KENSINGTON – It’s one of those games the teams and fans circle on the calendar every year.
The Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild will host the Charlottetown Bulk Carriers Pride in the annual Boxing Day game between the two provincial rivals at Community Gardens. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m.
“Any time you get to play your cross-provincial rivals it is exciting,” said Wild head coach Kyle Dunn. “You get fired up for those games.”
Both teams entered Friday’s action in the New Brunswick/P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League on hot streaks.
The Wild, who is 14-5-1 (won-lost-overtime losses), visited the Moncton Flyers having won five in a row and six of their last seven.
The Pride (7-10-2) took a two-game winning streak, including a 4-3 shootout win over first-place Moncton, into a home game against the Northern Moose. Charlottetown also hosts Saint John on Saturday.
“We have been really, really happy with our performance over the last five or six weeks,” said Pride head coach Luke Beck. “Since the Monctonian (in November), we have probably played the best hockey we have played in two years.
“It’s nice to see our group get rewarded with two big wins at home last weekend, and we look to carry that momentum into this weekend and next week’s game in Kensington.”
If the first four head-to-head meetings between the Wild and Pride are any indication, fans can expect a tight contest. Two games were decided by one goal, and the other two were two-goal differences.
“Any time these two teams get together, there’s a fine line between winning and losing and both teams play hard,” said Beck. “The kids get excited when both teams meet, and I don’t expect anything to be different on Boxing Day.”
Dunn, who added “all 20 guys are expected to bring their A game” for the Wild, talked about one interesting matchup to keep an eye on.
“Charlottetown, right now, is stingy defensively, and we are putting up some offensive numbers,” continued Dunn. “It’s going to be an exciting game to see what happens there.”
Entering weekend action, the Pride had allowed just six goals in their last three games while the Wild had lit the lamp 34 times in their last six games.
“We take pride in our team defence,” said Beck. “We haven’t felt we have given up a whole lot over the last six weeks.
“We have had strong goaltending from both Ben Parent and Erik MacInnis, we have a strong D core of six guys who go out there and do their job and then a commitment from the forwards.”
Previous meetings between Wild, Pride:
Pride 4 at Wild 5.
Wild 2 at Pride 1 (SO).
Pride 2 at Wild 4.
Wild 1 at Pride 3.