Pictou County host Valley tonight to start three-in-three
NEW GLASGOW – The time is now – well almost.
© CHRISTOPHER CAMERON - THE NEWS
Weeks Crushers defenceman Rory Graham said this season has been a major learning experience for him after moving up from playing midget last year. He said he believes he has brought his strong defensive play to the team that is looking to win a Kent Cup in April.
The Weeks Crushers play three games in three nights this week, with their final regular season game next Thursday at home. First place in the Eastlink Division appears to be out of reach and second looks like a lock for Pictou County should they pick up a win or two this weekend. Yarmouth is six points back, having played one more game, while Amherst is seven points back with a game in hand.
Rookie defenceman Rory Graham said the team will go into each of their remaining regular season games with a playoff mentality to help prepare for their push for the Kent Cup.
“You have to go in with a mentality that every game is do or die from now on,” he said. “Once you get to playoffs you have to be able to come out with wins even if you’re not playing your best game and I think with the group we have we can have great games every game that we play.”
Tonight they host the Valley Wildcats at the Wellness Centre, their final meeting of the season. The last time the two teams met the Crushers were amidst a losing skid and the Wildcats picked up a 3-2 win in Kentville.
Graham said it was those few weeks that brought the team closer together and will make them stronger in the long run.
“It all comes back to the group that we have, that we’re able to bounce back after those games,” he said. “Having a rough stretch brought us closer together in a way, but once you got that first win, after that it felt great and going into playoffs I think we’re setting ourselves up well with how we’re coming together right now.”
In their past two meetings they also learned how tough the Valley team can be to play against, with the Crushers having won their first three meetings with the Wildcats this season.
“They’ve got great goaltending in (Blade) Mann-Dixon and they’re a pesky team that’s hard to play against,” said Graham. “They won’t give up no matter what the score is. If they’re down or ahead it seems like it doesn’t really matter to them. They just come out and work hard every single game.”
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Being his first year with the team, Graham said he is trying to learn as much as he can and contribute to the best of his ability. He said this season has been a great learning experience so far and that he feels he has been able to play significant role on their blue-line. He added that he hopes to continue his strong defensive play throughout the playoffs.
“Being one of the younger guys on the team a lot of it has been a learning experience for me,” he said. “Coming in from midget last year where I was one of the older, veteran guys to seeing how some of the more experienced guys have worked on the team, like the guys that have played in the Quebec league in the past years. What I’ve brought to team is being a sturdy defenceman on the backend. I try to limit my mistakes and if something arises that I can help the team in a way offensively then that will come.
“Going into the year I understood this team was making a run for it this year, so I knew that I would have to fight for my ice time, once I found out I made the team. My goals for this year were just to improve as much as I could, especially my defensive game, but it’s an adjustment coming up from midget last year.”
Goals for: 188
Goals against: 132
Record against Valley: 3-2-0
Vs. Valley Wildcats
Goals for: 130
Goals against: 178
Game time: 7 p.m. at the Pictou County Wellness Centre
On Twitter: @NGNewsChris