Stephens makes splash in debut for MHL’s Weeks Crushers
David Stephens is doing exactly what the Weeks Crushers hoped he would do when they acquired him from the Prince George Spruce Kings – he’s contributing offensively.
EARLY HONOURS – David Stephens was named third star of the week in the Maritime Hockey League after scoring four points in his debut with the Jr. A Weeks Crushers. Photo courtesy CHRISTOPHER CAMERON/THE NEWS, NEW GLASGOW
NEW GLASGOW, N.S. – David Stephens is doing exactly what the Weeks Crushers hoped he would do when they acquired him from the Prince George Spruce Kings – he’s contributing offensively.
The Whitehorse native had two goals and four points, including the game-winning goal, during the Crushers season opener in Dieppe, N.B. on Saturday.
The 20-year-old was also named the Maritime Hockey League’s third star this week because of his offensive output in their 6-5 overtime win.
Stephens has started his season on a line with Crushers captain Nick Parker and Mitchell Deruelle. He said he hoped to have a good start, but didn’t expect to have a four-point night.
“Not like that, obviously the first game went pretty well,” said Stephens. “I wasn’t expecting to get four points, but I thought I played well and Mitch fed me a couple times and it worked out.
“I fit in pretty well (on the line), so hopefully I can keep contributing like I have. Personally it doesn’t really matter where I play in the lineup, so long as I’m helping the team.”
Although he finished his season in the BCHL last year, Stephens started the year with the Moncton Wildcats.
He played 12 games before suffering an injury, but made it back in time to play 17 games with Prince George where he had three goals and 11 points.
Familiar with the east coast because of his time with Moncton, he said he enjoys living here and is glad to be back.
“I came out here last year for a bit to play with Moncton, so it wasn’t too bad of a transition and I like it out here,” said Stephens. “I have great billets so they helped make the move really easy on me. It’s also a great group of guys, so I’m just glad to be back out here.
“(Head coach) Jay (Malone) was saying he’s trying to put together a championship team, so hopefully – our team’s obviously pretty good. I’m hopefully just going to put some numbers up offensively and contribute both ways, defensively and offensively.”
Tonight Stephens and the Crushers host the Yarmouth Mariners at the Pictou County Wellness Centre for their home opener. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. AT. He said he’s excited to play his first home game.
“I’m very excited,” said Stephens. “We’re hoping a big crowd comes out and that we can start here with a win.”
If they hope to be successful tonight they will need to be more structured according to Stephens. He said team systems were the main focus this week at practice.
“I think we just need to, like he (Malone) said, work on our systems,” he said.
“We just need to be a little more structured out there. I think the first period of that game we were a little bit nervous and then settled down a bit and it worked out. The structure needs to be better throughout the year, so we need to keep focused on that.”
Stephens signed with the Pictou County team this summer with hopes of being a key piece in the puzzle as the Crushers attempt to make a championship run.
Stephens wasn’t sure where he would play this season, until he talked with former Wildcats teammate and current linemate Deruelle.
Coming to the Crushers in his final year of junior hockey, Stephens hopes to bring leadership both on and off the ice.
He said he’s an offensive player, specifically a playmaker.
“We couldn’t be happier to acquire a player of David’s calibre,” Malone told The News. “He plays the game with an edge, but also possesses a tremendous skillset and will provide us with some great depth in our top six.”
Aside from Deruelle playing a role in his decision to play with the Crushers for the season, Stephens’ older brother Ted plays with the St. FX X-Men. Having his brother close helped in his final decision.
This summer Stephens said he’s been training hard and hopes to be in the best shape he’s been going into a season come September.
“I’d just like to help them win a championship by contributing the best I can. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
By CHRISTOPHER CAMERON
The News, New Glasgow