Daniel Perigo A Well Rounded Rookie

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Daniel Perigo – A Well-rounded rookie

At just 17, and a rookie in the Maritime Junior Hockey League with the Truro Bearcats, one could forgive the Truro native for shying away from getting physical with players bigger, older and stronger.

But Perigo relishes it.

"I’m used to getting picked on as a younger brother," the six foot, 183-pound forward said with a laugh. "But when I was younger I used to play football so I think that’s where I got the physical side of me."

Wherever it came from, it’s certainly helped him get noticed. Well, that and his four goals and four assists in seven games in December, earning him the league’s rookie of the month honour. He sits sixth in team scoring with 21 points (9G, 12A) in 29 games as the Bearcats get ready to host the Summerside Western Capitals (15-13-1-3) Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and the Amherst Ramblers (20-5-3-2) Sunday at 7 p.m.

"The guy’s good," Bearcats head coach Shawn Evans said. "He’s starting to get his feet under him. He’s gotten better as the season has gone on and he’s forced himself into the lineup. He’s earned the right to play and that’s the best compliment you can give a player."

It’s taken a little time for him to blossom. Jumping to the junior ranks after serving as captain last season for the Pictou County Weeks major midgets – where he scored 13 goals and added 23 assists in 34 games – Perigo’s eyes were opened to a game more demanding in every aspect.

"I found it was mostly mental," said Perigo, who was selected by the PEI Rocket in the ninth round of last June’s QMJHL draft. "You just have to be mentally prepared, you have to know what to do in what situations."

If you ask Evans, knowing what to do and when is probably Perigo’s biggest attribute.

"He’s a smart player," Evans said. "He understands how you’re trying to play and he can apply that in games."

He’s also a player who can get it done in all areas of the rink. His point production shows he can finish around the net and set up his teammates, but without being a defensive liability.

"And he’s got some grease to his game," Evans said. "He’s not afraid of the bump and grind."

Being a jack of all trades is something Perigo prides himself on and makes a conscious effort to maintain.

"I don’t like to be a one dimensional player," he said. "I like to be able to play in all areas of the rink and that’s just the way I’ve been since I started playing hockey really. It’s something I’ve always worked on."

But as good as his season has gone thus far, Perigo knows he can be better.

"I’m proud of what I’ve been doing but it’s just the first half of the year so I’ve got to keep things going and help the team win," he said. "There’s always room for adjustments so I always try to improve myself in every area."

With that kind of attitude and work ethic, Evans said he sees Perigo becoming one of the top players in the league as he grows older.

"Some guys come in and top out, they don’t get better," Evans said. "But I see him becoming a really good player in this league."

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