WESTVILLE ROAD - The Junior A Crushers hope a Wednesday trip to Woodstock will bring back some momentum in their chase for the MHL playoffs.
The Crushers are in last place in the South Division standings, one point behind the Valley Wildcats and four back of the Truro Bearcats. Pictou County has three games in hand on the Wildcats and two on Truro, with all three teams looking to get that final playoff spot.
“We have three-in-three coming up, so it’s very important we get some wins,” said forward Jacob Hickey, who leads the team with 16 goals heading into the Slammers game.
“Valley’s doing well – we see that.”
Pictou County plays at home Thursday against the Amherst Ramblers and heads to Yarmouth the next night to take on the Mariners.
Like every other team in the MHL, the Crushers are also faced with Wednesday’s trade deadline.
Hickey said there “hasn't been too much talk,” about the deadline amongst Crusher players and that “it hasn’t been a distraction in the room for us.”
Crushers coach Doug Doull seemed to echo that statement.
“The players just show up at the rink and play, they’re not really worried about managerial responsibilities,” he said.
“We’re pretty much just holding strong here and trying to maintain our footing, trying to climb up the standings. You get to know these kids personally; you don’t just say, ‘OK, this guy’s out of here.’ I’d rather develop players than trade them away.”
The Crushers are coming off a 6-4 loss to the Edmundston Blizzard on Saturday, a defeat some might have found hard to swallow; with the score tied 4-4 in the latter stages of what had been a terrific hockey game, the Crushers gave up a power play goal, then took a bench minor before the ensuing faceoff when an assistant coach had words with a referee.
Edmundston, who owns the MHL’s best record, scored on that power play goal to put the game, for all intents and purposes, out of Pictou County’s reach.
“It was a great game for the fans to watch. It was fast-paced, back-and-forth,” said Doull, choosing his words carefully.
“And (the refs) found a way to make their mark.”
• Luke Melanson is expected to start in goal against Woodstock.
• Michael Dill took over the team scoring lead with a goal and two assists against the Blizzard and has now has 30 points in 28 games (11G, 19A). He’s followed by Dylan Riley (13G, 16A) and Jacob Hickey (16G, 12A).