KENSINGTON – The Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild home opener provided a different experience for two of the team’s rookies.
“It was definitely not what I thought it was going to be,” said forward Lucas Parsons of Stratford. “It was a big, big turnout, and there was a good atmosphere. It felt good.”
An announced crowd of 400 fans filed into Credit Union Centre in Kensington to watch the young and industrious Wild post a 7-2 victory over the Northern Moose from Bathurst, N.B., on Saturday night.
“It was different with such a big crowd,” added Wild forward Keiran Gallant of Covehead. “I am not used to that. It was nice to have that support.”
The win evened the Wild’s regular-season record in the New Brunswick/P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League at 1-1 (won-lost). Kensington is back in action at home on Saturday against Moncton, which took a 2-0-0 (won-lost-overtime losses) record in Sunday afternoon’s road game against the Fredericton Caps (1-0-2).
“It was a total team effort by all guys,” said Wild head coach Kyle Dunn.
Dunn was especially proud of the Wild’s effort considering they iced a short-staffed roster of 15 skaters and two goaltenders on Saturday. Kensington had 12 first-year players in their lineup, including affiliates Lucas Buch and Simon Hughes.
“They knew they were going to get lots of ice time,” added Dunn. “I’ve talked about our team before, we are going to be a fast, puck-moving hockey team, and that’s exactly what you saw (Saturday).
“Obviously, we need to tighten up a little defensively. There were some mistakes and breakdowns, but we are going to fix those.”
The Wild still has three open cards, and was missing three key veterans – third-year forward Ryan Richards to suspension; second-year forward Dixon MacLeod is out with an injury, and third-year defenceman Zac Arsenault was called up to the Charlottetown Islanders of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
“Missing those three guys, they are a big part of our lineup,” said Dunn. “They will log big minutes for us, and it’s one of those teams where we don't kind of lean on anybody right now, but we can come at you in waves.
“Everybody chipped in, and in the first period I believe all three lines scored. That’s the kind of team we are going to have all year, and that’s what I’m excited about.”
The 15-year-old Parsons, who played midget AAA with the Pownal Red Devils last season, scored twice while fellow rookie Isaac Wilson and sophomore forward Landon Clow each had three points on the strength of one goal and two assists to pace the Wild offensively. Gallant (1-1), Kalib Snow (1-1) and Jack Campbell added single goals. Buch (2), Will Proud and Reid Peardon chipped in with assists.
Jeremie Rouselle and Jake Parker countered for the Moose, who trailed 3-1 after one period and 5-2 at the end of 40 minutes.
“It was a quick game with a good pace and was a little rough at time, but not too bad,” assessed Gallant, who played at Stanstead College in Quebec last season.
Overall, the Wild outshot the Moose 50-25, including period advantages of 22-3, 16-12 and 12-10. Winning goaltender was Josh Smith.
“We were good cycling the puck and we were on the body forcing turnovers,” said Parsons. “That allowed us to get up the ice quickly with good breakouts.”
Kensington Wild’s upcoming schedule:
Saturday, Sept. 29
7:30 p.m. – Moncton at Wild.
Sunday, Sept. 30
3 p.m. – Wild at Fredericton.
Friday, Oct. 5
7:30 p.m. – Wild at Charlottetown.
Saturday, Oct. 6
7:30 p.m. – Northern at Wild.