AMHERST – The Amherst Regional High School Vikings host a pair of New Brunswick teams this weekend as they prepare for the NSSAF provincial playdowns.
Amherst is home tonight to the Bernice MacNaughton Highlanders in exhibition high school hockey action at 8:15 p.m. before hosting Hampton High Huskies on Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Amherst Stadium.
“These are a couple of big games for us as we prepare to play Northumberland High in the playoffs,” Vikings’ coach Wayne MacKenzie said Thursday. “We played Bernice MacNaughton a couple of weeks ago and beat them 2-0 and Hampton beat us 2-1 in the Moncton tournament.”
The Vikings expect to have a full lineup for Friday’s game with the return of forward Stephen Belyea from injury and an indoor track and field meet he attended last weekend.
Amherst has been idle since last Friday when the team lost 6-3 to a very Division 1 North Nova Gryphons. In that game, a couple of defensive breakdowns led to some costly goals.
“Our discipline was really good in that game, but we had a couple of defensive zone breakdowns that cost us,” he said. “We’ve been working a lot on our power play and penalty kill to get ready for Northumberland and we’re seeing some results.
The Vikings play the PRP Predators next Friday before playing a best-of-three with Northumberland for the regional championship. If the Vikings win that series they advance to the provincial tournament at Northumberland. If they lose, they will play a qualifier against Eastern Shore.
On Twitter: @ADNdarrell