The 2013-2014 season has been a stark contrast from the previous year for the CBN Junior Stars.
© Photo by Nicholas Mercer/The Compass
CBN Junior Stars goaltender Mitchell Dobbin watches a rebound bounce into the slot in the dying moments of the team's 3-2 victory over the CBR Renegades on Nov. 29.
The Stars (7-7-1) are playing .500 hockey and sit in sixth place of the St. John’s Junior Hockey League, where as last season the team sat in last place of the eight-team league.
Comprised of mostly local players from minor hockey associations from around the Trinity-Conception-Placentia region, the Bay Roberts-based team has a strong sense of familiarity amongst its players.
Many have performed on the same teams with each other. Most recently with the Tri Pen Lions of the Newfoundland Major Midget Hockey League, along with their club teams.
“A lot of the players have played together,” said coach Rod Noseworthy. “We have mostly locals.”
This experience on the ice at lower levels has now begun to pay dividends at a higher level.
It has brought out a strong team atmosphere in the dressing room.
This dressing room camaraderie has translated into victories on the ice and a winning attitude.
“When guys make mistakes on the ice, we aren’t getting down on each other,” said Noseworthy.
The coach made note of the team’s work ethic as a reason for the improved record through the team’s first 14 games.
“We’re playing a team game,” he said.
While the team practices just once a week, Noseworthy said there has been strong commitment from the players to attend that practice.
That same commitment has been shown on game days whether at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts or on the road.
“I don’t have to worry about showing up to the rink with 10 players,” said Noseworthy. “They want to play hockey.”
Playing as a team
Watching a Stars game, you will notice a couple of things.
The team has a balanced attack, as indicated by the team’s spread out scoring.
Second-year man Cody Batten leads the team with 18 points, followed by team captain Andrew Smith, who has 12 points.
Behind them are a handful of players with more than half-a-dozen points.
“We’re playing a team game,” said Noseworthy.
He also pointed to a defence corps that is “strong”, lead by the aforementioned Smith.
The club has also been getting consistent goaltending from Connor Thompson and Mitchell Dobbin.
“We’re good in net,” said Noseworthy.
When asked what has been key to the team’s strong start, Dobbin contributed the work ethic of his club to the Stars’ early successes.
“Everyone is buying into the system and putting in the hard work,” he said. “When we dump the puck in and out work a team, that’s when we are normally winning.”
Need more scoring
Although the team has a balanced scoring attack, the Stars have lit the red light just 57 times this season.
That’s third last in the league.
“We’d like a bit more scoring,” said Noseworthy. “We’re trying to create a bit more offense.”
The coach knows the potential is there for more offense, he just sees it as a matter of time.
“It’ll come with more confidence for players in the league,” said Noseworthy.
The Stars are back in action this Friday (Dec. 6) when they welcome the Trinity Placentia Junior Flyers to the Bay Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.