Rock team heading to Michigan tournament early next month
By Pat Payton
The ANAF ‘BB’ Bantams are stressing team speed and puck possession to compensate for being a relatively small squad this season.
“We’ve had an up-and-down season so far,” coach Dale Switzer told the Independent in a recent interview. “We have one game where we play really well, and then we don’t play as well as I know we can in another game. The team has been inconsistent really. As a coaching staff, we’re not sure what the secret is.”
Coach Switzer has just two returning players from last year’s Bantam ‘BB’ team. Seven players have moved up from the Frayne Cabinets A-E Bantam squad, a team Switzer coached last year. The remainder of the team played for the OMHA champion Firefighter ‘BB’ Peewees in 2018-19.
“Physically, we’re not a big team so we have to skate and use our speed, and we’re also trying to teach puck possession,” Switzer continued. “A lot of guys have played dump-and-chase in the past, and we’re trying to get them away from that. We prefer to hold on to the puck as much as possible and do smart things with it.”
Finalists in Exeter tourney
At a recent tournament in Exeter, the Bill Batten Memorial, the ANAF Bantams reached the final, where they lost 4-0 to the host South Huron Sabres, who are undefeated in Shamrock League play. The Rock finished with a 2-2-1 record that weekend.
Early next month, Switzer is taking his team to a tournament in Lansing, Mich., called the Spartans Cup.
“We were just looking for something different for the kids,” Switzer said. “I’ve noticed a lot of other Shamrock teams going to Michigan or New York and playing in tournaments down there. I’ve talked to some of those coaches and they said that it’s a good experience. Our kids seemed pretty excited about it, too.”
As of last week, the ANAF Bantams were 4-3-3 in the Shamrock League’s Central Division standings. The team just ended a string of playing four SHL games in a span of seven days. The Bantam Rock play their home games on Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m.
The team will be competing in their Regional Silver Stick tournament in Pelham, Dec. 27-29.
“Heading towards Silver Stick and then it rolls into OMHA playoffs after that, you hope your team is on the upswing going through December,” Switzer said. “I guess we’ll find out.”
Helping Dale Switzer run the Bantam ‘BB’ team is assistant coach Bill Scheuermann, goalie coach/trainer Hunter Bodenham, and team manager Mark Bodenham.
ANAF ‘BB’ Bantams 2019-20 team roster
Goalie Kiefer MacNeil, Brock Chessell, Lucan Vernooy, Alex Slade, Austin DeBoer, Finn Stewart, captain Ethan Brine, Ian Boyd, Nathan Switzer, Owen Boyd, Peyton Lobb, Gavin Muir, Chase Carter and RJ Martin.