The Pictou County Wear Well Bombers have their sights set on moving up from the middle of the pack in the Nova Scotia Major Bantam Hockey League.
Rising in the standings would position the Bombers well as they prepare to host the provincial championship in March.
One of the major forces at play in the Bombers’ quest is their formidable forward line consisting of centre Brandon Sim, right wing Lucas Canning and left wing Kiefer Avery.
Canning leads the Bombers and is tied for third in the league with 23 goals and 14 assists for 37 points, pending other games before the holiday break.
Avery has 14 goals and 22 assists for 36 points, while Sim has 11 goals and 24 assists for 35 points.
“It’s been great,” Sim said. “We had three games when we scored 20 points. We’re helping the team push forward.”
The trio has played together a lot in minor hockey. The line was broken up briefly to help spread the offence and reunited more recently.
“We play well together, but we also play well defensive,” Canning said. “Other teams can’t handle our offence.”
Avery said he likes how well the three of them communicate on and off the ice.
“We know where each other is on the ice,” he said.
Bonding has been important for the team, and all three members of the big forward line sense how the team is becoming more of a family.
The players also recognize how close the league standings are this season. Just eight points separated third-place South Shore Lumberjacks from the 11th-place Bedford Barons last week.
The Bombers split their two weekend games at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
Fanning scored twice and Sim scored the winner in overtime as the Bombers edged the Hants East Rangers 4-3 on December 15.
The win vaulted the Bombers briefly into fifth place, but they fell into a seventh-place tie with the Novas, who edged them 4-3 on December 16.
Sim scored once and assisted on Kiefer Avery’s two goals. Sim fed Avery’s second goal on a brief two-man breakaway while the Bombers were killing a power play.
“I think we’ve done a lot of good things,” Bombers head coach Jon Sim said. “We haven’t peaked yet, which is a good thing. Everything is so tight, which is an advantage. We know there are teams we can catch.”
Coach Sim said hosting the provincial championship is an advantage for the Bombers, but he said they need to play well to achieve the best possible seeding among the teams they will face.
“The standings make a big difference about when you play and who you play,” he said. “Everything’s coming together (for hosting the championship). It buys us some time to get where we want to be without so much stress on us.”
From left: centre Brandon Sim, right wing Lucas Canning and left win Kiefer Avery form a potent scoring line. They are among the point leaders in the Nova Scotia Major Bantam Hockey League. (Goodwin photo)