The perfect defence
Bay Roberts under-15 ball hockey wins provincial crown
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.
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-
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.