Jonathon Brodie – Recorder & Times
The Brockville Tikis aren’t looking at the past. In fact, they don’t seem to care about it at all.
They’re not patting themselves on the back for almost matching last year’s point total in the standings. Sure, they’re on the brink of hitting the 15-point mark in 37 fewer games than their predecessors, but they’re not using the previous results as a benchmark of any kind.
It probably helps there’s only one person – Hunter Shipclark – from the 2017-18 roster that is playing for the team now.
“I definitely looked at it as a challenge, but I think that’s why, right off the bat, we had to find new players. We had to bring in new guys to start things fresh,” said Tikis coach Andrew Dickson. “We’re learning, We’re coming together as a team. The more we bond, the more we come together, the better the results are going to be. It’s just a matter of time.”
There is definitely more optimism surrounding the team this season even when they run into a stumbling block. Last year the Tikis would take a loss and move on, another bruise on a body of work that was already black-andblue.
Nowadays the team looks at their losses with some hope.
They’ve lost three games in overtime. Had they won those they would be two positions higher in the standings. They’ve also given up leads going into the third period three times.
Brockville has lost their last five games, but Dickson isn’t fretting the results by any means. They’re a young team improving and that’s all he’s really worried about right now.
Brockville is learning the league, pointed out Dickson. They’re taking some lumps now, but are expected to be tougher later. The Tikis lost 1-0 on the road to the Char-Lan Rebels last Saturday, arrived home at about 1 a.m., and then had to get ready to play in Westport against the Rideaus about 12 hours later. Most of the players haven’t experienced a schedule like that before, said Dickson.
“In my opinion it has to do with youth and having to learn to win at junior hockey and the only way to do that is to learn how to lose. It’s tough to take, but we’re learning from it,” said Dickson. “Even this past week, a 1-0 loss (to Char-Lan) and a 4-3 loss to Westport, but I thought it was one of the best games they played all year. I’m still very confident of where we’re going to be and we’re going to try and make that playoff push and go from there.”
That’s part of the predicament the Tikis are in right now. They’re a teenaged team in a young man’s league. If they want any sort of success then their game is going to have to mature in a relatively short amount of time.
There are 16 players listed on the CCHL2’s top-20 point rankings that were born in 1999 or 1998. Just three of the 18 Tikis that suited up for last Sunday’s game were born before 2000. The Ottawa Jr. Canadians, who are tearing the league apart with 19 wins in 20 games, have 13 players born before 2000.
The goals for Brockville haven’t changed in the last few months. The plan has always been to get to the playoffs. That goal, though, seems to have gone from hopeful to certain.
There was a sort-of obligatory tone when Dickson announced at his team’s training camp that they should make the post-season. It was almost as if every team should expect to make playoffs before the season starts. “I think pretty much in everything I’ve done in any coaching or playing your expectations are to make playoffs and make a run at the title,” Dickson said back in early September.
That tone feels like it has shifted since the season started. Now it seems like they should make the playoffs because they believe they have the team to do it.
“The group of guys here aren’t from Brockville, so when I came to training camp I met them all for the first time and I didn’t really know what to expect,” said Tikis defenceman Jared Elliott, who is leading the team with 12 points. “Then I saw them altogether for the first practice and I realized we have a pretty good shot at doing something. I really think we can put something together and, hopefully, make a big impression on the league at the very minimum.”
The Tikis will host the Perth Blue Wings on Wednesday at the Memorial Centre. Puck drop is 7:45 p.m.
Original Story at Recorder.ca