Head­ing to Sher­brooke

New coach Cros­bie op­ti­mistic about team’s chances

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

Bay Roberts’ Zachary Ben­nett is an ex­cep­tional young hockey player tak­ing his tal­ents to Bishop’s Col­lege School in Sher­brooke, Que. Although he will be play­ing hockey at the pres­ti­gious school, Ben­nett’s pri­mary rea­son for head­ing there are the ed­u­ca­tional ben­e­fits of tak­ing classes at the school.

The Tri Pen Osprey are set to fly ahead of another New­found­land and Labrador Ma­jor Mid­get Hockey League sea­son.

The fi­nal Osprey ros­ter is made up of 18 skaters and two goal­tenders from feeder as­so­ci­a­tions in Clarenville, Bon­av­ista, Marys­town, Pla­cen­tia, Bay Roberts, Whit­bourne and Har­bour Grace.

The team also named eight AP play­ers, those who would fill in when a reg­u­lar is in­jured or un­able to dress for a game.

This year’s ver­sion of Tri Pen is go­ing to have a dif­fer­ent look. A vet­eran-laden team in 20142105, it was forced to re­place 11 play­ers from the team that fin­ished third in the five-team league.

That in­cludes lead­ing point get­ter Conal McNa­mara, cap­tain Ryan Daw­son and goal­tender Ri­ley Ak­er­man, along with stand­out de­fence­men Chris­tian Dawe and Matthew Fisher.

De­spite this big turnover, new coach Chris Cros­bie said he was im­pressed with the skill ex­hib­ited by play­ers dur­ing train­ing camp.

“They’re all tal­ented young play­ers,” he said. “I felt there was a lot of energy (at train­ing camp) for a new coach.”

Glanc­ing over the ros­ter, the Osprey are an even mix­ture of third-year (six), sec­ond-year (seven) and first-year (seven) play­ers.

“Our third year play­ers are key on the team, the sec­ond-years are good and the first-years are good,” said Cros­bie. “We have a strong group.”

The coach said the Osprey will come at teams with a bal­anced ap­proach.

“I be­lieve in run­ning four lines,” said Cros­bie. “Sure, in tight sit­u­a­tions, you’re go­ing to tighten things up a lit­tle, but if you have four com­plete lines rolling and run­ning it’s go­ing to be a hard team to beat.

“We’re hav­ing fun with it. We want our team to re­spect ev­ery­thing. It makes for bet­ter hockey.”

Cros­bie comes to the team hav­ing spent time on the bench with pro­vin­cial teams the past cou­ple of sum­mers. He was a mem­ber of mul­ti­ple Herder Me­mo­rial Tro­phy win­ning teams dur­ing his se­nior hockey play­ing days. He, along with coaches Chad Par­sons, Scott Ak­er­man and Paul Shep­pard, are ex­cited to get the sea­son un­der­way.

They did so last week­end against the Western Kings in Cor­ner Brook (re­sults were not known prior to dead­line).

“I’m look­ing for­ward to get­ting go­ing,” said Cros­bie.

Goal­tend­ing will be a strength

At first glance, the Osprey ap­pear to have an ad­van­tage be­tween the pipes over the rest of the league.

In goal, Tri Pen will fea­ture re­turn­ing keeper Brent Hat­field of Pla­cen­tia, as well as Bon­av­ista’s Tris­tan Gray. “We are ec­static about our goal­tend­ing,” said new coach Chris Cros­bie. Hat­field fin­ished last sea­son with a 12-4 record to go along with a goals against av­er­age of 2.87 and only 46 goals al­lowed all sea­son.

Mean­while, Gray is com­ing off a sea­son with the Tri Pen ban­tam Ice where he posted a 12-2 record with a 1.21 goals against av­er­age.

As a re­sult, Gray was named the top goal­tender of the league.

“We think we have two of the best goal­tenders in the league,” said Cros­bie. “With two good goalies push­ing each other ev­ery­day, there are good things com­ing.” Speed and size up front While the for­ward group will be miss­ing the scor­ing tal­ents of Daw­son and McNa­mara, that does not nec­es­sar­ily mean the Osprey will be lack­ing for scor­ing punch. Among the re­turnees are two of its top-five scor­ers in Lyn­don Thorne (31 points) and Cameron Simms (26 points), while third-year for­ward Cas­sidy War­ren (18 points) should find his name on the score­sheet more of­ten with an ex­panded role.

Sopho­more for­ward Mark Bar­rett has tal­ent to burn and is hop­ing to im­prove on his 13-point fresh­man sea­son with the club.

“We have speed (up front) and a lot of strength,” said Cros­bie.

The rest of the group is a mix­ture of third-years, sec­ond-years and first-year play­ers. This mold fits into the coach’s model for the fran­chise. These play­ers in­clude Ryan Pet­ten (Clarke’s Beach), Ryon Wil­liams (Har­bour Grace), and Nolan Maloney-Brown (Clarenville), Tet­ford (Bay Roberts), Liam Shea (Dunville), Matthew Ak­er­man (Bay Roberts) and Dono­van War­ren (Arnold’s Cove).

Stick­ing to the plan

The big­gest turnover oc­curs on the blue-line for the Osprey. Since last sea­son, the team lost four de­fence­men to grad­u­a­tion and another moved to AP sta­tus.

That leaves Tri Pen with just two re­turnees on the back end in Colin Par­sons (Bare­need) and Lu­cas March (Green’s Har­bour). They’ll no doubt log heavy min­utes while the new ad­di­tions — Ma­son Oates (Bay Roberts), Michael Daw­son (Bay Roberts), Chan­dler War­ren (Arnold’s Cove) and Ja­cob Evans (Clarenville) — get their feet wet at the ma­jor mid­get level. If fa­mil­iar­ity counts for any­thing, the trio of Oates, War­ren and Evans were team­mates on the Tri Pen Ice ban­tam squad that cap­tured the pro­vin­cial ban­tam AAA league cham­pi­onship. “If our de­fence­men stick to the plan, they’ll be hard to play against,” said Cros­bie. “The big­gest thing will be get­ting on the same page. Once we do that, we’ll be pretty rock solid.”

Cros­bie said the Osprey will look to put to­gether a prod­uct that will “cre­ate an at­mos­phere” in the arena and in the com­mu­nity.

“With these play­ers, it is only a mat­ter of time,” said Cros­bie.

COM­PASS FILE PHOTO

Pla­cen­tia’s Brent Hat­field is one half of the Tri Pen Osprey’s goal­tend­ing tan­dem this sea­son.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.