Defence key as Bearcats prepare for opening round of playoffs

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Truro to play Yarmouth in Maurice Bent semifinal

TRURO – A trio of young defencemen have stepped up their play and helped the Truro Bearcats clinch home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs.

Coach Shawn Evans said the team has played stellar defensively, particularly in the past month when the Bearcats have been without their captain and all-star defenceman Evan Watts, who has been sidelined with an upper body injury.

“You have to be really impressed with (Cal) Gloade and Ryan Moore,” Evans said Sunday of the 17-year-old blueliners. “The best thing about them is they’re willing to be coached and they listen. Any success we’re going to have from here on in, they’re going to be a big part of it.”

Evans said Andrew Kennedy has also played regularly and “earned his stripes” in Watts’s absence. He added the players, under assistant coach Troy Fougere, are playing key roles for the team.

“They’re not spare minutes. They’re playing against other team’s top players. They’re good.”

Truro ended the regular season Saturday with a 5-1 victory over the Yarmouth Mariners. The two teams will play each other in the opening round of the playoffs, but a schedule had not been finalized on Sunday. The series is expected to start this weekend in Truro.

Stephen Horyl and Brett Frazee led the Bearcats Saturday night with a goal and two assists each in front of 835 fans.

Jordan Mock added a goal and a helper while Travis Moore and Jordan Cox also found the back of the net.

Gloade and Colin MacKinnon each picked up assists while Spencer Scott made 20 saves for the win. Truro led 2-0 after 40 minutes of play and sealed the game with three goals in the third period.

“It was nice to see for the players to get some goals. That’s certainly been a struggle for us down the stretch here,” Evans said.

Notes…

• Horyl finished as the team’s top point getter during the regular season with 53 points (23 goals and 30 assists) in 42 games.

• Moore led the Cats in goals with 25 while Frazee had the most assists with 33. Dakota Johnson spent the most time in the penalty box, amassing 122 penalty minutes.

• Five Bearcats played all 52 games this season. They were Jordan Burke, Moore, Donnie Churchill, Kendall MacInnis and Mock. Burke actually played a total of 53 games between Truro and Amherst.

• Watts is a question mark for the opening game of the playoffs. Stephen Walker (upper body) and Dylan McGuigan (lower body) both missed Saturday’s game but are expected to be ready for Game 1 of the playoffs.

• The Bearcats tandem of Rafuse and Scott finished with the fewest goals allowed (128) during the regular season and laid claim to the Young-Knickle award. It is the sixth year in a row the Bearcats have earned the award. Rafuse had a 2.65 goals-against average and a 19-12 record while rookie Spencer Scott had a 2.01 average with a 9-7-5 record. Both goalies had a pair of shutouts.

 

 

 

PLAYOFF MATCHUPS

Maurice Bent Division

Pictou Co. vs. winner of mini-series

Truro vs. Yarmouth

Mini-series:

Bridgewater vs. Metro

Roger Meek Division

Woodstock vs. Campbellton

Miramichi vs. Summerside

Organizations: Pictou Co.

Geographic location: Amherst

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Recent comments

  • Jimmy Wright
    March 03, 2011 - 23:56

    ok growler so let me ask you this then.. you want the bearcats to play a more exciting brand of hockey correct? i assumed that involved abandoning the sound team defense that is characteristic of these modern bearcats.. you want this to happen but you don't suggest getting rid of mr. evans (yes mr. evans because he deserves that respect in my opinion).. so what do you suggest? some of you hockey genius's walk down to his office and tell him to change the way he runs his team and adopt a strategy that incorporates more of the exciting hockey that so want? i honestly do not see how your argument is at all reasonable i really don't.. A COACH RUNS HIS HOCKEY TEAM THE WAY HE BEST FEELS PUTS THEM IN A POSITION TO CONSISTENTLY WIN HOCKEY GAMES AT ANY POINT OF THE YEAR, IN ANY RINK, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. he does not run a team to please the fans, that is the job of other people in the organization such as events and public relations coordinator. according to the mhl website mr. evans is the head coach, and general manager.. maybe it is his responsibility to get the right people in place to take care of the off-the-ice matters that i mentioned but his job involves winning hockey games and i'd like anyone to try and argue against that.. in terms of not hitting and not fighting.. try the mhl on that one because if you do know about the league and the team the way you say you do, then you would know that the league has implemented new rules to reduce fighting, after whistle scrums, and head shots.. yes i know last year there wasnt much fighting but just a few years ago someone like luke cudmore was fighting almost every second home game.. then there was the championship team with mike withrow, david mcburnie, and danny hollet fighting as well.. glenn frazee in previous years.. these are all players who played exciting under mr. evans.. you know what im done wasting my team on this one and i am going to end it one way.. goodluck to the bearcats in playoffs i hope there is 2,000 fans cheering onthe young kids who are giving it their all.. thank you mr. evans for consistently being the class of the mhl

