(Photo credit – Garrett James)
The Cents 2019-20 season can be told as a tale of two, or even three, d-cores.
Gone from the opening day roster are veterans Joey Berkopec to Coquitlam, and Olson Werenka to the AJHL. Offseason acquisition Troy Quinn wasn’t long for Merritt and rookie Colton Sun was dealt as well.
Mid-season pickups like Doug Scott have come and gone, and the young Tyson Galloway is back in the WHL.
In their place has come Merritt local Chase Cooke, along with fellow rookie Brody Johnston and the WHL’s Braydon Clark. Not to mention a gaggle of APs that have been called up along the way.
Throughout it all two men on the back end have stood tall, Talon Zakal and the subject of this week’s Five (more like 10) Good Minutes, Brophy Dunne.
The big defenceman discussed the change in his role and some lessons he learned from the departed veterans.
“It was a big step. It’s what every rookie wants, to play the big minutes, and I think I’m doing a pretty good job of doing it,” said Brophy. “I’m making sure I take in some of what Joey and Olson did, the energy players on the back end. That’s my role and that’s what I’m going to stick to. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
“Me and Joey had a really tight connection, even before I made the team at camp. He was telling me what junior hockey is like and what you need to do. He always told me if you have a bad shift you have to make sure to don’t dwell on it. You have to have a way better follow-up shift,” said Brophy. “We had a really tight bond; we were brothers and it was sad to see him go.”
As for the new defensive unit, Brophy likes how they’re trending.
“The d-core, we’re young, we’re fighting in there. Brody has been great for us. Chase, probably the hardest worker I’ve ever met in my life. He and Talon make a great pair” added Brophy. “We may be young, but I feel like we fit the league perfectly.”
Thanks to the massive turnover, Brophy has gone from a 5/6 defenceman to a top pairing blueline stalwart playing huge minutes and every situation. For most of the year, he has been eating major minutes on the Cents penalty kill, a role he enjoys, but recently he’s even found himself patrolling the point on the power play.
“Derek believes in me at the top, making the plays and getting my shot through,” began Brophy. “When I get a chance of the power play, I try to make an impression so I can stay out there. Try to get a puck in the net.”
If you look at the stats sheet Brophy still has a 0 in the goal’s column, but you don’t have to tell him that…his parents have it covered.
“I’m waiting for it. I’ve talked with my parents and they’re making fun of me for not scoring,” joked Brophy. “It’s going to happen soon, I’m feeling it. I’ve been feeling it for about a month though, so we don’t know”
Brophy continues the hunt for that first goal and a big team win tonight in Penticton. Catch the pregame right here on Q101 at 6:45 with Jared Thomas.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt