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The new year has been good for the Dallas Penguins 12U AA team. After claiming victory in their first three divisional games of 2016, the Penguins brought home a first place finish in the Congressional Cup Midwinter Classic in Washington D.C.
The tournament victory came by way of a dominant team effort across the five games, where the Penguins outscored their opponents 27-9.
After taking the Howard Huskies of Maryland to a four goal draw, the kids from Dallas won their next four games on the weekend, including two shutouts from goalie Brayden Methvin, his best coming in the semi-final game against the East Coast Eagles of North Carolina.
According to team captain Jack Roberts — who was tied with his line mate, Colton Crawford, for the team lead in points at 9 for the tournament — the team is starting to come together.
“Our team, instead of playing as individuals, we are playing as one, as a hockey team,” he said after a recent practice.
It’s a refrain echoing through the whole locker room.
“We are a much better team than we were at the start of the season,” and that, defenseman Jack Sweda concluded, “has given me and my teammates a confidence boost.”
Confidence is like the puck, when you have it, it’s very hard for the other team to dictate the outcome.
The Penguins are 7-2-1 over their last 10 games played (regular season and tournaments), though they are unbeaten in 2016. That’s a trend that the team would like to continue.
According to forward Brendan Hill, “We don’t want to lose.” The team, he said, “did enough of that in the first part of the season.”
With only four games left in the regular season, two of those against the division leading Houston Wild AA team, the Penguins will be drawing on the lessons they’ve learned in the new year as they prepare for the playoffs.