© dave Mathieson - Cumberland News Now
The Amherst Colts are back at Amherst Stadium Sunday at 4 p.m., to face off against the Avon River Rats.
AMHERST – It’s a tight race at the top of the Nova Scotia Junior C Hockey League standings and the Amherst Colts are right in the mix.
“Right from the top to the bottom we have an amazing core group of kids,” said Kevin Phinney, Colts head coach. “To be successful you need a positive dressing room and this dressing room is very positive.”
The Colts have players from throughout the region, including Brett Gallant, Peter Kane and Matt Beal from Amherst, Noah Perrin from Parrsboro and Kyle MacDonald from Springhill.
“They come from all over and they really get along,” said Phinney.
Phinney’s been with the Colts for four years and this is his first year as head coach.
“When I came into my new role in the summer, my goal was to go to Atlantics and in order to do that we have to win the Junior C League first,” said Phinney. “I told the kids that we would do everything in our power to put the right pieces of the puzzle together, and in return I wanted respect and commitment.
“I’m getting their respect and, for the most part, I’m getting their commitment.”
The Colts currently sit in third place in the league with 23 points, one point behind the Barrington Sea Star Ice Dogs and five points behind the league leading Spryfield Silver and Black Attack.
They’ve played the Attack twice this year, losing 11-3 and 7-3, but have gone 1-1 with the Ice Dogs, beating them 10-0 on Nov. 10, and then losing 8-7 on Nov. 23.
Phinney says they lost the Nov. 23 contest because his team didn’t stick to their game plan.
“We were winning 6-2 going into the third period and we had a few breakdowns and ended up losing 8-7. We can beat them, it’s just a matter of who comes to play on that night.”
The Colts travel to Liverpool Friday to play the South Shore Wild, and return to Amherst Stadium on Sunday to play the Avon River Rats.
Phinney hopes people come out to see the quality of the Junior C game.
“There’s some kids playing Junior C who, if not for schedule conflicts with their schooling, would be playing Junior B hockey or Junior A hockey,” he said. “At one time Junior C was the goon league, but it’s not like that any more.
“This is my fourth year on this team and we’ve gone from having to try to scrape kids together to where we have to turn kids away. I don’t like to turn them away but sometimes you have to.”
Sunday’s game starts at 4 p.m.