SAN JOSE, Calif. — New Jersey Colonials Tier I 16-and-Under girls’ assistant coach Don Gould has come full-circle.
After moving to the Bay Area to run the San Jose Jr. Shark’s program in 2002, then returning to his native New Jersey three years later, he’s back in San Jose once again, and this time he hopes to bring home some hardware from the USA Hockey National Championships, which began on Wednesday.
The Colonials of Morristown, N.J. (about 40 miles from New York City) made it through the Atlantic playoffs by winning a two-of-three series with the Pennsylvania Quakers, losing the first game before reeling off two straight.
Now Gould finds his team in good position after winning two games in overtime and losing one in the preliminary round. Those four points earned the Colonials a date with Shattuck-St. Mary’s in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
“We have a good overall team in terms of talent and work ethic,” said Gould, who has raised four kids of his own in the sport. “It’s very blue collar, they work hard. Their skills are good, but they’re not an elite-level type team, so they work hard end-to-end to put pressure on the puck — pressure hockey. Forcing the opponent to move the puck, create turnovers.”
Gould has enjoyed the homecoming thus far and even had the rare opportunity of coaching against a player he once coached with the Jr. Sharks, Amanda Blanc, who now coaches the Jr. Sharks Tier I 14U team (Gould is the head coach of the Tier I 14U Colonials as well).
It’s been a fun ride for Gould, but he said his trip won’t be fulfilled unless he returns back east with a medal for his girls, an opportunity that has been buoyed by the play of defenseman Karly Kapur.
“She has the rare distinction of three shots from the point in three consecutive games that resulted in three game-winners on the road,” Gould said of his star defenseman. “She scored the final goal in a 3-2 win in the district championship, then twice in a row in OT in the tourney.”
So far, Sarah Martoni leads the Colonials at nationals with two goals and three points through pool play.
The New Colonials program has been highly successful and brought five teams to San Jose for the tourney — every team the program has. The program has been so successful because so many of the girls “buy in,” according to Gould.
“You’re dealing with young adults who are respectful,” Gould said. “We have little things we use like ‘learn to love the hard work.’
“The girls have to buy in, and as they progress through the levels of the program, they succeed. We have eight girls from the club that are going on to play in college. We have many kids that have been in the program since they were 10.”
With five teams in all at the USA Hockey National Championships, the New Jersey Colonials certainly have strengthened their chances of winning a medal.
For Gould, the all-important hardware would ensure that his trip wasn’t just a trip down memory lane, but a rewarding and successful one that also produced results.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.