CORNER BROOK Western Kings goaltender Daniel McCarthy will tell you it’s a lot more fun going to the rink when you are winning.
The Kings are off to a royal start in the Newfoundland and Labrador Major Midget Hockey League with four straight wins to start the 2012-13 campaign. The Kings hold down top spot in the four-team league with the St. John’s Privateers and crosstown rivals St. John’s Maple Leafs also perfect at 2-0. The other league’s entry — Central IcePak — sit in the cellar with an 0-4 mark. The Tri-Pen Lions started the season but folded only two weeks into the season.
“Now we know we can compete at a way higher level. We’re not going in as the underdog anymore I don’t think,” McCarthy, a Corner Brook native, said Thursday. “We’re going in and teams know we are showing up and know we’re not going to be the pushover team in the league. They know we are coming ready to hopefully get a couple of wins.”
McCarthy, who is in his last year of major midget hockey eligibility and a dedicated player at that, remembers the days when the St. John’s teams dominated the league and it was a big task to pick up a win off them because depth was in their favour.
It’s a lot more fun for the boys this year, according to McCarthy, who is one of three puckstoppers carded by the Kings this year.
“It’s great right now ... we’re winning,” he said with a light chuckle. “Everyone loves to win. So far it’s great and hopefully it keeps up. The way we’re playing it should keep up.”
There is a different mindset in the Kings’ locker room now and all hands appear to be striving for a common goal, according to McCarthy.
“Everyone believes we can win,” he said. “It’s not far-fetched now ... we actually have a legitimate chance to win so everyone has come together thinking we can.”
Looking at previous rosters in his stint with the team, McCarthy believes the team is blessed with a lot of depth. No longer are the Kings coming to the rink with one line depended on to carry the load.
“Guys have worked really hard on getting better and we have four solid lines and good D so right now we are just a deeper and stronger team.”
The Kings will be poised to extend the unbeaten string against the unbeaten St. John’s Maple Leafs in a two-game set this weekend at the Capital Centre in St. John’s.
The two teams battled to a 3-3 stalemate in a showdown at the league’s annual kick-off tournament held at the Pepsi Centre in Corner Brook. This is the first time to get acquainted since the puck dropped on the regular season.
McCarthy knows what it will take to pick up the Ws.
“The first game we played them we threw a bunch of hits and I think that’s what we have to do,” he said. “Go out and hit them hard and force them away from the puck.”
McCarthy isn’t privy to any information on who will get the start between the pipes in either game. He will know when the coaching staff releases it and he has no idea when that will be.
“I’m hoping to, but right now I don’t know,” he said. “You just got to come to the rink with your best game, right? At the end of the day just get the W that’s all you can really ask for.”
The opening game of the series is slated for Saturday 8:30 p.m. at the Capital Centre, while Sunday’s tilt will get underway 10 a.m. in the capital city.