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Desperate times


TRURO – Four years, 147 regular season games and dozens of teammates come and gone. Daniel Perigo is beginning to realize time is winding down.

Daniel Perigo, hometown player and captain of the Truro Bearcats, said the veteran players in the room are beginning to realize the end is near. With 13 games left, head coach Shawn Evans is calling on his team to play with more desperation.

The Truro native and Bearcats centreman has been around for all the team’s success since joining the team as a 16-year-old in 2011. With 13 games left in the season, Perigo wants the team to make every one count.

That process starts with himself.

“I think I put a bit of pressure on myself to get things going,” Perigo said while en route to Campbellton on Friday. “When the team isn’t scoring, I can be a bit hard on myself.”

One of 10, 20-year-old players on the roster, Perigo wears a ‘C’ on his jersey along with defenceman Jake Primeau. It’s a role he was thrust into after colliding with then-captain Brandon Pye early in the season, resulting in Pye being shelved with a broken leg and ankle.

Since the start of the season, the most consistent factor on the Bearcats has been inconsistency, ironically enough, and the team sees that now more than ever.

“There’s a lot of 20-year-old guys in the room who are starting to realize this is the last kick at the can,” Perigo said. “We’re starting to realize this is it.”

It’s a sentiment shared by head coach Shawn Evans.

“We’re 35 games into the season and we know what’s needed from us,” Evans said. “And that goes for me too, not just the players. We all need to be better as a group and start playing with more desperation.”

The Bearcats will get a chance to kick that desperation into overdrive this weekend as they play three games in three nights, starting Friday night in Campbellton. The team heads to Miramichi Saturday, before returning home to face Amherst on Sunday evening.

After a weekend that saw the Bearcats split games with Valley and manage just two goals in regulation, Evans said it’s not just scoring he’s concerned with.

“I’m not worried about offense. We just need to start playing a better brand of hockey. We’ve been inconsistent all season, hence the record.”

While defence has been the primary concern all year, the Bearcats stymied the Wildcats last weekend. Over two games, Truro held Valley to three goals, helped by a 37-save shutout from Jacob Fancy on Saturday.

“All the guys are happy to see Jacob playing the way we know he can in the second half,” Perigo said. “It definitely makes you more confident knowing you have a strong goalie back there.”

The Bearcats (18-13-0-4) will host the Ramblers (9-21-2-1) at 7 p.m. at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre. The Ramblers enter the weekend losers of four straight, after beating Truro and Yarmouth to start the New Year.  

 

NOTES: Alex Soumakis will sit this weekend after suffering an upper body injury two weeks ago. Defencemen Alex Anthony (knee) and Matt Donnelly (shoulder) are on track to return within the next four weeks. Centre Brandon Pye (leg/ankle) had a final doctor’s appointment Friday and has practiced away from the team. While no return date is set, it could be within the next two to three weeks.

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