SPRINGHILL – The Cumberland County Blues have had their opponents up against the ropes lately but have been unable to throw the knockout punch.
“We’ve been playing good hockey, unfortunately on Sunday we had a big lead and sat on it,” said Terry McManaman, Blues general manager. “We outplayed Pictou for 55 minutes of hockey and took the last five minutes off.”
With less than two minutes left in Pictou County the Blues had a 6-5 lead but the Scotians tied the game with 1:36 left in the game, and then took a 7-6 lead with 1:07 left in the game.
Last Friday at home they lost 4-3 to the Sackville Blazers.
“We played with them and hit with them but, unfortunately, they scored a late goal,” said McManaman.
The Blues are in last place in the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League standings with five points, 13 points behind the Antigonish Bulldogs.
“We’re trailing Antigonish but we play them five times, so we’re not pushing no panic button,” said McManaman. “And we still have three games with Pictou. These are teams in our division, so we feel we can get make the playoffs.”
The Blues recently acquired Shawn Wright from the Amherst Ramblers, and with the recent addition of Dmitrii Anikin, the Blues have found a new gear and are challenging the top teams in the league.
A good example of that was when they went into Cape Breton two weeks ago to play the Miners. They went with a short bench and pushed the Miners to overtime but ended up losing 6-5.
“We go into games now with the opportunity to win,” said McManaman. “We didn’t have that at the first of the season.”
The Blues also recently picked up Zack Rushton.
“He’s been a great pick-up. He’s small in nature but he’s tough, and having two or three extra guys in the lineup throwing checks is a big help.”
The Blues were hoping to pick up another Ramblers player, Wade Kropp.
Kropp practiced with the Blues on Wednesday but informed the Blues last night that he will move back home to Ontario and play Junior B hockey in Ottawa.
McManaman says the wheeling and dealing is still ongoing and they are looking at some possible trades.
“At the end of the day if we can make our club better, we’ll make a move to make it better.”
The Blues travel to Port Hawkesbury tonight where they play the Strait Pirates at 7:30 p.m.
They are back on the road on Monday when they travel to Lower Sackville for a rematch against the Blazers. That game starts at 7:30 as well.