ALMA – For the first time since opening its doors in 2003, Northumberland Regional High School won the NSSAF Division 2 boys hockey regional championship, but they don’t want to be satisfied with just that.
The team has been preparing for the last few weeks for provincials, which they are hosting this weekend at the Pictou County Wellness Centre. Graduating player Colby Fraser said the coaching staff has been preparing them for the pressure of playing in the big event.
“It’s a bigger stage for sure so we’ve been focusing on the pressure to have a strong tournament as host,” he said. “The coaches have been telling us how we need to be prepared off the ice with nutrition and how it’s something they expect from us because we’re old enough to know how to get proper sleep and eat well.”
On the ice, the team has been focusing on their special teams in particular, according to Grade 10 player Dallas MacDonald. He said the team has not been getting enough shots on goal on the power play and their structure hasn’t been good as of late.
“There’s always games where special teams make the difference and for us right now we need to improve our power play system,” said MacDonald. “That’s the biggest thing we need to worry about right now on top of our regular preparation.”
Also in the provincial tournament this weekend is Central Kings, Northeast Kings and Eastern Shore.
Ben Morrissey, a Grade 11 player with the team, feels they can match the skill of any of the teams coming in. He said playing on the Wellness Centre ice for a month will be an advantage to them too.
“The past few years we’ve been close with North Kings and this year we only lost to Central Kings by one goal,” Said Morrissey. “We know we can match their play and that this rink is different than where they play because it’s warmer and the ice is a little softer than other surfaces. It’s also bigger than some of their rinks and after playing two games here and practicing for almost a month we feel comfortable here.”
“We feel it will take the other teams a period or two to get used to it and in that time we want to take advantage of their adjusting to it.”
Friday, March 22
Noon – Eastern Shore vs. Northumberland
2 p.m. – Northeast Kings Central Kings
6 p.m. – Eastern Shore vs. North Kings
8 p.m. – Opening Ceremony
8:30 p.m. – Central Kings vs. Northumberland
Saturday, March 23
Noon – Central Kings vs. Eastern Shore
2 p.m. – North Kings vs. Northumberland
7 p.m. – Second Place vs. Third Place
Sunday, March 24
1 p.m. – Championship game