Tonight’s game will be a homecoming for Matt Bursey.
The second-year P.E.I. Rocket winger will play on home ice tonight as P.E.I. travels to Saint John to play the Sea Dogs at 7 p.m.
“It’s a big thing because all the friends and family come out to watch and you feel special,” Bursey said. “The first game you play at home is pretty big and the emotions are flying.
“I think every game at home you have that in the back of your mind a little bit and you want to do something to impress everybody.”
Bursey, who turned 19 on Feb. 1, was a go-to guy going through the minor hockey system in Saint John. He was drafted in the third round by Shawinigan in 2010 and came to P.E.I. in a November 2011 trade.
“I love it in Charlottetown this year,” he said. “We have a great group of guys and a great team.”
While a scorer growing up, Bursey plays more of a defensive role and provides energy by playing a physical brand of hockey on the Rocket’s third line with Alexis Pépin and Jack Nevins.
“It’s different coming into this league where everybody else is bigger, stronger and better. You just have to adapt to the role your team wants you to play. . . Wherever I fit in to that puzzle is what I’ll do for the team.”
But the scorer inside hasn’t left him. When he gets a chance to pop a goal, he takes advantage.
“It feels great, feels like old times,” he said, of sniping. “I remember in Cape Breton a couple of weeks ago, I was flying down the wing, it felt like bantam.”
Bursey said his line is comprised of three hard workers, who like to cycle the puck down low in the offensive zone.
Pépin said he enjoys having Bursey on his wing.
“He gives the puck to his linemates and works hard. I can never complain. If someone makes a cheap shot he’s willing to jump in.”
Pépin said Bursey is a good teammate on and off the ice and their line has been clicking recently, bringing some energy with a good forecheck or a big hit.
“We can help the team, bring some momentum when were down a goal.”
Bursey hopes to continue his hockey career after junior.
“To play pro would be unbelievable,” he said. “I think every guy in that dressing room would like to play pro hockey anywhere.”
He added university is another option and all that will take care of itself down the road.
The Avis Rent A Car/P.E.I. Rocket Skills Competition takes place from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Civic Centre.
Rocket players will be divided into two teams to showcase their talents in various competitions while competing for points to declare a winning team.
The event will be a fun event for players and fans. The team added a new component this year that could see a lucky fan walk away with $1,000.
Between the players’ competitions, six fans will be drawn to shoot into an open net from the far blue-line. The fan that scores the most goals will receive three pucks to shoot from centre ice. If the fan shoots it through the target in the net, he/she will receive $1,000, compliments of Darrell Kennedy and Avis Car Rental in St. John’s, N.L.
If the fan misses, he/she can choose any Rocket player to try the same thing. If the player scores, the fan will still receive $1,000.
Three shooters will be determined through a random draw with season ticket holders. The other three will be drawn from ballots inserted in game day programs. The draws will be done during the skills competition so fans must be in attendance to participate.
u Who – A second-year P.E.I. Rocket.
u Hometown – Saint John.
u Age – 19.
u Position – Right wing.
u Size – Five-foot-nine, 192 pounds.
u Quote – “My goal pretty much is as long as they don’t score when I’m on the ice, I did my job.”
u How He Came To P.E.I. – The P.E.I. Rocket traded fourth- and seventh-round selections in the 2012 QMJHL draft to Shawinigan in November 2011. He was playing with the Miramichi Timberwolves in junior A at the time.
u Statistics -
Season Team GP G A Pts
2012-13 P.E.I. 42 6 8 14
2011-12 P.E.I. 36 5 7 12
2011-12 Shaw. 6 2 1 3
2010-11 Shaw. 4 0 1 1
The P.E.I. Rocket will be on the ice four straight days starting tonight.
Here’s the schedule:
P.E.I. Rocket (28-20-2) at Saint John Sea Dogs (19-30-1), 7 p.m.
Rimouski Oceanic at P.E.I. Rocket, 7 p.m.
P.E.I. Rocket skills competition, 2 p.m.
Moncton Wildcats at P.E.I. Rocket, 4 p.m.