DYHA Bantam A team hits San Diego, wins Fun In The Sun tourney
The DYHA’s Bantam A Jr. Sun Devils team started off their season on a high note, dominating and winning the Fun In The Sun Tournament over Labor Day weekend in San Diego, Calif.
The team was undefeated throughout the tournament, winning in the finals 4-0 against a talented local San Diego team.
“We started out a little tentative and every game we got better and more aggressive,” Bantam A head coach John Damyanovich said. “We began playing more as a team.”
Most of the players this season have not played together before and many came from different organizations, all with different styles of play, including forechecking and backchecking. The coaches have stepped up to help the team become more in sync, in a steady rhythm, and the team dominated in San Diego as each game wore on.
“Our coaches got them to play by our system and once they started playing together, we got them all on the same page and for one common goal,” explained Damyanovich.
Jr. Sun Devils assistant coach Gary Aungst was wowed with how well the team’s players listened to the feedback they were getting from their coaches.
“We were just really impressed for the players’ desire to want to get better and actually go out and do it,” Aungst said. “One parent videotaped the games so in between other games, we would watch the video and the coaches broke it down for the team.”
Aungst believes that most of the players are already used to a technological learning environment and with that, seeing their previous games on video was beneficial. After the first game, the team sat down and watched the game in full.
“It really helped us and that’s when the team really turned the corner and started playing well,” Aungst said. “We put it into overdrive after that and moved forward.”
Damyanovich went on to say that the team has a great combination of kids who have progressed well in the early stages of the season.
“By the fourth game in the tournament, we looked like we have been playing together for years,” Damyanovich said. “Our forechecks were constantly complementing each other and we were helping each other out.”
The team ended up outscoring their opponents 39-7, with all four lines contributing.
“We don’t have any one kid who is the best,” Aungst said. “They came together as a team.”
While the entire team had very balanced scoring, both coaches are proud of goalie Matt Sigrist, who was awarded MVP of the tournament. Sigrist fashioned two shutouts in the semi-finals and finals.
“The way these guys are playing right now, the sky is the limit,” Damyanovich said. “Their goal is to win the state championship and each game is one step closer to that.”
Both coaches believe that bonding within the team will create stronger outcomes on the ice.
“We do a lot of team building activities on the road,” Damyanovich said. “We do everything together to build this team and the players’ camaraderie and it has really worked with this year’s team – they all caught on so fast.”
Damyanovich’s goals for the team is to help teach the players what they need to know to move on to the next level and to help each one keep improving.
As for Aungst’s goals for the team, he wants a great season, but also for the players to “show respect and love the sport of hockey.”