Rock team sits in first place in WOGHL’s Second Division standings
By Pat Payton
The St. Marys Landscaping Atom ‘C’ girls are a good defensive team. Just look at their record; it speaks for itself.
Since the re-seeding of teams six games into the 2019-20 season, Ray Cousineau’s squad has posted an 8-1-1 record in the Division 2 standings of the Western Ontario Girls Hockey League (WOGHL). In those 10 games, the Atom Rock has scored 22 goals and gave up just six against.
“We’ve got a hard-working team; they keep skating and they work well as a team,” coach Cousineau said in a recent interview with the Independent. “And we’re a good defensive team.
“When we’re playing well, we’re skating in both ends of the rink. When we start cheating to get offence, we don’t play very well.”
Cousineau says the coaching staff stresses “pressuring the puck.” It’s a strategy that has certainly produced good results. “We chase the puck and try and make the other team make mistakes,” he says.
Cousineau and his staff have all first-year Atoms, except one (and she’s a first-time hockey player). “The rest of our team were all Novice age last year.”
Seven straight league games not allowing a goal
In a WOGHL home game Dec. 15, the Landscaping crew skated to a 1-0 victory over the Stratford Aces.
Defenceman Emma Hodkinson’s goal late in the second period stood up as the game winner. She caught the corner of the net with a sharp-angled shot.
Aubrey Cousineau earned the shutout. She was tested in the third period as Aces pushed for the equalizer. Cousineau made a big stop early in the final frame, and two more in the final two minutes.
Stratford pulled its goalie for a sixth attacker with 1:24 left on the clock. The Rock checked well in their own zone and hung on for the narrow win.
On Dec. 22, the Landscaping Atoms blanked the visiting Ilderton Jets 3-0. Andrea Dingman scored twice for St. Marys, with Emma Hodkinson adding the single. Aubrey Cousineau chalked up another shutout.
It was the seventh consecutive league game that the team did not allow a goal. “It was a good team game; everyone played hard,” coach Cousineau said.
Cousineau hopes his Atom girls can qualify for the Provincial championships in Toronto in April. He says they will have to beat Stratford, currently ranked second in the Division 2 standings, to get there.
Landscaping Atoms 2019-20 team roster
Goalie Aubrey Cousineau, Georgia Agar, Josephine Binning, Emma Carradine, Andrea Dingman, Georgia Edwards, Ramona Graham, Sydney Haanstra, Emma Hodkinson, Alyssa Payne, Brooklyn Roth, Raegan Stacey, Kacie Storey, Maeve Wheeler, Paisley Wood and Luyando Zulu.
Joining Ray Cousineau on the bench staff are: assistant coaches Chris Storey, Tyler Dingman, Andy Agar and Mike Carradine, and trainers are Kathy Carradine and Leanne Stacey. Manager is John Hodkinson.
–The Landscaping Atom girls have competed in three tournaments to date. Their best showing was in the Stratford Aces’ Festival Cup, where they won two games and reached the semi-finals.
–The team will compete in their International Silver Stick tournament in Saugeen Shores (Port Elgin), Jan. 31-Feb. 2.
–The Atom girls play their home league games on Sundays, starting at 3:15 p.m. Next home game is Jan. 19 against Lucan Irish.