Brett Shute finding the target
Harbour Grace native second in points with Amherst Ramblers
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.
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.