As­cen­sion Col­le­giate wins 2016 Wes­ley Gosse cham­pi­onship

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

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.

The tour­ney

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.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

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.

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