AMHERST – The Amherst Colts play their last game of 2012 when they host the Avon River Rats Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Amherst Stadium.
“We’ve been on a little bit of a roll lately,” said, Grove Sutton, Colts general manager and assistant coach. “We’ve won four of our last six games.”
The Colts played their last game with a short bench, losing 8-2 to Barrington, and Sutton said they will be running with a short bench on Saturday.
“We have a lot of kids from Mount A this year and many of them are away on holidays, plus we have another four or five guys suspended (from penalties in the Barrington game),” said Sutton.
The 2012-2013 Colts are 8-12, and are sixth in league standings with 16 points. It’s their best first half of the season in many years.
“We have more points so far this year than we did for the entire season last year,” said Sutton.
The Colts are one point behind the South Shore Wild and two points behind the Spryfield Silver and Black Attack.
“If you take Chester (32 points) and Barrington (29 points) out of the equation the rest of the teams are within two or three points of jumping up in the standings,” said Sutton. “If you get on a winning streak, you can jump right up in the standings.”
Sutton is looking forward to getting back to a full bench.
“We have a couple games left with Chester, which are going to be tough, but the rest of us are battling for a better seed for the playoffs,” said Sutton. “Our goal is to get up as high in the standings as we can, so we don’t have to play Barrington or Chester in the first round, like we had to last year.
“Also, if we played Shannon Park or Spryfield (in the playoffs) we’d be travelling to Halifax and that would cut our travel costs down,” he added.
The Colts added some new players from Mount Allison before the trade deadline and brought in goaltender Julien Savoie, who was playing Junior B Hockey in Shediac.
“They had three goaltenders there and he contacted the Junior B team here (Blues), but they’re locked up with the two guys they have there,” said Sutton. “He came into the game in the third period and picked up the win for us the night we beat Shannon Park here 7-6.”
Savoie will share duties for the rest of the season with Jesse Ogden, who has been the go-to goaltender for much of 2012.
Sutton says the Colts have more depth this year.
“We picked up a couple of new players who have really helped us out this year,” said Sutton. “We’re getting a lot of production up front and our defence is a lot better than it was last year.”
The players are more committed as well.
“We haven’t had a lot of games with a short bench,” said Sutton. “And hopefully we’ll continue to improve in the New Year.”