Pictou County hosts Sackville tomorrow in Trenton
TRENTON – Aiming for second place isn’t exactly a goal that many have, but given how far ahead the Glace Bay Miners are in the Sid Rowe Division, the Pictou County Scotians cannot finish higher than second with the number of games remaining this season.
Their focus is finishing the regular season in second place and having home ice advantage in the first round of the NSJHL playoffs.
For the last number of weeks it appeared that it would be Port Hawkesbury and Pictou County fighting for second and third, but with Antigonish winning a few crucial games against the Pirates and Scotians they are just six and four points back of second and third in the division standings.
“Obviously we want to finish as high as we can and right now the goal is to get second,” said assistant coach Al Whidden. “It was a big loss to Antigonish last weekend (with regard to the standings). I thought we played well, but they capitalized on the chances they had and we didn’t.”
Tonight the Scotians are on the road against the Cumberland County Blues before hosting the Sackville Blazers at home on Saturday. Puck drop at the Trenton Arena is 6:30 p.m.
Although playing a lone home game on a Saturday is a rarity for Pictou County, Whidden said it’s nice having the second half of back-to-back games at home. He said their road games on Saturdays are usually longer trips, so they will have plenty of time to rest before playing Sackville.
“We’re used to playing back-to-back games on the weekends, so it’s not a huge change,” he said. “The only real difference is we’re home as opposed to being on the road. It’s easier being at home for sure on the second night as opposed to the second one on the road.”
Right now the team is simply focused on their own game and not on their possible playoff opponents at all. The team hasn’t had practice the last two weeks due to weather, which has meant they have simply been discussing with the players the ways they want to improve defensive zone play.
“It’s hard right now because it looked like it’d be Port Hawkesbury for awhile, but with Antigonish making a push we could be playing anybody,” said Whidden. “It’s difficult to focus on any one of them because they’re all different. Antigonish has one big line you need to focus on, while Port Hawkesbury and Glace Bay have overall team depth. We can’t really focus preparing for one just yet and missing practices the last few weeks means we’re just looking to constantly improve our own game.”
Heading into this weekend the coaching staff simply communicated to the players the things they felt they needed to improve. Whidden said having an experienced group allows them to do that a little easier than last season.
“We just are constantly communicating with the guys (when we don’t have a practice,” he said. “We also had three new players in the lineup last week in Andrew Kennedy, Cullan Fitzgerald and Seamus Boyle, so we had to discuss how things worked with everyone getting into the roles that they will be in for the playoffs. We felt we identified our lines for the most part, so it’s just working with that in our push for the playoffs.
“We’re happy with our six ‘D’ right now, so it’s just setting the pairs and them getting used to playing with each other over the next few games.”
Including tonight’s game the Scotians have six regular season games remaining; they play Cumberland twice and play Sackville, Antigonish, Glace Bay and East Hants once more each.
On Twitter: @NGNewsChris