The Home Stretch
You can talk the talk, but it’s more important to walk the walk.
It’s not the playoffs yet and a league champion has definitely not been decided, but the Weeks Crushers are definitely walking the walk.
Coming into the 2013-14 MHL season the Weeks Hockey Organization made it clear they wanted to make a run at a championship and so far this year things are on track to have a successful year. There are still some final changes to be made likely, but if their current record and where they sit in the standings is any indication they will continue to lead one of the tightest leagues in the CJHL.
Call me a pessimist, or a Blue Jays fan, but after watching the Toronto ball club have the flop they did in their 2013 MLB campaign I was a little hesitant about hopping on the Crushers train. Hype only does so much because eventually it comes down to execution.
That’s where the Weeks Crushers haven’t fallen short as compared to a team like the Blue Jays who struggled to get the most out of their players that were supposed to be amongst the league’s best.
As of Tuesday afternoon Nick Parker led the league in goals with 21 (and 14 assists), with Mitchell Deruelle tied for sixth in the league with 14. Both players are on the Crushers top line and are obviously having no trouble producing offensively as they lead with their actions.
In the assists and points department David Stephens leads the MHL. Brought in to boost the Pictou County offence he has done just that with 10 goals and 26 assists this season. Garret Holmes is tied for sixth in assists with 21, but also has 10 goals to his name this season.
Those four may lead the team in scoring, but the Crushers also have four other players with more than 20 points as Jordan McInnis has 12 goals and 13 assists, Brandon Parsons has 10 goals and 13 assists, John Mullally has nine goals and 13 assists, and Evan Carmody has eight goals and 13 assists. If you find a way to shut down one line another will hurt you.
When it comes to keeping pucks out they have the third best goals-against in the league, allowing 75, two back of the Miramichi Timberwolves and Truro Bearcats.
Brandon Thibeau is currently amongst the top in the MHL with a 0.920 save percentage, third amongst goalies with more than five starts. His counterpart Devan Tremblay has started five of the Crushers’ 29 games this year and has the best save percentage in the league at 0.942, as well as the best goals-against average of 1.80 in the league.
Thibeau is sixth in the MHL amongst goalies with more than five starts with a 2.68 goals-against average.
It’s also worth noting that at the Christmas break last season that the Weeks Crushers were 15-12-5 with 119 goals for and 119 goals against, while this season they are 21-4-4 with 127 goals for and, as mentioned, 75 goals against.
They are definitely on the right track, but even as Thibeau mentioned to me Tuesday in a conversation about where the team is right now, they have a long way to go before they are where they want to be. The team is happy with being in first, but know that they need to find ways to get better every day because every other team will be looking for the slightest edge when playoff time hits.
Christopher Cameron is the sports reporter for The News and can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @NGNewsChris. His column runs weekly on Wednesdays.