The Patrick Stewart-coached Brookfield Elks appeared to enjoy themselves and following a workout during the break, we talked with four young players.
“I definitely think we can get back in the race for a playoff berth,” Brady Meech, the team’s leading scorer, told me. “We have a lot of games against teams in our division and I believe we can climb out of last place and it’ll be anyone’s game from there.”
Meech, 18, of Truro, is a 180-pound left-winger who came to the Elks following two outstanding seasons with CEC Cougar’s high school team. With 19 goals and 11 assists during the first half, Meech has become one of the league’s most feared scorers. The first year criminology student at Saint Mary’s University likes his Elks teammates.
“These are an amazing group of guys to play with. We get along really well as a team. I travel down from the city for games with a couple 20-year-olds and we get along great. Every one of our players wants to get this team going and finish off the season strong. We’re going to be pushing hard the rest of the way.”
Rookie Brady Davis, a 175-pound left-winger, joined the Elks after three seasons with Jeff Hazelton’s CEC Cougars. Davis, 19, of Truro, had three goals and three assists during early season play. For Davis, hockey is an important matter. He stayed in the gym over the break, keeping in top shape for the second-half push.
“The guys on the team want to come back ready in the new year,” he said. “We want to dig ourselves out of the position we’re in. We all want to make a run at the playoffs.”
Davis, who is taking electrical courses at Nova Scotia Community College in Springhill, said he was enjoying playing junior B hockey.
“It’s a really fast pace but it’s manageable. It’s real fun hockey, I try to play as if I belong in this league. I forget all about the rookie status.”
Mikey Willis, of Indian Brook, a second year right-winger with the Elks, had 11 goals and 12 assists while playing in all of his club’s first 22 games.
“My size comes into play a lot,” Willis, 6’3” and 230 pounds, said. “I have that extra reach and when the game gets rough it’s good to have the extra size. My size probably gives me a bit of extra room out there.”
Willis’ schedule has been abnormally busy to start the month. He played Tuesday in the Elks win over Sackville, then he and teammate Lucas Rushton joined the junior A Truro Bearcats for games in St. Stephen and Woodstock. Then, on Friday night, the twosome returned to the Elks for a game in East Hants.
The Grade 12 Hants East Rural High School student was noticeably pleased.
“I’m really happy, I’m really excited about the busy week. The opportunity to see some action with the Bearcats should improve Lucas and I overall. Personally, I want to improve, I want to get a lot better, I want to move up the hockey ladder.”
Cole Fielding, 16, of Brookfield, a hustling rookie right-winger, played the first half with the Elks. The fine young prospect will play the second half season in AA midget hockey with Truro Bearcats. His outlook of needing ice time makes sense and he’ll continue to be an affiliate player.
The Elks returned to action Tuesday night with both Davis and Willis firing goals in a 6-3 home ice win over Sackville Blazers. Following the win, assistant coach and general manager James Rutherford commented.
“It was a great start for the new year, beating a top tier team in our division. We’re right in the mix to earn a playoff position. There’s not a lot of room for error. We have to make the games against teams we’re chasing, count.”
Note: Lyle Carter’s sports column appears Saturdays in the Truro Daily News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 902 673-2857.