Osprey finding their wings
Team posts 1-2 record at Monctonian Challenge; experience a positive one, says coach
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.”
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.
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