CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — A Boxing Day matinee against the rival Moncton Magic is a recipe for an entertaining Tuesday at the Eastlink Centre, said the Island Storm’s head coach.
“I know our guys will have a little charge in their tanks come Boxing Day,” Tim Kendrick said Sunday before the team’s practice.
The Storm (6-4) hosts the Magic (7-5) Tuesday at 2 p.m. in National Basketball League of Canada action. The Boxing Day game is traditionally one of the team’s biggest games of the season.
“I really like our home atmosphere,” Kendrick said. “I’d like to see it packed on Boxing Day because, hey, every team in this league is very good and Moncton is sure one of them.
“The more help we can get at home, the more we’ll take.”
The Storm holds a 3-1 lead in the season series with the Magic with four more games to go before the end of the regular season.
“I expect them to come in very hard,” Kendrick said. “They’re going to want to get back as close to even as they can get.”
Joe Salerno, who coached the Storm for the franchise’s first six years, is now the bench boss for the Magic. He has built a roster that includes Anthony Anderson and former Storm players Terry Thomas, Al Stewart, Jeremy Williams and Tirrell Baines. They added former Storm swingman Brent Jennings last week and placed centre Tim Mitchell on the inactive reserve list with a lower-body injury.
Kendrick said Jennings is a real good player, but he doesn’t see the roster move impacting how the Storm will play on Tuesday.
“We’ve done a pretty job in the first 10 games of attacking the basket and getting to the rim,” he said. “We’re going to try to get to the rim or try to hit the open shot, so it’s not going to change how we play.”
The team is a bit banged up but Kendrick said Torrence Dyck Jr. (wrist) and Brad States (foot/ankle) are both improving. Forward Du’Vaughn Maxwell didn't practice on Sunday due to an ankle injury suffered late in Friday’s win in Saint John, N.B., but his status will be determined on Tuesday.
“I’m real happy with our guys in terms of trying to get themselves healthy and get back as quick as they can,” Kendrick said.
The Storm plays Saturday in Saint John, N.B., and Sunday they host the Halifax Hurricanes at 2 p.m.
Magic 116 at Storm 120
Storm 83 at Magic 115
Magic 85 at Storm 88
Storm 109 at Magic 102