KENSINGTON – The Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild want to pick up where they left off.
The Charlottetown Bulk Carriers Pride is looking to keep the momentum rolling.
What will give when the Island’s two entries in the New Brunswick/P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League clash in a 7:30 p.m. start at Community Gardens on Saturday?
“As the year goes on both teams are improving, and it’s going to be interesting to see where each team stands,” said Wild head coach Kyle Dunn. “It’s the second-last meeting before playoffs, and you want to see where you are at, measuring-stick wise, and what adjustments you may have to make and be ready for the playoffs.”
At the end of the regular season, the Wild and Pride will meet in a best-of-seven series to determine P.E.I.’s representative at the Atlantic major midget hockey championship, and the New Brunswick teams will battle for the right to represent that province.
“We’ve been happy with where our team has been roughly since the Monctonian (tournament in November),” said Pride head coach Luke Beck. “Obviously, within that stretch, there are games that we weren’t playing quite the way we want to as a group. But, if you look at the big picture, we are real happy with how our team has progressed over the last eight weeks, and excited about what the next eight weeks have to offer.”
Dunn said there’s always a buzz in the air when the Pride visits the cozy confines of the Gardens.
“You can feel the atmosphere in this little barn,” said Dunn. “Guys are that much more engaged.”
As hard as it may seem to be believe, the Wild has only played two league games in 2018, and one of those was a make-up game on Sunday – a 5-2 win over the Northern Moose in Petit-Rocher, N.B. Kensington’s scheduled game against the Moose in Bathurst, N.B., on Friday night was postponed due to the weather.
Prior to their lengthy break, the Wild had won 10 of their last 11 league games. Second-place Kensington, which is 19-6-1 (won-lost-overtime losses), is seven points behind the first-place Moncton Flyers (22-6-2). Kensington does hold four games in hand.
“It’s finally good to get back into a regular routine, with two practices a week and two games,” said Dunn. “It’s coming down the stretch. We are battling for first place, and are looking to get geared up for the playoffs.”
The Pride, who has earned 15 of a possible 20 points in their last 10 games to improve to 11-11-4 (won-lost-overtime losses), was scheduled to play the third-place Saint John Vitos (16-11-0) in the Port City on Friday night, but that game was also postponed due to the weather. The teams will meet in Charlottetown on Sunday at 1:45 p.m.
“We have games against two of the top three teams in the standings, so it will be a good measuring stick for us,” said Beck.
When asked what he’s looking for from his team this weekend, Beck answered: “Just continuing to play the way we want to play.”
Kensington Wild and Charlottetown Pride notebook:
The Wild will be without forwards Chase Gaudette and Frank Fortin on Saturday as they continue to recover from injuries suffered in the Chronicle Herald East Coast Ice Jam hockey tournament in January.
The Wild will play home games the next four Saturdays at Community Gardens. Puck drop for each contest is 7:30 p.m.
The Wild has nine games remaining in the regular season.
The Wild has a 12-2 (won-lost) record in home games this season, including one win over Fredericton in a make-up match at the Tignish Credit Union Arena on Dec. 8.
The Pride has eight regular-season games remaining, including five on home ice at the Bell Aliant Centre on the UPEI campus.
The final regular-season meeting between the Wild and Pride is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m.