TRURO, N.S. – Don’t expect Shawn Evans to shake up the Truro Bearcats’ roster anytime soon.
Despite an awful start to the Maritime Junior Hockey League season, the team’s head coach and general manager says he still believes in the current group of players, and is confident in their ability to succeed.
“The coach thinks this group is good enough,” said Evans. “The coach isn’t going to give up on this group and thinks these guys can bounce back and get the job done.
“The GM’s gotta see both sides … but I’ve always been a coach first, and at this point this group’s got a little bit longer to get their act together, and they can do it. But talk’s cheap and now we’ve got to go do it.”
Perhaps a weekend trek to New Brunswick will cure what ails the slumping Bearcats. Truro visits the Campbellton Tigers on Friday, Nov. 2 and the Miramichi Timberwolves on Saturday, Nov. 3.
The Bearcats enter the weekend set with 12 losses in their first 14 games, including four shootout defeats. They sit fifth in the Eastlink South Division with eight points and are 11th overall in the 12-team league.
“I think we feel sorry for ourselves a little bit,” said Evans. “I think we lack a little bit of confidence.”
Evans said the Bearcats have played good stretches of minutes, but have been inconsistent and haven’t handled adversity well. A prime example of that occurred during their only game last week against the Valley Wildcats. After building a two-goal lead in the second period, Truro surrendered three straight goals, including the decisive marker with just over three minutes left in the game, in a 3-2 loss.
Looking ahead, the Bearcats – who have never missed the playoffs since re-entering the MHL in 1997 – will try to make up ground on the South Division pack with 10 games in November, including five at home at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre. Truro’s next home is Friday, Nov. 8 against Valley, followed by a Nov. 9 contest against the South Shore Lumberjacks.
“When you fall behind the 8-ball, you’re mindset has to be a game at a time, a day at a time,” Evans said. “We need to win some hockey games, but you’re only going to get two points for each win … so the window can only be small and we need to stick with our program for 60 minutes.”