Ascension Collegiate wins 2016 Wesley Gosse championship
Playing and winning at home can be the hardest thing to do for any team.
There’s pressure coming from all angles, as athletes want to play strong in front of family and friends.
Players start gripping their sticks a little tighter and may hesitate before moving the puck.
Heading into championship Sunday of the 26th annual Wesley Gosse Memorial Tournament held at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts, the hometown Ascension Collegiate Astros were feeling a bit of the pressure as they prepared for matchups with Holy Heart and Queen Elizabeth
“Sunday definitely wasn’t our best games of the year,” said coach Trevor Dixon. “We played a lot better in the CBS tournament and in Oktoberfest in the championship.”
“I think a lot of the players were nervous,” added Level III defenceman Cameron Chipman.
Despite not playing their best, the Astros were still good enough to defend their Wesley Gosse crown and defeat Queen Elizabeth 3-2 in the final on Nov. 20.
The Astros jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Ryan Petten and Michael Hopkins before the Pioneers knotted things up at two 10 minutes into the third period.
Despite not being at their best for much of the game, the Astros picked things up after surrendering the tie goal, but overtime was in the cards.
“I think that’s when we played our best,” said Dixon. “Championship teams have to find a way to win, while it definitely wasn’t our best game we did find a way to win.”
“Championship teams have to find a way to win, while it definitely wasn’t our best game we did find a way to win.” Trevor Dixon
The path to victory in this instance was mapped out on the blade of forward Mark Barrett’s stick.
Moments into overtime, Barrett intercepted a pass in the neutral zone, made a slick move to get around the defenceman then beat the goaltender to win it for his club.
The 3-2 win gave the Astros back-to-back Wesley Gosse Memorial tournament titles and their fourth championship in five years.
The tournament is hosted annually by Ascension Collegiate and is played in memory of the late Wesley Gosse of Spaniard’s Bay, a wellknown educator and sports leader in the region.
Simms and Barrett were named co-most valuable players of the tournament, while Petten received the Wesley Gosse Memorial Award presented to the player who demonstrates strong leadership and team dedication throughout the tournament.
“It’s definitely a feather in your cap,” said forward Noah Donovan. “You know that you rise to the challenge when it’s all on the line. You know you’ve got the team to come through and get the win.
Ascension went undefeated on their way to the title. In the opening game of the tournament on Nov. 16 they thumped Mount Pearl Senior High 8-2.
Noah Mercer (2), Simms (2), Parsons, Darcy O’Reilly, Noah Donovan and Barrett had the goals, while Osborne picked up the win in goal.
They followed that up with a 5-1 victory over the Prince of Wales Collegiate Cavaliers Nov. 18. Simms (2), Petten, Donovan and O’Reilly had the goals, while Jarod Mercer picked up the win in goal.
In their final round robin contest, the Astros defeated Gander Collegiate 8-2. Simms (2), Barrett (2), Donovan (2) paced the attack for their team, while Jacob Russell and Justin Jones chipped in with one goal apiece. Jarod Mercer was the winning keeper.
Simms led his team in round robin scoring with nine points (six goals, three assists). Meanwhile Barrett (seven points), Mercer (six points), Petten (six points) and Donovan (five points) found themselves in the top-10.
In the playoffs, Mark Barrett scored four times in Ascension’s 6-3 decision over Holy Heart. Petten and Hopkins had the other goals. Osborne was in goal for the Astros.
The Wes Gosse title makes it three-for-three for the Astros in tournament play. They previously captured championships in Mount Pearl and Conception Bay South.
It’s a dose of confidence for a team that figures to play a big role in the provincial title scene this season.
“I think it’s good for the boys confidence,” said Dixon. “At the same time, the boys do put a lot of pressure on themselves. You don’t expect to win every game, but you’re in contention every tournament.”
The Ascension Collegiate Astros needed overtime to down the Queen Elizabeth Pioneers 3-2 in the final of the 26th annual Wesley Gosse Memorial Tournament at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts on Nov. 20. Members of the team are (front, from left) Colin Parsons, Jarod Mercer, Cameron Simms, Aaron Osborne; (middle) Mark Barrett, Noah Mercer, Brandon Crane, Mason Oates, Cameron Chipman, Ryan Petten; (back) coach Fred Simms, coach Paul Gosse, Michael Hopkins, Darcy O’Reilly, Noah Donovan, Matthew Breaker, Michael Dawson, Jacob Russell, Justin Jones, coach Brandon Petten and coach Trevor Dixon. Missing from photo is Kyle Petten, Lucas Russell and Riley Petten.