G&CC Atoms off to a great 2018-19 start, News (St. Marys Minor Hockey)

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G&CC Atoms off to a great 2018-19 start
Submitted By Pete Frehner on Thu 10 25, 18
By Pat Payton

Team reaches semi-finals at recent tournament in Tillsonburg

St. Marys Golf and Country Club ‘BB’ Atoms are another SMMHA team off to a great start this 2018-19 season.

The Atoms currently have a 4-1 record in Shamrock League action, out-scoring their opponents 19-5 in the process. Overall, in 13 games to date, the team has lost just three times.

“We’ve a pretty level team; we have three even lines,” head coach Reg Clinton told the Independent recently. “The boys are skating and they’re starting to pass the puck pretty well.

“Our defence is making simple plays up the boards; we’re just trying to keep the game simple.”

The G&CC Atoms have just two players--goalie Julian Walsh and forward Evan Ballantyne--back from last year’s ‘BB’ squad, which reached the provincial final.

“A lot of the boys played on the (OMHA champion) Atom A-E team last year, plus we have a couple of additions from the Local League ranks,” Clinton said. “They’re all second-year kids, but we have only two returning players.”

The coach says a team strength is their three well-balanced lines.

“They’re all playing together and for each other, and they’re making smart hockey plays,” he noted. “We’re not going to have any superstars. Everybody is kind of taking their turn in that lead role.

“We’ve had a great start. And they’re coming off a lot of the good things they did last year, too.”

Clinton says the team’s strong effort in practices “translates” into the games.

“It’s a team that really practices well, too,” he said. “They really dig into the drills, and I feel that carries over into the games, absolutely.”

A team focus right now is playing tight defence is their own end of the ice.

“We’re trying to take a defensive-zone approach first, with the forwards getting back and helping out on the defensive side of the puck,” Clinton said.

Other members of the G&CC Atoms’ coaching staff are: assistant coaches Mitch Watt, Ian Bolton and Greg Wolfkamp, trainer Doug Johnson, and team manager Scott Walsh.

Recent Shamrock results

In a SHL home game Oct. 10, the Atoms skated to a deserving 2-0 win over Ilderton Jets.

Centre Ty Wheeler scored what proved to be the winning goal late in the opening period, after taking a perfect centring pass from Jared Ballantyne. Simon Greig added an insurance tally from a scramble early in the second period.

Goaltender Walsh made a couple of key stops in the middle frame to help preserve his shutout.

In a game Oct. 17 at the PRC, the G&CC Atoms lost for the first time in SHL action, dropping a late 4-3 decision to Mt. Brydges Cougars.

Cougars scored the winning goal with just 1:13 left to play.

Jared Ballantyne fired a pair of goals for the Rock, with Ty Wheeler adding the single. Simon Taylor chipped in with two assists.

Tourney semi-finalists

At the recent Roy Beechey Memorial tournament in Tillsonburg, the G&CC Atoms reached the semi-finals.

After defeating Tillsonburg 4-3, tying Saugeen Shores 2-2, and defeating Listowel 4-1, the Atom Rock lost 2-0 to the host Tornadoes in the semi-finals. The second Tillsonburg goal was into an empty St. Marys net.

In the G&CC Atoms’ opening win over the Tornadoes, Simon Greig fired a pair of goals--including the winner. Connor Wheeler contributed two assists. Sam Johnson and Finn Wright were the Rock goal-scorers in the tie with Saugeen Shores.

Against Listowel, St. Marys opened up a 4-0 lead with three second-period goals. Ty Wheeler scored twice for the Rock.

Tourney officials awarded game MVPs to Ty Wheeler in game 1, goalie Julian Walsh in game 2, and Danny Switzer in games 3 and 4.

Reg Clinton and his Atoms will soon be off to the Huntsville Rep. tournament on the Nov. 9-11 weekend.

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