Kensington starts major midget provincial final with Charlottetown on Feb. 27
The Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild has been battling for the top spot in the New Brunswick-Prince Edward Island Major Midget Hockey League all season.
The Wild (23-10-0-2,48 points) was in first place and awaiting the results from the final game of the regular season Friday night to see if they won the league title.
Third-place Fredericton Caps (19-9-0-6, 44 points) travelled to second-place Saint John Vitos (23-11-0-0, 46 points) Friday. A Saint John loss or tie would give Kensington the league title.
The Charlottetown Robins Donuts Islanders are the other Island entry in the six-team league and they are in last place, trailing Moncton and Miramichi.
The winner of the provincial series between Kensington and Charlottetown, which opens next Saturday in Kensington, will advance to the Atlantic tournament. The Telus Cup is the national prize for major midget teams.
Wild head coach Kyle Dunn and his assistants Matt Fortier and Duane Richards have earned quite a reputation in minor hockey, especially for their handling of young players and getting the best out of them.
This is the second year for this coaching staff, although Fortier and Richards were with Mark Carragher two years ago when he was head coach in Kensington.
A look at the league standings and scoring race suggests Dunn and his assistants have put together a solid club. Brodie MacArthur won the scoring race with 20 goals and 40 assists and the youngster didn’t look out of place when he jumped up to the Quebec major junior league against the Islanders here a month ago.
Brodie’s linemate T.J. Brodie (18-36, 54) is second in the league, Frank Fortin (24-17,41) leads the loop in goals and Kyle Pinksen (23-17, 40) is second in making the red light blink. Isaac Knox (12-19,31), Jordan’s younger brother, and Brendan Shea (13-17, 30) are among the top 20.
The defence recently added 15-year-old Chris McQuaid, who played the first half season in Austria but wanted to return home for a shot at the Telus Cup. He has size, skating ability and has a cannon, which suggests he’ll be an early round major junior draft pick. Another good defenceman is Cornwall’s Ryan Boswall. Besides these two, the Wild have talented Lucas Beaulieu, first-year Clark Webster, whose brother Bailey plays with Saint John in the Quebec league, and reliable Jack Desroches.
Jesse Jay is a stay-at-home defender with an interesting pedigree. He’s the grandson of Island hockey great Angie Carroll.
Luke Oliver is one of the top goaltenders in the league and if he stays hot, the Monaghan Farm boys just might land in the Telus Cup, hosted by Saint John.
A good number of these youngsters will be drafted by Quebec major junior clubs, so let’s hope the Charlottetown Islanders get a long look at our boys.
The UPEI hockey Panthers surprised a lot of people with that 6-3 road win Wednesday in Wolfville, N.S.
Although outshot 37-21, Panthers goaltender Mavric Parks was sharp and the Panthers made the most of their chances. The over-achieving Panthers simply outwork other clubs, hopefully it continued Friday.
Local harness racing is dark but simulcast is available from all major tracks.
At Woodbine tonight, the four-year-old mares final goes for $44,000.
At Yonkers, N.Y., Mark MacDonald drives Bad Boy Matt in the $32,000 top class and Swishnflick in the $32,000 open trot.
At the Meadowlands, Limelight Beach has the eight-hole in the $20,000 top class.
At Pompano Park, Arthur Blue Chip was second in 1:51 in the top class last Sunday but he’s not in this week. The situation in Florida is troubling with the de-coupling issue a threat to live racing.
Fred MacDonald's column appears every Saturday in The Guardian. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.