Something to prove

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Katie Brickman
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Halifax McDonald’s are ready for Telus Cup

The Halifax McDonald’s have their sights set on history.

The Halifax McDonald's won the Atlantic region title in early April. The victory sent them to the Telus Cup, which will be in held in Moose Jaw next week. Submitted photo

The Macs are hoping to become the first Atlantic team to win a Telus Cup title. 

“We are just making sure the kids believe that we belong,” said Tim Boyce, head coach of the McDonald’s. “Atlantic hasn’t had a great track record at the tournament in years past. We have never won gold and the best is silver. We want the mindset of our guys coming there with a chip on their shoulders with something to prove … just prove that we belong.”

The Macs were a dominant force this year in the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League.

They opened the regular season with a 13-game winning streak and added an 11-game run near the end of the season. They only dropped five games in their 17 post-season games to win the league title, but the road wasn’t easy.

“We didn’t sweep any rounds in the playoffs. Our final series to get out of Nova Scotia … we won four games to one, but the final three games went to overtime,” said Boyce. “We had to go to the Atlantic tournament, where we played the Newfoundland, New Brunswick and P.E.I. winners, plus the host. It was a tough tournament as well.”

The Macs have a lot of veteran players and will turn over the majority of this team at the end of the season. They are hoping that experience will help them down the stretch in Moose Jaw.

The players understand they may be looked upon as an underdog in this tournament, but the focus for the Macs is just being prepared for each game.

“We talked about it a couple times in meetings that we just want to take it one game at a time,” said Boyce. “Our ultimate goal is to get ourselves into one of those semifinal games and if we can do that, then anything can happen from there.”

The Macs were the team to beat in the Atlantic and after dealing with the mounting pressure of those expectations all season, they feel a bit more relaxed heading into the Telus Cup.

“I think going out to nationals, we are probably not being looked upon as the favourites to win. So, some of that pressure has been taken off, but we still put pressure on ourselves to do as well as we can,” he stated.

Boyce stated his team’s identity is more defensive minded, but he also feels like his team can play a complete game.

“We certainly put some goals in the net down here on the East Coast, but I think, if we want to be successful there, we will have to rely on our defensive game,” said Boyce. “We are going to have to go there and outwork some of the teams in the tournament. We understand some of the teams are going to be highly skilled, so we will have to focus on defence-first hockey and make sure our special teams are running well and hopefully score some goals on the power play and make sure our penalty kill is good.”

The Macs open the Telus Cup tournament against the Moose Jaw Generals on Monday (7:30 p.m., Mosaic Place). They arrive in the Friendly City on Sunday.

Follow me on Twitter @katiebrickman.

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