KENSINGTON – The Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild will be busy over the next couple of weeks.
The Wild will begin a stretch of six games in 10 days on Saturday, when the Northern Moose visits Community Gardens for a 7:30 p.m. faceoff. The Wild then hits the road to play the Fredericton Caps on Sunday afternoon, and will conclude the hectic schedule with four games in five days.
“This busy stretch will be good learning lessons about being ready and looking after your body,” said Wild head coach Kyle Dunn.
Every game also carries important significance for the second-place Wild, who is chasing the Moncton Flyers for first place in the New Brunswick/P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League. Kensington, which is 20-6-1 (won-lost-overtime losses), sits seven points back of the Flyers (23-6-2). However, the Wild does hold four games-in-hand.
“One thing we are trying to drill into their heads is that there are no easy games,” emphasized Dunn. “We are not one of those teams that can just go out and beat teams on skill.
“We have to come, work and bring a 60-minute effort. What we are trying to stress to our guys is that all our success comes from 20 guys working hard. We have a good leadership group that keeps reminding our players that.”
Although Northern (7-16-4) and Fredericton (7-21-2) are at the bottom of the standings in the six-team league, Dunn said the Wild cannot take anything for granted.
“Bathurst is a team that can come in and steal one from you,” warned Dunn. “You don’t want to look at where they are at in the standings and say, ‘This is an easy gimme game.’
“We are still fighting for first place, we are trying to get ready for the playoffs. Our mindset doesn’t change, we are still going to roll 20 guys, play hard for 60 minutes and no bad habits.”
Dunn confirmed Wild forward Frank Fortin, who has a team-leading 37 points, will return from injury this weekend after missing last week’s 5-0 win against the Charlottetown Bulk Carriers Pride (11-12-5).
Dunn added forward Chase Gaudette is still sidelined with an injury, and he’s hopeful, by the weekend, there are no victims of a flu bug that has hit the team the past week.
Dunn said the Wild will continue their goaltending rotation. Rookie Chad Arsenault, who is 14-0 with a 2.06 goals-against average and .932 save percentage, will start against Northern while Caleb Coyle, who’s coming off a 35-save shutout versus Charlottetown, will get the nod in Fredericton.
Kensington Wild schedule of upcoming games:
Saturday, Feb. 10
7:30 p.m. – Northern at Wild (Community Gardens).
Sunday, Feb. 11
2:45 p.m. – Wild at Fredericton (Willie O’Ree Place).
Thursday, Feb. 15
7 p.m. – Wild at Charlottetown (MacLauchlan Arena).
Friday, Feb. 16
7:30 p.m. – Wild at Northern (K.C. Irving Centre, Bathurst, N.B.).
Saturday, Feb. 17
7:30 p.m. – Saint John at Wild (Community Gardens).
Monday, Feb. 19
4 p.m. – Wild at Northern (K.C. Irving Centre).
Friday, Feb. 23
8 p.m. – Wild at Saint John (QPlex).
Saturday, Feb. 24
7:30 p.m. – Fredericton at Wild (Community Gardens).
End of regular season.