The Pictou County Crushers will try to continue their domination of division teams when they host the Yarmouth Mariners on Thursday and visit the Amherst Ramblers on Saturday.
The Crushers will take a virtual tie for first place in the MHL’s South Division into their game against the Mariners at the Pictou County Wellness Centre starting at 7 p.m.
It follows a three-game saga over the past week when the Crushers chalked up five of a possible six points. They answered a 5-4 overtime loss to the Dieppe Commandos by defeating the Mariners 4-2 in a head-to-head match last Friday in Yarmouth and a 7-1 romp over the host Valley Wildcats on Sunday.
Alexis Roy continues to be a powerful offensive force for the Crushers, and Michael Dill has been nearly his equal.
Roy has driven to the top of the league’s individual scoring race and now has 13 goals and 17 assists in 16 games. Dill has 11 goals and a league high 16 assists for 27 points to occupy second place.
The defending Kent Cup champion Crushers appeared to have matters in hand against Dieppe, the team they beat last season to win the league championship.
Benji Curtis gave the Crushers a 1-0 lead in the first period, while goals by Nick Fewer, Ethan Marsh and newcomer defenceman Keven Larouche staked them to a 4-1 lead. But the Commandos got one goal back near the end of the second period, tied the game with two goals in the third period and won the game 44 seconds into overtime.
They outshot the Crushers 32-28, including 16-6 in the third period, and had the only shot of the overtime.
Roy’s empty-net goal with 11 seconds left in the third period sealed the Crushers’ win over the Mariners on Friday.
The Crushers led 2-1 after one period on goals by Jacob Hickey and Curtis, while Dill gave them a 3-1 lead early in the second period.
Each team took 27 shots.
Dill tallied twice and added an assist, while Roy contributed four assists on Sunday against the Valley.
Hickey, Curtis, Mack Derraugh, Evan MacLennan and Alex Bonaparte also scored for the Crushers, who snapped a 1-1 tie with four goals in the second period and two in the third.
The Crushers outshot the Wildcats 49-21.
Both the Mariners and Crushers have 26 points in the South Division, but the Mariners are in first due to more wins. They lead the Truro Bearcats by six points and the Ramblers by eight points.
The Crushers lead in power-play goal percentage and penalty-killing efficiency and penalty minutes. They lead in goals for and are tied for third in goals against.
Danny Vautour has a 3.04 goals-against average, while fellow Crushers goaltender Luke Melanson has a 3.23 mark.
Crushers’ forward Alexis Roy controls the puck during recent MHL game with the Amherst Ramblers, who will host the Crushers on Saturday. Roy has the league’s point lead with 13 goals and seven assists. (Cameron photo)