Crushers look to continue hot streak
Locals have won five straight heading into Jan. 3 tilt against visiting Ramblers
By the time the Junior A Crushers step on the ice Jan. 3, Santa Claus and the Christmas turkey will be long gone.
The next two months are about seeing if the Crushers can squeak into the playoffs, after a one-year absence of post-season play.
“In a lot of ways, you didn’t want Christmas to come, as crazy as that sounds,” said coach Doug Doull, whose team hit the Christmas break on a five-game winning streak, which went a long way toward saving their season.
“It abruptly stopped a pretty good run for us, (but) it’s a new season now and we have to approach the second half, and not look back.”
Thanks to a stretch of eight wins in 10 games overall, Pictou County will begin the New Year just two points out of a playoff spot (although the fourth-place South Shore Lumberjacks have played three fewer games than Pictou County).
The Crushers have gotten big production from Dylan Riley and Jacob Hockey in the turnaround; Riley has six goals and seven assists in the past seven games, Hickey has seven goals and seven assists in that span and has scored goals in six straight games.
Their first January game is against the Amherst Ramblers (7 p.m. start time at the Pictou County Wellness Centre (PCWC), who have compiled a 19-7-2 mark and sit fairly comfortably in second place in the MHL’s South Division. The Ramblers have won both games they’ve played at the PCWC, while the teams have split two contests at Amherst Stadium, the latest a 6-0 Crushers’ victory in The Jungle on Dec. 1.
“There’s a lot of hope in the room,” said Doull, when asked about his team’s outlook as January approached.
“(The players) have given themselves a chance. We know how fleeting winning can be, how losing can be, so we just have to have that mindset.”