PICTOU COUNTY – “From the first year I was here to now I believe we’re more of a family and when you’re in it to win for your teammates and not for yourself it’s a lot easier to win.”
Devan Gunn, a third-year player and 20-year-old with the Pictou County Weeks Crushers said this when asked about the team’s recent success. He said the way the team has come together has been crucial to them turning their slump around and being more competitive against top teams.
“Being in my last year of junior hockey like others I want to go out on top,” he said. “It was tough when we were in that slump because seven games is a lot, but we needed to refocus and work at doing the small things right.”
The trade in December that brought Tim Rose and Evan Carmody to the Crushers was when the tides majorly started to turn according to Gunn. He said the addition of Mitchell Deruelle was a big boost as well.
“We’ve come a long way since the start of the season and hope to continue to go far,” he said. “When we made that trade just before Christmas it happened as things were starting to turn around, but that was big for us to add that size and experience. That first game against Yarmouth was a big deal for us because we knew what we had to do and showed them and ourselves that we could do it.”
Bringing Rose and Carmody in made everyone work harder according to Gunn. He said with extra forwards and defencemen that everyone had to earn their spot in the lineup including himself. He said although it wasn’t necessarily a given before the trade that at times it could’ve been treated that way.
“Overall since the break everything is more intense, including practice,” said Gunn. “We’re focusing on our games minor details and not the big stuff we were earlier in the season. It’s making everyone work harder, which makes us better overall as a team.”
Tonight the Crushers are home against the Metro Shipbuilders at the Pictou County Wellness Centre for a 7 p.m. puck drop. This season the Crushers are 3-0 against the Shipbuilders, but they cannot be taken lightly according to Gunn. He said they need to be smart not only to win Thursday night, but also looking ahead to Friday night in Yarmouth.
“With a pair of games back-to-back you always need to be smart and not get yourself into penalty trouble,” said Gunn. “You want to balance your energy between the two games and not burn yourself out in the first one. Being able to roll four lines like we do normally is important, but when you get in penalty trouble it can hurt you in the second game.
“Our focus is on Metro, but being smart in preparation for Friday night is also in the back of our minds.”
Goals for: 147
Goals against: 141
Vs. Metro Shipbuilders
Goals for: 101
Goals against: 226
Record against Lumberjacks: 3-0
Game time: 7 p.m. at the Pictou County Wellness Centre