Osprey find­ing their wings

Team posts 1-2 record at Monc­to­nian Chal­lenge; ex­pe­ri­ence a pos­i­tive one, says coach

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

The Tri Pen Osprey have re­turned from the Monc­to­nian Chal­lenge midget hockey tour­na­ment in New Brunswick, held Nov. 14-17.

The team fin­ished with a record of one win and three losses, but head coach By­ron Vatcher said he thought his team had a good show­ing. “We played re­ally well,” he said. The Osprey were in a di­vi­sion with the Saint John Vi­tos of New Brunswick, On­tario Hockey Academy Gold of Corn­wall, and the Cape Bre­ton West Is­lan­ders of Port Hood, Nova Sco­tia.

The first game saw the Osprey meet the OHA Gold team. In the con­test, Tri Pen dropped a tight 3-1 de­ci­sion to the On­tario team. Chris­tian Dawe had the only goal for the Osprey.

Next up were the Cape Bre­ton West Is­lan­ders.

The Osprey picked up their first win of the tour­na­ment af­ter a 3-1 vic­tory. Conal Mac­Na­mara (2) and Lyn­don Thorne were the goal scor­ers for Tri Pen.

The Saint John Vi­tos were next in line for the Osprey.

“We got into penalty trou­ble against Saint John,” said Vatcher.

The Vi­tos marched to a 5-1 vic­tory over the Osprey. An­drew Churchill was the lone goal scorer for the club.

“We played well to­gether,” said player Chris­tian Dawe. “We played as a team and worked to­gether as hard as we could.”

Play­ing against some high-cal­i­bre teams at the Monc­to­nian was an as­set to the on-ice de­vel­op­ment of the team.

“I saw more ag­gres­sion and some of the things we were work­ing on, we saw it de­velop a lit­tle more last weekend,” said Vatcher.

With that said, there is still more work to be done as the team pre­pared to get back into New­found­land Ma­jor Midget League ac­tion. The team was sched­uled to play two games against the St. John’s Pri­va­teers this past weekend, and will travel to Cor­ner Brook this weekend take on the Western Kings.

“We still have to work on our de­fen­sive play,” said Vatcher. “We’re still hav­ing trou­ble han­dling a hard forecheck.”

Com­ing to­gether

Dawe and Vatcher both said an im­por­tant part of the tour­na­ment was see­ing the team come to­gether on the ice.

The Osprey fea­ture play­ers from many mi­nor as­so­ci­a­tions, in­clud­ing those based in Har­bour Grace, Bay Roberts, Whit­bourne, Pla­cen­tia, Clarenville, Bon­av­ista and Marys­town.

“I think the gelling was big and that’s what we hoped for,” said Vatcher. “They re­ally came to­gether as a team on and off the ice.”

The team would do ev­ery­thing to­gether, from eat­ing meals to­gether and trav­el­ling as a team. Vatcher said the suc­cess of this process was ev­i­dent as the tour­na­ment pro­gressed into its sec­ond and third days.

“You could see the boys back­ing each other a lit­tle bet­ter on the ice,” he said. “There’s more chat­ter on the ice.”

Coaches were not the only ones to no­tice the change on the ice.

“(The tour­na­ment) was about com­ing to­gether as a team, which is ex­actly what hap­pened,” said Dawe.

Sub­mit­ted photo

Tri Pen Osprey play­ers Conal Mac­Na­mara (4) and Lu­cas March bat­tle in the cor­ner with a Saint John Vi­tos player dur­ing Monc­ton­ain Chal­lenge midget hockey tour­na­ment ac­tion at the Red Ball In­ter­net Cen­tre in Monc­ton, New Brunswick on Nov. 16. The Vi­tos won the game 5-1, push­ing the Osprey’s record to one win and two losses in the tour­na­ment

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