NEW GLASGOW – The countdown continues as the Pictou County Weeks Crushers trim their roster to open the Maritime Hockey League’s regular season.
The Crushers will begin their schedule at home Sept. 13 when they host the Amherst Ramblers at the John Brother MacDonald Stadium.
It will come after a series of pre-season games that included hosting the Metro Shipbuilders of Dartmouth Thursday.
It started last Thursday in New Glasgow with a 5-4 overtime loss to the Truro Bearcats, a team that’s gunning to ice a competitive team as it prepares to host the 2012-13 Fred page Cup.
“It will be a challenge every time we play them,” Crushers head coach and general manager Jason Malone said. “It’s always going to be a battle.”
The Bearcats scored once in each of the first three periods to take a 3-0 lead, but the Crushers outscored Truro 4-1 after that. They completed the rally with three straight goals capped by Jody Squires’ goal with less than a minute left in the period and with the Crushers’ net empty in favour of an extra attacker.
The Bearcats negated the rally by scoring the game winner 48 seconds into the sudden-death overtime period.
“It was a good way to start exhibition play,” Malone said. “There were some young guys out there and for some of them it was their first high-paced game for four months.”
The Crushers got some production from other players being counted on to provide offence.
The forward line of Andrew Graham, Brennan Saulnier and Bruce Hornbrook combined for eight points, with Saulnier collecting a goal and two assists, Hornbrook adding one goal and one assist and Graham registering three assists.
Brennan Bailey added the other goal.
The Crushers outshot Truro 33-26, including 14-6 in the second period and 13-7 in the third.
A crowd of 521 fans watched the game.
Road games included a trip to Truro Saturday and to Kentville Tuesday for a game against the Yarmouth Mariners.
In Truro, the Bearcats needed a shootout to edge the Crushers 3-2.
Unlike Thursday, the Crushers started strong and took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Hornbrook and veteran Corey Bennett, who did not play Thursday.
The Bearcats scored later in the first period and tied the game in the second period.
The Crushers outshot Truro 38-36, including 13-7 in the first period and 3-2 in overtime.