TRURO – Jordan Kennedy has been waiting for this.
The 20-year-old native Reserve Mines and goaltender for the Truro Bearcats gets to take on his old team, the Miramichi Timberwolves, for the first time in a Maritime Junior Hockey League tilt tonight at RECC. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
“It’s going to be strange to see those faces coming at me but it’s going to be fun too,” Kennedy said. “It’s kind of hard to explain how I feel.”
The game is the first of back-to-back contests for the Bearcats (7-2-0-1), who also host the struggling Bridgewater Lumberjacks (1-10-0-2) at RECC Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Kennedy patrolled the crease for the Timberwolves (8-3-0-0) on a full-time basis for the past two seasons after spending some time in the QMJHL with the Lewiston Maineiacs and Moncton Wildcats. The six-foot-two, 195-pounder came to the Hubtown in an Aug. 27 deal which saw the rights to Bailey Webster and future considerations go the other way.
The Bearcats beat the Timberwolves 4-1 in their only other meeting of the season on Sept. 14 in Miramichi. But it was Jacob Fancy who started in the Truro crease, making 30 saves for the victory.
“Jacob has played the last couple of games and it’s Jordan’s turn to get in there and I’m sure he’s excited,” Bearcats head coach Shawn Evans said. “He’s got his feet under himself now with us and has a feel for his new home rink and I expect he’ll perform well Friday night.”
Evans said, in spite of scoring a pair of wins last weekend at the expense of the Summerside Western Capitals, his team is looking to regain the early-season form which pushed the Bearcats to five consecutive wins after dropping their season opener. But since a two-week layoff to close September and open October, the Bearcats haven’t been dominating opponents as they had.
“We haven’t been as sharp since,” Evans said. “We’re still trying to find our identity and sharpen the tools. Those were big wins against Summerside and we need to keep going.”
Evans said the dip in performance is partly because the Bearcats have gotten away from the things that were making them so successful, namely using their speed to get on top of opposing defences and putting them on their heels.
“We need to get back to doing that,” Evans said.
Since the Bearcats and Timberwolves last tangled, Miramichi has made several moves to bolster its lineup in all areas of the rink, making the team a formidable opponent for any organization in the league.
“They’re a good offensive team,” Kennedy said.
Although the Lumberjacks are off to a poor start to the season, Evans said his players would be ill advised to let their guards down.
“The game is played on the ice and not in the standings,” Evans said. “Standings can be deceiving and we can’t afford not to be ready to play.”
Kennedy said the recipe for success is not a complicated one. In fact, he said it’s just the opposite.
“We have a good offence and we definitely have good defence so as long as we keep it simple and stay strong on the boards we should be in the game.”
On Twitter: @tdnmatt