Bearcat Banter: Game On

Photo Credit: James Faulkner
#18 Carter McCluskey
Grand Falls—Westfield, NB
5’10”, 160 lbs.
19, Forward

The new year has begun, with few pleasantries shared between the Truro Bearcats and Yarmouth Mariners last Friday. This was the fifth meeting between the two rival clubs, with Yarmouth now victorious in three, en route to increasing the spread over the Bearcats. Truro scored the only five-on-five goal of the game. Yarmouth scored their five while on the powerplay. It’s not hard to read between the lines. Things got nasty in the final period. Let the score sheet show 121 minutes of penalties were called in the game. Coming into this week, the Mariners are up nine points on the Bearcats, with Truro having three games in hand. Valley is not far behind.

Hardcore MHL fans refer to the time between January 1 and the end of regular season play as the next season. It’s started. The January 10 trade deadline is upon us. Going forward it’s all about positioning for play off spots and playing your best hockey when the post season begins.
It’s going to be a battle. Fans should expect some great competition over the next few months.

This week, the Bearcats gear up to face the Miramichi Timberwolves at the RECC on Friday, then home again on Saturday to face the South Shore Lumberjacks.

Miramichi is sitting fourth in their Division and possess the top two scorers in the MHL. This is the season’s first meeting between the
Bearcats and Timberwolves. If not for five overtime losses, their standing would be considerably different. The Timberwolves come to play.

The Lumberjacks are the Eastlink South Divisions’ cellar dwellers, a position they’ve held since the season’s opening. The Bearcats have won the three previous meetings and will need to continue that dominance. The Lumberjacks may have other thoughts.

By week’s end, it will be clear who the buyers and sellers were. For sure, it will be interesting.

Bearcat-of-the-Week honours went to Carter McCluskey, who returned to the Bearcats following a 22 game call up with the Cape
Breton Eagles. After a productive two seasons with the Saint John U-18 Vitos where he picked up 93 points in 73 games, he began his junior career with the Grand Falls Rapids, spending time as well with the  Saint John Sea Dogs in that covid interrupted year. Last year he split the season between the Sea Dogs and Eagles. In his 7 Bearcat games before the call up he had picked up 9 points. The 2019 South Shore and Saint John draft pick has plenty to offer, and his arrival could not come at a better time.