The Neponset Valley River Rats U14 AAA team is currently ranked seventeenth in 2017-18 USA 03 Tier 1 Rankings on My Hockey Rankings.
With a record of 26-5-2 and a rating of 95.12 the team has clearly shown their ability to compete. According to My Hockey Rankings the team has 160 goals for and 57 goals against.
Head coach Joe Shea says the group of kids have worked hard to adjust to the new team. “We have a brand new team of 20 players, so it’s much different than any other team but the kids have adjusted well and really brought into what we were trying to do.”
For coaches Joe Shea and Mike Busconi, this is their first year coaching the U14’s together. Not entirely sure what to expect from the rankings, the team focused on playing their best game and were pleasantly surprised to see the results paying off.
Shea says this type of accomplishment is giving the players motivation and something to work towards. “It shows that the kids have worked hard to accomplish something like this, but at the same time gives them something to work for because they want to keep moving up and improving.”
As far as the players go, they believe working as a unit is key. “We are team that was brought in from all other teams in the area and most of us haven’t played together before.” Said player Joe Bennett.
The players come from various surrounding teams like The Kings, Capitals, Flames, Breakers, Wizards, Falcons and 04 Terriers.
The team says their current focus is on preparing for states.
“Overall, our team is decent when each person is alone, but when we all work together and move the puck, and we are positive to each other, then we are great.” Said player Matty Copponi.
The team is preparing for a two-game series with Mid Fairfield this weekend and a league game with Valley on Sunday November 5. The following weekend the team will move into the State Tournament.