Os­prey head into home­stretch

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

The Tri Pen Os­prey are very much in the hunt for a play­off spot as the New­found­land Ma­jor Mid­get Hockey League reg­u­lar sea­son en­ters the home stretch.

As of Nov. 26, the Os­prey sat in fourth place for the five-team league with a record of six wins, 10 losses and a pair of over­time losses — good for 14 points.

For head coach Chris Cros­bie, making the play­offs comes down to ex­e­cut­ing the team’s sys­tem and gen­er­at­ing a full ef- fort for the en­tirety of the hockey game.

“A full game is 60 min­utes, it isn’t 40,” Cros­bie told The Com­pass. “We’ve lost three or four games now in the third pe­riod where we’ve just de­flated our­selves.”

There is no doubt the skill is there for the Os­prey. The team has a num­ber of play­ers near the top in the league-scor­ing race, as well as a pair of top-notch goal­tenders be­tween the pipes.

Third year for­wards Lyn­don Thorne and Cass War­ren are joined by sopho­more team­mate Mark Bar­rett in the top-10 in league scor­ing. Thorne (six goals, 10 as­sists) and War­ren (eight goals, eight as­sists) are tied with 16 points apiece, while Bar­rett (nine goals, six as­sists) trails with 15 points.

In goal, Tris­tan Gray leads the way with a record of four wins and six losses with a 3.62 goals against av­er­age. Brent Hat­field joins him with a two wins in eight out­ings and a GAA of 4.05.

“The in­di­vid­ual tal­ent is there for sure. We have two of the best goal­tenders. You al­ways start from the goalie out,” said Cros- bie. “We have to re­group and get ev­ery shift and ev­ery player ready to go.”

The Monc­to­nian

The team re­cently re­turned from the Monc­to­nian AAA Hockey Chal­lenge held in Monc­ton, N.B., last month where they fin­ished with a re­spectable record of one win and two losses.

One of their losses came to the Fred­er­ic­ton Wild, who went on to make an ap­pear­ance in the tour­na­ment fi­nal.

“For a young team, they did really well,” said Cros­bie. “It was an eye opener for sure.”

The coach made note of the dif­fer­ent style of play uti­lized by the main­land teams. He no­ticed the con­stant pres­sure teams bring ev­ery shift that really puts op­po­nents on their heels at both ends of the ice.

“It’s a dif­fer­ent style than what we’re used too,” said Cros­bie. “The play­ers have to get used to that.”

In Jan­uary, they’ll travel to Hal­i­fax, N.S., for the Chron­i­cle Her­ald East Coast Ice Jam.

Bring­ing that style home

With the coach view­ing the play­ing style of main­land teams as an eye opener, it only makes sense to try and du­pli­cate that style back on the Rock.

“We want to heighten the pres­sure,” he said.

That isn’t lim­ited to the of­fen­sive end ei­ther. Cros­bie wants to see his play­ers ap­ply pres­sure to their op­po­nents in all three zones. That means be­ing ag­gres­sive on the forecheck and the backcheck, as well as in the neu­tral zone.

“I al­ways tell the play­ers that who­ever makes the most mis­takes more than likely loses the game,” he said. “If we’re a team that is making a lot of mis­takes, we’re hard pressed. We want to try and re­verse it where we’re on our op­po­nent’s mis­takes.”

Cros­bie praises the work put in by the play­ers to get bet­ter, as well as the tal­ent level of the Os­prey’s goal­tend­ing tan­dem. He feels the team is on the cusp of fig­ur­ing out what it takes to win con­sis­tently in the high-pro­file league.

“They are close. From where we started, we’ve come along way,” said Cros­bie. “We’re fight­ing for that last play­off spot. It is go­ing to be fun.”

We have to re­group and get ev­ery shift and ev­ery player ready to go. Tri Pen coach Chris Cros­bie

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