TRURO - The only points Jordan McNaughton really cares about are the two his team gets for each win.
© File Photo
Jordan McNaughton has been an important part of the Truro Bearcats blueline this season. The 19-year-old's role will only become more important as the regular season winds to a close and he chases the team's record for most goals by a defenceman in a single season.
But the 19-year-old native of Komoka, Ont., has amassed an impressive personal total to match his team's performance in the Maritime Junior Hockey League standings this season. The Truro Bearcats defenceman has collected 38 points in 40 games and his 14 goals are approaching the team record of 17 set in 2011-12 by Nick Trecapelli.
"That would be pretty cool," McNaughton, who wasn't aware of the mark until contacted by the Truro Daily News, said. "It would be cool to have that for sure."
But the five-foot-11, 193-pounder was quick to add he's not about to take his focus off winning in favour of raising the bar.
"No, definitely not," he said. "Goals are definitely nice but I feel that individual success comes with team success, so if the team is doing well points are going to come with that."
After all, winning, not records, is the reason why McNaughton decided to play in the Hubtown this season after four campaigns in the OHL. He split last year between the Windsor Spitfires and the Swan Valley Stampeders of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
"I got the call from Shawn and he said he was building another team to go for a run for it and he wanted me in the fold and I just want to help make that happen," McNaughton said.
That's a good thing, because McNaughton's Bearcats are in the midst of yet another crucial weekend in the race for first in the EastLink Division. Truro (29-10-0-2) leapfrogged Pictou County (27-10-0-5) for top spot with a 4-3 win over the Crushers Thursday in New Glasgow. The Bearcats hold a one-point edge on their rivals.
The Bearcats host the fourth-place Yarmouth Mariners (24-14-2-1) today at 7 p.m. before the third-place Amherst Ramblers (26-12-0-1) come to town Sunday at 2 p.m.
Bearcats coach Shawn Evans said McNaughton will likely play a big part in his team's fortunes in the race to the finish.
"He and (Daniel) Poliziani, (Ryan) Moore and (Cal) Gloade are going to carry some big minutes down the stretch and that's what we brought him here for," Evans said. "He'll be counted on heavily."
That's because McNaughton brings much more to the table than putting up points. He's an excellent puck-moving blueliner thanks to his strong skating ability and his prowess at making precision passes.
"He's a guy that brings us respect every shift," Evans said. "And he always shows up to the rink with a smile on his face."
That's exactly what Evans was looking for after losing Zach Evans-Renaud, Adam Guy and Patrick Downe, the backbone of the blueline corps from his Fred Page Cup-winning team last spring.
"He hasn't disappointed," Evans said. "And we're really pleased to get him this season at 19 so he'll have two seasons here."
That's just fine with McNaughton, who enjoys playing hockey in Truro.
"It's a nice town and the fans are great and the guys on the team are all my best friends," he said. "It's a great organization and I can't say enough about it."
McNaughton said he also enjoys playing with talented players like his teammates in black, white and red. His fellow skaters are the real reason for his success this season he feels, thanks to their ability to finish plays he creates and vice versa.
"And the coaching staff has given me a lot of opportunity to play with lots of ice time," he said.
So with a record looming, McNaughton continues to focus on the only one that matters.
"I definitely hope the team keeps going up the standings," he said. "And if I can help by getting some points that's great, but I just hope the team keeps winning."
Name: Jordan McNaughton
Weight: 193 pounds
Stats: 41GP, 14G, 24A, 38pts
On Twitter: @tdnmatt