The team finished second in the regular season, but went 5-0 at provincials, including beating top-ranked Mid-Isle in the final to earn a berth in the Atlantics. The Abbies have compiled a 21-3-1 record since the middle of February, including winning its last two tournaments.
“It just shows how a team progresses at this level from September until April,” said head coach Jeff Squires.
A dozen guys are back from last year’s Abbies team that hosted the Atlantics at MacLauchlan Arena.
They defeated Fredericton to win the bronze medal in 2016 and, Squires said, the experience of playing in the tournament provides the players with a comfort level of knowing what to expect.
“I think that kind of novelty is gone away,” Squires said. “I think they’re approaching it saying, ‘instead of bronze, lets go win the gold.’ ”
The 18-player roster including eight first-year peewees, while Squires said most Atlantic Canadian teams it has played this year are predominantly comprised of second-years. He said the Charlottetown association is now a relatively small association, with only 30 players trying out for its peewee AAA team this season.
“For us to be in this situation with the small number of peewee-aged players in our association is quite a unique thing.”
The bench boss likes his team’s chances at the Atlantics regardless of what the players’ birth certificates say.
“Our expectation is to be in that championship game on Sunday afternoon, play our best game at the time and give it our best shot,” he said.
The team drives to Halifax this morning and flies to St. John’s, N.L. It’s a lot of travel for the young hockey players, but Squires said they are used to it through spring hockey or playing in baseball Atlantics in the past.
It is a round-robin format with the top two teams playing for gold and the third- and fourth-place squads meeting for bronze.
The field includes the Riverview Blues (New Brunswick), St. John’s Hitmen (Newfoundland and Labrador), Pictou County Crushers (Nova Scotia) and the host Tri-Com Thunder.
The Charlottetown Abbies are in Newfoundland and Labrador for the peewee AAA hockey Atlantics. Here is their schedule (all times Atlantic).
3:30 p.m. – Charlottetown vs. New Brunswick champs.
6 p.m. – Opening ceremonies.
9:30 a.m. – Charlottetown vs. Newfoundland and Labrador champs.
3:30 p.m. – Charlottetown vs. Nova Scotia champs
11:30 a.m. – Host team vs. Charlottetown.
6:30 p.m. – Awards banquet.
8:30 a.m. – Bronze medal game.
11:30 a.m. – Gold medal game.
A look at the Charlottetown Abbie peewee AAA team roster:
Coaching staff: Head coach Jeff Squires, assistant coaches Ryne MacIsaac, Ben MacDonald and Cam Duffy, as well as manager Mark Arsenault.