Tri Pen ready to ice competition
High-level hockey coaches are always looking for surprises.
For them, surprises are a good thing, especially in tryouts.
It can make the selection process more of a headache than it already is, but every coach will tell you they welcome the unexpected.
The same goes for Tri Pen Ice bantam AAA team coach Nelson Bennett. When his team held tryouts in Clarenville last month, there were players who came out of left field, so to speak.
“There were kids who really wanted to make this team,” the coach said. “There were some battles.”
The Ice draw players from minor hockey associations in Bay Roberts, Clarenville, Bonavista, Marystown, Placentia, Whitbourne and Harbour Grace.
Eventually, Bennett and his staff selected the 19 players who would make up the Ice in the inaugural provincial bantam AAA league season.
Last weekend, the team played its kickoff tournament and finished with a record of three wins and one loss. The sole defeat came at the hands of Tri Com.
“We know we’re right there,” said Bennett. “The league looks super. “It’s a good place to be.” Teams with players separated by large distances sometimes struggle with chemistry. Players take a little longer to become familiar with each other and that can hurt a team in the long run.
Bennett does not foresee that happening with his squad. Many of them have played together on AAA teams in the past and know what to expect from each other.
“We don’t see that being an issue at all,” he said. “The dedication these guys have shown whether it was this year or last year … these guys have always been willing to go the extra mile and we’re just looking forward to starting practice.”
A large number of players were a part of the Tri Pen peewee AAA team that captured the Atlantic championship last season.
Members of the team are: Zachary Bennett, Mason Oates, Kyle Petten, Dawson Mercer, Riley Petten, Tristan Grey, Luke Akerman, Kyle Tetford, Shailynn Snow, Liam Leonard, Liam Shea, Chandler Warren, Jacob Evans, Ethan Crosbie, Matthew Brown, Liam Best, Colin Jones, Lucas Russell and Ethan Pollett.
Associated players are Matthew Akerman, Dawson Laundry, Josh Neil and Jordan Jacobs.
Advantage in the goal
Goaltending might be the biggest asset for the Ice. All three — Riley Petten, Tristan Grey and associated keeper Jordan Jacobs — have experience at the provincial level.
Petten one of the under-14 goaltenders, while Grey and Jacobs are the under-15 goaltending tandem.
All three are headed to the Atlantic Challenge Cup this weekend in Moncton, N.B.
“No matter what happens, we feel we’re in really good shape goaltending-wise,” said Bennett.
A handful of games at the start of the season may not be enough to know what a team does well and what it does not.
However when asked, Bennett offered a couple of points.
“We support each other well,” he said.
The second was kill.
“We do that very well,” said Bennett.
The powerplay needs a little work, but four games into the season that is too be expected.
“We’re putting in some pieces we haven’t used before,” said the coach.
All in all, Bennett is excited for the season to get underway.
The Ice will hold its home opener at the Trinity-Placentia Stadium in Whitbourne on Oct. 18. There will be two games played at the stadium — an afternoon matinee followed by an evening game.
The Bay Arena in Bay Roberts will host a third game on Oct. 19.
Tri Pen Ice bantam AAA coach Nelson Bennett.