellness Centre. The Capitals edged the Crushers 4-3. Goodwin photo)

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