Astros get off to a good start

As­cen­sion Col­le­giate nabs Ok­to­ber­fest ti­tle

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

The an­nual Ock­to­ber­fest high school hockey tour­na­ment is gen­er­ally used as an eval­u­a­tion tool for As­cen­sion Col­le­giate coaches.

They take a cou­ple of dif­fer­ent line­ups through the Mount Pearl-based com­pe­ti­tion with eyes on se­lect­ing a fi­nal ros­ter either once the tour­na­ment ends or just prior to the start of the play­off round.

The core play­ers are the same, but for the most part, coach Trevor Dixon and the rest of the staff look at round­ing out their ros­ter.

“It’s a nice pre­sea­son tour­na­ment that we use to gauge play­ers for the rest of the year,” said Dixon. “It’s nice to see where you stand with re­gards to the St. John’s teams.”

While the Astros are still fi­nal­iz­ing their team, it doesn’t mean they’re ready to con­cede de­feat in or­der to have a bet­ter idea of who they want to pick.

Ev­i­dence of that lies in the re­sults from this year’s cham­pi­onship game.

The Astros cap­tured the cov­eted ti­tle with a tight 3-2 win over the Holy Heart High­landers from St. John’s. Jor­dan Coombs, Mark Tet­ford and Cameron Covey­duck pro­vided the of­fense, while rookie net­min­der Aaron Os­bourne back­stopped the win.

The cham­pi­onship is the sec­ond Ok­to­ber­fest ti­tle in four years for the Bay Roberts school. It last won in 2012 when the team, co­in­ci­den­tally, de­feated Holy Heart.

“The key to the win was get­ting out to an early start,” said Dixon. “That was some­thing that we aimed to do. We scored on the sec­ond shift of the game and were able to build a two-goal lead early. We held them off with solid two-way play.”

The tour­na­ment

The Astros got off to a slow start this time around. In their open­ing game, they fell to Mount Pearl Se­nior High 5-4. They got goals from Cameron Simms, Ryan Pet­ten and Michael Hop­kins.

In Game 2, As­cen­sion fell 5-3 to the High­landers. Mark Tet­ford, Cameron Covey­duck and Char­lie Spicer had the goals for As­cen­sion.

Down 0-2 and need­ing a win, As­cen­sion got the best of the for­mi­da­ble Gon­zaga Vik­ings as Simms scored four times and Matthew Ak­er­man added a pair in a 6-4 fi­nal.

Get­ting a lit­tle help from other teams, As­cen­sion made the most of their ap­pear­ance in the play­offs with a 7-5 vic­tory. Tet­ford (2), Lu­cas Drover, Simms (2), Jor­dan Coombs and Mark Bar­rett pro­vided the of­fense in the win.

“We went 1-2 in the round robin, but they were re­ally close games,” said Dixon. “We were right there. We ran into some penalty trou­ble. A key to our team is stay­ing dis­ci­plined and work­ing as a unit.”

By all ac­counts, the Astros should be right in the mix this spring for provin­cials. They fea­ture a mix of top ma­jor midget tal­ent and mi­nor hockey tal­ent — it’s all a mat­ter of find­ing the right in­gre­di­ents to throw in the blender.

“I think we’re one of the top-5 teams in the re­gion. We can be com­pet­i­tive with all of those teams,” said Dixon.

A deep ros­ter

The Astros are deep. They can roll out three lines and coaches have com­plete con­fi­dence that each group will be able to get the job done.

Even in crunch time, they’re not re­ly­ing on the same play­ers. They can have fresh legs out there when it mat­ters be­cause they’re not burn­ing play­ers out in the early stages of a con­test.

“Our team is deep, top to bot­tom,” said Dixon. “We have a pretty solid ros­ter, all three lines can con­trib­ute of­fen­sively. We have 10 for­wards on the team that can play all dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions.

“Our de­fense are solid one through six and our goal­tenders give us a chance to win ev­ery game.”

Next up for the Astros is the an­nual Queen El­iz­a­beth High tour­na­ment held in Kel­li­grews, but that’s not what the team is most ex­cited for.

The an­nual Wes­ley Gosse Me­mo­rial High School tour­na­ment willed be played at the end of Novem­ber at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts. It’s the 25th year for the sto­ried tour­na­ment and the Astros are look­ing to hoist the shield this year.

“It is as im­por­tant to us as the pro­vin­cial tour­na­ment is,” said Dixon.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The As­cen­sion Col­le­giate Astros are Ok­to­ber­fest cham­pi­ons af­ter a 3-2 win over Holy Heart in the fi­nal held at the Glacier in Mount Pearl on Oct. 19. Mem­bers of the team are: front (l-r) — goal­tenders Aaron Os­bourne and Jarod Mercer; mid­dle — Justin Jones, Michael Hop­kins, Ma­son Oates, Lu­cas Drover, Jor­dan Coombs, Michael Daw­son, Mar Bar­rett and Cameron Simms; back — coach Trevor Dixon, Kyle Tet­ford, Cameron Covey­duck, Jor­dan Churchill, Colin Par­sons, Cameron Chip­man, Noah Mercer, Ja­cob Rus­sell, coach Paul Gosse and coach Fred Simms. Miss­ing from photo are Joel Pet­ten and Ryan Pet­ten, Noah Smith, Matthew Ak­er­man, Noah Dono­van and Bran­don Crane.

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