    • Growler
      March 04, 2011 - 16:09

      Hey Jimmy, I wish the Bearcats luck as well. I know Shawn Evans a bit as my son attended his hockey camp a few times over the years, I have sit at his table while we did some registration forms and he told me to call him Shawn, I don't see where calling him by his name is in any way not showing him respect. You know what, we could argue forever on hockey and yes im well aware of the rule changes, they mostly keep the third period from becoming a circus like they have been known to now and again, I acually remember rule changes that were border line on the edge of promoting fighting back a few years ago, when they opted to make the rules more in line with the NHL. Those new rules don't ban fighting, they are set up to keep the game honest at the end and stop a guy from fighting all night, nobody wants to see that either, and hey I would settle for bodychecks. Lets also get the guys who were fighters correct as well, Cudmore I will agree, the rest you mentioned were guys who fought but they certainly don't get into the fighter class cause they fought a couple times in four years, Withrow was a terrible skater, who had the best hands (for scoring) on the team, he did fight if he needed to and could handle himself, but he wasn't a fighter. You know what, Im done wasting my time on this as well, I can see by your remarks that you are never wrong and your gonna debate the people who even state why they don't like the hockey unless its your reasons. I attended games before they played music and gimmics and people still came out. Theres no doubt the fan support will be fine for the playoffs, people will come out for the playoffs as they always do. Im certainly entitled to my reasons and have the right to stay away as you have the right to go, I only responded to you because you didn't read my commments before you accused me of , and still are, of wanting Evans gone. I wish the team all the best. Heres my predictions, Truro in 5 over Yarmouth, Truro in 6 over Weeks Crushers, and Woodstock in 5 over Truro. Thank whoever read my comments to you, and its a bit disrespectful not to use your caps button when your showing Mr. Evans that respect you are so full of.

    • Growler
      March 06, 2011 - 23:52

      Hmmmm, Jimmy, 622 fans at the Jr. A Bearcat game Saturday night and about 800 or maybe even 900 at each of the midget triple A games between the Elks and Bearcats, on Friday, Saturday(in Brookfield) and Sunday back in Truro, I guess rivalrys are what the fans want, there were no give aways, contests, no side shows and the music was played so low you could hardly hear it, but guess what, the place was rockin cause the fans got treated to fast end to end hockey, with some big hits and that excitement that hasnt been felt in that barn since...... well a long time. Great game for the fans and congratulations to the Bearcats for the win and the Elks for taking it to the limit and showing the people that hockey is still alive and exciting.

  • Jimmy Wright
    March 02, 2011 - 13:05

    the best hockey people in the maritime junior a league have viewed mr. evans as the best coach in the league hands down for years so what are your qualifications to claim that it is his fault that fans don't show up? what about the poor public relations and the overall terrible atmosphere at the stadium.. for such a class organization the way the games are put on (music, events, giveaways, contests, etc.) are embarrassing. If you think that fans are not coming because of the way mr. evans has his team play then you are lost. Fans don't support losers no matter how exciting or open they play the game. If the league keeps fighting down the way they are and the bearcats do not replace their events coordinator and instead opt for a change behind the bench, just wait and see how many fans show up then. If it wasn't for winning, the bearcats would me in much worse shape so maybe instead of placing the blame on the best thing this organization has, perhaps look at the broader picture. i have said before truro has no idea how lucky they are to have mr. evans as a coach. i just hope that mr, rath is well aware and does his best to keep this man in the organization long term because i know that ANY team in the league would desperately want his services. but good try growler.

    • Growler
      March 02, 2011 - 21:29

      Well Jimmy if you had taken the time to read my reply instead of typing blindly, I don't see where I said Mr. Evans, (well I know him as Shawn, so im not going to be so formal), is a bad hockey coach, I gave him his props a couple times in my comment. What are my qualifications for making a comment on whats happened to the fans, well if you think its music and contests and give aways, then lets just say my qualifications are at least in the zone with any real hockey fans and every bit as legitimate as yours, they havent had any big contests or give aways since the senior hockey days, so it can't be that all of a sudden the fans are craving a chance to shoot a puck through a board to win a barrel of chicken. Talk to a good portion of people at hockey games and most wish the music would only be played in the warm up and maybe when a goal is scored, some like to discuss the game while they watch and not have to shout, if you don't believe that then why have they turned the volume down over the years. Im not sure what events your looking for, I thought the game was the event but if you need a side show maybe you should submit your ideas. I don't think I ever said make them losers, I simply stated their style has gotten boring, they don't hit, they don't fight, they don't score much and they allow 20 shots a game, if thats exciting to you then go, fill your boots. If your still going, your not one of the people they need to hear from, its the ones who have stopped going. Do I want them to give up on defence, well of course not, I would prefer to see the forwards play offence though instead of defence in the nuetral zone all night. As far as me being lost, according to the numbers over the last few seasons, the fans are not supporting winners either, so im not as lost as you think. Change that music, put on some Lady GaGa, or whatever it is the people want, give away some chicken, or pizza slices, maybe a t-shirt, and have that event you want and see if that brings the fans out, you seem to feel its not the product on the ice, maybe your right, your the qualified one as you seem to know the "best hockey people" in the league. Im not qualified to say this but I would like to see the organization hand out surveys to the fans and get them to fill them out, maybe bring them back the next game and get in at a discount rate so they can find out what it is that the hockey fans want, It would be interesting to find out what the fans do want, music or rivalrys, free stuff or more physical play. I should repeat this again, I did not say get rid of Evans, I did not say get rid of Evans, I did not say get rid of Evans, Please read it or get someone to read this to you nice and slow, and re-read what I wrote previously and pick out where I said, get rid of Evans, good try Jimmy.

