Blues closing in on first overall in NSJHL

Jody Jewers
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SPRINGHILL - The last goal for the Cumberland County Blues to achieve in the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League regular season is well within reach.
The Blues edged the Brookfield Elks 4-3 on Friday and the Pictou County Scotians 3-1 on Saturday to improve their league-best record to 26-2-1-1. Cumberland, which locked up top spot in the Sid Rowe Division last month, needs either one win in its final four games or one loss by the Fred Fox Division-leading St. Margarets Bay Ducks to secure first overall and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.
"It was a pretty tough weekend for us," Blues head coach Dave Hyatt said. "We had 12 days between games and didn't really deserve the two points Friday, but I thought we were a lot better, especially at the defensive end, on Saturday.
"We haven't had a lot to play for lately, but the playoffs are a couple of weeks away and it's no time for us to get stuck in cruise control. But at the same time, it's nice to know that even through we haven't been at our best, we're still finding ways to win."
On Friday, Murray Bavis potted the game-winner with 8:59 left in the third period. Cody Roach scored twice and assisted on Bavis's marker, and Zach Carson had the other Cumberland goal. Ryan Oakley contributed a pair of assists. Andrew Court stopped 42 shots to get the victory in goal.
On Saturday, Roach led the way again with a goal and an assist, giving him 42 goals and 76 points in 30 games this season. Bavis and Tyler Collins also scored, and Andrew Ferdinand made 26 saves in the Blues' net.
Hyatt is trying to ensure his team is healthy heading into the postseason. Forward Geoff Burke sat out Saturday after taking a hard hit Friday. Forward Jordie Shaw, and defenceman Brendon Grimes and Cole Wood remain on the injured list.
"Our goalies were called on to do a lot this week and they played very well," said Hyatt. "We're in a good position heading into the playoffs, and I just want us to keep our intensity up. We were better at that Saturday than we were on Friday, but we can still improve on that."
The Blues play three of their four remaining games at home. The Antigonish Bulldogs are in town this Friday for a 7:30 p.m., and the Strait Pirates visit on Sunday at 3 p.m.
Cumberland finishes up with a road game in Antigonish on Feb. 17 and a home date with Pictou County on Feb. 19.

Organizations: Cumberland, Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League, Sid Rowe Division Fred Fox Division Margarets Bay Ducks

Geographic location: Pictou County, Antigonish

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