The ‘98 Selects are well tuned and ready to roll into Ottawa for the International Bell Cup Tournament in Ottawa at the end of the month.
The ‘98 Selects currently reside alone in first place in the Mass Hockey League with an overall record of 9-1 and seem to be hitting their stride as they prepare to head North to face some of the toughest competition from around the world.
The International Bell Cup Tournament is entering its ninth season as a premier youth hockey tournament. The event will be held on December 28 – January 1.
Head coach John Cusack credits the team’s success to a discipline style of hockey in all three zones of the ice as well as unselfish style of hockey seldom seen at this early level of play.
“The kids do a great job of maintaining possession and control of the puck in the offensive zone and they know how to stretch the zone and look for proper scoring opportunities” Cusack said.
The ‘98 Selects have outscored their opponents 44-17 and have the fewest penalty minutes against in Mass Hockey at a mere 25 PIMS over the first 10 games of the season.
Forwards Coach Paul Collins attributes the offensive success of the young Warriors to their patience in the offensive zone as well as the kids ability to continually work the puck down low while at the same time knowing when to stretch the zone and move the puck back to the D.
“All five players on the ice contribute while the puck is in the offensive zone” Collins said. “We’re a tough team to defend due to the kids willingness to move the puck quickly and decisively in the offensive zone.
“These kids don’t chase the puck; they stay home, stay disciplined and more the puck effectively in all 3 zones of the ice”
Defensive Coach John Quatieri attributes the low GAA for the squad (17 over 10 games) to the kids’ ability to process options 1, 2 and 3 in the defensive zone as well as solid goaltending.
“You very seldom see the kids throw the puck up the boards” Quatieri said. “The kids do a remarkable job of swinging the puck away from the pressure in order to move the puck out of the zone effectively”.
The well balanced lines of forwards are led by Billy Falter, Peter O’Connell and Cole Julius, Jack Norton, Billy Fairweather and Ty Rogers, Justin Collins, Jack Cusack and Domenic Raneri.
The defensive corps are headed by Liam O’Neill, Shawn Giroux, Tanner Derby, Anthony Quatieri, Brian Groom, and Evan McDonald. Nick Howard has been rock solid for most of the year in net.
Team Manager Brian McDonald has done a great job with the parents and kids in keeping things organized and on track throughout the season both on and off the ice.