Astros get off to a good start
Ascension Collegiate nabs Oktoberfest title
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 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.
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.