COACH PLEASED WITH NATS’ FIRST SEASON
The season is over for the Rockland Nationals Junior A team, but the journey has just begun.
The Nats finished their regular season fourth in their division with 62 points. The team was eliminated in the first round of playoffs in a 4-1 series against the first-place Carleton Place Canadians. As this was the first season the Nats Junior A organization was in Rockland, head coach and general manager, Daniel Sauvé, was pleased with the results.
“I think it was a huge success,” he said. “Right from the quality of the players we had, the owners and how much time they put in to build the team. I think we put in a lot of good building blocks moving forward with the organization.”
According to him, making the playoffs was their objective for this season. “We played against the top team in Canada, which was really, really good experience for our players and it will be something that will help them become even better in the years to come,” said Sauvé.
Despite an injury prone season, Sauvé was satisfied with the depth of the team up front. The Nats had four solid lines of scoring potential. “That was really something we improved on from last year [when the team was in Gloucester],” he said. “Our scoring went up 20 or 30 goals compared to last year.” Mathieu Blanchette was the team’s leading scorer, with 51 points – 27 goals and 24 assists – in the regular season. Trevor Coykendall takes second place with 35 points in the regular season – 16 goals and 19 assists.
Sauvé is expected to stay on next year as head coach and general manager of the organization. He looks forward to being able to focus more on the coaching aspect of his job next year, as this first year was a learning process. “I think next year will be a really good year to put the emphasis on the coaching part for myself and getting better at communicating with our guys and going over plays,” said Sauvé. “The experience we got from making playoffs will go a long way for the returning players.”
The Rockland Nats will in fact be seeing most players return next season. According to Sauvé, there will be anywhere from 10-14 players from this season returning next year. There are six graduating players and at least one goaltender, but possibly both, who will be moving on to play for another team.
Goaltender Sean Storr is going to play for Hamilton College in New York next season. The 19-year-old finished the season with a 4.14 goals against average. Second leading scorer Trevor Coykendall is committed to Adrian College in Michigan and a few other players are still in talks with various schools. Official announcements about where these players will end up next year can be expected in the next month or so.
La saison est terminée pour les Nationals de Rockland Junior A, mais le voyage ne fait que commencer. Les Nats ont terminé leur saison régulière en quatrième place de leur division avec 62 points. L’équipe a été éliminée au premier tour des séries éliminatoires dans une série de 4-1 contre l’équipe de première place, les Canadians de Carleton Place. Comme c’était la première saison de l’organisation Nats Junior A à Rockland, l’entraîneur-chef et directeur général, Daniel Sauvé, était satisfait des résultats.