The Pictou County Crushers have secured bronze medals at the Atlantic Peewee AAA hockey championship they hosted at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
The Crushers did not win the medals the easy way as they fashioned a 6-5 comeback victory over the Kings County Kings from P.E.I. on Sunday.
Third-period goals by Kaden Smith, Amias Crossman and tournament all-star defenceman Dominic MacKenzie within a span of three minutes, 13 seconds lifted the Crushers into a 6-4 lead.
The Kings narrowed the gap moments later, but the Crushers were able to prevail. They outshot the Kings 53-27, including 24-9 in the first period.
Keagon Dalton and Wyatt Spence scored 27 seconds apart in the first period to give the Crushers a 2-0 lead, but the Kings answered with three goals in the first period and one early in the second period to take a 4-2 lead.
Cade Mosher scored later in the second period to start the Crushers’ rally.
Jorja Burrows got the win in the Crushers’ goal.
Burrows stopped 25 of 26 shots and the Crushers got goals from Clint MacLaughlin in the first period and Keagan Dalton in the third period as they opened their quest for the championship on Thursday with a 2-1 victory over the Kings.
The Crushers faced the two eventual gold medal finalists on Friday and fell 4-1 to the St. Johns, N.L. Hitmen and 6-1 to the Bedford Blues.
The Blues defeated the Hitmen 4-1 Sunday in the gold medal game.
Lane Sim scored the Crushers’ lone goal against the Hitmen, while Landon Steele got their goal against the Blues.
The Crushers outshot the Hitmen 27-17 but could not cash in more opportunities than their one goal.
Alex Palmer stopped all 15 shots he faced as the Crushers cemented their appearance in the bronze medal game with a 4-0 victory over the Fredericton Caps from New Brunswick.
Smith, Kingley Austin, MacKenzie and Ben Marchand got the Crushers’ goals as they outshot Fredericton 32-15.
Crushers’ head coach Jeff Green was generally pleased with the team’s performance.
“We didn’t have everyone competing against Bedford, but when you’re in five games and play four of them well you have to be satisfied,” he said. “These players were really good to coach. They had no egos. They’d be out on the ice for a practice and come off saying thanks.”
Green also praised the organizing committee Jeff Burrows and Carolyn Steele co-chaired for the four-day event.
“I’ve been to a lot of these events and they did a fabulous job,” Green said. “They just go above and beyond.”
Burrows said co-hosting the tournament was a team effort. “We had so much help from everyone. The business community and the volunteers were fantastic. This is a great facility and a great area to host events. If we get together and plan, I think we can develop a template to have events here every weekend.”
The Crushers expected to return just three players from their roster next season. They are hosting a tryout camp in May.
Crushers’ Cade Moser tries to jam in the puck at the side of the net against the Fredericton Caps on Saturday. The Crushers won the game 4-0.(Goodwin photo)