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National hockey coach encouraged despite string of defeats

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Bermuda Onions take on Big Apple Hockey at National Stadium (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Bermuda Onions took on Big Apple Hockey at National Stadium (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Bermuda National Hockey Coach Kovin Moodley has hailed his players’ efforts despite them losing all three matches to a visiting New York squad in the past few days.

Big Apple Hockey Federation completed a clean sweep of victories (4-3, 3-1 and 3-2) over the women’s hockey team on consecutive days at Flora Duffy Stadium, but Moodley says there are many positives to take from the experience, which served as preparation for this summer’s Central American and Caribbean Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

“I am proud of the girls and very grateful for the clarity that we have now amongst the coaching staff on what we need to work on and address next,” Moodley said.

“It gives us a good opportunity to learn what it takes to win and once we start adding those kind of things into our preparation, it will give us a better opportunity to get the results that we desire.

“It was a challenging weekend against a good team from New York. They provided an opportunity for us to play against new opposition, which was one of the best things for us, and allowed us to play three games to really evaluate where we are as a group.

“We were able to actually give close to 30 players an opportunity to take the field and perform over the three matches we were able to play. Unfortunately we went down in each of the games, but the first and the last game was very close. We went down 4-3 in the first and 3-2 in the last game.

“As a coach I am quite happy because we stuck to a process and when you stick to a process it tends to reveal what needs to be addressed and what needs to be fixed because you’ve approached the game in a very structured way.

Bermuda women’s hockey squad (Photograph supplied)

“There is a lot of clarity of what needs to happen with our next step and we’ve just been able to introduce a fitness trainer into the group, which I think is a massive thing for most sports in general.

“The more you develop your fitness levels, the longer you can maintain good quality through the course of the game. In the final game it just showed that the opposition had a little more in the tank in the final seconds and that little push just got them over the line.”

Bermuda were only seconds away from salvaging a hard-fought draw with their opponents in the final match on Sunday before conceding late.

Big Apple led 1-0 at half time through Hannah Pepper’s goal from a penalty corner. Mallory Towlson equalised for Bermuda in the 44th minute before Samantha Bruttomesso-Clarke restored the away side’s lead with a 51st minute strike.

Towlson scored another in the 59th minute to level the scores again before Olivia Fraticelli scored the winner in the last minute of an exciting see-saw battle.

“Unfortunately, in the dying seconds the fitness and the will to win by the Big Apple team was definitely present,” Moodley said.

“They kept applying pressure and we were not able to get the ball out of defensive zone and they were able to find the space to take a shot and score a goal and we saw ourselves going down in the dying seconds.

“It was a bittersweet ending but I am proud of the girls for their effort and amount of energy they put in. I think collectively as a group we are actually quite proud of ourselves and happy about what needs to happen next.”

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Published March 14, 2023 at 7:54 am (Updated March 14, 2023 at 7:54 am)

National hockey coach encouraged despite string of defeats

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