Striving for consistency
Stars, Flyers expecting better second half in junior league
Entering the Christmas break, The Trinity-placentia Junior Flyers and the Conception Bay North Junior Stars are tied for sixth in the St. John’s Junior Hockey League.
Flyers bench boss Eugene Hutchings said he feels pretty good about his team heading into the break.
“We got off to a slow start, but we’ve been playing better lately,” he said.
With six wins, 10 losses and one overtime loss as of late last week, the Flyers have collected 13 points out of a possible 34.
Inconsistency has a tendency to dog teams if they cannot find the right formula, and for Hutchings, that applies to his squad.
“We have a good game and then we have three not-so- good games. It is all about believing in themselves and we’ll be fine.”
“We have a good game and then we have three not-so-good games,” he said.
Hutchings would like to see consecutive games where his team shows increased effort and resilience.
“It is all about believing in themselves and we’ll be fine,” he said.
The coach points to leaders like Paul Hutchings, Darrin Wilkins and Jeremy Nicholas as key cogs in achieving the consistency he strives for.
Each player is in the top-15 in league scoring.
“They really are players who the young guys can look up too,” said Hutchings.
To date, Nicholas leads the Flyers in goals with 15 and points with 34, and a tie for second spot in the scoring race with St. John’s Capitals player Mike King.
Up and down
Conception Bay North Junior Stars coach Andrew Hanley and general manager Brian Hurley both agree the team has experienced an up and down season through the first 18 games.
“We got off to a slow start, but we are in the middle of the pack,” said Hanley.
The team has had trouble keeping the same lineup on the ice.
“We’ve had some injuries to deal with, as well as penalties,” the coach said.
Hurley said there were players who were supposed to play but for various reasons will not be suiting up for the team.
“We are disappointed that some of the players we were hoping to return did not play,” he said. “Players like Michael Andrews, Dustin Flight and Jake Gailbraith did not return for various reason.”
Like his team, Hanley has experienced his own personal peaks and valleys to the start of the season.
“Coaching is a big change,” said Hanley.
It has been Hanley’s first turn at running a team behind the bench.
“It was a transition and has taken some getting used too,” he said.
Between the pipes
Matthew Power has stood tall in the Flyers’ goal for 11 of his team’s first 17 games.
Hutchings said his puck stopper has begun to show signs of reaching his full potential.
“He just has to start believing in himself,” the coach noted.
Hutchings has the utmost faith in his goaltender heading into the second half of the season. He believes Power has the ability to
Looking for a strong second half
steal a couple of games for the Whitbourne based team.
In Bay Roberts, Hanley believes his team can win with either Jason Penney or David Fullerton in goal.
“We have two strong goalies,” he said.
Fullerton, at the half-way mark of the season, sits in the Top-10 for goaltenders with a 4.23 goals against average (GAA).
Both teams are looking to find consistency in their game after the Christmas break ends Jan. 6 when the two teams square off at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts.
“We have a good core, it is just a matter of getting more consistent,” said Hanley.
Hutchings would like to see his squad to turn in a 9-3 record over the final 12 games of the season.
“It is a pretty reachable accomplishment,” he said.
Hutchings said his team would need to find some consistency, win a couple of games and then “build from there,” in order to reach the goal he has set for them.
Hanley said pretty much the same thing when discussing his team.
“We’re hoping to string a couple of wins together heading into the playoffs,” he said.