What a ride it’s been for the Truro Bearcats this season, and it’s not over yet.
© Joey Smith – Truro Daily News
A highly successful season for the Truro Bearcats resulted in a Maritime Junior Hockey League title. The Bearcats hope to add even more hardware to their trophy case this week at the Fred Page Cup in St. Jerome, Que. Truro is defending champions.
The Bearcats, champions of the Maritime Junior Hockey League, are in St. Jerome, Que., this week competing at the four-team Fred Page Cup Eastern Canadian championship.
Truro enters the tournament as defending champions after winning the 2013 title on home ice at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre.
“It’s really cool that we’re fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to defend our title,” said Bearcats captain Phil Fife.
The Bearcats were the class of the MHL this season, posting a 38-11-1-2 record to win the President’s Trophy as regular season champions. They went on a run after the Christmas break that most teams can only dream of.
Truro won 19 of its final 22 regular-season contests and opened the post-season with nine straight wins. The Bearcats went 12-2 in the playoffs to win their third Maritime crown since re-entering the league in 1997.
“We’ve got a good team, we’ve got a lot of hard-working guys out there and we bought into the system and we all had a good attitude; a winning attitude that we all wanted to come to the rink and work hard and win games,” said forward Brandon Bazinet. “It started paying off after Christmas, and we’re playing good hockey right now.”
This year’s Fred Page Cup also includes Central Canada champions Carleton Place Canadians, Quebec champions Granby Inouk and the host St. Jerome Panthers. The Bearcats play preliminary games against those teams before playoffs on Saturday.
“It’s a privilege and an honour to represent our league and we’re just gonna take it one game at a time,” said forward Daniel Perigo.
As reigning champs the Bearcats don’t expect anything to come easy. However, the experience of having won last year bodes well for the club that has 12 players returning to this year’s tournament.
“Obviously, we’re a little experienced because we’ve been there last year, so we kind of know what to expect,” said forward Tyler Morrison, a member of last year’s championship team, and Truro’s top scorer in the regular season with 24 goals and 69 points in 52 games. “But at the end of the day you just gotta win games, right, no matter who you’re playing.”
Added Bazinet: “When you’re defending champs everybody knows who you are, so there might be a little bit of a target on our backs, but we’re not too worried about it. We’re just gonna go there and play our game and try to do our best to win it because that’s our goal – one goal in mind.”
The winner of the Fred Page Cup will advance to the RBC Cup national championship May 10 to 18 in Vernon, B.C.