TeePees find groove at ban­tam mega tour­na­ment

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

All sea­son the Trin­ity-Pla­cen­tia ban­tam TeePees were miss­ing some­thing.

The team wasn’t hav­ing its usual suc­cess. This group in par­tic­u­lar had won a pro­vin­cial ti­tle two years ago in pee­wee.

Some­thing was amiss and coaches couldn’t quite fig­ure out what it was. They won maybe six games all sea­son ac­cord­ing to as­sis­tant coach Craig Whalen and had some trou­ble tak­ing in what they were learn­ing at prac­tice and ap­ply­ing it to games.

“We had a strug­gle all year to get a win,” said the coach.

That all changed when the TeePees hit the ice for their first game of the ban­tam di­vi­sion mega pro­vin­cial tour­na­ment co­hosted by Gan­der and Glover­town Mar. 31-April 2. They met Stephenville in Game 1 and came out a dif­fer­ent team from the one coaches had seen all year.

“It seemed like they turned it up,” said Whalen.

The TeePees opened with a 53 vic­tory over the Jets.

With a bit of wind un­der their sails, the Whit­bourne-based team kept things go­ing in its sec­ond game with the home­town Glover­town team.

Again, the TeePees showed a deft dis­play of skill and de­ter­mi­na­tion as they skated to an im­pres­sive 8-3 vic­tory.

“We kept en­cour­ag­ing them and kept en­cour­ag­ing them,” said Whalen. “And, they kept win­ning and win­ning.”

With two vic­to­ries in their back pocket and feel­ing good about their play, the TeePees headed into di­vi­sion A with their coun­ter­parts St. Pierre, St. John’s and the CeeBees of Har­bour Grace.

Again, the ban­tams kept turn­ing the heads of their coaches. A 2-1 vic­tory over St. Pierre and a 3-1 de­feat of St. John’s book­marked a 10-3 loss to the CeeBees.

The St. John’s win put them in the po­si­tion they wanted to be in — a chance to go home with a pro­vin­cial ban­ner.

The only ob­sta­cle be­ing the CeeBees team that had handed them a lop­sided loss a day ear­lier.

“I told them we’re go­ing to come out and we’re go­ing to write our own story here,” said Whalen.

The cham­pi­onship

Fu­eled by the ear­lier de­feat, the TeePees were un­daunted in their quest to pro­duce a gold medal for them­selves and their as­so­ci­a­tion.

Both teams came out strong as they traded leads be­fore Trin­ity Pla­cen­tia took the lead for good in the third pe­riod. The team tight­ened up de­fen­sively and held on for a 3-2 vic­tory. They’d avenge the ear­lier loss at the most im­por­tant time

“For the kids to do that af­ter hav­ing such a rough year, it’s un­be­liev­able,” said coach Dar­ryl Bar­rett.

If this were a Hol­ly­wood pro­duc­tion, the cham­pi­onship wouldn’t come with­out a big coach­ing speech be­fore the fi­nal pe­riod. It would in­spire the play­ers and push them to the vic­tory.

While this wasn’t a ma­jor mo­tion pic­ture, there was a coach’s speech. So the sim­i­lar­i­ties are there.

“I told them that this was the Stan­ley Cup of mi­nor hockey,” said Whalen. “It was their last chance to prove them­selves to us … and prove to your­self that they’re a good team.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The Trin­ity Pla­cen­tia ban­tam TeePees de­feated the CeeBees 3-2 in the A di­vi­sion fi­nal of the ban­tam mega tour­na­ment hosted by Gan­der and Glover­town March 31-Apr. 2. Mem­bers of the team are: front (l-r) —Abby Reid, Olivia Gil­bert, Owen Groves, Ben Ne­whook, Mark Davis and Nick La­hey; back —as­sis­tant coach Chris San­ford, Bray­den Smith, Ethan Russell, Davis Did­ham, Ri­ley Ne­whook, Ryan Hiller, Brady Whalen, Zach Ne­whook, Colby Bar­rett, Josh San­ford, as­sis­tant Craig Whalen, Hunter Somer­ton and head coach Dar­ryl Bar­rett.

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