Rovers grind out tour­na­ment win

Midget B team look­ing good en route to provin­cials dur­ing Easter break

The Compass - - PORTHTE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS

The Bay Arena midget B Rovers were in tough against the Gan­der Fly­ers in the cham­pi­onship game of the Quiznos midget B tour­na­ment held at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts on Feb. 17.

The game was tied 2-2 in the sec­ond pe­riod and the Fly­ers had just scored to tie the game up.

With the much of the play down in the Rovers end of the ice, Bay Arena cap­tain Willy Hayes made a play. Pick­ing up the puck in his own end, Hayes quickly sur­veyed the ice in front of him.

Notic­ing the Fly­ers were in the midst of a change, Hayes moved his 200-pound frame up the ice. At his own blue­line, the cap­tain made one per­son miss. Five feet later, an­other Flyer missed.

With one more de­fender left to beat, Hayes dipped his left shoul­der and as the de­fence­man shifted to his right, the Rover went right, leav­ing noth­ing to look at but his jersey num­ber mov­ing to­ward the net.

Fir­ing a shot low blocker side, Hayes hit the back of the net. With hands ex­tended to the sky, he was swarmed by his team­mates.

Hayes has just put his team up 3-2, and the Rovers would not look back.

“I just knew we needed a goal,” the Level II As­cen­sion Col­le­giate stu­dent said af­ter the game.

The Rovers, sparked by their cap­tain, turned up the pres­sure af­ter that.

Matthew Sparkes would bang in a loose puck to make the score 42. Mike Kennedy would score to make it 5-2, which also turned out to be the fi­nal.

Save for some ad­vances by the Fly­ers to be­gin the third pe­riod, which were turned away by starter Matthew Rus­sell, the Bay Arena squad dom­i­nated the play.

Al­most per­fect

The Rovers started off the tour­na­ment in fine style, post­ing back-to­back shutouts of the Trin­ity-Pla­cen­tia TeePees and the CeeBees.

The TeePees fell 11-0, while the CeeBees were dropped by a score of 9-0.

Next up were the Twill­ingate/New World Is­land Com­bines. Rus­sell would let in his first two goals of the tour­na­ment, but the Rovers still picked up the 6-2 win.

The team would tie Gan­der in the round-robin 3-3 af­ter fall­ing be­hind 30 late in the sec­ond pe­riod.

Pro­vin­cial warm-up

The Rovers will be trav­el­ling to Twill­ingate for its pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onships on April 1-3 as the Com­bines host the tour­na­ment.

Join­ing them in the tour­na­ment will be the Gan­der midget B team.

It was in­valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence for the club, fac­ing two teams from the tour- ney, and hav­ing success against both.

“The tour­na­ment was a great warm-up for provin­cials,” said Hayes. “It gives us a tasted of what is to come in April.”

Coming to­gether

Hayes be­lieves that he and his team­mates are coming to­gether at the right time.

Watch­ing the team on the ice, it is not hard to see the team has good chem­istry and gen­eral care for each other.

Hayes s a i d the l i nes h ave re­mained the same for pretty much the en­tire sea­son, and that has helped breed fa­mil­iar­ity and trust in one an­other.

“I think that over the past four months the team has came to­gether very well and ev­ery­one’s get­ting to know how each other,” he said.

The team’s strength lies in its size and abil­ity to move the puck.

“Out strengths are def­i­nitely that we play a hard grind style game. We have a fairly big team with speed up front and strong goal­tend­ing,” said Hayes.

nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Photo by Ni­cholas Mercer/the Com­pass

The Bay Arena Rovers cap­tured gold on home ice dur­ing the Quiz­noes Midget B tour­na­ment in Bay Roberts on Feb. 15-17. The Rovers went un­de­feated en route to the cham­pi­onship, post­ing a record of four wins and one tie. The team de­feated the Gan­der Fly­ers in the cham­pi­onship by a score of 5-2. Mem­bers of the team are: front (from left) — goal­tender Matthew Rus­sell; mid­dle — Kaila LeDrew, Lu­cas Piercey, Paul Franey, Matthew Mug­ford, An­drew Churchill and Tay­lor Norman; back — coach Rusty Moores, Lu­cas Roberts, Natalie Keep­ing, Colin Pot­tle, Scott Mercer, Mike Kennedy, Willy Hayes, Matthew Sparkes, Kirk­land Rodgers, Daniel Moore, Bran­don Smith and coaches Stan Keep­ing and Ken Rodgers. Miss­ing from photo is Nick Pet­ten.

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