Tigers’ Rookies Key in Saturday Win

Pictou County took the early lead in the first on a goal by Isaac Chapman but the deficit was wiped out when rookie defenseman Lucas MacAulay slapped home a shot from the top of the face-off circle. MacAulay had started the play by carrying the puck into Crusher territory and then passing to Coleton Perry on the half-board. Perry wasted no time setting up Dylan Coffey for a shot from the slot. Matthew Normore, in Pictou’s net made a nice save but the rebound was directed out to the top of the circle to MacAulay who blasted it home for his first of the season.

The second period saw the Tigers take control by notching three while Isaak Pelletier, in Campbellton’s net turned away all Crusher attempts. For the rookie netminder it was his first game as a Tiger, and as it turned out, his first MHL win, in front of a home crowdat the Memorial Civic center. Another rookie defenseman, Hunter Martin gave the Tigers the lead just past the four minute mark when he directed a wrist shot through the crowd in front, past the well screened goalie  and into the net. For Martin it also was his first of the season.  About four minutes later, rookie forward, Zach Spencer, battling in front of the Pictou net, banged in a rebound to double the Tigers’ goal advantage. Hard work deep in the Crushers’ corner by Tommy Callaghan and Jared Janke eventually got the  puck back to the point to Pier-Olivier Michaud. He moved to his left and then wristed a shot on net which seemed to handcuff the goalie. Spencer, just as he was being tripped in front of the crease showed great concentration and reached out with his stick and swept the puck into the net.The Tigers again increased their lead a few minutes later. It started in the Tigers’ end when Francis Thibeault chipped the puck off the glass and Janke picked it up after a Crusher defenceman mishandled it near the blue line. Janke then raced down the right side into the Pictou zone and then perfectly set up Spencer who was alone in front of the net. When the goalie moved left, Spencer shifted to the right and backhanded the puck into the gaping side for what turned out to be the game winner.

The final frame turned out to be much more tense than Tiger fans had anticipated with the Crushers dialing up the pressure and cutting Campbellton’s lead down to one with close to six minutes left in the game. An untimely penalty ratcheted up the concern level considerably but the Tigers’ penalty killers, backstopped by Pelletier, held their ground and kept Pictou from getting the equalizer.

For his fine game, Zach Spencer was given first game star honours. Isaac Chapman of the Crushers earned second star while Pier-Olivier Michaud was third star.