Editor's note: This story originally appeared in the March 19th edition of The Compass
The Bay Arena Rovers atom A team fell just short in its bid to become the second team from the Bay Roberts-based association to win at the prestigious Joe Lamontagne Memorial Tournament held in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia on March 8-10.
Facing off with the home team from Cole Harbour, the Rovers fought hard but ultimately fell 2-1 to the eventual champions.
Scoring the lone goal was Aaron Boone. Setting up shop in front of the net, Aaron took a pass from teammate Tyler Dohey and buried it behind the Cole Harbour goaltender.
"He was right where he should've been and the pass went right through the slot," said head coach Carl Dohey.
That would be the only goal the Rovers would score.
But, it was not for lack of trying, said Dohey.
"I thought we outshot them three to one," he said. "We couldn't buy a goal."
The team clanged many pucks off the various posts. When the posts were not struck, the goaltender came up with big save after big save.
"He stood on his head," said Dohey.
Prior to the start of the game, the coach said his team was experiencing some "nervous energy" but quickly "got the cobwebs out" once they had a couple of shifts under their belts.
Heading back to the dressing room after the medal ceremony, the players were dejected.
Dohey and his staff reminded them that they were the underdogs heading into the tournament and other positive aspects of the entire experience.
"I told them that there was nothing to hang their heads about. We travelled a long distance, we played hard and we made it to the championship," he said.
Dohey also wanted them to remember the "sting" of defeat.
"Remember how it felt when you came up with the short straw, so that the next game you will use those energies and turn that into a positive," he said.
The Rovers had a successful round-robin portion of the tournament.
"It's a big tournament and the atmosphere is electric," said Dohey.
The team squared off with their counterparts from East Hant's in the first game, walking away with a 5-3 victory.
Next up was the South Shore Ice Sharks, comprised of players from Bridgeport, NS to Lunenburg, NS.
The Ice Sharks fell to the Rovers by a score of 6-2.
"They were good, tight games. We just opened it up towards the end," said Dohey
In one of the games, the Rovers fell behind by a two-goal deficit and fought back.
"All three lines contributed and the boys never quit," said Dohey.
In the third match, the Rovers dropped a tight 3-2 game to Cole Harbour, though Dohey suggested "we were the better team."
The crossover game saw them meet the Truro Bearcats, with the Rovers winning convincingly by a score of 7-2.
"We controlled the crossover," said the coach.
The tournament was a great learning experience for the players. It helped them understand the ability to maintain a certain level of intensity over the course of a game as well as the importance of positional play.
The timing of the tournament could not have been more perfect, stated Dohey.
In a couple of weeks, the team will be travelling to St. John's for its provincial tournament, from April 1-3.
"We hoped it would hammer home some of the things we've been teaching and build the kids' confidence," said Dohey. "Once the kids have confidence, their abilities will grow."