There were 835 fans on hand as Truro Bearcats returned to home-ice action last Saturday night at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre.
The Maritime Hockey League team had defeated South Shore Lumberjacks 8-5 the previous night in Bridgewater in their first game following the Christmas break.
Positive comments surfaced before the Bearcats faced off against St. Stephen Aces: there was mention of Shawn Bily’s hat-trick and Karter Renouf’s two-goal performance against the Lumberjacks.
Overall, the mood was good and some fans were overheard predicting that the Bearcats would make it two in a row to start the new year.
With goals quickly coming off the sticks of Renouf and Bily, the local team jumped into an early 3-0 lead and went on to post a 3-2 win against an Aces club that battled gamely right until the final whistle.
With the two early 2019 victories, the Bearcats record stands at 18-10-1-1 good for third place in the Eastlink South Division. They are four points behind second-place Amherst Ramblers and 11 points ahead of fourth-place South Shore Lumberjacks.
For this week’s column, it was good to talk to Bearcats rookie defenceman Marc Aucoin.
Pleased with the good start in the new year, Aucoin felt the recent break did volumes for the team.
“The break we just had was good,” Aucoin, 18, of Valley, said. “It was a good mental break; we started the season strong and then in December we sort of went on a slide. The break helped us get ready for the second half of the season.”
Hockey followers familiar with Aucoin may have noticed that he has made a change in positions.
Back in novice hockey I played defence,” he said. “Then beginning with atom hockey I played forward right up until my third year in midget. It seemed natural to play forward and then something happened last year in the playoffs with Pictou (Weeks Major Midgets); because of
injuries we were short on defence, I moved back and finished the season as a defenceman.”
The converted forward was thinking about the defence position as the 2018-19 season approached, a season that would see him attend training camp with the junior A Truro
“It was kind of nerve-wracking coming into training camp with the Bearcats,” the 2018 Bearcats draft pick said. “I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I’m really pleased, its played out pretty well, it’s really exciting every day to be with the Bearcats team. To come to the rink and
work out with these teammates, I’m really enjoying it. I grew up watching the Bearcats, it’s pretty cool to be able to play junior for your hometown team.”
Continuing the interview, it was easy to be impressed by the young player’s outstanding manner. He said a lot when asked about his thoughts as to why some players choose to play top-caliber hockey
“Before playing organized hockey my dad (Kevin Aucoin) got me into a little thing called ‘Monday Hockey.’ After that, in minor hockey, I tried to play the top hockey I possibly could. It’s interesting, there are athletes I grew up with, some lost interest as they went along. Playing junior A, you’re with a group of guys who all have the same goal in mind, they care a lot about hockey. We all want to play the top calibre that we can.”
Playing his early hockey in the Truro & Area Minor Hockey Association, Aucoin played the 2014-15 season with Truro Bearcats in bantam AA. For the next two seasons he suited up with Newbridge Academy (midget), followed by playing last season in major midget with Pictou County.
Aucoin, a 2018 graduate of CEC, attends Dalhousie Agricultural Campus, taking business courses. Besides his studies, Aucoin had me smiling as he shared further ambitions.
“I also work at Fort Belcher Holstein Farm for Allan Porter. I find it very interesting learning about farming and things I had never touched growing up. Cleaning out calf pens, feeding cows, whatever has to be done, it’s a real good experience.”
Aucoin and the Bearcats host Valley Wildcats Friday night. Saturday night, the Yarmouth Mariners are in town. Opening faceoffs for both games are 7 p.m. at the RECC.
Lyle Carter’s sports column appears weekly in the Truro News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 902 673-2857.