Team has won two tournaments and is undefeated in league play
By Pat Payton
Several St. Marys minor hockey teams are enjoying a successful 2019-20 season.
One of those teams is certainly the A.B.S. Tracs Bantam ‘C’ girls, the only SMMHA team that went into the Christmas break undefeated.
Going into the New Year, Don Scott’s squad was on a 12-game winning streak in league play. After all teams were seeded six games into the season, the A.B.S. Bantams are currently 9-0-0 and in first place in the WOGHL’s Division 1 standings.
The St. Marys Bantams have allowed only five goals against in WOGHL action all season. They have collected nine shutout wins and another shutout was gained in a 0-0 tie with the Mitchell Meteors earlier this season. In two tournaments to date, the A.B.S. crew has posted another eight shutout victories.
Ranked second in the province
“On the hockey rankings, we’re second in Ontario (among Bantam ‘C’ girls teams),” coach Scott told the Independent. The Grey Highlands Shooting Stars, from the Markdale area, are the No. 1-ranked team. The Shooting Stars have lost just two games this season and both have been to St. Marys in tournaments.
The A.B.S. Bantams defeated Grey Highlands in the championship game of both the Stratford Aces and Woodstock Wildcats tournaments.
In the Aces’ Festival Cup tournament in Stratford in mid-November, the A.B.S. Bantams won their first five games by shutouts. They advanced to meet the top-ranked Grey Highlands team in the championship game.
“We had a tight one in the Stratford tournament; we were 1-1 with the Grey Highlands team in the final and we won that one, 2-1, in a shootout,” Scott said.
The Woodstock Wildcats tournament was held on the Jan. 3-5 weekend. “We’re going to get tested there for sure,” the coach said prior to the tourney.
In their opening game, the Rock dropped a 1-0 decision to Grey Highlands — their first loss of the season. However, they bounced back with four consecutive victories to win the tournament. St. Marys defeated Saugeen Shores 6-0, Mt. Forest 6-1, and Tillsonburg 2-0 in the semi-finals to earn a rematch with the Shooting Stars. In that final game, the A.B.S. squad skated to a 3-0 victory — clinching the title with an empty-net goal.
“We played pretty well . . . worked hard every game,” coach Scott reported.
Eight returning players
Don Scott also coached the A.B.S. Tracs Bantam girls last season. He has eight players back from that squad and four first-year players. “We have a lot of second-year kids this year, and it makes a big difference,” he told the Independent. “The second-year kids definitely give us a little advantage.”
What is his team doing well when they’re playing well, Scott was asked.
“The girls have all bought into the systems we’re trying to run, with the break-outs and the pass-first mentality,” he replied. “So far, they’re buying into the program we’re trying to run. It seems to be working. We’re trying to get rid of the individual play and play more as a team.”
Scott says he asks his players for an “all-out” effort.
“I expect effort no matter where we are or what the score is,” he says. “We might not have the most talent, but we have a real hard-working team. We have good goaltending, and our defence is strong. Sometimes we only give up four or five shots a game.”
A team goal is to return to the Provincials in Toronto in April, and hopefully medal this time.
“It was our goal at the start of the season to try and qualify for the Provincials,” Scott says. “That is our ultimate goal. Last year we went with a really short bench and had something like only eight skaters. We played really well, but we were shortstaffed, and didn’t medal.”
A.B.S. Tracs Bantams’ 2019-20 team roster
Goalies Gracie Hillman and Keira Akey, Anna Standeaven, Avery Jones, Saige Mann, Charlotte Clinton, Rachel Horan, Kendra Robertson, Hailey Scott, Natalie Johnston, Ava Ansley, Sierra Pitts, Belle Houle, Abbie Boyd and Ally Wheal.
Coaching staff: Head coach Don Scott, assistant Dale Johnston, and trainers Jenn Hutton and Jodi Hillman.
–Home games for the Bantam girls are usually Sundays at 5:35 p.m. or Mondays at 7:45 p.m.
–In a home game Jan. 6, the A.B.S. Bantams blanked Lambeth Lancers 8-0. Centre Ava Ansley and defenceman Anna Standeaven both fired hat tricks, and Gracie Hillman posted the shutout.
–The team will also be competing in the 24th annual Cougars’ Friendship Festival in Brampton, Jan. 31-Feb. 2.
–The St. Marys Bantams are coached by a man who was one of the best fastball pitchers this area has produced. Starting in 2008, Don Scott played five or six years with the Team Canada men’s team. He also pitched many years in the South Perth League as well as in ISC championship events.