Mariners men’s team wins Regional Hockey gold
By Ryan Melanson,
After falling short in the 2017 season, the CFB Halifax Mariner’s Men’s team are once again CAF Atlantic Regional Hockey Champions.
The Mariners took the gold medal with a 6-4 win over the Gagetown Warriors in the final game at the Flyers Arena at 12 Wing Shearwater on February 9.
“It was a real team effort to make it happen. Probably half the players on the team are new for this year and we really came together as a team” said Mariners’ team captain LS Jamie Vautour, who played at the National Championship last year as an extra pick-up with the winning Gagetown team.
LS Vautour also gave credit to team coach LS Rhys Davies Smith for his effort in leading practices and getting the team together as often as possible. Extra practice allowed for the group to make up a lack of technical skill by focusing on speed and agility to score goals, he said.
“It’s the first time I can remember that we ran practices all year and took it this seriously, which was incredible. Lots of credit goes to the coach.”
Scoring for the Mariners in the hard-fought championship game included LS Anton Manson with two goals, and OS Triston Manson, LS Robert Sandford, Maj Ali Laaouan, and MS Kevin Saunders with one goal each.
Earlier in the tournament, the Mariners claimed wins over Shearwater (5-2) and Greenwood (4-2), along with a tie against Gagetown (4-4), to win a bye through to the finals. Top contributors for Halifax through the round-robin portion included Maj Laaouan with 5 points on 4 goals and 1 assist, MS Saunders with 4 points on 2 goals and 2 assists, LS Vautour also with 2 goals and 2 assists, and OS Manson with 4 points on 1 goal and 3 assists.
The women’s side of the tournament marked a shakeup in hockey for the Atlantic region, with the 14 Wing Greenwood Raiders taking a 2-1 victory over Gagetown in the championship game. Prior to the 2018 tournament, the Halifax Mariners women’s squad were regional winners for five straight years.
“The whole team’s very excited to be going to nationals. We can’t wait,” said Greenwood team Captain Cpl Hannah DeBoer after being handed the 2018 Regional Championship banner.
Both of Greenwood’s goals in the final game came from Avr Brooke Taylor, with assists credited to Maj Elizabeth van Oostrum, Cpl Jessica Bruce and MCpl Ashley Barker.
The teams will now represent the Atlantic Region when the CAF National Hockey Championship takes place at CFB Borden next month. The men’s tournament is scheduled for March 3-8 and the women’s runs from March 5-9.