These guys have na­tional pedi­gree

Five Con­cep­tion Bay North ball hockey play­ers a part of na­tional cham­pion NL squad

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

New­found­land and Labrador’s un­der-15 male ball hockey team did not have a lot of time to get to know each other.

The squad was a team thrown to­gether a group of play­ers from across the province. Per­haps what makes it amaz­ing is that the team, fea­tur­ing five play­ers from the Con­cep­tion Bay North re­gion, had one hour of prac­tice time be­fore board­ing their flight to Win­nipeg for the tour­na­ment be­ing held be­tween the St. Nor­bert Arena and the MTS Ice­plex July 31-3.

Yet, there were Cameron Simms (Bay Roberts), Mark Bar­rett (Spa­niard’s Bay), Noah Dono­van (Up­per Is­land Cove), Colin Par­sons (Bay Roberts) and Matthew Hoyles (Car­bon­ear) and their team­mates in the cham­pi­onship game against their coun­ter­parts from Saskatchewan on Aug. 3.

“It was a good tour­na­ment,” noted Par­sons.

The team made it to the cham­pi­onship based off a pre­lim­i­nary round record of two wins and one loss.

New­found­land jumped out to the early one-goal ad­van­tage when Simms beat the Saskatchewan goal­tender.

How­ever, the tides quickly turned as New­found­land fell be­hind 2-1. That lasted un­til two min­utes re­main­ing in the third pe­riod when Bar­rett tied the game up at two.

Then, Gan­der’s An­drew Mercer notched the win­ner less than a minute into the over­time pe­riod.

“It was a great feel­ing,” said Simms of Mercer’s game-clinch­ing goal.

There was cel­e­brat­ing both on the floor and in the dress­ing room af­ter­wards. Gloves, hel­mets and sticks were dis­carded as team­mates em­braced each other in a cham­pion’s hug.

“It was a great week­end,” said Par­sons.

At the con­clu­sion of the tour­na­ment, de­fence­man Bar­rett was named to the tour­na­ments all-star team while Simms was named Team NL’s top for­ward.

Bar­rett (three goals and four as­sists), Simms ( four goals and three as­sists) and Dono­van (three goals and three as­sists)con­trib­uted on the of­fen­sive end, while Par­sons and Hoyles pro­vided a good work ethic and solid depth.

The tour­na­ment

New­found­land were in tough from the get-go at the na­tional tour­ney. They were matched with the host Win­nipeg squad, the de­fend­ing na­tional cham­pi­ons.

Team NL got into penalty trou­ble and quickly fell be­hind 2-0.

“We took a lot of penal­ties,” said Par­sons.

De­spite that, a pair of goals by Bar­rett and St. John’s Johnny Dev­ereux tied the game at three.

Win­nipeg jumped out to a 3-2 be­fore Dono­van scored to make it 3-3. Then Simms scored to put New­found­land up by one. Bar­rett scored his sec­ond with just .25 sec­onds re­main­ing to seal the 5-3 vic­tory.

“We showed a lot of heart,” said Simms.

In Game 2, Team NL fell be­hind 20 to On­tario be­fore storm­ing back on goals from Cameron He­meon, Simms and Dono­van.

The team fell to Bri­tish Columbia 6-0 in Game 3. This set up a semi­fi­nal matchup with Man­i­toba. Avery Heath, Dono­van and Simms scored in the 3-0 vic­tory.

Fa­mil­iar­ity

Although the team had been to­gether for less than two weeks, the play­ers con­trib­uted their suc­cess to the fa­mil­iar­ity they had with each other.

This was par­tic­u­larly true in the case of the play­ers from CBN. Four of them — Simms, Bar­rett, Par­sons and Dono­van — take part in a summer ball league at As­cen­sion Col­le­giate in Bay Roberts, while Hoyles has played with them at the provin­cial level in ice hockey.

“We all knew each other,” said Par­sons.

When asked what it feels like to hear them­selves be­ing called na­tional cham­pi­ons, their re­sponse was sim­ple.

“It sounds real good,” said Simms.

Photo by Brian Dono­van

The New­found­land and Labrador un­der-15 male ball hockey team are na­tional cham­pi­ons. Fea­tur­ing five play­ers from Con­cep­tion Bay North, the team de­feated Team Saskatchewan in the fi­nal 3-2 at the MTS Ice­plex in Win­nipeg, Man., on Aug. 3. The five lo­cal play­ers, from left, are Colin Par­sons, Cameron Simms, Noah Dono­van, Mark Bar­rett and Matthew Hoyles.

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