The Weeks Jr. A Crushers are finalizing their strategy and hoping for a strong start to the regular season this week ahead of this Saturday’s game in Dieppe.
Earlier this week the Crushers cut down their roster to 13 forwards, six defencemen and two goaltenders.
There were a couple surprise players along the way, but many of the positions were already planned before the season started. That said, coach Jason Malone says fans can expect to see some new blood on the bench.
“We had our core guys, but there’s a lot of new faces on our blue line this year,” he said. “It’s a work in progress, but we have a lot of veteran leadership up front and through the first few games we’ll be relying on them.”
This year’s team is expected to be one of the best for the Crushers and the players prepared with that in mind.
“I think the biggest surprise is how well conditioned our guys came back to camp,” Malone said. “A lot of them took it upon themselves. They realized they have a big opportunity in front of them this year and they don’t want to let it pass them.”
With the expectations comes some pressure to perform, but Malone says that’s something his team welcomes.
“Obviously if things go wrong they’ll be more pressure, but at the end of the day they’re all mature guys in there,” he said. “I think it’s pressure they’re going to enjoy as opposed to worry about.”
The Crushers will skate onto the Olympic-sized ice surface against the Dieppe Commandos at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
“I think they’re going to be fast. I think it’s going to be a fun night,” Malone said. “They have potential to put a good lineup on ice too. I think it’ll be a great hockey game.”
The Crushers’ first home game of the regular season will be next Thursday at 7 p.m. against the Yarmouth Mariners.