Caps have full roster for Atlantic championship

Kenn Oliver
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

But St. John's team was forced to drop two overagers

At last year's Don Johnson Cup in Bay Roberts, the St. John's Toyota Plaza Caps defied the odds to win the province's first Atlantic junior B hockey championship in over 20 years.

With post-secondary exams keeping players out of the lineup, St. John's dressed fewer than 10 skaters through four round-robin games and used a midget-aged goaltender on one occasion. Still, the Caps emerged as champs.

At last year's Don Johnson Cup in Bay Roberts, the St. John's Toyota Plaza Caps defied the odds to win the province's first Atlantic junior B hockey championship in over 20 years.

With post-secondary exams keeping players out of the lineup, St. John's dressed fewer than 10 skaters through four round-robin games and used a midget-aged goaltender on one occasion. Still, the Caps emerged as champs.

The Caps are set to defend their title once more, when they begin play the 2010 Don Johnson Cup in St. Margaret's Bay, N.S. starting Tuesday, but fortunately for coach Greg Ryerson, he'll make the trip with a full roster this time around thanks to some leniency which allow exams to be deferred when players are representing the province abroad.

While Ryerson has a full roster on paper, it won't be the complete squad which dominated the Kent St. John's Junior Hockey League through the regular season and playoffs, and later cruised to a Veitch Memorial Trophy provincial junior championship.

Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador rules allow junior teams to carry six overage players - for this year, that's those born in 1989 - while Hockey Canada stipulate teams can only use four.

It meant some tough decisions for Ryerson and the Caps' coaching staff.

"Last year, we went through the round robin short on players and we didn't want to put the team in that position again this year. We need skaters, we need (defense) and I had three goaltenders," the sixth-year Caps coach explains.

As the only overager of the three, goalie Shane Collins - a strong contender for the league's top goaltender award this season - is the odd man out.

"That's one of the downsides to being a coach," says Ryerson of the decision to keep overagers Shane Sullivan, Mike Walsh, Sean Lynch and Kyle Smith.

"I've spent almost four and a half years with Shane (Collins) and witnessed what he did for us last year. But when your hands are tied, what do you do?

"I've lost a lot of sleep over this."

Had Collins made the trip, he probably would have spent most of the tourney watching from the bench as Ryerson and company have already decided to ride a red-hot Joey Yetman.

The 17-year-old rookie netminder was 10-1 in the playoffs with a 2.06 GAA and .935 save percentage. Not to mention he played the last three games of the league final against Mask Security Celtics with a broken finger on his glove hand.

"Game 3, I looked at my assistant coach and asked why Joe wasn't playing the puck. After the game I was talking to him and he showed me the finger," Ryerson recounts. "I said 'You've got a broken finger.' He said he didn't want to tell me, afraid I'd take him out.

"I think the determination he showed was absolutely amazing. He had it taped up inside his mitt and it was black."

Another rookie who made his mark is Kyle McGuirk. The 17-year-old was 14th in league scoring this season - earning himself a rookie of the year nod - and fifth in playoff scoring. He scored five goals as the Caps beat the Grand Falls Cataracts 10-3 to capture the Veitch.

Ryerson says the former St. John's Fog Devils midget player can be "deceiving" on the ice.

"He's one of those kids who you look at at times and it doesn't look like he's giving 100 per cent. But before you can spit that out of your mouth, he's putting three and four goals in the net.

"He can be a one-man wrecking crew at times."

The Caps open the Atlantics Wednesday against Cumberland County Cool Blues of Nova Scotia. The championship game goes next Saturday.

"I'm expecting to get back to the championship," Ryerson said.

koliver@thetelegram.com




St. John's Caps Roster/Schedule

ROSTER
Goalies: Joey Yetman, Andrew Hurley
Defence: Sean Lynch, David Curtis, Michael Walsh, Jeff MacRoberts, Patrick Parfrey, Roger Pender
Forwards: Kyle Smith, Jeremy Dixon, Chad Furlong, Steve O'Keefe, Shane Sullivan, Michael King, Jonny Caul, Blair Evans, Kyle McGuirk, Colin Escott, Blair Carter, Vincent Paiement, Jeremy Power
Schedule
(All times Newfoundland time)
Wednesday
4:30 p.m. St. John's vs Cumberland County
Thursday
1:30 p.m., St. John's vs Kensington County
9:30 p.m., St. John's vs St. Margarets Bay
Friday
5:30 p.m., St. John's vs Charlotte County
Saturday
3:30 p.m., Semifinal
7:30 p.m., Semifinal
Sunday
3:30 p.m., Championship Game

Organizations: Don Johnson, Junior Hockey League, Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador

Geographic location: St. John's, Bay Roberts, Cumberland County Nova Scotia Newfoundland Kensington County Margarets Bay Charlotte

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments