The Pictou County Weeks Crushers have turned their MHL season around, and head coach Doug Doull likes what he sees.
The Crushers will follow three games in five days over the long weekend by hosting the Edmundston Blizzard next Thursday in a 7 p.m. starter at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
The previous three-game stretch started with Sam Meisenheimer scoring the only goal in the shootout on Thursday as the Crushers edged the Amherst Ramblers 3-2.
Doull says he can see how the Crushers have improved and the recent contributions from players acquired from trades, joining the team or returning from injury.
“The guys who are supposed to work are working,” he said. “It’s been a balanced lineup.”
Doull said he’s happy with how Meisenheimer and Calum MacPherson have played for the Crushers since being acquired in a trade from the Summerside Western Capitals.
Barrett Dachyshyn leads the Crushers’ scoring with 46 points, while Meisenheimer has 36 points. Evan Gallant follows with 28 points.
Kevin Mason with 21 points in 22 games and Chase Ellis with eight goals and five assists in 15 games have provided some extra offence.
“They’re great players,” he said. “Sam has a lot of speed and skill, and Calum plays a 200-foot game. That’s made a big difference.”
Crushers’ goaltender Andrew MacLeod started Thursday’s game in the absence of No. 1 netminder Matthew Normore and allowed two goals in the first period but was otherwise solid in getting the win.
“He got better as the game went on,” Doull said. “That was encouraging for us.”
Ryan MacLennan scored for the Crushers in the first period to briefly tie the game against the Ramblers, while Evan MacLennan scored midway through the third period to tie the game.
After defeating the Ramblers as at home, they lost to the Ramblers last Saturday in Amherst and lost 6-5 to the Yarmouth mariners on Monday at the Wellness Centre.
Kevin Mason collected a goal and assisted on the other two by Aiden Hickey and Isaac Chapman.
Meisenheimer and Dachyshyn each had a goal and an assist for the Crushers against the Mariners.
While the Crushers had been closing in on the third-place Truro Bearcats in the league’s South Division and have played two fewer games, they now trail Truro by five points. However, catching them is not a priority for Doull, whether the Crushers stay in fourth place and draw the Mariners or overtake the Bearcats and meet the Ramblers first.
“We have no preference in the playoffs,” he said. “We’re not thinking past the next game.”
Evan Gallant, left, takes a faceoff against a Ramblers opponent on Thursday at the Wellness Centre. (Goodwin photo)