TRURO, N.S. – The Truro Bearcats of the Maritime Junior Hockey League have filled a need with the addition of goaltender Derrick Hucul.
The Bearcats have been without a full-time backup netminder for two weeks after Alec MacDonald, a Truro native, was called up to the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec major junior league.
Since MacDonald’s departure, the Bearcats have called on Weeks Major Midgets goaltender Ben Gibbon, of Truro, to play the backup role behind starter Kevin Resop.
“Weeks AAAs have been great with us; they’ve treated us with a lot of respect and we really appreciate that, but at the end of the day we need to have our own goalie,” said Bearcats coach Shawn Evans.
The Bearcats obtained Hucul, 19, from the Melfort Mustangs of the Tier 2 Saskatchewan junior league for future considerations.
Hucul, from Saskatoon, played in 22 games for the Mustangs last season and posted a 3-7-1 record, 3.72 goals against average and an .886 save percentage.
He was the recipient of the team’s community involvement award in 2016-17.
“Derek was looking for a place to play, so we made a trade and we’re going see how it goes for him,” Evans said.
Hucul arrived in Truro Tuesday and practiced with his new teammates for the first time Wednesday. He’s not expected to play this weekend when he Bearcats host the Pictou County Crushers tonight and visit the Amherst Ramblers Saturday.
“I want to give him an opportunity to get his feet under himself and get some practice time in with us and we’ll look at him for possibly next weekend,” said Evans.
MacDonald’s time with the Wildcats is expected to last four to five weeks while he fills in for the injured Matthew Waite. In the meantime, however, Evans said it was imperative to find someone to replace him.
“I’m never going to stand in the way of somebody following their dream, which is what Alec is doing and wants to do and I support him, but there’s another side of the coin, and I’ve got to look after the 20 players I got in the Bearcat dressing room and they need a full-time goaltender.
“If they send Alec back (to junior A) down the road we’ll deal with that situation at the time.”
The Bearcats enter tonight’s game against the rival Crushers after losing four of five road games over the past two weeks. After a hot start, Truro now sits in fourth place in the Eastlink South Division with a record of 6-6-0-0.
“There’s a fine line between winning and losing and right now we’re not on the good side of the line,” Evans said. “We’ve done some really good things as a team but the bottom line is results and we’re not getting them and we’re not scoring goals, so if you can’t score, you can’t win, so obviously that’s been a focus for us this week in practice.”