Stephens out indefinitely with lower-body injury
NEW GLASGOW – The Weeks Crushers have lost their last two games, but what is potentially more important is that they lost David Stephens indefinitely with a lower-body injury.
© CHRISTOPHER CAMERON - THE NEWS
Weeks Crushers forward and leading goal scorer David Stephens is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury. Early indications are that he will be out of the lineup for four to six weeks.
Stephens, who’s tied with Nick Parker as the top Crushers scorer with 39 points, suffered his injury during Saturday’s 3-0 loss to the Summerside Western Capitals. He had an appointment Monday, which will help determine the timeframe for his return, although it’s expected it will at least be a few weeks.
“Obviously it’s a huge hit having one of our leading goal scorers out for that amount of time, but at the same time we have Tyler Doyle who is going to step right into the lineup and we know what he can bring defensively,” said Crushers assistant captain Daniel MacLeod. “We're confident in our group of guys even with Davey out of the lineup.”
Doyle has six goals and 11 points in 23 games this season for the Crushers, playing two games in December, both of which Devan Tremblay started. With only nine 20-year-olds allowed to dress each game he has been the odd man out for Pictou County. MacLeod expects his teammate will adjust quickly to being back in the lineup on a regular basis.
“It definitely is a huge loss (losing Stephens), but at the same time Doyle is going to step right in and he’s been in this league for three years and knows what it’s all about and what it takes to win,” he said. “He’s a completely different kind of guy instead of an offensive threat, he’s going to be a defensive threat and will be a guy that kills penalties for us. He’ll definitely make an impact as soon as he’s back in the lineup.”
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Friday the Weeks Crushers were quiet on trade deadline day, which involved 11 trades by MHL teams, after trading for defenceman Harrison Wood last Monday. MacLeod said from his perspective the team had brought in all the players they needed before the deadline.
“I feel like we made our moves prior to the break, so we didn’t have that panic coming up to it (trade deadline) and I feel like that definitely helped us out,” he said. “We picked up the guys we wanted, but now that we’ve been playing with them for a couple weeks we’ve gained that chemistry with each other.”
So far this season the Crushers worst losing streak was three games (Oct. 5, 10 and 13). After losing a pair last week MacLeod said it’s just another wakeup call after stringing together a number of wins.
“Our main focus right now is just getting back on track,” he said. “It’s unfortunate to lose those two games, but to put it in perspective those were the only two games all year we lost by more than two goals, so we just need to take a step back and refocus. We know what we can do if we play to our potential, so that’s what we’re going to try to do, put the work ethic in and everything will work itself out.
“We need to realize the reason we’ve had success in the past is because we went out there and made our own success by working hard, moving our feet and keeping things simple. I think we got away from that game in our last few games, so we just need to work at bringing that back.”
It’s unfortunate to lose those two games, but to put it in perspective those were the only two games all year we lost by more than two goals. Weeks Crushers defenceman Daniel MacLeod
Since the first day of the regular season he believes as a group their defensive game has been the biggest area of improvement. MacLeod said aside from the last few games the results have shown that.
“At the first of the year we were winning games 6-5, 7-4 – these kind of games – but just prior to the break I feel like our games, instead of the high scoring who’s going to score the last goal, were a 2-1, 3-0, 3-1 kind of games and come playoff time those are the ones you want to win,” he said. “The season we’re having – we just need to make sure we keep things realistic. We aren’t going to play our best game every night and that’s just the facts of it. We can’t expect a perfect season, but we just have to take some lessons out of the games we lose, figure out why we lost and try to change them.”
Thursday night they host the Amherst Ramblers for the second time at home this season. They are 3-1 against them so far. MacLeod said he expects the team will get back on track and getting a win against Amherst will be a great way to do so.
“We’re looking forward to the game against Amherst on Thursday and are expecting a bounce-back performance from everyone and it will be good to see Doyle in the lineup for sure.”