Due to low enrollments in their respective associations, the coaching staffs of the Bay d’Espoir Blizzard and Harbour Breton Hurricane Bantam Divisions decided to unite to create a “Perfect Strom” of a different kind for the 2011-12 minor hockey season.
The team consisting of players from communities in the Coast of Bays competed in the Hockey NL Central Bantam Intertown League, posting a 4-4 record in regular season play. Their 500 record was certainly not indicative of their true potential. Their season got off to a slow start as the players did not have an opportunity to practice together. However, with each game the team started to gel and grow stronger as the players started to become comfortable playing with one another. The wins started to pile up and the team’s final record would have probably been a much better if four scheduled games were not cancelled.
Based on their regular season performance, the team earned a spot in the A Division of the Central Bantam Intertown League Championship Tournament at Springdale on the weekend of March 16th – March 18th.
Building on their strong regular season play, the team got off to a fast start with a win a convincing 7-4 victory over the Gander Flyers. Marcus Rose picked up player of the game honors in recognition of his offensive performance.
Buoyed by the opening victory, the team grew more confident in their second game and outplayed the host Springdale Braves to earn a 8-5 come from behind victory. Shayne Dominie’s strong two-play was recognized with by his being named player of the game.
Saturday morning saw the team run their record to 3-0 in a closely contested battle against the Bishop’s Falls Express. Luke Fowlow earned the play of the game as he backstopped his team to a 4-3 victory.
Thisvictory was followed by a very close defensive battle versus the Lewisporte Seahawks in which the team came up short in a 3-1 loss. Riley Skinner was awarded the player of the game award for his hard work in the Lewisporte offensive zone.
Heading into their final game, the team needed only a tie against the Green Bay South Wildcats. There were some nervous minutes as fatigue set in and a 5-1 cushion disappeared in the final period, with the team holding on for a narrow 6-5 victory. Aaron Stone received the player of the game award for his strong defensive play.
The win set up a rematch with Lewisporte in the tournament championship game. The adrenaline was running high as both teams hit the ice. After exchanging goals early in the first period, the fatigue started to set in and Seahawks posted a 9-3 victory, earning the team a well-deserved silver medal.
In the post-game meeting the coaching staff praised the players for their hard work and sportsmanship and congratulated the team for exceeding everyone’s expectations, playing in a tournament in which all of the teams in the tournament, with the exception of one, were ranked two divisions above them in the 2012 Provincial Bantam Grading Report.
The tournament was an excellent tune up for the provincial Bantam tournament which will take place in Port Aux Basques . The associations have now make plans to practice together on a regular basis and are eagerly anticipating the opportunity to bring the Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador Bantam H Division Provincial Banner back to the Coast of Bays.