BEARCAT BYTES: Hughes key in Truro victories
TRURO, N.S. – Veteran forward Brandon Hughes is this week’s Bearcat of the Week.
Kyle Tibbo, left, Nic Blanchard and Zach Moody have been red-hot for the Truro Bearcats lately. The high-scoring trio leads the team into action Friday against the Amherst Ramblers and Saturday against the league-leading Pictou County Crushers.
©Joey Smith/TC Media
TRURO, N.S. – Zach Moody doesn’t hesitate when asked to explain the chemistry between himself and linemates Nic Blanchard and Kyle Tibbo.
“Blanchard’s a helluva hockey player and Tibbo’s just Tibbo – he’s unreal.”
For the past three weeks, the trio has been terrorizing Maritime Junior Hockey League goaltenders as the Truro Bearcats continue their ascent to the top of the Eastlink South Division standings.
The big unit has combined for an eye-popping 34 points in their last six games to lead the Bearcats to seven straight wins heading into Friday's home game against the Amherst Ramblers (RECC, 7 p.m.)
“They’re all good hockey players, they all have a good skill set and they’re all excited to play together,” said Bearcats coach Shawn Evans.
Moody, a centre, and Tibbo, a right-winger, have enjoyed success as linemates all season. Blanchard was acquired from the Valley Wildcats in early January and has been a perfect fit on the left side.
In addition to having great hockey sense, all three skaters have a knack for finding each other, both in open areas of the ice and through traffic.
Much of their success can be attributed to the fact that all three played at the major junior level in the Quebec league before coming to Truro for their 20-year-old seasons.
Tibbo (Moncton, Victoriaville) played two seasons in the Q, while Blanchard (Acadie-Bathurst) played three and Moody (Cape Breton, Quebec) is a four-year major junior veteran.
Blanchard and Moody were also familiar with each other before coming to Truro; both grew up in the Valley and played minor hockey together in bantam and midget.
“Playing with Zach at a young age, we always had chemistry, so coming here I had a good feeling we’d play together, and to play with Tibbo, it adds a lot, especially with all three of us having experience,” said Blanchard.
Tibbo, captain of the Bearcats, has been the line’s trigger man. He leads the MHL in goals (32) and is third in points (62), while Blanchard and Moody are second and third in team scoring, respectively.
And while offensively they’ve been on a tear, Tibbo understands the importance of being responsible on the other side of the puck.
“Sometimes we get ahead of ourselves; we get too excited out there because we know we’re creating chances all the time, we want to score … but we also got to think of the defensive game, too; sometimes that gets away from us.”
The big three will be counted on during the stretch drive of the regular season and into the playoffs, and Blanchard wouldn’t want it any other way.
“That puts a lot of pressure on us, but we embrace it and we want to carry this team and help this team win.”
Following Friday's contest, the trio will face another stiff test Saturday when the Bearcats meet the league-leading and arch-rival Pictou County Crushers (RECC, 7 p.m.).