Osprey head into homestretch
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 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