By Justin Garnhum
Oct. 5, 2015
The Holland Hurricanes sit atop the Atlantic Football League standings at 3 – 0 heading into Fredericton this weekend.
Maintaining a 14-game win streak with a 29-19 win over the UNB Fredericton Red Bombers last week, ‘Canes quarterback Anton Sianchuck knows they are the targeted team.
“The bull’s-eye is on our back. Everyone is looking at us.”
The Red Bombers lead the league in points scored with 92, but their defense has allowed a league-high 71 points against.
“They forced our offence to pick up some slack because the first couple games the (opposing) defence was on us in tough spots,” said Hurricanes head coach Kyle Quinlan.
“I thought that was nice to see that we could win games in different ways.”
The Bombers were handed their first loss this season on the only natural grass field in the league. Weather played a part as rain soaked the field prior to kick-off and strong winds affected the passing game.
“I’m sure they are very excited to get us on there home turf. That’s a big difference than playing here on a sloppy field this past weekend with all the rain,” said Quinlan.
The Hurricanes defence is proving to be its strong point this season, allowing only 38 points in three games.
Defensive lineman Scott Leeman said he is ready to face a strong Red Bombers offence again this week.
“They brought a lot of intensity and really made us work hard.”
Quinlan said his team rose to the challenge UNB brought this past weekend in Charlottetown.
“They challenged our defence unlike other teams have been able to do.”
The Canes schedule has them in a back-to-back series, which can be tough, but Leeman knows the advantages and disadvantages.
“Facing a team back-to-back can benefit you in terms of learning how their guys play and how well they do against us.”
“Winning the first match up was only the beginning. They may notice a weak spot somewhere on our side and use that to their advantage and we know we have to be one step ahead if that happens.”
Sianchuck wasn’t surprised by the intensity UNB brought the past weekend.
“Quinlan had us really prepared,”
He expects a tough game Saturday, so they have been working hard.
“We got tons of reps in practice today, we’re working on cleaning up a few things so we’re good to go.”
The team chemistry didn’t take long to click, he said.
“It’s really starting to get there, that’s the biggest thing, learning receivers and who’s quicker and who makes certain cuts.”
Quinlan said the Hurricanes have seen lots of penalty flags so far this season, but he has seen improvement in discipline.
“It’s just picking and choosing their battles. The first home game we were against UNB Saint john and we were really fired up. I think the guys took every opportunity they had to put someone on their backs, regardless of whether it was ahead or behind the play,”
Saturday’s game in Fredericton is at BMO Centre and available on-line through Bell Community One at 1 p.m.