Horton Griffins boys’ hockey team scores spot at provincials
Coach sees team’s underdog status as an opportunity to surprise competition
The Horton High School boys’ hockey team has achieved every goal they set out this year, including their final one – cementing a spot at the upcoming provincials.
Jeff Moore is the coach for the team, and says he sat down with his staff and players at the beginning of the season to write several goals he wanted the boys to accomplish by the end of their regular season.
These included winning 50 per cent of their tournaments, finishing at the top of league, winning the league championships, winning regionals and giving themselves the opportunity to compete at provincials.
“A win at provincials would be exceeding any goals we set out,” said Moore.
Strong regular season finish
The team has finished strong within its region, with their last win resulting in a 4-0 shutout against Park View March 2.
This follows the team’s league finals win over West Kings on Feb. 27, for which the final score came in at 10-4.
“We had a game plan heading into each of our games, and we stuck to it – avoiding the penalty box, putting the pressure on,” said Moore.
“The result was a dominant victory over Park View, who has given us a challenge this year.”
Moore said even these pregame plans weren’t entirely to blame for the team’s success, and that it really came down to the players wanting the win, and believing they could get there by working together.
“Our team made us proud as coaches could be, especially after that final game,” he said.
‘The opportunity to surprise:’ coach
Moore says it’s this motivation he wants to see his team players keep up as they get ready for provincials, which will happen March 22 to 25.
While placings are still being finalized as other teams play their last games, Moore is fairly confident his team will have finished near to the middle of the pack once those results roll in.
But he and his players aren’t feeling intimidated by the success of the top teams, many of whom they’ve played and had many close matches with at various competitions.
“We’ve played well against them but haven’t beaten them. The games have all seen scores like 3-2, 4-3, 6-4, all close. If we go, get competitive and play disciplined hockey, we could stand a chance,” he said. Front row from left, Seth Routledge, Jayden Smiley, Chris Landry, Jayden Simmonds, Noah Barrett, Zach Moore, Dawson Mcphail, Kyle Corbin and Taylor Mcmillan. Back row, Iain Duncan, Blake Deacon, Branden Schofield, Dean Vial, Colby Lewis, Cam Foran, Callum Pardy, Hunter Woodland and Caleb Hogan.
He feels confident his team will step up, and, with a roster that includes 10 Grade 12 students, could even steal the tournament from the top teams.
“I’m sure we’re going to have the best of what these graduating players are going to give us, and I think people in the city have written us off as just another team.
But, coming in as an underdog, we have the opportunity to surprise a lot of people,” he said.
Captains accepting regional banner, from left, assistant captains Iain Duncan and Noah Barrett, captain Callum Pardy, and assistant captain Dawson Mcphail.