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Conditioning critical as Wild play three games in less than 72 hours

Kensington Wild forward Noah Griffin celebrates scoring a goal against the Saint John Vitos earlier this season while teammate Dixon MacLeod is about to offer congratulations. The Wild faces a busy weekend, which includes a Saturday night home game sandwiched between long trips to Cape Breton and Bathurst, N.B.
Kensington Wild forward Noah Griffin celebrates scoring a goal against the Saint John Vitos earlier this season while teammate Dixon MacLeod is about to offer congratulations. The Wild faces a busy weekend, which includes a Saturday night home game sandwiched between long trips to Cape Breton and Bathurst, N.B. - Jason Simmonds

KENSINGTON – The Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild will have more than hockey to focus on this weekend.

With a schedule of three games in less than 72 hours that includes a home game sandwiched between trips to Cape Breton and Bathurst, N.B., the Wild is putting a strong emphasis on how they take care of their bodies before, during and after games.

“Our fitness trainer, Brian Arsenault, gave the boys a pretty good lecture on recovery, food and hydration,” said Wild head coach Kyle Dunn. “It is very important to make sure they eat the proper foods, especially on travel days. 

“You are going to be doing a lot of sitting down on the bus and then right back into a hockey game, more travel, right back into a hockey and then right back on the bus. Fluids and proper nutrition are going to be key for these guys this weekend.”

Kensington, which sits second in the New Brunswick/Prince Edward Island Major Midget Hockey League at 16-7-2 (won-lost-overtime losses), begins the busy weekend against the Cape Breton West Islanders (10-18-1) at the Port Hood Arena on Friday night. This is an interlocking make-up game with the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League that was postponed earlier this season due to the weather.

“It’s a lot of travel, especially when you take five or six hours to get over there,” said Wild forward Noah Griffin. “You have to make sure when you get over there that you get your legs going and you get into the game early because we have had a lot of trouble with that lately.”

The Wild returns to the friendly confines of Credit Union Centre to host the Saint John Vitos (11-16-0) on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. 

The Wild will be back on the team bus early Sunday morning to travel to Bathurst, N.B., to take on the Northern Moose (10-12-4) at 2 p.m.

Asked what the players can do to take care of their bodies this weekend, Griffin noted it will be important to drink lots of water.

“Our trainer, Brian, preaches that quite a bit,” said Griffin. “You want to make sure to keep the fluids in you and make sure you eat good foods for a few days before.”

Another important factor for the Wild, notes Griffin, is rest.

“For sure sleep will be the biggest thing,” said the 17-year-old from Johnstons River, who has eight points in 15 regular-season games. “Any time you are going into anything rest is the most important thing because if you are tired you can’t play.”

Ice Jam

Friday will mark the Wild’s first action since going a disappointing 0-1-1 against the top three teams in the Nova Scotia league at last week’s Chronicle Herald East Coast Ice Jam tournament in Bedford, N.S.

“Against Halifax, obviously the 7-2 score is not ideal, but you are (down) 3-1 going into the third period against a great Halifax team,” said Dunn. “We were up 3-2 against a great Cole Harbour team and up 3-2 going into the third period (and lost 4-3 in overtime) against South Shore (a 4-3 loss). 

“We were in every game, we competed and we just fell short. Our specialty teams let us down last weekend. Our penalty kill, I think, was at 56 per cent or something like that. We need to be better at that.”

Jason.simmonds@journalpioneer.com

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RELATED: Knights, Wild on opposite ends of one-goal games at East Coast Ice Jam

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