|Paul Strand |
Last night was some uncharted territory for the Junior Hurricanes in tournament play. It was 8:30 before the team took the ice for their game against the Team Northwest Regulators out of the Salt Lake City area. We had spent all day preparing for the game as best we could.
Each year we feel that our preparation needs to be a little better going into the tournament games. Le Colisee and the magnitude of the tournament seem to make a lot of these young men and women nervous as they get ready to partake in the historic event. So we have spent many days leading up to this game just trying to get the boys to remember that they are very good hockey players in order to have them play with complete confidence.
So yesterday the kids went to the hockey warehouse to get in that hockey frame of mind. This is a tradition since day one of the tournament. The warehouse is huge and has a tremendous selection. Since the growth of Five Hole Sports back in Cary the allure has worn off a bit, but it is still something for these boys to see the immensity of the place.
Then it was back to the hotel and off for a team meal in the old city. We went to Mike’s just inside the Saint John Gates; it worked last game so we might as well do it again. Hockey players are noting if not superstitious. Then we took the kids to the Montmorency Falls. This has also become a staple over the past couple seasons. The falls are a breathtaking sight in both the summer and winter. It is a good sightseeing experience, but mostly we just wanted to walk off the lunch.
Then back to the hotel for a little “shut 'er down time”. The kids went to the parents' rooms and slept and relaxed for an hour. They would depart for Le Colisee at 6:30.
Once in the dressing room it was all business. Right into shorts and t-shirt; prepare the sticks; drink lots of water; stretch; warm-up; think hockey; get ready for the game. The team was focused.
Team Northwest was a relatively unknown team. They are an all-star team from New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado. Some of the boys were huge and we did not know what kind of team they had. In the end it did not matter.
We started off flying. A minute or so into the game, Riley Stillman scored one of the nicest goals I have even seen in the tournament, dangling around three or four boys and doing the same to the Utah goalie. Nick Hale buried one not long after that on assists from Colby Pederson and Aiden Worrall. Shortly afterwards Brandon Osmundson took a nice feed from Jamison Berry and Nicholas Wildgoose and put our second goal past the Utah 'tender. Then just less then six minutes into the game John Moncovich hammered one home. Jr. Canes 4, Team Northwest 0.
The team kept plugging along, trying to decide if we should slow it down or keep the gas on full throttle. This was uncharted territory for the Jr. Canes and we did not want to get too confident. There was only one goal in the second period as Riley Stillman took an incredible feed from Tanner Siemens right up the middle and Stillman decided to score on of the nicest goals I have ever seen on a breakaway, Backhand shelf. Jr. Canes 5, Team Northwest 0.
The third period it was more of the same. The kids were rolling and we were trying to hold them back a bit. Colby Pederson scored two in this frame, Osmundson added his second of the game and Tanner Siemens put one past the Utah goalie on a nice pass from Wildgoose.
The game ended with the most lopsided victory of our 10 year career. Jr. Canes 9, Team Northwest 1.
It was a great win, but for the coaching staff some worries popped into our head and even before the game was over we had scheduled a game for the next day against the Barrie Colts at the mall. We needed a tough game for the team to get us back on track and making sure our heads were in the right place for our round two game versus England. We had scouted the England team during their first game of the tournament and they have a solid team with a very good player on their first line so we wanted to make sure our team does not take them lightly.
Vive Le Pee-wee Du Carnival!