Halifax play host to the Vermont Frost Heaves, a team that they still have not beaten, tomorrow. This might sound harsh but I feel like Halifax need to win this game, not just for the implications in that standings, but also because if they can’t defeat Vermont this weekend then they may never beat them. Here are all the things working in Halifax’s favour that they haven’t had in the past:
- The extreme fatigue facing Vermont – they’re playing tonight in Buffalo this afternoon, and while Vermont play 12 deep and Buffalo don’t exactly grind teams down, the travel will be rough on them. Halifax are at home after having a full week off.*
- Vermont’s coach Will Voigt has no idea what sort of sets he’s going to see from Halifax and can’t really prepare before the game.
- Halifax will be riding high on emotion with an anticipated huge crowd, the return of Eric Crookshank, and a new coach whom they’re all looking to impress.
- Halifax have no major injuries
- Vermont just suspended their centre Anthony Fuqua for the season
That said, Vermont are a great team who find ways to win. My favourite player on this year’s team is Thomas Sanders, a PG who is a great defender who is solid all around on offense. Vermont tend to rely on whoever has the hot hand to do the scoring and Will Voigt likes to make subs early and often. Kyle, Nixon and Plummer are all perimeter guys who can do some real damage if they get hot and Cole can bully his way inside for points if Halifax’s bigs don’t keep their eye on him. Voigt likes pressure defenses so expect a lot full court pressure with the Heaves trying to generate turnovers. On offense expect a lot of staggered screens and jump shots. Vermont this year seem to live or die by the mid and long range shooting.
I think this game will be won on the boards – if Vermont are allowed second chances off of their missed jump shots then Halifax won’t be able to pull this out. We’ve said this about every game for the last few weeks, but this game is huge. Halifax can’t afford to drop any more games at home if they want to make the play offs and they need to get over the mental hump and take out Vermont. It’s an exciting game – perhaps the game I have the highest expectations for since the pre-season opener – and it has the potential to be an absolute classic.
Some fans are meeting a head of time at the Elephant and Castle at 2pm for some pre-game socializing. They serve brunch until 3:00 and the beer flows liberally there. So go out and get worked up before welcoming Coach Berry for the first time and Eric back for the second time.
* As crazy as it is that the Frost Heaves are making the trip overnight by plane from Buffalo this is even more crazy: Three of their fans are driving overnight from Buffalo in order to make it to the game. Now that is dedication.