It appears the table is now set.
The Eastlink Division standings, regardless of regular season games yet to be played, have been firmed up.
The Truro Bearcats have clinched first place; the Pictou County Crushers and Amherst Ramblers have a lock on second and third, respectively, in the EastLink Division and the Yarmouth Mariners, based on their fourth-place finish, will be engaged in the mini-series with the Valley Wildcats when regular season play ends.
The Bearcats sewed up their position with a three-point weekend. Going into Yarmouth, the Bearcats knew the Mariners would be coming hard. It was a game the Bearcats needed to win but not as badly as the Mariners. Truro had its chances but big saves and a hungrier group of Mariners tipped the scales in Yarmouth's favour.
At the end of the day, the Bearcats played well enough to deserve the overtime point, but not the win.
Yarmouth's effort fell short the next night when the Bridgewater Lumberjacks played spoiler, locking Yarmouth in that dreaded four-spot.
Saturday, the Valley Wildcats made another valiant effort to top the Bearcats but it wasn't to be. Truro found a way to win.
The Wildcats are a determined pack. It's obvious the team is committed and must be taken very seriously in a short series. The Valley-Yarmouth matchup should be a dandy.
The Bearcats enter the week with two road games to close the regular season Win the pair and the team would finish first overall in the MHL, an accomplishment experienced only once by the franchise (2007).
That's one of the challenges put to the players. Another one is to play harder and smarter. In some recent wins, the Bearcats have gotten away from their strengths but still got favourable verdicts.
First up will be the Friday trip to Bridgewater to face the Lumberjacks. This is their last home game and the team obviously would enjoy the role of spoiler, once again, to salvage their season.
Saturday, the Bearcats are in Valley to face the Wildcats as they prepare for their first playoff venture in three years.
If the Bearcats look beyond these upcoming games, they could be vulnerable. Staying focused and doing what you do best could be very rewarding.
Bearcats fans are allowed to look forward to March 15; that's when the real season begins.
Go Cats Go.
Gerry Hale is media relations co-ordinator for the Truro Bearcats junior A hockey club