TRURO - The wins flowed in on a regular basis for Kyle Morrison as a kid.
Being two years ahead of his brother Tyler, he typically didn't have much trouble beating his younger sibling for the Stanley Cup many times over in the basement arena of their Mississauga, Ont., home.
"I was bigger and stronger until, I guess, he hit puberty," 20-year-old Kyle said with a laugh.
The brothers have rarely played on the same team any time they've had a stick in their hands. Even through their minor hockey days, their age difference was enough to keep Kyle one level ahead. And when Tyler finally joined Kyle last year with the Gatineau Olympiques, Kyle was hurt. When he returned, Tyler was released.
That's all changed this year. The brothers are finally lacing their skates alongside each other as members of the Truro Bearcats, who host the Pictou County Crushers tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Colchester Legion Stadium. It is just Truro's second home tilt of the Maritime Junior Hockey League season.
"It's good we're both in the same place," Kyle said. "Especially since we're so far from home."
But the pair of forwards didn't come as a package deal and it took general manager Shawn Evans a while to bring the two players together. After spotting him a year ago at the Atlantic Challenge Cup in Moncton, Evans kept in touch with Tyler - six-foot-one, 195-pounds - and eventually brought him to Truro when things didn't work out for him at Baie-Comeau major junior camp this fall.
"We always made it clear whether Kyle came or not, we wanted Tyler and we were happy to have Tyler," Evans said.
A skilled forward who knows how to score, Kyle - six feet, 210-pounds - had plenty of options this season. But the attraction of playing with his brother for a team gearing up for a title run with the Fred Page Cup coming to Truro this spring, was just too great to pass up.
"(Tyler) told me all about it and he said he really liked it here," Kyle said. "Obviously I want to win a championship and play on a good team and playing with him was just a bonus. It was pretty attractive to come here."
Their presence has certainly been felt. Kyle has a goal and four assists in five games while Tyler has a helper to his credit.
"He's a bit more of a sniper than me," Tyler joked.
But they've also been helping in intangible ways. The brothers have a close bond and enjoy joking with one another. That demeanour in the dressing only rubs off on the others, helping to break tension and keep everyone relaxed.
"It puts kind of a family setting in the room," Kyle said. "We have a good group of guys, everyone's pretty close already, but it just makes it easier seeing two guys who are already pretty comfortable with each other. It makes other guys more comfortable and it's been good so far."
But as much as they enjoy some lighthearted times, Kyle and Tyler also push each other to be their best.
"I want to see him do well and he wants to see me do well and there's that competitiveness to do better," Kyle said. "It's always good to have a little competition."
That competition is typically pretty tough, coming from a player who scored 15 goals and added 13 assists in 35 games in Gatineau last season.
"Kyle can be a top player in this league if he chooses to be," Evans said. "He's got a lot of talent. We're very lucky to have him and if he's very motivated he can be as good as it gets in this league."
You can bet he'll have no shortage of motivation this season on a quest to win everything he can with his brother in his final season of junior hockey.
"It's something we've never done before," Kyle said. "It would be awesome and hopefully our family can come down and watch."