The wagons are circled and the Cumberland County Cool Blues have banded together in the fight of their lives as they try to fend off a group of Bulldogs who are bound and determined to destroy their hopes of advancing further into playoff territory.
Blues captain Hughie McCuish (left) watches with baited breath after scrambling for the puck during Fridays opening game against the Antigonish Bulldogs. The Blues are down two games in the division finals against the Bulldogs.
SPRINGHILL: The wagons are circled and the Cumberland County Cool Blues have banded together in the fight of their lives as they try to fend off a group of Bulldogs who are bound and determined to destroy their hopes of advancing further into playoff territory.
Cool Blue Coach Ron Reynolds has issued an ultimatum to his leaders, telling them it's now or never.
"It's time for our leaders to lead," Reynolds said. "There's no other way to put it. Certain guys have been our leaders all season and they haven't been in the series. It's time for them to step up their game and show what they can do."
This isn't the first time this season the Blues have given their fans a reason to let doubt crowd into their minds.
They let the Pictou Scotians come back and tie a series up they were winning 2-0.
A major difference in their series is the hot goaltender the Blue have had to contend with the Bulldogs Dan Axford.
Despite what they are up against Reynolds has the utmost faith in his players.
"I'm confident they will respond. If they do we'll be successful,"
Reynolds said. "They have to go out and play like they played all year."
The Cool Blues finished as the top team in the league during the regular season, but have not dominated during the playoffs.
While the Bulldogs are playing a gritty style of hockey that has thrown the Blues off balance, Reynolds said it key for his players to work through the frustration and in-your-face style of hockey.
"You have to keep plugging away and win those one or two goal hockey games. You're not going to go out and win by a big score."
The Cool Blues band of brothers is missing a few important players at the moment.
Shane O'Byrne broke his arm in the last game of the Pictou series, while Justin Landry and Adam MacDonald are expected to return to the lineup later this week.
"When you take those guys out of the lineup, you lose a ton of speed," Reynolds said. "When you lose someone like O'Byrne, you lose some of the grit you played with all season."
Results from Tuesday night game were not available as of press time.
The Blues travel to Antigonish on Wednesday night, then return to the Richard Calder Arena on Sunday, March 16.