Truro Bearcats captain adds offensive edge to hard-working style
TRURO - Phillip Fife has been on offensively gifted clubs for his entire Maritime Junior Hockey League career.
© File photo
Truro Bearcats captain Phillip Fife is putting up the best offensive numbers of his junior A hockey career. His production has added another element to his role as leader of the Bearcats, which has helped the team get off to a red-hot start to 2014.
But never in his days as a Woodstock Slammer, or now as a Truro Bearcat, has the 20-year-old Oromocto, N.B., native been among his team's scoring leaders.
Until now, that is.
The Bearcats captain, who has a reputation more as a blue-collar player than a point collector, is second on the team in scoring with 41 points (16G, 25A) in 34 games. Fife's total is just one point behind leader Tyler Morrison, who has one more assist than Fife.
"I'm pretty happy with those numbers but I'm even more happy with how the team is doing," Fife said.
Fife leads his Bearcats into a battle against the Dieppe Commandos (23-8-2-2) tonight at 7 p.m. at RECC.
The Bearcats (24-8-0-2) entered the weekend second in the EastLink Division before Friday's game in Bridgewater. For the result, visit www.trurodaily.com.
Truro trailed the Pictou County Crushers (23-7-0-5) by just one point while the Amherst Ramblers (24-11-0-1) and Yarmouth Mariners (24-11-0-1) are nipping at Truro's heels, one point behind.
The Bearcats have reeled off five consecutive wins since the calendar turned to 2014.
Part of the reason the Bearcats are in the thick of the battle for the division lead is thanks to the play of their captain. The five-foot-10, 185-pounder has already surpassed his previous career high of 38 points (15G, 23A) set in 2011-12 in his final season in Woodstock. His numbers were helped by a phenomenal eight points (3G, 5A) in Truro's first two games back after the Christmas break.
His offensive punch has added another dimension to his game, making him that much harder to play against.
"I try to play a strong defensive game but it's nice to be able to help offensively every now and then," Fife said.
The captain credited his linemates this season for much of his success. He's currently playing with the Colchester duo of Colby Lanceleve and Daniel Perigo, who play a similar style.
Bearcats coach Shawn Evans agreed.
"All three of those guys are tough to play against," Evans said. "They can check the other team's top lines or contribute offensively. They've taken off since we put them together."
But Fife also acknowledged he worked hard in the offseason to make sure he was ready to go at the start of the schedule and it helped him get out of the gates strong.
Evans said although Fife was a hands-down decision to carry the ‘C' this season, his offensive contributions to the team have been a bonus.
"He's a 200-foot player who competes every shift," Evans said. "He wants to win and will do what it takes. I know he wants to keep playing after this year and he will."
But Fife is a player who leads by example and no matter whether his offensive production continues throughout the rest of the season, he'll still make sure his team keeps winning.
"That's the bottom line for him," Evans said. "He wants the team to win and whether it's blocking a shot or scoring a big goal, I know he'll contribute any way he can."
NOTE: The Bearcats also travel to Amherst Sunday for a make-up game with the Ramblers at 4 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for Dec. 21 but was postponed due to poor weather.
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