Knowing his role
Petten carves out his spot with the Osprey
Make no bones about it — Clarke’s Beach’s Ryan Petten knows where he excels on the ice.
It’s any area commonly referred to as the trenches. It is in the corners and along the boards where he can muscle opponents off of the puck and generate chances for himself and his teammates.
The second year Tri Pen Osprey forward knows he won’t beat you with his hands or his feet. What Ryan does know is he can get the best of his opponents is by using his thick body.
“Every shift, I have to use my size,” said the 16-year-old Petten when he met with The Compass last week. “I like to start down low and work the puck out.”
In a recent game, Petten provided the perfect example of this. You could call it your typical Ryan Petten play. He was controlling the puck along the far boards in the Western Kings’ zone and for some 30 seconds, Petten moved up the boards one way before turning his body and heading the other way.
Protecting the puck with his body, Petten was met with the same resistance from opponents — a cross-check to the back or a hack at his feet — every time he moved along the wall. Still, he remained steadfast until a scoring chance could be generated for his club.
It wasn’t the prettiest or the flashiest play, but it is one appreciated by both his coaches and fans alike. They’re moves he picked up watching pro forward Rick Nash. The New York Ranger is excellent at using his body to shield the puck from opponents.
The grinder mentalist is something Petten has been honing since he was an atom player wearing the red and white of the Bay Arena Rovers. It was then he realized he was never going to be the fastest skater or the best stick handler.
What he was going to be was the best at using his body to his advantage.
“I grew up with the mentality,” said Petten. “It’s one of the better parts of my game and it is something I’ve always tried to do.
“It just clicked one day when I realized what I had to do.”
Getting in shape
When it clicked where his game needed to go, Petten realized it was time to get in shape. Working with local coach Nelson ‘Bo’ Bennett up to five days a week, he started turning his body around.
Fat became muscle and in parts of the game where he was already good at, Petten started to excel at. It became easier for him to throw his body into the corner and come out with the puck.
“My skating is better now,” said Petten. “I’m in better shape now. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Bo.”
There could be no more evidence for that statement than a play made on Oct. 11. Seeing open ice behind a Kings’ defender, Petten darted for the spot, received the puck and proceeded to leverage his 195 pound frame against his opponent as he scored falling down.
There were times Petten would feel the effects of putting his body on the line every shift, but since getting in shape, he hasn’t felt much of an after effect.
Like most athletes who play at a high level, Petten has a set of pre-game rituals that rule the day when there is a night game coming.
One involves a big plate of pasta prior to puck drop, while the other is all about getting as much fluid into your body as possible.
“Early this season I found myself getting tired,” he said. Petten has begun drinking plenty of water on game day. “I try to drink as many bottles of water as I can to keep myself hydrated. I have to keep myself going right until the end” Getting comfortable Last season was an adjustment for Petten. It was his first year on the provincial major midget league circuit and his first getting used to a new role.
He was used to being a top tier guy, but on a team laden with veterans and talent, Petten assumed a checking role.
He said he “grew into the role” and still managed to put up 16 points (six goals, 10 assists). This season, he’s assumed a larger role with the club and has responded with five goals and two assists in just 10 games.
“I’m always thinking puck first. I want to get to the puck first and win that battle,” said Petten. “You have to have a bit of an edge to your game.”
Tri Pen Osprey forward Ryan Petten.
Tri Pen Osprey forward Ryan Petten moves along the boards in recent provincial major midget action against the Western Kings at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts.