The Bearcats were blanked 3-0 by the Amherst Ramblers Wednesday in a wild and controversial Game 3 in front of 1,852 fans at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre.
With the Ramblers clinging to a 1-0 lead late in the contest, Bearcats captain Kyle Tibbo scored what appeared to be the game-tying goal when he flipped the puck upstairs behind goaltender Daryl MacCallum from in tight.
As the Bearcats began to celebrate, the referee motioned no goal, and Matt Cusson of the Ramblers went the other way and scored on a breakaway to give the visitors a 2-0 lead with just under three minutes remaining.
Eastlink TV broadcast the game, and a replay of Tibbo’s effort clearly showed the puck popped the water bottle that sat on top of the net. However, the MHL doesn’t use video replay and the call on the ice stood.
The teams battled evenly through 40 minutes. It wasn’t until 15:22 of the third period that Dawson Grenier scored on a point blast to give the Ramblers a 1-0 advantage. After Cusson’s insurance marker, Matt Lapointe sealed it with an empty netter with 39 seconds remaining.
MacCallum stopped all 31 shots he faced, while Jason Rioux was also sharp in making 28 saves.
Game 4 is Saturday in Amherst at 7 p.m., while Game 5 will be played in Truro on Monday, also at 7 p.m.