The Pictou County Weeks Crushers will put their recent winning streak to the test with three road games this week in the MHL.
They will follow their last three wins — at two at home — by visiting the Truro Bearcats on Wednesday, the South Shore Lumberjacks on Thursday and the Valley Wildcats on Saturday.
The Crushers ended their latest losing streak last Thursday with a 5-4 home-ice victory over the Grand Falls Rapids and followed it by edging the host Yarmouth Mariners 4-3 on Saturday and shutting out the visiting Valley Wildcats 3-0 on Monday.
The Crushers have won their three games since general manager and assistant coach Chad McDavid became the interim head coach until a replacement is named. Mike Danton was dismissed before Thursday’s game.
A dismal start to the calendar year this season and a slide from a share of first place with the Yarmouth Mariners in December to their current fifth place status prompted the change.
The Crushers entered Thursday’s game with two wins, nine regulation losses and an overtime loss, including five losses in six home-ice games.
“I’m very happy with the teams play over the last three games,” McDavid said. “We’ve tightened up things in our zone which has translated in more opportunities for us in the offensive zone.”
Kevin Mason’s second goal of the game stood up as the winner for the Crushers, who scored the first four goals of the game before hanging on for the win in Yarmouth.
Andrew Burden and Samuel LeBlanc also scored for the Crushers, who were outshot 33-30 but outshot Yarmouth 16-10 in the second period.
Craig Ryan’s second goal of the game with a minute, 25 seconds left in the game lifted the Crushers to their win over the Rapids. They squandered a 4-1 lead they took into the third period.
Goals by Evan Gallant, Dallas Farrell and Logan Vande Meerakker staked the Crushers to an early 3-0 lead, while Ryan’s first goal of the game midway through the second period restored their three-goal lead.
Jaden Mason, Dallas Farrell and Kevin Mason scored the Crushers’ goals against the Wildcats. They outshot the Wildcats 38-21.
The game was marked by major incidents in the third period that included nine penalties assessed at 7:57, six at 11:06 and 17 at 14:35 that banished starting Crushers goalie Andrew MacLeod and his Valley counterpart.
“I thought we were playing hard, protecting the lead,” McDavid said. “It’s unfortunate that we were put in a situation where we needed to protect ourselves against a team that was clearly trying to start something. We have to do a better job of staying composed in those situations.”
The results leave the Crushers in a fourth place tie with the Lumberjacks, one point behind the Amherst Ramblers and the Bearcats, heading into this week’s games.
Crushers forwards Andrew Burden, 47 and Kevin Mason, 11, battle for the puck against the Wildcats. (Goodwin photo)