AMHERST – Brandon Pye’s shootout goal was the winner as the Truro Bearcats twice erased two-goal deficits to defeat the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers 6-5 in Maritime Junior Hockey League action at the stadium on Wednesday.
Down 5-3 late in the third period, the Bearcats rallied with late goals by Philip Fife and Kyle Morrison to tie the game and force overtime. Neither team scored in overtime before Pye, Truro’s fourth shooter, scored and Brett Shute missed for the Ramblers.
“It seemed like the guys never got a break. We had a goal called back and a couple of tough calls, but we have to battle through it,” Ramblers’ coach Jim Bottomley said following the game. “That was a very good hockey game out there against a good hockey team.”
Amherst broke a 3-3 tie with a pair of goals in the third period. Ben Berisha scored his second of the game on a goalmouth scramble just 2:05 into the period before Danny Harquail extended the lead to two when he stole a puck deep in Truro territory and fired a high shot over Truro goalie Shayne Campbell before the Bearcats rallied late.
“That was a big win for us. We’ve struggled for five weeks and we finally showed from heart and we needed it,” Truro coach Shawn Evans said after the game. “I’m hoping this is an attitude builder for us. The home team has a good club. I mean this with all due respect. They are the surprise team this season. Jimbo’s got a good club there and they’re going to be there in the end. We’re going to see them lots in the last half of the season.”
Alex Hazelhurst, playing in his first game with the Bearcats after leaving the QMJHL’s Sherbrooke Phoenix and Travis Moore also scored in the shootout. Kody Orr and Berisha scored for the Ramblers.
“When you go up against teams like this and Yarmouth and Woodstock you know it’s going to be back and forth. You have to work for everything you get and a mental mistake can cost you,” Bottomley said. “Truro’s building for a national championship and we’re a team who didn’t think we were going to be where we are right now. They are playing the hearts out and made a quality team work very hard to beat us.”
Truro opened the scoring 2:44 into the game when Travis Fernley’s shot from the slot eluded Ramblers’ goalie Richard Tingley.
MacPherson tied the game taking a pass from Maxime Richard at 11:37 with Willie MacDonald also adding an assist.
Amherst took its first two-goal lead of the game early in the second when Cam McDonald and Berisha scored power play goals and almost extended the lead to three when Campbell was forced to make a big stop of a rebound from Danny Harquail.
Daniel Perigo and Moore scored before the second period was over to tie the game.
Amherst outshot Truro 47-35. The game saw only five minor penalties.
Amherst returns to action on Saturday when the Ramblers host the Bridgewater Lumberjacks.
In other league news, Amherst native Terry Rhindress stepped down as coach and general manager of the Lumberjacks for family and personal reasons. Rhindress was in his second season with the Lumberjacks.