Kinsmen midgets progress

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The work in progress that is the Tillsonburg Kinsmen Midget season progressed this weekend through the PK Construction Inc. Roy Beechey Memorial Rep Tournament.

"I think we got a lot better as the tournament went on," said captain Zach Schonberger Sunday afternoon inside the Kinsmen/Memorial Arena.

Saturday, said Schonberger, the team put together around one good period of hockey in two games. But that evening, a self-imposed curfew meant everyone got to bed at a decent time.

"And I thought everyone showed up to play today."

The improvement was statistically 50%, if not resulting in victory. Saturday evening, St. Marys skated to a 6-0 shutout victory over the Kinsmen midgets that may not have been as close as the final score. A day later, Tillsonburg lost to the same team by a 3-0 margin, which says Schonberger, was closer than that final indicated in a game in which shots were even at 20 apiece.

"It could have easily been a tie game today."

"We ran into a real hot goaltender," agreed coach Rob Scott. "When the boys want to play, they can. They are starting to gel, develop a team atmosphere and it shows."

The Kinsmen midgets opened their home tournament Friday evening with a 4-1 loss to London, falling behind 3-0 before Austin Hentz got Tillsonburg on the scoreboard on assists to Liam Spencer and Thomas Laur.

Saturday afternoon, Evan Curtis (assisted by Josh Spitzke) and Griffin Billard (Hentz and Devin Sebok) scored 40 seconds apart in the third period, pulling Tillsonburg within a goal through a 3-2 loss to Midland.

That evening, St. Marys scored three first-period and three third-period goals en route to the 6-0 victory.

The Kinsmen midgets' coaching staff's philosophy is a focus on work ethic and disciplined hockey, and says Scott, their confidence is improving with each game.

"It's early in the season, we're just trying to develop and improve from here."

The roster is balanced between second and third-year midgets says Scott, along with rookies Reese Battin, Jesse Dunn and Alessandro Palermo. Gray Sinden is playing at the A level in Woodstock, while midget-eligible players Braden Hutchison, Patrick Tanner and Troy Lamoure have joined the junior hockey ranks.

"They would have been able to assist us this year, but it's nice to see them go on and represent Tillsonburg too," said Scott.

The coaching staff has confidence in the current roster, however. Goaltenders Tyler Gubesch and Alessandro Palermo have both played well Scott continued, and the defence is coming together, the team just needs to find a way to score a little more.

"It's early in the season," he concluded. "We're just going to develop and improve from here."

And despite the final record, Schonberger felt the Roy Beechey tournament provided a quality experience to build upon.

"I thought it was a good push forward," he concluded. "We find things to work on, but every game we grew."




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