Open tournament against East Hants
Blues begin Don Johnson Cup journey tonight
SPRINGHILL Months of hard work, sacrifice and grit will come to fruition for members of the Cumberland County Cool Blues tonight when they begin their Don Johnson Cup journey.
The Blues host the Nova Scotia champion East Hants Penguins at 7:30 p.m. at the Richard Calder Arena to kick off the six-day Atlantic Junior B hockey championship.
The boys are all pretty upbeat and pretty focused, Blues coach Ron Reynolds said last night just after putting his team through its final practice before the tournament. They boys are coming to the rink with a mission. They want to make the semifinal on Saturday and go from there.
The Blues return to action on Wednesday against New Brunswick representative Madawaska 506 before playing the Central Junior Cataracts of Newfoundland and Labrador on Thursday and the P.E.I. champion Kensington Vipers on Friday.
Id like to think our chances are as good as any teams to win this thing, The boys know what they are capable of and if we play up to our potential we will be there on Saturday, Reynolds said. Thats our goal, to get to the semifinals as either the first or second seed and take it from there.
The Blues enter tonights game facing their biggest test against the Penguins, who beat them in four straight in the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League semis.
It should be a good game. We gave them quite a run in the playoffs and the series was actually a lot closer than people think, Reynolds said. We have to get to Bracegirdle, thats the key. Weve been working on getting more traffic in front of the net and jumping on rebounds.
At the same time, Reynolds said, he plans to roll all four lines - something that was a team strength during the regular season and in the first round against Windsor.
Hes also looking for balanced scoring from offensive leaders Cody Roach, Cody Firth, Luc Melanson and Ryan Reynolds and strong defensive games from Joel Stronge, Nathan Lavigne and Matt Noiles.
Also key will be strong play from several grinders like Shawn McManaman, Alex Carter, Doug Bannister and Josh Smith.
Reynolds also plans to go with rookie goalie Patrick OBrien between the pipes tonight with Chris Fearneley starting against Madawaska. The Blues have also called up defenceman Travis Davis from the Cumberland Midget Minor AAA Ramblers.