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TRURO – The St. Stephen County Aces let Jordan McNaughton get in his zone early on Saturday night and they couldn’t seem to shake him out of it for the next 60 minutes.

Just 12 seconds after the opening faceoff, the Bearcats’ defenseman stepped up to hold the puck inside the blue line and clapped a slap shot through the five-hole of goaltender Kyle Porter. By the end of the night, McNaughton had five points in the Truro Bearcats 8-4 win over the Aces.

“I don’t know what it was. I was just feeling it tonight,” McNaughton said after the game. “The boys were getting me the puck and I was skating with it.”

The win didn’t come without a cost, however, as co-captain Brandon Pye left the ice in warm-up after a collision with Daniel Perigo. X-rays later showed a broken right fibula and torn ligaments in his ankle.

Head coach Shawn Evans chalked it up to a freak accident, and said Pye is awaiting surgery on his ankle. He’ll miss at least the next two months.

After an eventful start to the game, the Bearcats kept the pace high with rush after rush up the ice from speedsters like McNaughton, Colby Lanceleve and Alex Soumakis.

The Cats would add a second goal midway through the frame after Lanceleve out-legged an Aces defender on a puck chase and dished to Connor Morrison alone in front, who banged in his second goal of the season.

After taking a pair of checking-to-the-head penalties, the Bearcats found themselves down a man, four-on-three, late in the first. The Aces’ Damon MacDonald finished off a coast-to-coast rush, slipping a shot past rookie goalie Mark Grametbauer to make it 2-1 after one.

The second period kicked off much the same as the first, with Perigo ripping a shot past Porter in the slot just 32 seconds in. It was another 30 seconds later when Jacob Smith finished off a passing play from McNaughton and Denver Lynds to go up 4-1.

St. Stephen’s Ricky Young would twice trade goals with the Bearcats before the period was over, with Justin Doiron and Brandon Bazinet scoring for Truro. Both Bearcats goals were assisted by none other than McNaughton, who’d close out the frame by banking in a shot from a tough angle after dangling his way through the Aces defense.

Things finally slowed down in the third period, with both teams exchanging goals once more. Lanceleve finished off a shorthanded two-on-one to make it 8-3, before MacDonald added his second of the game for the Aces.

Grametbauer, just 16 years old, turned aside 27 shots in his MHL debut.

“It was a scrambly game,” Evans said. “We’re happy to win it though.”

The coach was quick to praise his top scorer after the game for taking command of the pace early on.

“(McNaughton) gets a long leash,” Evans said. “We need him at times to play to score. He’s a superior hockey player in this league and I’m glad he’s on my side.”

After finishing last season above a point-per-game as a defenseman, McNaughton said he owes a lot of his stats to Evans and the Bearcats coaching staff for trusting his game.

“He lets me go (on the offensive) whenever I need to,” he said. “Coming from his point of view, he was pretty much the same player as me. He knows the style I play.”

The Bearcats (2-2-0-0) will be back in action Friday night when they pay visit to Valley (2-1-0-1), before returning home Saturday to host Pictou County (3-0-0-0). Puck drop for both games is slated for 7 p.m.

 

ryan.cooke@trurodaily.com

Twitter: @tdnryan

Just 12 seconds after the opening faceoff, the Bearcats’ defenseman stepped up to hold the puck inside the blue line and clapped a slap shot through the five-hole of goaltender Kyle Porter. By the end of the night, McNaughton had five points in the Truro Bearcats 8-4 win over the Aces.

“I don’t know what it was. I was just feeling it tonight,” McNaughton said after the game. “The boys were getting me the puck and I was skating with it.”

The win didn’t come without a cost, however, as co-captain Brandon Pye left the ice in warm-up after a collision with Daniel Perigo. X-rays later showed a broken right fibula and torn ligaments in his ankle.

Head coach Shawn Evans chalked it up to a freak accident, and said Pye is awaiting surgery on his ankle. He’ll miss at least the next two months.

After an eventful start to the game, the Bearcats kept the pace high with rush after rush up the ice from speedsters like McNaughton, Colby Lanceleve and Alex Soumakis.

The Cats would add a second goal midway through the frame after Lanceleve out-legged an Aces defender on a puck chase and dished to Connor Morrison alone in front, who banged in his second goal of the season.

After taking a pair of checking-to-the-head penalties, the Bearcats found themselves down a man, four-on-three, late in the first. The Aces’ Damon MacDonald finished off a coast-to-coast rush, slipping a shot past rookie goalie Mark Grametbauer to make it 2-1 after one.

The second period kicked off much the same as the first, with Perigo ripping a shot past Porter in the slot just 32 seconds in. It was another 30 seconds later when Jacob Smith finished off a passing play from McNaughton and Denver Lynds to go up 4-1.

St. Stephen’s Ricky Young would twice trade goals with the Bearcats before the period was over, with Justin Doiron and Brandon Bazinet scoring for Truro. Both Bearcats goals were assisted by none other than McNaughton, who’d close out the frame by banking in a shot from a tough angle after dangling his way through the Aces defense.

Things finally slowed down in the third period, with both teams exchanging goals once more. Lanceleve finished off a shorthanded two-on-one to make it 8-3, before MacDonald added his second of the game for the Aces.

Grametbauer, just 16 years old, turned aside 27 shots in his MHL debut.

“It was a scrambly game,” Evans said. “We’re happy to win it though.”

The coach was quick to praise his top scorer after the game for taking command of the pace early on.

“(McNaughton) gets a long leash,” Evans said. “We need him at times to play to score. He’s a superior hockey player in this league and I’m glad he’s on my side.”

After finishing last season above a point-per-game as a defenseman, McNaughton said he owes a lot of his stats to Evans and the Bearcats coaching staff for trusting his game.

“He lets me go (on the offensive) whenever I need to,” he said. “Coming from his point of view, he was pretty much the same player as me. He knows the style I play.”

The Bearcats (2-2-0-0) will be back in action Friday night when they pay visit to Valley (2-1-0-1), before returning home Saturday to host Pictou County (3-0-0-0). Puck drop for both games is slated for 7 p.m.

 

ryan.cooke@trurodaily.com

Twitter: @tdnryan

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