By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Although Friday night’s 5-5 tie with the RCAC River Men may have been nothing for Morinville Titans fans to get too excited about, the team certainly has plenty to cheer about this year. The club opened the Noralta Junior Hockey League season with a 6-4 victory over the Ice Oct. 3 (the team’s first victory over the Edmonton club since 2002) and added another point to their tally with Friday night’s tie. The two games give the Titans three points in the standings and a 1-0-1 record two games in. But while the Titans are off to a solid start this season, the really big noise is the noise coming from the bleachers.
The Titans now have their own cheer squad, complete with cheerleaders and coaches to lead them. Cheer Squad Head Couch Christa Naughton, manager of the Morinville Zoo, said the Titans approached her business about supporting the Junior C club this year and between the business and the team, they came up with the idea of a cheer squad.
“The whole point of it was to create spirit in Morinville and just cheer on the Titans,” Naughton said, adding that to her knowledge this is the first time a Morinville hockey team has had a cheer squad.
Naughton explained the squad, made up of women associated with the local business, will not only be raising the noise and enthusiasm level at the Titans home and road games, they’ll also be raising funds for the team. As the team is made up of 18- to 22-year-old players, many of whom are attending college or university, Naughton said the squad’s fundraising efforts will help cover player fees and renting rink time.
“Everything we do is for the Titans hockey team,” Naughton said.
Making their home ice debut at Friday night’s home opener, the squad seemed to be well received by Titans fans who’d come out to watch their club take on the RCAC River Men.
The Titans ended the first period trailing the River Men 2-1, but bounced back to end the middle frame 4-3. Although the River Men tied the game early in the final period, the Titans answered back to pull ahead by one at 16:11. Unfortunately, it would be the Titans final goal of the game, one that was answered by the River Men with 9:18 left in the period, giving both teams a single point for their efforts.
“We had moments where we looked really good, and we had moments where we didn’t look very good,” said Titans Head Coach Jeff Montina. “Defensively, I don’t think we were very good, but offensively, we were good, so it’s evening out.”
Montina said he was pleased with the outcome of the Titans season opener against the Edmonton Ice and fairly pleased two games into the 28-game season.
“It’s not bad so far,” he said. “We’ve still got to work on the penalty issue. We’re still getting way too many penalties. Every game we seem to be getting a little better, a little better. So it’s coming along good.”
The Titans took on the Beaumont Braves Sunday night. Details were not available by MorinvilleNews.com deadline. The Titans have three games this week. They take on the NEZ Northstars Oct. 14, St. Albert Blues Oct. 16 and return to home ice Oct. 17 to take on the St. Albert Blues for the second time.