Bearcats rookie impressive during playoffs

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By Lyle Carter

Local junior A hockey fans are excited as they count the few wins needed by Truro Bearcats to land another Maritime Junior Hockey League championship.

Truro Bearcats forward Jordan Wentzell is thrilled to be playing in the MHL Kent Cup final in his first season with the team.

But, to the credit of the Bearcats, they appear quite cool as they meet the challenge at hand. After Truro opened the Kent Cup final with a close 2-1 win over the Dieppe Commandos last Tuesday in Truro it was good to talk to calm Bearcats rookie forward Jordan Wentzell.

"The opening game was a real playoff game," Wentzell, 18, a native of Stillwater Lake, Halifax County, said. "It was a hard-fought battle by both teams right to the end. For the players, it was an exciting game to play in, an easy game for both teams to get right into."

Wentzell said not straying from a game plan will be key to winning the championship series.

"We have to stick to our game and follow details laid out by the coaching staff. I feel if we keep following instructions the rest will follow," he said.

Wentzell, who scored four goals in 43 regular season games, has matched that total while suiting up in all Bearcats post-season games.

"I just kept working hard and thinking positive all season," said Wentzell, who played the past three seasons in the major midget ranks. "Being dedicated and with hard work I feel everything has come along. I try to play both ends of the rink. I try to be consistent and give it my all shift in and shift out."

Wentzell feels spirit and good team morale are big pluses for the Bearcats.

"Everyone is close on the team," he said. "The team spirit is really good and every player supports each other. When someone scores a goal or makes a big hit the other players are excited for him. We have a real good group of players in the dressing room and on the ice."

Wentzell is one of four rookies on the local club. Other first-year players are Kyle Tibbo, Denver Lynds and Matt Riley.

Wentzell played his early minor hockey in TASA. During his first two seasons in the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League, he played for Cole Harbour Wolf Pack, coached by Steve Crowell. During his final season in major midget in 2012-13, Wentzell played for Dartmouth Ice Dogs.

While in Truro he is attending Nova Scotia Community College and taking business courses.

Game 3 of the Maritime Junior Hockey League final between Truro and Dieppe takes place tonight at the

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It was during the 2004-2005 season that the Bearcats claimed their first of two Maritime Junior A Hockey League championships.

Playing defence that season was Judique, Cape Breton native Andrew MacDonald.

Fast forward to the summer of 2012 and during a function in Kentville it was a pleasure to have a lengthy talk with the now Philadelphia Flyers defenceman. I recall that MacDonald was adamant in his praise of Bearcats head coach Shawn Evans. Giving Evans much credit for him making the National Hockey League, MacDonald also spoke highly of assistant coaches Troy Fougere and Greg Sutherland.

In fact, MacDonald referred to Truro as being one of the greatest things that ever happened to him in hockey.

It will be nice if MacDonald is able to make a trip back to the Hubtown during an off-season one of these years?

The former Bearcats rearguard signed a six-year US $30-million contract extension with Philadelphia Flyers earlier this week. Wow!

Jamie Barbour, now an assistant coach with the Bearcats, was a defenceman and teammate of MacDonald's on that 2004-2005 championship team.

Lyle Carter's sports column appears every Saturday in the Truro Daily News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 673-2857.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Community College, Philadelphia Flyers, Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League Maritime Junior Hockey League National Hockey League Truro Daily News

Geographic location: Truro, Stillwater Lake, Halifax County TASA Cape Breton Kentville US

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