CNB Stars once again a con­tender

Bay Roberts-based team no longer a pushover in St. John’s league

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

The 2013-2014 sea­son has been a stark con­trast from the pre­vi­ous year for the CBN Ju­nior Stars.

Head­ing into ac­tion this past weekend, the Stars (7-7-1) were play­ing .500 hockey and sat in sixth place of the St. John’s Ju­nior Hockey League. Last sea­son, the team sat in last place in the eight-team league.

Com­prised of mostly lo­cal play­ers from mi­nor hockey as­so­ci­a­tions from around the Trin­ity-Con­cep­tion-Pla­cen­tia re­gion, the Bay Roberts-based team has a strong sense of fa­mil­iar­ity amongst its play­ers.

Many have per­formed on the same teams with each other. Most re­cently with the Tri Pen Li­ons of the New­found­land Ma­jor Midget Hockey League, along with their club teams.

“A lot of the play­ers have played to­gether,” said coach Rod Nose­wor­thy. “We have mostly lo­cals.”

This ex­pe­ri­ence on the ice at lower lev­els has now be­gun to pay div­i­dends at a higher level. It has brought out a strong team at­mos­phere in the dress­ing room. This dress­ing room ca­ma­raderie has trans­lated into vic­to­ries on the ice and a win­ning at­ti­tude.

“When guys make mis­takes on the ice, we aren’t get­ting down on each other,” said Nose­wor­thy.

The coach made note of the team’s work ethic as a rea­son for the im­proved record through the team’s first 14 games. “We’re play­ing a team game,” he said. While the team prac­tices just once-aweek, Nose­wor­thy said there has been strong com­mit­ment from the play­ers to at­tend that prac­tice. That same com­mit­ment has been shown on game days whether at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts or on the road.

“I don’t have to worry about show­ing up to the rink with 10 play­ers,” said Nose­wor­thy. “They want to play hockey.”

Ev­ery­one is buy­ing into the sys­tem and putting in the hard work.

— Mitchell Dob­bin

Play­ing as a team

Watch­ing a Stars game, you will no­tice a cou­ple of things. The team has a bal­anced at­tack, as in­di­cated by the team’s spread out scor­ing. Sec­ond-year man Cody Bat­ten leads the team with 18 points, fol­lowed by team cap­tain An­drew Smith, who has 12 points. Be­hind them are a hand­ful of play­ers with more than half-dozen points.

Nose­wor­thy also pointed to a de­fence corps that is “strong,” led by the afore­men­tioned Smith.

The club has also been get­ting con­sis­tent goal­tend­ing from Con­nor Thomp­son and Mitchell Dob­bin.

When asked what has been key to the team’s strong start, Dob­bin con­trib­uted the work ethic of his club to the Stars’ early suc­cesses.

“Ev­ery­one is buy­ing into the sys­tem and putting in the hard work,” he said. “When we dump the puck in and out-work a team, that’s when we are nor­mally win­ning.”

Need more scor­ing

Al­though the team has a bal­anced scor­ing at­tack, the Stars have lit the red light just 57 times this sea­son. That’s third last in the league.

“We’d like a bit more scor­ing,” said Nose­wor­thy. “We’re try­ing to cre­ate a bit more of­fense.”

The coach knows the po­ten­tial is there for more of­fense.

“It’ll come with more con­fi­dence for play­ers in the league,” said Nose­wor­thy.

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