There’s no doubt our hockey program has benefitted from the earlier ice in Memorial Arena this season—and it’s showing in the teams’ results already.
Both the U16/Prep and U18/Varsity teams opened the season out strong, each posting double-header wins against Académie Saint-Louis over a weekend in mid-September. The U18’s then hit the road for St. Catharines, ON and the annual Ridley Tiger Challenge Cup. Our Bears got off to a shaky start with two back to back shootout losses: 4-3 against the Blyth Prep Cougars and 3-2 against Le Sommet Faucons. However, they turned it around and went unbeatable the rest of the tournament to bring home the bronze. The U16’s, meanwhile, spent the last weekend of September in New England for the Yale Showcase. The team posted three wins, falling only to the ISS Kings 4-2. “The Ridley tournament is always a good way for us to start the season, as the event consistently draws good teams year after year, which inevitably translates into a high level of play,” explains U18 Head Coach Marco Pietroniro. “It allows us to set the standard for where we want to be and what we want to achieve throughout the rest of the season.”
Both teams were back at it the following week travelling to Worcester, MA for the North American Challenge Cup. The U18’s were the team to beat, posting back to back wins all weekend with only a 3-3 tie against the Rifles U19 keeping them from a clean sweep. The U16’s were not as successful, unfortunately, coming away with only one win. True to form, they used the experience as a learning opportunity and quickly bounced back to dominate at the first PSHF Showcase of the season in Rockland, Ontario by winning all four of their games. “We faced more experienced teams right away at the start of the season and that really gave us the pressure and push we needed to start competing,” explained U16 Head Coach Jonathan Lachance. “We are happy with the level of our group again this year—they are showing tremendous effort and they should be a fun team to watch this season.”
Both teams spent the last weekend of October in Boston competing in the Beantown Classic, and were impressive from the start. The U16’s first match-up resulted in a huge 14-0 win, while the U18’s also shut-out their opponents, 8-0. Next up, both teams took on the Syracuse Stars organization and both were again victorious. The U16’s went on to win their next two games and earn a place in the quarter finals, where they fought hard but ultimately fell 2-1 in overtime. “We came out strong with the players following the game plan extremely well and putting in a great effort in the playoff round,” said Coach Lachance of the U16’s performance at the Beantown Classic. “The team continues to grow and gain mileage in important situations and tight games. The next few weeks will give us time to work hard in practice and hopefully finish out 2018 on a high note.”
With over 50 games apiece left to play in the season, there’s plenty of time for further development says Coach Pietroniro: “We’re looking forward to seeing the growth of our players and the interaction between the two teams’ rosters as we progress further into the season and our league play starts in earnest.”
The U18’s compete next in the MPHL season opener (November 9-10) and U16’s head to New Hampton, NH to compete in the Northeast Hockey Showcase (November 16-17). Follow us on Twitter for score updates and more hockey news!