Bearcats on top of MHL again

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For the third time since re-joining the Maritime Hockey League in 1997, the Truro Bearcats have claimed the league championship.

In a series that was back and forth with home ice proving huge for both the Bearcats and Dieppe Commandos, the Bearcats managed to find their game on the road and defeat the Commandos 5-2 in Game 6.

Mitch Robillard, who hadn’t played a game since Jan. 18 due to injury until the start of this series, put the Bearcats on top just 1:59 into the game. Defencemen Jordan McNaughton capitalized on a power play at 18:23 to give the Bearcats a 2-0 after the first.

Jacob Smith scored 1:56 into the second period before the Commandos Joel Blanchard scored at 13:13 to give the Commandos life heading into the third period.

Rookie Kyle Tibbo scored 5:11 into the third period to widen the lead to three again. Andrew Meredith scored at 10:09 to make give Dieppe a little bit of hope but Bearcats captain Philip Fife put the game away at 14:43 with his seventh goal of the playoffs.

Twenty-year-old defenceman Daniel Poliziani was named playoff M.V.P. for the Bearcats. Poliziani, who joined the Bearcats from the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League last summer, scored four goals and added eight assists in 14 playoff games.

Goaltender Chris Festarini led the playoffs in goaltending numbers. Festarini, who joined the Bearcats Jan. 9 from the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL, posted a 0.933 save percentage and 2.08 goals against average with a 12-2 record.

On the other side, Connor Wilkinson was also impressive in leading his team to the finals. Wilkinson posted a 0.910 save percentage and 2.82 goals against average with a 10-7 record. Forward Colton Parsons, 20, led the playoffs in scoring. In his only season with the Commandos, Parsons scored 25 points in 17 games. Brandon Pye, 19, was the highest scoring Bearcat, with 24 points in 14 games.

The Bearcats now travel to St. Jerome, Que., where they will compete for their second consecutive Fred Page Cup championship. The Bearcats hosted the tournament last year and defeated the Summerside Western Capitals in double overtime to claim the championship. The Bearcats will be joined by the host Saint-Jerome Panthers and the Carleton Place Canadians, champions of the Central Canada Hockey League.

Currently the LHJAAAQ final between the Granby Inouk and Sherbrooke Cougars is heading to Game 7 in Granby on Saturday night to determine the final team for the Fred Page Cup. Stay tuned for a full preview of all regional qualifiers for the RBC Cup, hosted in Vernon, B.C.from May 10-18.

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