Cool Blues find themselves at top of league
SPRINGHILL - It's a place the Cumberland County Cool Blues have not been familiar with in their short history.
As the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League enters its Christmas break, the Blues find themselves among the league's best teams with the best winning percentage and lowest goals against.
It's a position Blues coach and general manager Ron Reynolds aimed to be this season, but even he's impressed with how well his club has played.
"If someone had of told me back in September that we'd be 16-3 and in first place at the break I would have told them they were crazy," Reynolds said. "Now that we're here, we have to work to stay there."
Last year's Don Johnson Cup runners-up stormed out of the gate this season to take the lead in the Sid Rowe Division standings - a place the club has never been before.
"It's good that we're where we are because there are four or five teams in this league who could be where we are right now," Reynolds said. "That's how tight things are in this league. You have a night off and you're going to pay. We found that out against Antigonish and East Hants."
Depth has been the main reason behind the Blues' success through the first half with Matt Kimber and Springhill native Landon Crowe giving the club solid goaltending while Cody Roach has led a balanced offensive attack that features former Amherst Rambler Colin Feehan, returnees Mark Rozak, Seth Crowe and Ryan Smith and Andrew Brennan, who is back after spending last year in Newfoundland.
Defensively, Nathan Lavigne has been a solid offensive contributor while the addition of Murray Bavis gives the club a quarterback for the power play.
As strong as the Blues have been, though, Reynolds is not prepared to let his players get complacent because the second-half schedule is going to be a tough one featuring 16 games in a six-week span.
"We're going to be a busy hockey team but sometimes that's good because it keeps you focused," Reynolds said, adding it's going to take leadership to keep things on track.
"If there was one thing we struggled with in the first half it was being ready for games. We are going to need the guys who have been in the league for several years to step up and make sure everyone's prepared game in and game out."