Southeast Division 2nd Seed
28-12-2-2 – 60 points
The ending points total in the Southeast Division might not have indicated who closely matched the teams were as the second place Canes finished nine points back of the Charlotte Rush but also seven points clear of the third place Richmond Generals.
The opening game of the postseason could have been a disaster, momentum-wise, as the Canes saw a 4-1 lead turn into a 5-4 overtime defeat against the rival Generals, putting their backs to the wall.
Head Coach Kevin St Jacques said his team did a nice job regrouping from the type of gut punch that could have been the end for many teams.
“I think the composure and mindset of our team [was challenged],” said the coach. “We believed that if we could stay out of the penalty box, we definitely had the edge. Our mindset going into Game 2 was, clean up the discipline part, play with speed and attack with speed – that seemed to work for us as we won decisively 5-2.”
The final game also went to overtime, but that second game performance gave the Canes it’s mojo once again.
Like so many Southern teams, the Canes pointed to a Showcase as the point where the team turned a corner on its season.
“We had a good Showcase in Charleston against the top teams in the Florida Division and then played Charlotte in a three-game set in which we ended up losing two, but played really well,” recalled Coach St. Jacques. “That’s the best team in our division, and we were right there with them. It’s just a matter of us playing our game and staying focused on our systems.
“At this point, our team identity is, next man up,” said St Jacques. “We have four good lines that we roll along with six ‘D.’ We have good goaltending, and we rely on all aspects: winning special teams battles night in and night out and we really just try to outwork the opposition.”
St. Jacques said his team used the break between earning its spot and traveling to Chesapeake to rest up and prepare.
“Get everyone healthy – lots of rest and recovery as we went through a physical three-day stretch against the Generals,” said the coach. “After that, we will focus on our system and execution on that system.”
Carolina Jr. Hurricanes 2021 USPHL Nationals Schedule
All games at Chilled Ponds Ice Sports Complex, Chesapeake, Va.
Thurs., March 18, vs. Fresno Monsters, 4:00 p.m.
Fri., March 19, vs. Midwest West 1st Seed, 10:50 a.m.
Sat., March 20, vs. Great Lakes 2nd Seed, 9:10 p.m.