Astros hit mid­sea­son in good shape

Coaches ‘pleased’ with team’s per­for­mance

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

The As­cen­sion Col­le­giate boy’s hockey team has been the busiest team in the re­gion.

The team has com­peted in four tour­na­ments so far, with some suc­cess.

Most re­cently, the Astros, of Bay Roberts, made it to the semi­fi­nals in the Wes­ley Gosse Me­mo­rial Tour­na­ment in Bay Roberts on Nov. 22-24.

“It was a good weekend,” said coach Paul Gosse.

The Astros were gun­ning for a third straight cham­pi­onship. How­ever, the team ran into a strong squad from Queen El­iz­a­beth of Fox­trap in the semi­fi­nals. The Pioneers bested the Astros in a tight 2-1 af­fair. Reilly Deer­ing had the lone goal for the Astros.

“We’re dis­ap­pointed that we lost, but we had our chances,” said Gosse.

Prior to the Wes­ley Gosse tour­na­ment, the Astros cap­tured a sil­ver medal at the Laval tour­na­ment.

“We’ve been com­pet­i­tive,” said Gosse. “We’ve played a lot of strong teams.”

Con­sis­tently amongst the top high school teams in the prov­ince, the Astros fea­ture a mix of solid goal­tend­ing, vet­eran for­wards and a de­pend­able de­fence core.

It is this com­bi­na­tion that has al­lowed the Astros to be play in some tight matchups against the likes of peren­nial pow­er­houses Queen El­iz­a­beth, Gon­zaga and Holy Trin­ity.

Th­ese close games have proven to be valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence for the Astros as the sea­son pro­gresses.

“In my opin­ion, we’re right up there with all of the top teams this year,” added coach Trevor Dixon.

In their own end

Like any team, there are still as­pects of the game the Astros need to work on and get bet­ter in. A big thing amongst coaches is de­vel­op­ing bet­ter de­fen­sive cov­er­age, as well as turn­ing things the other way when their op­po­nents turn the puck over.

“My top pri­or­ity is work­ing on de­fen­sive zone cov­er­age,” said Dixon.

Con­sis­tency is another thing on the coaches’ plate.

“We need a con­sis­tent ef­fort from all play­ers,” said Dixon Hard to game plan for The Astros are made up of three strong for­ward lines, each with its own mix­ture of skill and rugged­ness. This bal­ance of­ten gives them an edge over op­po­nents.

“We have strong for­wards,” said Gosse. “All three lines can score.”

Gosse said the fact all three of his lines can put the puck in the net makes his team “hard to game plan for.”

There is also a healthy com­bi­na­tion of vet­eran lead­er­ship and youth­ful en­thu­si­asm on the club.

The Astros have 10 se­nior play­ers and only two first-year play­ers.

“We’ve got a good group,” said Gosse.

The Astros fea­ture two goal­tenders who could be No. 1 keep­ers and a group of de­fence­men who are equal parts ag­gres­sive and de­fen­sive­minded.

Next up will be a tour­na­ment in Grand Falls-Wind­sor af­ter Christ­mas, fol­lowed by the high pro­file Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup tour­na­ment held in the St. John’s re­gion.

While the team is en­ter­ing 2014 hav­ing missed the op­por­tu­nity at a third straight home tour­na­ment cham­pi­onship, mem­bers of the coach­ing staff say they are gen­er­ally pleased with the team’s per­for­mance.

Photo by Terry Roberts/The Com­pass

As­cen­sion Col­le­giate for­ward Reilly Deer­ing skates to the Astros bench to cel­e­brate a goal dur­ing the Wes­ley Gosse Me­mo­rial Tour­na­ment at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts on Nov. 21.

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