Future is bright for Mustang girls’ hockey

This year’s Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) Mustangs girls’ hockey team, back row, from left, assistant coach Leslie Taylor, Cassandra Cristo, Anna Wigwans, Robin Lentir, Meghan Wall, Meranda Noble, Lyric Peltier, Sabrina Trudeau, Jolene Debassige, Apryl Eadie, head coach Mike Meeker, front row, Treena Debassige, Kylie Cranston, Michelle Campbell, Alayna Cranston, Bridgette McDonald, Brooke Addison, Karly Newton, Mikayla Noble and Beth Wesno. Missing from the picture are managers Lisa Addison and Ina Wesno.

M’CHIGEENG—While the Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) Mustang girls’ hockey squad may not have had the outcome they hoped for in their match-up against Sudbury’s Bishop Carter school Thursday night, losing 2-0, the plucky young team isn’t letting the odd defeat stand in their way of a good season.

While the first half of the first period got off to a slow start for the Mustangs, the girls began to gel by the end of the first, although taking some unnecessary penalties along the way leading into the second and third periods.

The second period saw lots of opportunities for the ‘Stangs, who failed to get the bounces.

Coach Mike Meeker says the future is bright for the girls, as the team is largely made up of Grade 9s and 10s with only three senior players left. He explained that last year’s team was placed in Division I, which is comprised of larger schools with highly stacked teams. This year the Mustangs are in Division II, “which is right where we should be,” the coach said.

Co-captains for this year’s squad are West Enders Robin Lentir and Meranda Noble with Bridgette McDonald rounding out the senior skaters and team leaders.

The coach noted the Thursday night penalties and chalked it up to “trying hard.”

Les Taylor, former Mustang and three-time all-star player, is helping Coach Meeker on the bench this year as are team managers Lisa Addison and Ina Wesno.

“The biggest strength is that they get along really well and stay positive,” Mr. Meeker said of his team. “We need to work on coverage in our own end, where they’re supposed to be and who they’re supposed to be covering.”

“We also need to shoot more and be really aggressive on the rebounds,” he added. Mr. Meeker said they are also learning how to deal with the ‘hot shot’ players they encounter on Sudbury teams.

He praised the girls for their dedication to the team, noting that everyone shows up for practices, which hasn’t always been the case in years passed.

“If everyone sticks, in two or three years we will have a really solid team,” Mr. Meeker continued. “They’re young, hardworking and positive. These girls are great, and that’s going to pay off.”

The coach said he has three rules for his players: no swearing, never put down a teammate and no boyfriends, the latter, he admits with a grin, has been reduced to a general guideline.

Cheer on the Mustang girls hockey team this Thursday, December 4 at 5 pm at the M’Chigeeng arena as they take on the Lasalle Lancers and then on Tuesday, December 9, also at 5 pm, when Lively comes to town and again on Thursday, December 11 at 5 pm when they face off against Confederation.