Thursday 21 March 2013

2012-2013 Tommies Men's Hockey Year in Review

Some people would say this season for the Men's Hockey Tommies was a write off because they are looking at the wins and loss column, but from this fan's perspective I disagree. Yes the team only had three wins on the year but they were three of the most exciting wins in hockey. We got to see a beat down of UdeM on the road, in a building that is always hard for road teams to get a "W" in, we got to see a shootout win over the St. Francis Xavier X-Men (Also one of the best Christmas presents ever for Tommies fans, it was right before the holiday break) and a win over the Dalhousie Tigers in a close game right after the holiday break which gave the guys a two game winning streak at home.
The guys had their struggles through the season don't get me wrong, losing long-time Tommie, Mike Reich was certainly a loss to the team. Anytime an experienced veteran and leader in the dressing room leaves it can certainly leave a void in the team atmosphere. Mike left the program though to persue his career in the business world though and no-one can fault him for that, Mike realized the opportunity and how it was going to work out for him long-term, also that he was getting a chance to go back to his home province of Saskatchewan. After getting in contact with Mike he said that things are going great, his new job is awesome and that he is part of another great team, he is learning his new role and that things are falling into place now. He is still strapping on the skates and is currently playing for two different Senior teams, one to qualify for the Allan Cup and another regular league team. Mike has been spending the little bit of free time he has from work and hockey to look for a new home.  

Along with Reich moving on, Coach Troy Ryan did have to make a few roster moves to keep the team environment in the dressing room. The Tommies released forward Alex Leduc and goaltender Justin Collier, two good hockey players that were not buying into the Tommies program of hard work and team work. With the release of Collier, Coach Ryan picked up Fredericton native Tyler Piercy, who did see some playing time throughout the second half of the season. After the release of Leduc, the Tommies chose not to persue any other players for the '12-'13 season and put all of their attention into recruiting players for the '13-'14 season.

The Rookies, Tommies fans were treated to an awesome class of Freshmen talent this season, starting with goaltender Jonathan Groenheyde who stood on his head from the beginning of the season till the last minute of the last game and was chosen as the AUS All-Rookie Goaltender. Groenheyde was ninth in the CIS for Minutes Played and third in Saves, these are impressive stats all things considered. Colin Martin from the London Knights started the season with the guys but suffered an upper body injury at the beginning of the second half and was not able to return for the remainder of the season, this was a big loss to the team as the forward had really turned it on at the end of the first half. Jordan Thomas the defenseman, who came to STU from the Metro Marauders of the Martime Hockey League. Jordan was a welcome addition to the blue-line this year, and led the teams +/- for the amount of games he played. Matthew Hobbs arrived to the Tommies from the QMJHL this past fall and has proven himself to be a very disciplined blue-liner, collecting only eight penalty minutes on the season and Nick Brown also a rookie D-man from Fredericton came to the Tommies from the MHL Dieppe Commandos, Nick played 25 straight games and registered his first AUS point in the last game of the regular season against UPEI. Marc-Andre Levesque was a nice addition to the team this year, playing all 28 games during the season, Levesque picked up 6 points during the season, one goal and five assists for the rookie.

The Sophmores, John MacDonald, this guy has shins of steel! MacDonald blocked shots all season long and showed absolutely no fear when it came to standing in front of some of the hardest shots in the AUS, he hobbled to the bench a few times but always came back for his next shift. Robert Zandbeek was another forward that showed no fear to stand in front shots. Stephen Sanza, who lead the team in points this season with 19, played hard in all 28 games this season. In the last home game of the season against UdeM he came back to the bench between shifts soaking his hand in a bucket of ice water to stay in the game. Jonathan Bonneau, who also played in all 28 games finished the season with 14 points and third in this column for the Tommies, the fast moving forward and breakout specialist had great moves against opposing teams. If it were my choice to hand out the “Most Sportsmanlike” award to me, it would have been given to Tommies Sophmore Captain Felix Poulin, the captain started every game by going out of his way to shake the hands of each of the Referees and Linesmen, the offensive minded defenseman, lead the blue-liners in scoring and only collected 20 minutes in penalties. Sebastien Bernier, collected 5 points on the season with two goals and three assists, the “Stay at Home” defenseman played all 28 games for the Tommies.

The Juniors, Christian Morin spent most of the second half of the season injured with an upper body injury, was certainly a loss of experience on the blue line this season.  Yuri Cheremetiev stepped it up and played out of position most of the season on defense, he did a great job on the blue line and was quick to get back on the play and had one of the most exciting goals this hockey fan has ever watched in his shoot out goal against the St. FX X-Men before the holiday break with a back-handed toe drag to beat X-Men goaltender Joey Perricone. Randy Cameron was set to have a great season unfortunately was injured early in the season and this kept him out for most of the campaign, it will be great to have him back in the line-up next year at 100%. Kyell Henegan scored his first goal of his CIS career this year against the X-Men in their December 1st home win, the big forward had some big hits this season and also had his career high in points.

The Seniors, In a comment from team captain Felix-Antoine Poulin, he praised dressing room leaders Chris Morehouse and Alex Labonte for leading the younger players through the rough patch and being supportive to the cause. It's sad to see these veterans leave the Tommies this year as they are both gritty forwards who haven't been afraid to dig in the corners and get rough if need be. Still one of the most impressive instances I have seen in a long time was the Mark Jeffrey Memorial game at the AUC when Morehouse and Matt Fillier got into a bit of a tussle and Fillier dropped the gloves and had four punches on Morehouse, Morehouse knew the importance of not dropping the gloves and taking the suspension when the bench was at its shortest of the season. Morehouse stuck it out and played the bigger man and put the "T" in team and Tommies.  Alex Labonte came out flying in his last regular season game at home, scoring two goals in his last home game as a Tommie.
In a great touch by head coach Troy Ryan, Matt Eagles dressed for the last game of the regular season, he came out and warmed up with the team, and accepted his Lou Chabot award from his father and Athletic Director Mike Eagles, when he was returning to the bench to watch the game Coach Ryan told him to turn around and take the opening face-off, Eagles won the face-off quite handsomely at that getting it back to the blue line, allowing him to skate back to the bench and leave the game on his own terms.

So begins the long off-season and more rebuilding and recruiting of our Tommies. Stay tuned for info as it comes in we will do our best to keep you in the loop. Can't wait to see everyone at the Grant/Harvey Centre in October for the beginning of the regular season.


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