  • PhilM
    March 01, 2011 - 08:56

    Totally Disagree!!! The Best Coach in the league is Evans!!!That is why the Cats are near the top of the league every year!You talk to the over 800 fans there Sat.night.If you think that's Boring hockey ,Bring it on,I want more! It's called Winning Hockey! Sooner win 1-0 than lose 6-5!!!

    • Growler
      March 01, 2011 - 13:29

      Had to respond to PHILM, Your right, it is better to win a game 1-0 then to lose 6-5, but you missed my point. My point is that its not the best sell for the fans when every game is 1-0, 2-1 or even sometimes 10-1 (Commandos hockey). Im not really knocking Evans as a coach, he showed us he can build exciting teams over the years but now I think its about job security more then anything else. If im not mistaken, four teams make the playoffs so being at the top really doesn't mean anything except the one extra home game if it goes seven games. If you can honestly say the hockey is still an exciting product in Truro maybe you can enlighten the team and the Daily News as to where the fans are most nights. Its not debatable that Evans has the team playing winning hockey, its the same style Jacques Lemaire has New Jersey playing, its also the reason the league changed the rules (obstuction penalties) and most games are now decided by the referee and the teams power play units. Im sorry I couldn't talk to the eight hundred fans the other night, I acually would love to know where the extra five hundred were all season (I assume it was the playoff hockey fans, you know the ones that show up for the playoffs and then spend the evening squeezing past you on their way to the canteen, the ones who are responsible for the netting that encloses the rinks now, because they wouldn't know a puck if it hit them in the head). You still enjoy the hockey at the stadium and thats great, maybe that style will catch on but if you can honestly say its as good as it was in the early days then you either were not there, you are Shawn Evans, or you were one of the people who have not followed the team from its start. We will have to agree to disagree on the topic and thats fine, just remember the story line here, Evans is gonna get his team playing better defence in the playoffs so don't forget your canteen money.

    • Philm
      March 01, 2011 - 15:09

      Defense First,to win you need it.I once did play for the Cats,had 2 sons drafted by the Cats.Without defense first we will be out in the First Round.

    • Growler
      March 02, 2011 - 22:25

      PHILM, I think we are on different topics here really, My comments,( unqualified or not) were directed at why the fans are not coming to the rink anymore. Absolutely a team needs defence, they need goaltending, scoring and some nights the luck of the bounces to win. I was commenting on why I think the fans support has died off over the last couple years, I may not be qualified by Jimmys standards but I was at pretty much every senior game in Truro, East Hants, Halifax, Dartmouth, Windsor, Antigonish and yes even Bridgewater some games, I didnt make the trip to Port Hood on many occasions but thats about the only place we didnt go, I have also been to pretty much every Junior game until the last couple years, and I did go a few times last season, and I was at a pre-season game this season. My comments are my reason for not going anymore, It doesnt matter if I played in the NHL, or was drafted by the Cats, (and let me say, congratulations to you and your sons, my son played hockey, AAA Midget, and my daughter plays now, so im not a fan thats new to the game) I have found the game has changed, its gotten boring to me, and its the style now, Some people say its the netting, some say the music, the lack of give aways, ticket prices, and some even say its the fact that if you cheer loud or make a sign for the game, security will be there to tell you to settle down. I simply stated the reason for my losing interest, its no secret that somethings wrong and if the Bearcats manager isnt going to at least look at some of the ideas people have, attendence is going to continue to drop. Jimmy is so taken with Shawn Evans and how great he is that he refuses to even read with his good eye. I don't have the answers for every fan but I think its important that the fans are given some of the things they are asking for, for me its more intensity on the ice, not the top forty on the speakers. Oh and if you read this Shawn Evans, get Jimmy a t-shirt and a four piece chicken meal and sing some Lady GaGa for him, he's your number one fan, and he's rubbing elbows with the best people in hockey, whoever they are!

  • great new name
    February 28, 2011 - 17:46

    Time for maybe a change next year behind the bench. Over 4 years of boring hockey, the major fans are gone. A new exciting coach and new vision is what is needed. Some times a change will do the area a good thing.

  • Growler
    February 27, 2011 - 22:59

    More defence, that will pack them in Shawn. The goalies won the least goals allowed again, for the sixth straight year. Gee, thats how many years its been since the Bearcats have been exciting to watch. Keeper going though, show us that Borecat, I mean Bearcat hockey, tighten up the blue line and maybe every game will be 1 to 0, Duck tape Growlers head on and raise those prices a couple bucks for the playoffs and Do the Borecat, I mean Bearcat, sorry just can't get that right. Timbit hockey between periods was the most exciting hockey the last game I attended, maybe the Cats could play between periods and let the Timbits have the bulk of the show.