GO­ING FOR AT­LANTIC TI­TLE

Eska­soni’s Leon Denny play­ing for Ju­nior ‘A’ hockey cham­pi­onship this week.

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY T.J. COLELLO sports@cb­post.com On Twit­ter: @cb­post_s­ports

Leon Denny may be a rookie with the Truro Bearcats, but that doesn’t mean he’s been get­ting rookie min­utes.

The 17-year-old de­fence­man from Eska­soni has earned the con­fi­dence and praise from head coach Shawn Evans. He said Denny has the skill set: a strong skater, shooter and passer. Be­ing a cov­eted righthanded shot on the blue-line helps as well.

“When the chips are down, he’s been in our top four or five and has played,” said Evans. “It’s been a plea­sure to coach him. He’s easy to coach, and I don’t know what the fu­ture holds for him once the sea­son’s over, but he’s got a bright fu­ture as a young de­fence­man.”

After a brief try­out with the Yar­mouth Mariners at the start of the sea­son, Denny re­joined the Cape Bre­ton Union­ized Trades­men of the Nova Sco­tia Eastlink Ma­jor Mid­get Hockey League, play­ing 11 games. He then made the jump to the Mar­itime Hockey League and the Bearcats, where he scored nine goals and added eight as­sists in 39 reg­u­lar-sea­son con­tests.

“It’s a great op­por­tu­nity to play with older guys and guys who have been around the league,” he said. “Some ex­pe­ri­enced guys have helped me along the way.”

In the play­offs, Denny and the Bearcats went on to cap­ture the MHL cham­pi­onship, de­feat­ing the Mi­ramichi Tim­ber­wolves 4-3 in Game 7 on April 28 in Mi­ramichi.

“As the sea­son went along, we were get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter,” said Denny. “At play­off time, we were the top team in the league.”

The Bearcats are com­pet­ing at the 2017 Fred Page Cup, the Eastern Cana­dian ju­nior ‘A’ cham­pi­onship be­ing con­tested in Ter­re­bonne, Que., this week. They’re 0-2 at the tour­na­ment so far, with losses of 8-2 to the host Ter­re­bonne Co­bras on Wed­nes­day and a 6-4 set­back to the Col­lège Français de Longueuil on Thurs­day.

Truro hopes to re­bound to­day at 5 p.m. At­lantic time against the Car­leton Place Cana­di­ans of On­tario.

“The teams are really fast and they play with a lot of struc­ture,” said Denny. “We’ll try for the win (to­day).

“It’s a great place to play,” he said of the com­pe­ti­tion. “There are a lot of great, strong fast guys who have ma­jor-ju­nior ex­pe­ri­ence.”

As for next sea­son, Denny is hop­ing to make yet an­other jump — to the Que­bec Ma­jor Ju­nior Hockey League. He was drafted by the Cape Bre­ton Scream­ing Ea­gles in the sec­ond round, No. 33 over­all, in the 2016 draft.

JOEY SMITH/SALTWIRE NET­WORK

Leon Denny of Eska­soni has logged im­por­tant min­utes in his rookie sea­son with the Truro Bearcats of the Mar­itime Hockey League. The Bearcats are com­pet­ing at the 2017 Fred Page Cup, the Eastern Cana­dian ju­nior ‘A’ cham­pi­onship be­ing con­tested in Ter­re­bonne, Que.

Evans

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