The per­fect de­fence

Bay Roberts un­der-15 ball hockey wins pro­vin­cial crown

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

It’s rare for a team in any sport to be ab­so­lutely per­fect through an en­tire tour­na­ment.

Yet that’s what the Bay Roberts un­der-15 ball hockey team did in the re­cent NL Ball Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion’s un­der-15 pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onships held July 8-10 at the Fiel­dian Gar­dens and the Twin Rinks in St. John’s.

Aside from post­ing a 6-0 record through the tour­na­ment, Bay Roberts never al­lowed a sin­gle goal against in ei­ther con­test en route to the pro­vin­cial ti­tle.

“I’ve never seen any­thing like it,” said coach Trevor Dixon.

That’s an im­pres­sive feat given the lit­tle things that make stop­ping a hockey ball a lot dif­fer­ent from stop­ping a puck. Shots from the point, for in­stance, tend to hook or hop on their way to the goal.

The way the ball spins can make it hard to cor­ral at times.

“It’s dif­fer­ent and the ball can take un­ex­pected bounces,” said Dixon, him­self a goal­tender. “It doesn’t take much (to score).”

How­ever, a sound sys­tem fo­cused on keep­ing op­po­nents to the out­side, not turn­ing the ball over and lim­it­ing scor­ing chances pro­duced in spades for the Bay Roberts team.

“De­fence was one of our strengths for sure,” said Dixon.

Bay Roberts was helped by stand­out net­min­der Ri­ley Pet­ten be­tween the pipes for the en­tirety of the tour­na­ment.

“Every time we gave up a chance, he was there to shut it down,” said the coach.

Mem­bers of the team are: Ri­ley Pet­ten, Josh Neil, Luke Ak­er­man, Mark Davis, Lucas Rus­sell, Brae­don Carl­son, Brady Oates, Aaron Boone, Daw­son Laun­dry, Ethan Cros­bie, Tyler Do­hey, David Hibbs, Ryan Hil­lier, Brett Budgell and Greg Ke­hoe.

Roger Ak­er­man joined Dixon on the bench.

The tour­na­ment

Bay Roberts started their per­fect run through the tour­na­ment with a 7-0 de­feated of the The Black Horses. That was fol­lowed by a 7-0 vic­tory over the Grand Falls-Wind­sor Chiefs.

In Game 3, Bay Roberts dumped The Bounc­ers 3-0 to set up a quar­ter-fi­nal game with the Raiders. That game, too, ended in a 7-0 shutout for the team.

The semi­fi­nals matched Bay Roberts with NL United. The re­sult was much of the same with the cham­pi­ons tak­ing a 6-0 de­ci­sion.

In the fi­nal, Bay Roberts blanked Gan­der 3-0. Josh Neil (2) and Luke Ak­er­man pro­vided the scor­ing in the fi­nal.

A team ef­fort

From top to bot­tom, each mem­ber of the team brought some­thing to the ta­ble that helped them snag the pro­vin­cial ti­tle.

Whether it was block­ing shots, win­ning face­offs or mov­ing the ball around the floor, ath­letes laid it all out there for their team.

It was an ef­fort pressed their coach.

“It was a com­plete team ef­fort,” said Dixon. “We moved the ball and stayed out of the (penalty) box. We didn’t give up a lot of chances.”

Any time a team can run out mul­ti­ple line com­bi­na­tions that make op­po­nents work every shift, they’re giv­ing them­selves a chance to win.

Depth wasn’t an is­sue for the Bay Roberts team. Every shift, they were able to run out a line with play­ers set for Hockey NL’s high per­for­mance camp in Au­gust. Com­bine that with slick goal­tend­ing and that’s a tough team to play against.

“We had good depth,” said Dixon. “They worked like dogs all week­end.”

When the fi­nal buzzer sounded, play­ers hit the floor with the cus­tom­ary hockey cel­e­bra­tion of fly­ing hel­mets and dis­carded hockey gloves.

“(The play­ers) were pretty ex­cited,” said Dixon. “They wanted it and worked hard. They did what they had to do.” that im-

SUBMITTED PHOTO

The Bay Roberts un­der-15 ball hockey team cap­tured the NL Ball Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion’s un­der-15 ti­tle at the pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onships held July 8-10 at the Fiel­dian Gar­dens and the Twin Rinks in St. John’s. They beat Gan­der 3-0 in the fi­nal.

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