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Tough tests await Wild at East Coast Ice Jam

Kensington Wild forward Alex Graham looks to make a move around Moncton Flyers defenceman Matteo Mann during a New Brunswick/P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League game at Credit Union Centre in October. Graham, who has 11 points in his last three games, and the Wild begin play at the Chronicle Herald East Coast Ice Jam tournament in Halifax, N.S., on Wednesday night.
Kensington Wild forward Alex Graham looks to make a move around Moncton Flyers defenceman Matteo Mann during a New Brunswick/P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League game at Credit Union Centre in October. Graham, who has 11 points in his last three games, and the Wild begin play at the Chronicle Herald East Coast Ice Jam tournament in Halifax, N.S., on Wednesday night. - Jason Simmonds

Kensington faces top three Nova Scotia teams in round robin

KENSINGTON, P.E.I. —

The Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild is about to find out how they stack up against the top teams in the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League.

Kensington, which sits in second place in the six-team New Brunswick/Prince Edward Island Major Midget Hockey League at 16-7-2 (won-lost-overtime losses), opens play in the Chronicle Herald East Coast Ice Jam tournament on Wednesday night against the Halifax Macs (20-7-2), at 7 p.m. This game, which is a rematch of last year’s Atlantic championship won by the Macs, will be televised live on EastLink Community TV.
“It’s going to be a great measuring stick next week,” said Wild head coach Kyle Dunn. “We have the top three Nova Scotia teams in the round robin.”
The Wild will play the third-place Cole Harbour Wolfpack (18-7-4) on Thursday at 9 p.m. and close out round-robin play against the first-place South Shore Mustangs (20-6-5) on Friday at 5 p.m.
“We are playing the three top teams in Nova Scotia, which is great,” said Wild forward Alex Graham. “That’s what we want, we want to play the best of the best.”
The Wild enters the Ice Jam tournament having won three straight, four of five and six of their last eight games.
“When we want to play hockey we are a pretty good hockey team,” said Dunn. “We have high expectations here and we have a lot of good hockey players, too.
“We expect to go into every game and compete and win.”
One opportunity tournaments like the Ice Jam and Monctonian AAA Challenge provide is the chance to face different opponents.
“You play teams in your league a bunch and you want to play different teams,” said Graham, who is from Winsloe. “To play the top teams in Nova Scotia is always nice.”

Hot streak
Graham is one of the players the Wild will look to lead the offence in the IceJam. The 16-year-old son of Susan and Brian Graham, who played minor hockey in Kensington, has recorded six goals and five assists for 11 points in his last three games after going pointless in five straight contests.
“You are going to have point stretches and slumps and I am in a little bit of a point stretch right now, which is nice,” said Graham. My teammates help me out a lot, especially my linemates, which is nice.”
Graham is playing on a line with brothers Donovan and Austin Arsenault from Richmond.
“We get along pretty well in the room and we have pretty good chemistry,” said Graham, a draft choice of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Charlottetown Islanders and the Maritime Junior Hockey League’s Summerside Western Capitals. “We’ve been playing together most of the year and they are both really skilled players, snipers, so it’s pretty easy to play with them.”

Personnel
The Wild, who has been hit hard by injuries of late, is starting to get healthy. Forward Noah Griffin returned to the lineup on New Year’s Eve against Charlottetown and defenceman Isaac Vos was back in the lineup on Saturday versus Fredericton. Dunn noted forward Kalib Snow is day-to-day and is close to returning.
The Wild will be without assistant captain Dixon MacLeod for the first two games of the Ice Jam as the forward serves out a three-game suspension.
“We are still a little banged up,” said Dunn. “Obviously, we are going to miss Dixon, but it’s going to give guys a chance to step up and fill that role.”

Jason.simmonds@journalpioneer.com
Twitter.com/JpsportsJason
https://www.facebook.com/jason.simmonds.180

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