Headed for tournament play this month
LITTLE CURRENT—The boys in gold and black are holding their own so far this season and have been stabling the competition for most of their games.
This weekend, the Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) Mustangs are headed for North Bay for some stiff competition from 16 high schools from across the North, as well as from southern Ontario, head coach Brad Bond explained.
“Last Tuesday we played Lockerby in Sudbury and tied 3-3 and on Friday we played the St. Benedict’s Bears (in Little Current) and blew a two-goal lead and ended up losing 6-4,” he explained.
“We are so much more skilled than them too,” the coach said of the Bears team. “They’re great big guys, most of them are also football players, but we got some foolish penalties in the second period.”
“They’re more of a ‘bang and grind team’ while we’re fast and skillful, but because of those penalties, we couldn’t get our groove back,” Mr. Bond said.
The Mustangs bounced back from their Friday night defeat the next night, also on home ice, when they beat the L’Horizon Eagles 8-7.
The Mustangs are currently in third place out of the 10-team Sudbury District Secondary School Athletic Association.
The team has a few more regular season games before Christmas, none of them at home, before the league is divided into A and B team play. The ‘Stangs also have another tournament booked for this month when they head to York University for a 24-team competition.
“We certainly expect to be in the A division come January,” Mr. Bond said. “We are a very skilled team with a lot of speed. We haven’t played a team yet that can keep up with us—we aren’t a big bruiser team like St. Ben’s.”
Discipline on the ice is key for this coach, he said, hearkening back to the lost Friday night game.
“If something happens to one of the guys, we need to suck it up—we can’t retaliate, we can’t take those kinds of penalties,” he added. “There’s no excuse for lapses—we have to play a full game.”
‘The bad penalties always hurt, but lesson learned and better now than in the playoffs,” Mr. Bond said.
“We really do have a good bunch of hockey players and have a good chance at taking the league and maybe even NOSSA (Northern Ontario Secondary School Athletics) or OFSAA (Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations).”
Hockey powerhouse St. Charles is currently ranked at the top of the league with straight wins under their belt but, said Mr. Bond, there’s no reason why the Mustangs can’t beat them.