Peewee Ice ‘coming around’ at the provincal level
The way Tri Pen peewee AAA Ice coach Randy Reardon sees it, his team is just getting warmed up on the provincial stage.
“We’re coming around,” he told The Compass. “From where we started, the players have come a long ways. They’re getting used to the league.”
The proof is in the pudding they say. Tri Pen has been much improved over the last four heading into last weekend. During that stretch, the Ice won three and sat in third in the fiveteam league with a record of four wins and eight losses.
During that stretch, they’ve lit the goal lamp 16 times versus 11 goals against.
“We’ve got 11 forwards and they’re coming around,” said Reardon. “They’re pretty good.”
The Ice are lead by Sheamus Best and his nine points (three goals and six assists), Owen Sparkes ( four goals and four assists), Josh Elford (one goal and seven assists) and Ryan Jones (three goals and two assists).
The spread out scoring is a stark contrast from last year’s squad when a couple of players dominated the scoresheet for the Ice.
“The players are starting to get used to playing at this level,” said Reardon. “Our defence is still working and our goaltending is great.”
Speaking of goalkeeping, the Ice feature a pair of athletes who have seen a lot of shots and are getting better as time goes on.
Riley Mercer has made the majority of the starts and has a record of one win and six losses in 420 minutes of work. Meanwhile Kyle Youden is 3-2 in 300 minutes of action.
“Their learning positions and getting used to playing without the puck,” said Reardon. The leap Getting used to a certain level of hockey is part of the battle for a young player trying to succeed. For many of the Ice players, it is their first experiences playing in a provincial AAA league.
Many are making the jump from atom hockey, which is dominated by club teams. That coupled with the travel leaves a steep learning curve for players.
It doesn’t help when the first half-a-dozen games are against Tri-Com and St. John’s, who are at the top of league.
“They’re tough teams,” said the coach.
The playoffs are very much in the cards for the Ice as they move towards the halfway point of the season. With eight points, they sit just a shade above the Central IcePak (seven points) and the Western Kings (six points).
Along the way, the team will continue to get better both on and off the ice.
“They’ve come a long ways as a team and as individuals,” said Reardon. “It’d be nice to make the playoffs but as long as they’re loving the game, it’s good.”
Tri Pen peewee AAA Ice forward Owen Sparkes (right) attempts to carry the puck into the St. John’s zone during provincial peewee action at the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Habrour Grace earlier this season.