Loss of players headlines busy Monday for Hubtown squad
TRURO - It was status quo for the Truro Bearcats Monday in the national junior A hockey rankings.
But that was about the only thing that remained constant to start the week for the Hubtown squad, which will lose the services of Jordan Coccimiglio and Daniel Perigo, saw a temporary captain change and a pair of players receive league honours.
Coccimiglio has returned to his native Burlington, Ont., to deal with family matters. He left the team early Monday after scoring a goal in Truro's 6-2 victory over the Metro Shipbuilders Sunday in Truro. There is no timetable for his return.
"There's more to life than hockey," Bearcats head coach and general manager Shawn Evans said. "He's dealing with what's most important and once his personal matters are under control, he'll return."
The loss comes just a week after forward Jordan Cox informed Evans he was leaving the team for the junior B Eastern Shore Mariners to hold is junior eligibility as a 21-year-old.
Coccimiglio, a 19-year-old forward, has been a big part of Truro's success to date with eight goals and 12 points in 16 games.
As a parting gift, Evans pinned the captain's C on his chest for Sunday's match against Metro. Current captain Travis Moore agreed with the move and served as an assistant captain, taking the letter from forward Dylan McGuigan.
"Every decision I or the staff makes is for the best for the team," Evans said. "That's no slight on Travis or Dylan. They were very gracious. It was a one-game thing and we thought it needed to be done for the team."
A pair of weekend Maritime Junior Hockey League wins over Metro and Summerside held the Bearcats in second on the Canadian Junior Hockey League list for the third consecutive week behind Alberta's Brooks Bandits.
The Bearcats, yet to lose in regulation, pace the MHL at 15-0-0-1 and have outscored their opponents 75-26 as they continue to tear through the competition.
The Bandits continue to do the same out west, remaining perfect through their first 18 games, scoring 94 goals while allowing just 40.
But Evans said his team isn't watching the standings.
"Truthfully we don't think about it," he said. "Certainly we know and it's an honour but our main focus is being ready to play and win our next game. When you win games, everything else will look after itself."
Truro native Perigo, who just returned to the Bearcats two weeks ago from the QMJHL's P.E.I. Rocket, suffered a high ankle sprain in Saturday's tilt. The 18-year-old forward is expected to miss Friday's trip to Bridgewater and Saturday's home date against the Campbellton Tigers.
Perigo has three goals in four games in Truro.
The Bearcats have recalled Cox and Jordan Wentzell from major midget Dartmouth to fill in for Perigo and Coccimiglio this weekend.
Bearcats forward Brandon Pye started a big week with a bang Monday as he was named co-winner of the league's rookie of the month honour with Bridgewater's Jeremy Butterworth.
Pye, an 18-year-old Mount Pearl, Nfld., native netted five goals and added five assist in seven games in October and just returned to the Bearcats last week after attending Canada East training camp.
Pye did not make the team, but will compete this weekend in the CJHL prospects games in Digby and Yarmouth as part of the World Junior A Challenge showcase in Yarmouth.
Bearcats leading scorer Kyle Morrison also earned one of the league's three-star selections this week after recording seven points (one goal, six assists) in Truro's past three games including a four-helper effort against Metro Sunday. He now sits third in league scoring with 27 points (eight goals, 19 assists).