Corner Brook Regional High Titans coach Darren Colbourne and his players keep an eye on the action from the bench during their victory over the Gros Morne Academy Panthers on Monday at the Kinsmen Arena II. — Star photo by Geraldine Brophy
CORNER BROOK After two years of finishing outside the medals at the Confederation Cup high school hockey tournament, the Corner Brook Regional High Titans are aiming to remedy the situation.
The Titans hit the eastbound highway today to participate in the 15th edition of the annual event, this year featuring 21 teams from across the province, five from Nova Scotia and one out of New Brunswick, divided into brackets of Tier 1 and Tier 2, with each tier consisting of three divisions.
Last year, the Titans were split into two squads, one competing in Tier 1 and the other competing in Tier 2, but neither managed to go very far. The year before that, the Titans failed to make the Tier 1 playoffs.
In 2010, however, a talented Titans club captured the Tier 1 championship, so there is a precedent for success at this tournament.
Entered into the Tier 2 field this time around, the Titans are grouped with the Laval Cavaliers of Placentia, the Lester B. Pearson Astros of Wesleyville, the Prince of Wales Cavaliers of St. John’s and the Park View Panthers of Bridgewater, N.S.
“I think if we play well and play smart, we can make it into the crossovers,” said Titans’ Zach Hiscock, a Level 3 student at Corner Brook Regional High who has played in the past two editions of this tournament, last year with the Tier 2 group.
“As long as we play smart, don’t take any dumb penalties and keep the puck moving, we should be fine.”
Hiscock, the son of Robin and Peter, feels the current Titans team is stronger than the previous two he was on, so a winning record is certainly a possibility. That said, he also believes the competition will be better than what he and his teammates have faced in the West Coast High School Hockey League, where the team sports a 9-1-1 record, so it’s hard to make any predictions on exactly how they’ll do.
“It’s just kind of a different environment, I find,” said the 17-year-old winger, though he added the improved parity in the west coast league this season compared to last year should aid his team in tight games.
“We have the confidence to know what to do in pressure situations,” he said. “It helps us a lot.”
Tournament play began in Tier 2 on Tuesday, as the Booth Memorial Braves defeated the Mount Pearl Huskies 4-3 and the Queen Elizabeth Pioneers beat the St. Kevin’s Mavericks 3-1. Two more games are slated for today, with the Carbonear Sentinels squaring off against the Crescent Coyotes, while the Mobile Monarchs face St. Kevin’s.
The Titans don’t play until 7:15 p.m. Thursday night, against the Astros. From there, they tangle with the Panthers at 10:30 a.m. on Friday and the Laval Cavaliers at 7:45 p.m. Friday night. Saturday sees the Titans match up against the Prince of Wales Cavaliers at 12:15 p.m., while crossovers begin 10 a.m. Sunday, with the championship game slated for 2 p.m.
All Titans games are at the Rogers Bussey Arena in St. John’s, except the Friday morning contest against the Panthers, which will be at the Mount Pearl Glacier.
Crossovers will either be at the Rogers Bussey Arena or Goulds Arena, while the championship game will be at the Goulds Arena.
If the Corner Brook contingent are to do any damage, Hiscock believes it will largely be because of the solid goaltending they’ve experienced most of the season from Luke House and Gavin Luffman.
“We have a lot of confidence in our goalies,” he said. “They’re only giving up one or two goals a game, so it really gives us a shot to win every game.”