TRENTON - The Pictou County Scotians still haven’t given up on first place and a win over the Glace Bay Miners on Saturday would keep them within range.
The Scotians are six points behind the Miners in the Sid Rowe Division, heading into the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League tilt in Cape Breton. Each team has 10 games left in the season, so a regulation win for either club would loom large.
“It’s a big game for us, trying to chase them in the standings,” said veteran Scotians forward Will Kelly, an assistant captain with the club.
He noted that the teams play again on Jan. 20 (also in Membertou) “so we’ve got a couple of big weekends ahead of us.”
The Scotians are 10 points clear of the third-place Antigonish Bulldogs in the standings, and barring a Pictou County collapse, they won't likely be caught by their rivals from Antigonish.
Kelly, a second-year Scotian, has 19 points (5G, 14A) in 16 games played this season.
Asked what he feels the Scotians strengths are, “depth” was the quick answer.
“We’re deep up front, fast and creative,” said Kelly, a StFX University student who hails from Quispamsis, N.B.
“And a good Pictou County team with some toughness, too.”
The Miners have won five straight division titles and are a “big, mean team – big, fast and physical and they like to play the body,” Kelly said, adding that the Scotians hope to use their speed and forechecking game to counter what Glace Bay brings to the table.
Pictou County will be at home at home on Sunday night against the Cole Harbour Colts, who are in first place in the Fred Fox Division.
“This weekend is massive for us,” said coach Brandon Verge. “This will determine where we’re are at facing two top teams in the league on back-to-back nights.”
• The top 3 scorers are Jacob Pentz (14,G, 17A), Jeremy McFarlane (17G, 8A) and Robert Burrows (8G, 13A).
• Michael Binczyk will start in goalie against Glace Bay, while Blake Meech gets the call on Sunday.
• To add to their depth, the Scotians acquired forward Morgan Timmons from the Strait Pirates this week.
• Pictou County are relatively healthy, with Verge reporting no injuries.