By Craig Campbell, News Staff
Don’t be surprised if you see a few transplants from The Rock waving Newfoundland flags at J.L. Grightmire Arena on Tuesday and Wednesday. There might be a few flying on championship final Sunday, as well.
The Clarenville Caribous of Newfoundland look at their team from the net out.
Assistant coach Todd Brett said the key player on any team is often the goalie, and that is certainly the case for Clarenville, which has been to the Allan Cup championship game two of the past three years. The Caribous beat Allan Cup juggernaut Bentley Generals of Alberta 5–3 three years ago, with the net solidly guarded. They lost to Bentley 3–0 last year.
“Our goalie, Jason Churchill, certainly was key for us in 2011 when we won the Allan Cup. He was tournament MVP,” Brett said. “We’ll be looking for him to have a good tournament.”
Churchill played for the Halifax Mooseheads and Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In 2005, Churchill led the Mooseheads to the QMJHL final where they lost to the Rimouski Oceanic — featuring Sidney Crosby.
Brett said beyond strong goaltending, the Caribous play a “run and gun” style, a less physical game in favour of a skilled effort.
“We’re more apt to take a lot of chances,” Brett said. “Put it this way, we’ve never played a trap.”
Among those run and gun players are leading scorers Andrew Sweetland and Ron Desroiers. Sweetland played parts of three seasons in the AHL with Rochester Americans and Binghamton Senators. In 2007, Sweetland scored 56 goals for Amherst Ramblers of the Maritime Hockey League.
Desroiers led the Amherst Ramblers two seasons earlier, with 35 goals and 56 assists for 91 points. Clarenville forward Terry Ryan was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. He played eight NHL games between 1996 and 1999 while scoring 37 goals in two seasons with the Fredericton Canadiens in the AHL.
Brett said the Caribous have heard from several Newfoundlanders living in Ontario who plan to visit Dundas to watch the team from back home.
“We’re really hoping to look up and see some Newfoundland flags at our first game, Tuesday,” Brett said.