KENSINGTON – The Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild is looking to bounce back.
The Wild, coming off a disappointing 7-5 loss to the Moncton Flyers at home a week ago, is aiming to get back on the winning track as the Fredericton Caps visit Community Gardens on Saturday. The New Brunswick/P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League contest will start at 7:30 p.m.
“It was a tough one last Saturday,” admitted Wild forward Ryan Richards. “We have a chip on our shoulder looking to prove ourselves right.”
After rookie Dixon MacLeod’s power-play goal with 2:15 remaining in the third period pulled the Wild into a 5-5 tie, the league-leading Flyers capitalized on a defensive zone breakdown by Kensington that led to the winning goal being scored with 1:14 to go. Moncton added an empty-net goal with one second remaining.
“We have to work on our defensive zone,” said Wild forward Bradley Campbell. “We didn’t really cover it well (against Moncton), and I found that’s how we lost that game.
“We were good offensively, we scored goals and that’s tough to do against Moncton.”
The loss resulted in a long week for the Wild, admitted head coach Kyle Dunn.
“We woke up Sunday wanting to get right back at it,” said Dunn. “Unfortunately, it has to stick with you, you have to wait that whole week to get back at it again.”
Dunn called the outcome against Moncton a team loss and a good learning lesson.
“We walk out as 20 men, and it’s on everybody, the coaching staff as well,” said Dunn. “We are putting it behind us, and looking forward to Fredericton this weekend.”
The Wild enters weekend action at 9-5-1 (won-lost-overtime losses). Kensington is one point back of the second-place Saint John Vitos (10-7-0), who were scheduled to host the Charlottetown Bulk Carriers Pride (5-9-1) on Friday night.
The Caps come to Kensington in last place in the six-team league at 5-9-0.
“Fredericton is getting better every time we look at the standings,” said Dunn. “They are putting up some numbers offensive-wise, and we have to focus on team defence.
“Fredericton has a real good power play, so team defence and discipline is going to be the focus this weekend. We want to keep things simple, and get back to our game.”
The Wild has won the first two head-to-head meetings with the Caps – 9-4 in Fredericton on Sept. 24 and 2-1 in Kensington on Oct. 14.
“It’s going to be a tough game,” said Campbell. “We can’t take Fredericton lightly, and they are a team that’s played Moncton close recently. We have to play hard, and be on the body.”
Richards added: “We need to make sure we are scoring on our opportunities, are getting pucks out and locking down defensively before we focus on the offence.”
Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild notebook:
Last week’s loss to Moncton was the Wild’s first on home ice this season. Kensington is 6-1 in the friendly and cozy confines of Community Gardens.
Rookie goaltender Chad Arsenault will get the start for the Wild against Fredericton on Saturday. Arsenault is 7-0 (won-lost), with a 2.26 goals-against average and .926 save percentage in seven league games.
The Wild team, as they do every year, will be participating in the Kensington Christmas Parade on Sunday at 5 p.m.
Wild forward Evan Gallant played as an affiliated player with the St. Stephen Aces in Thursday night’s MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) game against the Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals.
Wild defenceman Clark Webster has been called up to the Caps for four games this season.
Forward Frank Fortin leads the Wild in scoring. Fortin has 17 points, including 12 goals, in 15 games.
Webster has a team-leading 10 assists.