WESTVILLE ROAD, N.S. – Almost lost in the drama swirling around the Pictou County Crushers during the last week is they’re on a big-time roll.
Despite trading two of their best players (Dylan Riley and Jacob Hickey), despite the sudden announcement that the team will have new owners on April 1, the Maritime Hockey League team is zeroing in on the South Shore Lumberjacks.
“The trade came as a shock to everyone, really,” said veteran forward Barrett Dachyshyn.
“It’s tough to see guys like Dylan and Jacob go (but) our goal doesn’t change.”
All the outside distractions, he added, “is just noise. We’re not going to let anything change inside our locker room, and we’re going to keep playing as we have been.”
The Crushers win-loss record was at 1-11-5 in early November and the season was careening out of control before things turned around.
They’re still underdogs, Dachyshyn said, and “to start the season the way we did, and to come back as we have, is quite the script.”
The Crushers won their seventh straight game on Jan. 10, a 3-2 victory over the Yarmouth Mariners, and can make it eight if they beat the Valley Wildcats on Thursday (7 p.m., Pictou County Wellness Centre).
Isaac Chapman scored the overtime winner against Yarmouth, and Chase Ellis and Andrew Burden also had goals.
The Crushers were two points behind South Shore heading into this week’s action (the Lumberjacks, sitting in the MHL’s South Division final playoff spot, lost a 7-2 game to the Amherst Ramblers on Wednesday at Amherst Stadium).
Pictou County have two big road games this weekend (Friday at South Shore and Saturday in Yarmouth), but Dachyshyn said the Wildcats need to be the focus right now.
“You can’t look past any team in this league,” he said. “You can’t take any team lightly because that can come back and nip you in the butt.”
• Goaltender Matt Normore made 38 saves for Pictou County against the Yarmouth Mariners.
• Defenceman Michael Fradette has nine points in the past eight games (3G, 6A).
• Alexis Quane-Arsenault, also a blueliner, has 10 assists in 12 games.
• In 10 games since rejoining the Crushers, winger Kevin Mason has 14 points (8G, 6A).
• As of Wednesday afternoon, forward Sam Meisenheimer, acquired in the Dylan Riley/Jacob Hickey transzction, was still undecided about reporting to the Crushers.
BY THE NUMBERS
Pictou County Crushers
Record: 12-13-5 (5th place, South Division)
Top Scorers: Barrett Dachyshyn (11G, 19A), Evan Gallant (8G, 10A), Jaden Mason (10G, 7A)
Stats Say: The Crushers can reach the .500 mark for the first time since Sept. 27 if they beat the Wildcats.
Record: 5-24-4 (6th place, South Division)
Top Scorers: Tommy Roger (7G, 9A), Felix Meunier (8G, 9A), Zach Falck (6G, 5A).
Stats Say: Valley have lost seven games in a row.