An assist by Mark O’Shaughnessy on the winning goal at the RECC Saturday – St. Patrick’s Day – bode well for the Truro Bearcats as they evened up their best-of-seven divisional semifinal series with the Yarmouth Mariners at one apiece.
"Sometimes the toughest one in the playoffs to get is the first one, and I'm glad we didn't wait too long to get one," said Truro head coach and general manager Shawn Evans following the 1-0 victory.
Call it luck of the Irish if you will, but Karter Renouf’s power play marker on a rebound at 14:09 of the opening frame from Dylan Burton and the aforementioned O’Shaughnessy proved all the Bearcats would need. From there, netminder Kevin Resop closed up shop on the Mariners.
"He's been a quiet leader all year,” Evans said of Resop. “His game's improved as the season's gone on and it's not a coincidence the team's done better as he's done better.”
The Bearcats fired 13 shots on Yarmouth goalie Leif Hertz in the first period, while Resop was tested on just five. But in the ensuing 40 minutes, Resop had to be sharp as Truro was outshot 20-13.
“He held the fort in the third period when we needed him,” Evans said. “I thought their goalie did it in the first half of the game; he did his part in the second half of the game and I hope he keeps doing that."
A bit of the animosity playoff hockey tends to nurture was evident Saturday. The announced crowd of 1,328 got to see Dan Little of the Bearcats and Duncan McKie of Yarmouth square off in the middle frame, for which both were ejected.
The first two games of the Maritime Hockey League best-of-seven southern division semifinal series have produced just three goals, with Game 3 slated for tonight (Monday) in Yarmouth at 7 p.m. Wednesday the teams are back at the Rath-Eastlink Community Centre for Game 4, also at 7 p.m.
That first win aside, Evans knows there’s lots more work ahead.
"At the end of the day all we did was hold serve,” he said. “We're grateful to do that but now we have to find a way to keep getting better and keep our composure at the same time. I thought that we helped our opponent tonight with some stick penalties that we're gonna have to avoid in Game 3."
The other divisional series between Amherst Ramblers and South Shore Lumberjacks is also tied at a game apiece and resumes tonight in Bridgewater. Saturday, on home ice, Amherst edged the Lumberjacks 4-3.