The Ascension Collegiate Astros male hockey team has a reputation as one of the top teams in Newfoundland and Labrador.
With its second place finish in the Maurice Richard division of the Canadian Cup in Montreal, Que. March 14-16, the Astros just reinforced the issue.
“It was a great tournament,” said coach Trevor Dixon.
Ascension dropped a razor-thin 3-1 decision to the Credit Valley Wolves from Mississauga, Ont.
Bay Roberts forward Ryan Dawson scored the only goal for the Astros.
“The boys played well,” said Dixon.
The championship had to have been a let down for the Astros, who finished the round robin portion of the tournament undefeated.
But, Dixon said the tournament was more than about wins or losses for his players.
“It was great team bonding,” he said,
The team of 13 players spent all of their time in each other’s companies. This included travelling as a team and eating meals together. This included a tour of the Bell Centre in Montreal.
“It was crazy to be there,” said Dixon.
Essentially, the Astros were a family for three days.
“We had a good time,” he said.
This team bonding will only serve the team moving forward.
The Astros return to Newfoundland in the midst of its regional qualifiers for the provincial championships next month.
All of the games for the tournament were played in a new facility Centre Multisport de Chateauguay.
“It was a really nice layout,” said Dixon.
The Astros met the representatives from Saratoga Falls, New York in its opening matchup.
Ascension would defeat the Blue Knights by a score of 3-0 to get things started on the right foot.
Dawson (2) and Reilly Deering scored for the Astros.
Next were the Black Ice of Rutland Vermont. Forward Adam Oates scored a pair of goals to pace Ascension in a 5-2 victory.
Dawson, Deering and Andrew Churchill scored for the Astros.
Concluding the round robin was a matchup with Credit Valley. Ascension won the game 4-1 on the back of goals from Deering (2), Oates and Dawson.
“The boys carried the offense,” said Dixon.
Heading into the tournament, players were struck a bit by nerves.
It came with playing in a different province and against unknown competition.
However, the team quickly settled in and played strong hockey.
“They went to play their best,” said Dixon.