TRURO - Kirk Rafuse has an opportunity few others could dream of.
The Truro Bearcats goaltender is in his fifth and final season of junior hockey. With a strong team effort this week, Rafuse could have his name inscribed on the Young-Knickle Award for the fourth time as part of the goalie tandem with the lowest goals-against average during the Maritime Hockey League season.
"It would mean a lot to me because it would mean every year I played in Truro, I won it," said the 20-year-old Kentville native. "It's almost become a tradition in Truro to keep this here because we've had it here so long."
Rafuse came to Truro for the 2006-07 season and shared the crease with Darcy Stewart during the Bearcats run to the league championship.
The following year Rafuse split his time between Lewiston of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Halifax's junior A squad. He has been a fixture in the Hubtown ever since.
Truro enters the final week of the regular season with eight fewer goals than second-place Woodstock. Truro has played one fewer game than the Slammers.
Rafuse has a 2.67 goals-against average in 30 games this season while rookie Spencer Scott, a Bible Hill resident, has a 2.06 mark in 21 games.
The defence-first mentality of the Bearcats helps keep the team in games and makes for low-scoring, playoff-type games year-round.
While the goalies received the award, it is a team effort from defencemen and forwards to the men in the crease.
"Our guys take care of us back there and we take care of them," Rafuse said.
Bearcats coach Shawn Evans said the topic was raised last week and is something the players have worked hard for all season long.
"If we have a good week taking care of our own end, that will take care of itself and the standings will take care of itself," he said.