Brett Shute find­ing the tar­get

Har­bour Grace na­tive sec­ond in points with Amherst Ram­blers

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

Har­bour Grace na­tive Brett Shute is hav­ing a fine start to his last sea­son with the Amherst Ram­blers of the Mar­itime Ju­nior A Hockey League. Up to last week, the 20-year-old had reg­is­tered 14 points (11 goals and three as­sists) in 13 games, and the team’s coach­ing staff were lean­ing on Shute for a big­ger role both on and off the ice. Shute is one of just three play­ers from this re­gion play­ing at a higher level of hockey on the main­land.

Brett Shute is off to his best start with the Amherst Ram­blers in the Mar­itime Ju­nior A Hockey League.

Up to Oct. 26, the Har­bour Grace na­tive had reg­is­tered 14 points (11 goals and three as­sists) in 13 games.

It is a sign that Shute’s con­fi­dence and com­fort level in the league is grow­ing, with his early sea­son num­bers get­ting bet­ter each sea­son.

“I’m get­ting more con­fi­dent,” he told The Com­pass in a re­cent tele­phone in­ter­view.

Shute has seen his role ex­pand this sea- son. He has re­ceived in­creased time on both the power play and penalty kill.

“I’m get­ting a lot of ice time and more op­por­tu­ni­ties,” said Shute.

He’s on pace to eclipse last sea­son’s to­tals, which is in keep­ing with past trends for the 20-year-old.

In 2010 — his first in the league — Shute reg­is­tered five points through his first 14 games. That in­creased to seven points in 14 games in 2011, and 11 points through his first 16 games in 2012-13.

Shute reg­is­tered points in nine of the first 10 games for the Ram­blers this sea­son, but then went into a mini-slump. The team was sched­uled to play twice over the weekend, but those re­sults were un­avail­able prior to dead­line.

Over that stretch, Amherst has posted a record of seven wins and six losses, good for fifth place in the Eastlink Di­vi­sion.

The team sat two points be­hind the Val­ley Wild­cats and three points be­hind the Truro Bearcats.

De­spite his hot start, Shute said he would trade some of his points for a cou­ple more wins.

Be­ing a leader

The Ram­blers do not suf­fer from in­ex­pe­ri­ence. En­ter­ing his fi­nal year with the club, Shute is one of nine 20-year-olds on the ros­ter.

Along with the other eight, Shute has taken on a greater role in the dress­ing room. “I’m be­ing more of a leader,” he said. Ram­blers’ head coach Jim Bot­tom­ley said Shute is one of the play­ers he turns to for lead­er­ship.

“We’re count­ing on him to be a leader up front,” he said.

A suc­cess­ful line

Another as­pect of Shute’s hot start is the suc­cess had by his line­mates, Brock Mor­ri­son and Ryan Caswell.

The three play well off each other, and look­ing at the stats, it’s not hard to see it.

The trio com­bined for 43 points head­ing into weekend ac­tion. Mor­ri­son leads the team with 16 points ( five goals and 11 as­sists), next is Shute with 14, fol­lowed by Caswell with 13 points ( five goals and eight as­sists).

Of the Ram­blers 48 goals, Shute’s line has con­trib­uted 21 of those. That rep­re­sents 43 per cent of the team’s to­tal.

“The chem­istry is good,” said Shute.

Coach’s words

Bot­tom­ley has coached Shute for the past three sea­sons, and said Shute has flour­ished with the ex­panded role given to him this sea­son.

“(Shute) is play­ing out of po­si­tion, and he’s the first power play to go on the ice and he kills penal­ties for us,” he said. “At 20-years-old, we ex­pect a lot from him and he’s de­liv­er­ing.”

Shute is one of three ath­letes from the Con­cep­tion Bay North re­gion play­ing high level hockey on the main­land.

The other two are Up­per Is­land Cove na­tive Robert Slaney (St. Fran­cis Xavier X-Men) and River­head’s Dan Cleary (Detroit Red Wings). For a re­gion that has pro­duced some of the finest hockey play­ers in the prov­ince, it could be con­sid­ered one of the low­est num­ber of play­ers in re­cent mem­ory. Shute is off to the best start of the three. This sea­son is his fi­nal one in the MJHL, and Shute said he plans on pur­su­ing univer­sity hockey.

Brett Shute

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