In their second big tournament of the year, the Sno-King Jr. Thunderbirds put up an impressive 3-0-1 record at the Honeybaked Tier 1 Classic, this past weekend, in Detroit, MI.
The 'Birds (25-7-4-2) Defeated the York Skipjacks (3-1), Esmark Stars (3-2) and NY Islanders (6-2). Their only blemish on the weekend was a 4-3 overtime loss to the Jersey Hitmen.
The tournament featured some of the top Tier 1 teams in the country and was attended by 16 teams at the midget level. Scouting was a mainstay all weekend as scouts and recruiters from NCAA, USHL, NAHL, OPJHL, among others were present.
This year's tournament was a marked improvement from last year where the team went 1-3 with their only win coming against a 15U team from Chicago.
The team's other big tournament of the year was last month in Boston, where they ran up a 5-0 record vs. USHL Premiere teams.
T-Birds Head Coach, Mike Butters, was pleased with the team's record, despite an uneven performance. "What was especially noticable was that we really didn't have a great weekend, performance wise. That said, the team competed hard and managed the games well to secure our victories." Butters added, "Our two victories vs. York and New York were solid efforts with execution. While we struggled against both Jersey and Esmark, we executed at the right times to secure points. I am encouraged by our progress and several players had good weekends."
The T-Birds won't get much time to rest as they return home Sunday, practice Tuesday and Wednesday and get back to their PCAHA league schedule on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday (2).
Boston, MA 11/18/18
The Sno-King 16U Jr. Thunderbirds returned from the Islanders USPHL Showcase this past weekend with much to celebrate about. The team enjoyed some on ice success, got to see some of the best competition on the east coast, and met an NHL Hall of Famer all in the same weekend.
The T-Birds entered the showcase on a roll, winning 10 of their last 12 games and were hoping to compete against some of the USPHL's best. They did just that.
The team arrived Thursday afternoon and after a long day of travel, got settled in to their hotel where they watched game footage of their upcoming opponents to prepare for the 5 games that lay ahead. Their first match up was against the Connecticut Rangers. The 'Birds came out hustling and scored just :31 seconds in when Phinny Weston banged home a rebound from a Ty Waram shot to lead 1-0. It was all Sno-King as they added 3 more goals, including an empty net, short handed goal from Weston to give him two for the afternoon and Sno-King a 4-0 victory. Sno-King outshot the Rangers 40-13 and goaltender, Andy Vlaha, went the distance to earn the shutout.
The team had just enough time to refuel and grab a little rest as they then played at 7:00pm vs. the Jersey Hitmen. Sno-King again scored first on a laser from Trevor Childears to give the visitors an early 1-0 lead. Jersey answered back before Sno-King scored 2 more times in the first period to gain a 3-1 lead. The second period saw Jersey draw within one after a goal with just 6:18 remaining in the period. However, it was all Sno-King after that as the Jr. T-Birds scored 4 straight times, cruising to a 7-2 win. Childears and led the way with 2 goals, with singles going to Klenk, Alonzo, Loucks, Schleusner, Weston and McCarragher. Bailey Bradford 6 of the 8 Hitmen shots he faced. Sno-King launched 38 shots at the Jersey netminder.
Game 3 was an early affair. The 8:;00am game Saturday was against Philly Hockey Club, who entered the game with impressive stats. Sno-King again started their scoring early to lead 3-0 after one period. The teams traded 2nd period goals and did it again in the 3rd before Sno-King scored one last time to cap a 6-2 victory. Stirling Nash led the way with 3 goals and 2 assists for the Big Blue. Others scoring goals were Waram, Ojala, & McCarragher. Andy Vlaha stopped 13 of 15 shots and the 'Birds outshot Philly 33-15.
After a quick bite to eat at Boston Market, the team returned to face the NY Aviators AAA team who were were coming off an upset victory of a top 10 ranked opponent. As was consistent with the previous games, Sno-King scored first. Chase Ojala converted on a nice cross crease feed from Nash to give Sno-King a 1-0 lead. NY pushed back by tying the game up but it was the boys in Blue and Green that kept pouring on the goals as they skated to a 5-2 win. Ojala, McCarragher, Geddes, Klenk and Waram all scored for Sno-King and the 'Birds outshot NY by a narrow 26-24 margin. Bailey Bradford went the distance for Sno-King, stopping 22 of the 24 shots he faced.
The string of 4 victories set up a meeting with the Hartford Wolfpack on Sunday morning. Many would summate that fatigue would play a big factor on the Sno-King team as they played a total of 5 games in less than 3 days. It turned out that that wasn't to be the case as Sno-King as they outshot the Wolfpack 34-9, cruising to an impressive 8-1 win, tops amongst all teams at the showcase. Stirling Nash earned his 2nd hat trick of the showcase and chipped in an assist, good enough for tops in scoring for the showcase. Also scoring for the T-Birds were McCarragher, Geddes, Klenk and Ojala (2). Andy Vlaha 8 of 9 Hartford shots.
With 6 hours to kill before their flight, the team went to downtown Boston to take in the Freedom Trail, where they were educated on some rich US History such as the Paul Revere House and the site of the Boston Tea Party among other landmarks. Just when the team thought the weekend was over, they were treated to an encounter at the airport with Willie O'Ree. O'Ree was recently in Boston, fresh off his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. The team got their fill of photos and were each given a signed Hall of Fame card by O'Ree and were treated to several stories along the way.
Next up for the T-Birds is a couple of days of practice before Thanksgiving. They then head to BC this Friday for 4 games over the weekend.
Roy Henderson (Langley Rivermen) speaks to the 16Us after their game.
One of the Board’s primary goals for this year is to create a program centered on Mindfulness, Leadership and Mental Skills training for our players. The intent of this training is to provide guidance with the mental aspects of competitive sports and to promote life skills that will help our players to have successful and enriching futures. As the first step, we are undertaking a Pilot Program where we will work with a few selected teams and coaches the remainder of this season to develop and refine the Mindfulness, Leadership and Mental Skills Program. The coaches of the teams participating in the Pilot Program have been notified and it will begin when the teams return from the mid-season break.
To help guide us through the pilot program we will be working with Dr. Jaime Sawchuk, a sport psychology consultant based out of Fairbanks, Alaska. After having been a collegiate soccer player, Sawchuk realized the importance of mental skills training and mindfulness and went on to pursue a Doctorate in Sport and Performance Psychology. Sawchuk has worked with many athletes of all ages in an individual and team setting with hockey being her primary population. She has presented and worked with coaches at USA Hockey Level IV Coaching Clinics across the Pacific District as well as with athletes at the Pacific District Selects Camp, Oregon Development Camp, Alaska Development Camp, and the Western Regional High Performance Camp.
The training will be for all age levels 8U and above on an age-appropriate format. Once the program is fully implemented at the beginning of the 2019/2020 season, the program will involve coaches, parents and players in the development and training process. Until then, look in the newsletter, postings on social media and in the Mindfulness section of the website in the coming weeks to get a taste of what is to come. Also make sure you check out the nutrition and health articles in the newsletter and the Health and Nutrition section of the website as well as postings on social media from Kelley Greninger, a certified Health and Wellness Coach with a concentrated interest in Athletic Nutrition and Family Focus.
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