Blues set to open regular season

Sam McNeish
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Landry bolsters back end, another player announcement coming today

All the games that don't matter are behind them.

LANTZ - All the games that don't matter are behind them.

Now it's time for the Cumberland County Cool Blues to move into the next phase of their season, one that have seen them set lofty goals and aspirations following a slim loss in the Don Johnson Cup finals last spring.

The Blues will be on the road tonight to open the season against the East Hants Penguins at 7:30 p.m.

"Our roster is complete and our guys are ready and excited to get this season started,' Springhill coach and general manager Ron Reynolds said.

"East Hants will be a tough game for us. Jack Ross won't let them be an average team. It's good for our guys as a team like that makes us rise up to meet the challenge of what has become a great rivalry,' he added.

Reynolds said the Penguins sport one of the best goaltenders in the league in Matthew Bracegirdle, something that makes them tough before any additional players are added.

You add that to the solid coaching tandem of Fraser and Harlin Hayes, and the Penguins are a force to be reckoned with, especially with an affiliation with the Yarmouth Mariners.

The Blues added defenseman Justin Landry to their roster for the season earlier this week and according to Reynolds, a second player announcement could come as early as today, as the club heads into a three games in four night stretch.

To make room for Landry and the second player, the Blues sent Springhill native Jeremy Misken and Josh Hill to the Fundy Phantoms, as part of the affilaition agreement between the two clubs.

"Right across the board, from the Ramblers, with us and the Junior C program, we have a great working relationship that will allow us to develop players that can hopefully make a Junior A club,' Reynolds said.

Landry, 17, was an affilaite player with the Blues last season and Reynolds recognizes the work the Amherst native put into getting ready for this season.

"He was a late cut at Midget AAA and a late cut from Junior A, so you know he's someone that can play. We want him to come here and play hard and groom him to get back to Junior A."

The Blues are laden with talent and nearly half of them come from Cumberland or Westmorland counties. Amherst natives Landry, 16-year-old phenom Shane O'Byrne, Matt Noiles and Travis Davis, Springhill's Seth Crowe, Landon Crowe and Geoff Ryan and Sackville, N.B.'s Ryan Kaye and R.J. Sears have all made the opening day roster.

"It's great to have this many local kids and each year it gets better. We have a strong group of kids who realize that if they work hard they canget to th Junior A level right here in their own backyard,' he said.

"And as the Junior C team gets turned around, along with our program, kids from here will realize they have an opportunity to play at a higher level."

You tie that in with the five players from Cumberland who are on the Weeks Midget AAA roster and the future of hockey in this region is in solid shape.

The Blues will return home on Friday night to kick off this portion of the season when they host the Windsor Royals at 7 p.m. and then will play Kensington on Sunday in an exhibition game at 7 p.m.

smcneish@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Penguins, Cumberland County Cool Blues

Geographic location: Hants, Amherst, Westmorland Kensington

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