TRURO - There's no mistaking which team in the New Brunswick Midget AAA Development Hockey League wears the biggest target.
With good reason, that distinction goes to the Truro M.U. Rhino Renovations Bearcats.
"It's something we're pretty used to," said Bearcats coach Phil Lynds. "We've been fairly successful over the past few years."
The Bearcats enter the new season as two-time reigning league champions, and are considered a serious threat to three-peat.
They open the season tonight against the Kenn Valley Spartans (Colchester Legion Stadium, 8:30 p.m.) The teams meet again Saturday at 10 a.m.
"Every night, every team we play gives us their best effort and they're looking to knock us off," Lynds said. "And a lot of players that came to us over the years have to get used to that - they have to pretty much bring their A game every night and it takes a little getting used to."
The Bearcats are a talented squad and possess both size and speed, Lynds said.
Their roster includes 11 returning players, and three others who played in the major midget AAA ranks last season - Matt Mingo, D (Pictou County), Ian O'Brien, F (Cole Harbour) and Matthew MacCallum, G (Pictou County).
Another key addition is forward Lucas Gulliver, who led the CEC Cougars high school team in scoring last season. He is expected to fill a void left by the departure of Truro's leading scorer last year - Kyle MacKenzie (Brookfield, junior B).
"We've got some good, key players that have come back to us that we weren't expecting, so it kind of solidified us pretty well," Lynds said.
The Bearcats are the lone Nova Scotia-based team in the eight-team New Brunswick league, and will play a 30-game regular season schedule.
They have already served notice they are a team to reckon with, having won the early bird tournament in Truro last weekend.
"We have a saying here, ‘We take one rung at a time.' Every game is a rung on the ladder," Lynds said.
The Bearcats are also two-time Nova Scotia champions, and have won bronze medals at the Atlantic championship the past two years.
Truro has submitted a bid to host the Atlantic championship this season.
Following is the Truro M.U. Rhino Renovations Bearcats roster:
Matt MacCallum 33
Brandon Archibald 36
Ben Lynds 22
Matt Mingo 21
Alex Doyle 6
Sander Manley 17
Brenan Turner 11
Tristan Clark 15
Kenny MacInnes 25
Connor Lynds 16
Nate Leger 18
Ian O'Brien 12
Alex McNutt 19
Alex Place 9
Neil Smith 14
Jaeger Dean 97
Logan MacDonald 94
Colby Starratt 79
Lucas Gulliver 82
Greg Harris 29