Parker says small mistakes could cost Crushers spot in standings down the stretch
NEW GLASGOW – Losing focus for 10 minutes or even a shift could end up costing the Weeks Crushers two points as they head down the stretch towards the playoffs.
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Weeks Crushers forward Jordan McInnis looks for a loose puck during their game Jan. 24 against the Yarmouth Mariners. Tonight the Crushers host the Mariners for the third time this season.
Captain Nick Parker said with nine games remaining in the regular season they are trying to eliminate that from their game, especially with six against division rivals. Part of the reason for one mistake or lapse during the game being so costly this season is teams being so evenly matched.
In his third season he said he hasn’t witnessed this kind of parity since starting to play in the MHL.
“It (parity) holds everyone more accountable than last year when you could get away with the odd mistake,” said Parker. “This year we’re older and more experienced, which helps with the league being so tight, but a few games this year we just took 10 minutes off and it ended up costing us two points. That’s something we know we can’t do and want to get that out of game before the playoffs.
“I’ve only been in the league three years now, but it’s the tightest it’s been and it’s tough competition from top to bottom throughout the division and the league. There’s no easy two points.”
Going into tonight’s game against the Yarmouth Mariners the Crushers are 5-4-1 in their last 10, but have won four of their last five. Parker said the team’s confidence is growing heading towards playoffs, but their focus is on one game at a time.
Their goal is to finish first in the Eastlink Division, but when they wrap up the regular season at home on March 6 against Amherst they will deal with what result the next nine games gives them.
“We can only take it game by game,” he said. “We’re definitely not thinking of where we’re going to finish or who we’re going to play right now. Everyone is focused on the two points against Yarmouth Thursday night. If we do that every game and worry about just getting two points, we should be in a good spot at the end of the season.”
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As of late they have also been dealing with players being in and out of the lineup, which has meant some line shuffling for the coaching staff. Parker said last week they were adjusting to having John Mullally back, as well as Jordan McInnis on Saturday after a two-game suspension.
“We were just trying to get him (Mullally) back and going as quick as possible, so the coaches were trying to put him with guys that would help him get back on his game quickly,” said Parker. “Just because we’ve had so many out of the lineup over the last while we’ve had to change up our lines, but now that most everyone is back we’ll be trying to get the best chemistry between guys heading into the playoffs.”
Goals for: 173
Goals against: 118
Record against Yarmouth: 2-1-1
Vs. Yarmouth Mariners
Goals for: 160
Goals against: 155
Game time: 7 p.m. at the Pictou County Wellness Centre
On Twitter: @NGNewsChris