Look­ing back on Rebels 2014-15 Jr. ‘B’ sea­son

The Glengarry News - - Sports In The Glens - – Sean Bray

Char-Lan ju­nior ‘B’ Rebels head coach Eric Fon­taine sees plenty of pos­i­tives in his team’s 2014-15 EOJHL sea­son, which saw the boys test Casselman in the first round of the play­offs, push­ing the high­lytouted Vik­ings to six hard-fought games.

In the coach’s own words, “The way we started the sea­son with only 4 points in 11 games, we could have folded up the tent then. The guys stayed pos­i­tive and kept the spir­its up, and grad­u­ally we kept dig­ging our­selves out of the hole. The high­light was when the team came to­gether af­ter Christ­mas, and we were play­ing our best hockey and reached our po­ten­tial af­ter the hard work and de­ter­mi­na­tion. Ob­vi­ously beat­ing Casselman the last week of the sea­son and beat­ing them twice in the play­offs and be­ing one goal away from tak­ing it to game 7 was def­i­nitely a high­light. I told the guys the only peo­ple that be­lieved we could win were the 20 guys in our dress­ing room. Af­ter we beat [the Vik­ings] in game 5, we had more peo­ple jump on the band­wagon think­ing we could win. That is a story in it­self. I think the play­offs re­ally taught some guys a les­son mov­ing for­ward to next year.”

One player who won’t be with the club in the fall is lo­cal de­fence­man Jesse Fon­taine, who has com­pleted his ju­nior hockey el­i­gi­bil­ity. On the blue­liner, the coach says, “Jesse was a great leader for us and kept things light when we were go­ing through our strug­gles. He is a pas­sion­ate guy and plays with a lot of emo­tion. The last two weeks he was play­ing with two frac­tures on his hand and played through it. It goes to show you his char­ac­ter, that he was not go­ing to miss any play­off hockey de­spite the in­jury. He had a great year and will be missed on the blue line next year. I wish him all the best in his fu­ture en­deav­ours. I can see Jesse coach­ing at some level too.”

The de­fence­man’s fi­nal sea­son in Char-Lan saw him chalk up 37 points in 36 reg­u­lar-sea­son matches, along with a pair of as­sists in the play­off se­ries against Casselman.

In terms of the team’s strengths this year, coach Fon­taine points to tenac­ity and hard work, de­scrib­ing the Rebels as “a pesky team” that “kept fight­ing for ev­ery­thing we got.” He adds that the squad fea­tured “a bal­anced at­tack with role play­ers” who “never quit as a team no mat­ter what the score was, and the play­off run was proof of that.”

De­fen­sive play, though, was a weak point at cer­tain points through the sea­son, the coach ad­mits. How­ever, “The guys fi­nally un­der­stood and re­al­ized go­ing into the play­offs that de­fence was go­ing to win, as it showed only al­low­ing three, two, and one goals against a pow­er­house like Casselman.”

Look­ing ahead, the club will eval­u­ate each player and de­ter­mine who will be re­turn­ing in the fall, as in­di­vid­u­als bal­ance their var­i­ous com­mit­ments, in­clud­ing school and work.

Coach Fon­taine adds, “Re­cruit­ing will be key.” The Rebels may hold some sum­mer skat­ing ses­sions to look at prospects. He does ex­pect a good core of play­ers to be back for 2015-16. “We need to re-load and keep guys who have a team-first men­tal­ity, who want to win in­stead of wor­ry­ing about ice time and points. If we win then ev­ery­body gets two points.”

Play­ers re­flect on sea­son, post­ing on Twit­ter

Ryan Cooper (@king­coop30): Head is up af­ter po­ten­tially be­ing my last ju­nior hockey game @CharLanRebels #thanks #gorebs

Liam Vipond (@Lviper24): Nothin bet­ter than beat­ing Casselman in their barn #gorebs

Jamie Lepine (@jim­merrr): Hockey sea­son al­ways goes by way to quick, miss it al­ready.

SEAN BRAY PHOTO

RAT IN THE HAT: Met­calfe goal­tender Brody Belle­feuille pounces on a loose puck, as pee­wee Rebels Ty­sen Roy, left, and Jake Vanderburg skate within strik­ing dis­tance. For more game pho­tos, go on­line to www.glen­gar­rynews.ca/pho­tos

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