AMHERST – With a week before the playoffs, the Amherst Regional High School Vikings are busy fine tuning a few things in preparation for what they hope will be a run to the provincial NSSAF championship.
“We’ve been working especially hard on the power play and penalty kill to get ready for next weekend,” Vikings’ coach Wayne MacKenzie said Thursday. “We’re working on the little things we need to do to be successful in the playoffs.”
While both games were stormed out last weekend, the Vikings will play their final game before the playoffs tonight at the Amherst Stadium when they host the Bernice MacNaughton Highlanders from Moncton.
Game time is 8:15 p .m.
Amherst defeated the Highlanders 2-0 in exhibition play earlier this year.
The Vikings enter the 2013 NSSAF playoffs next Friday when they open a best-of-three series against the Northumberland Night Hawks, who are hosting provincials.
The second game of the series is set for Saturday in Trenton with the third, and deciding, game back in Amherst on Feb. 22.
A win advances the Vikings to provincials while a loss sends the club to a qualifier against Eastern Shore.
Two weeks ago against the Division 1 North Nova Gryphons, Amherst dropped a 6-3 decision as a couple of defensive zone breakdowns led to a trio of second period goals.
“We learned a few things from that game, the biggest of which is to do a better job of taking care of our own end around the high slot,” MacKenzie said. “We have to do a better job of playing positional hockey in our own end and keeping the shots to the outside. If we do that we’ll be successful.”
The Vikings will also have a full lineup with last week’s break giving several players the opportunity to recover from some nagging injuries.