Avon View Avalanche headed to Moncton hockey tourney Jan. 2

Dan Boyd
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The Avon View Avalanche boys‘ high school hockey team will start 2014 of their schedule in New Brunswick for the 39th annual Moncton High School Hockey Classic.  

This will mark the team's third tournament of the 2013-14 season, having previously played in the West Kings Wolverines tournament in October and placed third at the Cook Dairy Classic tournament in Yarmouth in early December.

The Moncton tournament, which runs Jan. 2-5, will feature between 30 and 40 teams, consisting of Division 1 and II high school boys’ teams and a girls’ division as well.  

The Avalanche won their opening three games of the Moncton Classic in January 2013 before being eliminated by a school from Caraquet.

The Avalanche will resume regular season play in the Valley High School Hockey League on Jan. 10.

They Avalanche will travel to Bridgetown Jan. 10 for a rematch with the Trojans — a team they defeated 7-1 in Windsor earlier this fall.

On Jan. 11, they will host the Forest Heights Falcons, from Chester. Game time is 7:15 p.m. at the Hants Exhibition Arena.

The Falcons are an expansion team in the league this year and are turning a few heads as they have yet to lose a game. They hold first place with an 8-0-0 record for 16 points.

Parkview Education Centre, from Bridgewater, holds down second place with a 7-0-1 record for 15 points.  

Avon View is tied for fourth place with the West Kings Wolverines. Both teams have respective records of 5-3 for 10 points, trailing Northeast Kings by two points while remaining two points ahead of the sixth place Horton Griffins, who have a 3-5-2 record.  

The Avalanche will have 10 games left to play in their regular season, including two make-up games.

The Hants Journal asked Avalanche head coach Mark Tye about any potential weaknesses that might concern him going into 2014.

“We are still a young team, with many Grade 10 and 11 players. They are getting experience and growing, learning the high school game. We will work more on special teams as the season moves along as that can be a key aspect down the stretch,” said Tye.

The VHSHL playoffs this year will only see the top four teams advancing.

Tye was asked how confident he was of Avon View making the league playoffs.

“On the ice, we have done well. We are tied for fourth right now, with a game or two in hand. It is by far not a given, but we are in a good spot for this time of year and looking to continue to play well and remain in a play-off position,” he noted.

Tye said the most pleasant surprise this season has been the team’s defensive core as six are rookies.

“We have a nice mix of stay-at-home players as well as some puck moving guys on the back end. I see lots of up side here."

One of the rookies is Ben Orde, from Falmouth, who played some hockey in Western Canada. Orde is a smooth, solid skater and can carry the puck well. Tye said Orde has been off to a great start, especially considering he started the season late due a broken ankle.

The Avalanche has been led offensively by a trio of Grade 12 scorers: Trevor House, Brett Wallace and Cory Whitney. They have contributed a total of 41 points.  

Tye also noted the work of Matt Brison, who may not see much time with the puck but he does a lot of little things right, making him very valuable to the team.

Brison has a pair of goals and three assists for five points to date this season.

Jacob Bilsborrow, who does an incredible job fore-checking, and Liam Kelley have both scored four goals apiece.

The Avalanche are the fourth best offensive team in the league with 38 goals, only nine behind first place Forest Heights who have scored 47 times. Meanwhile, the Avalanche are third place in the team defensive rankings, allowing only 26 goals, with Parkview and Forest Heights being the only teams to allow less.

 

 

Organizations: Avon View Avalanche, Valley High School Hockey League, Parkview Education Centre Hants Journal Avon View High School Hants Exhibition Arena Moncton High School

Geographic location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Yarmouth Caraquet Bridgetown Windsor Chester Northeast Kings Forest Heights Falmouth Western Canada Parkview Hants Exhibition Arena

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