An injury-riddled Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild squad will play a rare home game this weekend.
The Wild will entertain the Northern Moose from Bathurst, N.B., in a New Brunswick/P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League game at Credit Union Centre on Saturday. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m.
“We are banged up right now,” said Wild head coach Kyle Dunn. “It gives guys a chance to step up in different roles, whether it be the power play or penalty killing.
“We’ll see who answers the bell and get some APs (affiliated player), younger guys from the bantam league, in the lineup and get them used to the major midget level.”
Dunn said forwards Noah Griffin, Dixon MacLeod, Keiran Rennie and Duncan Picketts are dealing with injuries and assistant coach Duane Richards has been working at securing the services of some affiliated players.
The Wild enters Saturday’s game in second place in the six-team league at 9-4-2 (won-lost-overtime losses). Northern is fourth at 7-6-1.
“We have to make sure we work harder than them because they always come out to work,” said Wild forward and assistant captain Reid Peardon of Georgetown.
The Wild has won two of the first three meetings against the Moose this season and the visiting team has won each game. The Wild posted 5-2 and 5-0 wins in Bathurst while the Moose won 5-4 in overtime in Kensington.
Saturday will be the Wild’s first home game since Nov. 2 and the team will play only one more home game before Christmas on Dec. 21 against Fredericton (8-7-0).
“We have the Cape Breton trip next weekend (for interlocking games against Nova Scotia teams), we are on the road (against Saint John and Charlottetown) the following weekend and then we have the Quebec tournament (the second week of December).
“We don’t have a lot of home cooking coming up, but we are here Saturday night and hopefully we take advantage of it.”
On the road Sunday
It’s not an easy weekend for the Wild as they travel to Moncton, N.B., to take on the league-leading Flyers (15-1-0) on Sunday at 4:30 p.m.
“Bathurst is a hard-working team and Moncton is the Monctonian champions and they only have one loss all year,” said Dunn. “It doesn’t get any easier, but we are not looking for any sympathy and hopefully we will be ready.”
The Flyers have pulled out two one-goal decisions in head-to-head matchups against the Wild this season. The scores were 5-4 in Moncton and 3-2 in Kensington.
The Wild is coming off a 2-2 showing at the Monctonian AAA Challenge tournament last weekend. Kensington, which won the 2018 Monctonian, lost 5-3 to the Cole Harbour Wolfpack in the quarter-finals.
“It was a great measuring stick,” assessed Dunn. “We learned a lot of valuable lessons as a team that in a short-term competition you can’t afford to take 10, 15 minutes, or even 35 seconds, off against good hockey teams, or pucks end up in the back of your net.
“It’s a valuable lesson moving forward and we’ll keep on going.”
Peardon felt the Wild had a “decent” Monctonian tournament.
“We got (eliminated) a bit earlier than we wanted, but I think we can build off it,” said Peardon. “We competed against all the teams and Cole Harbour is one of the top teams in Nova Scotia and we are playing Moncton this weekend and it gives us an idea of what we are up against.”
Kensington Wild upcoming league games:
Saturday, Nov. 23
Northern at Kensington, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 24
Kensington at Moncton, 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 30
Kensington at Cape Breton West, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 1
Kensington at Sydney, noon.
Friday, Dec. 6
Kensington at Saint John, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 7
Kensington at Charlottetown, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 21
Fredericton at Kensington, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 23
Kensington at Moncton, 1:30 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 26
Charlottetown at Kensington, 7:30 p.m.
NOTE: The Wild will be competing at the CCM Challenge tournament in Quebec during the second week of December.