KENSINGTON – This much is known – barring any unforeseen developments, either the Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild or Moncton Flyers will hold sole possession of first place in the New Brunswick/P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League late Wednesday night.
The two teams enter a much-anticipated showdown at Credit Union Centre in Kensington tied for top spot in the six-team league with 35 points each. The Flyers, who have played one fewer game, are 17-1-1 (won-lost-overtime losses), with both setbacks coming to the Wild. Kensington is 17-2-1, with two of its three losses against Moncton.
The two teams began a game in Kensington on Dec. 1, but an unexpected power outage resulted in the suspension of play with the teams tied 1-1 in the second period. The league ruled the game would be played in its entirety, and was rescheduled for Wednesday at 8 p.m.
Both teams have been red hot as the Wild has won 12 league games in a row while the Flyers, winners of three straight, are 8-1-1 in their last 10.
This will be Moncton’s final visit to Kensington this season, and the teams have two more head-to-head meetings scheduled in Moncton on Dec. 29 and Jan. 25.
Third-year forward Ryan Richards leads the Wild with 31 points – 11 goals and a team-high 20 assists. Dixon MacLeod has a team-leading 13 goals, including five on the power play.
Patrick LeBlanc leads the Flyers’ offence with 40 points – 14 goals and a team-leading 26 assists. Alexis Dube leads the Flyers in goals – 20.
The teams are also evenly matched when it comes to special teams. On the power play, the Wild is clicking at 26 per cent while Moncton checks in at 22 per cent. Kensington has a 92-per-cent showing killing penalties, and Moncton is second at 88 per cent.
The Wild and Flyers have split four league games this season, with each team posting an overtime win. To illustrate the parity between the two teams, they played a third overtime game – a quarter-final win by the Wild – in the Monctonian AAA Challenge in November.
After Wednesday’s game, the Wild will close out the pre-Christmas schedule on the road against the Charlottetown Bulk Carriers Pride (10-11-1) at MacLauchlan Arena on Saturday at 6 p.m. The Wild’s annual Boxing Day game in Kensington against the Pride at 7:30 p.m. will start a stretch of eight of the team’s final 13 regular-season games a home.