Mowat’s Gaels rule the rink

With the exam break done, the red-hot Mowat Gaels are anxious to get back to business.

And why wouldn’t they be?

The Tier One Gaels are unbeaten and twice tied in Toronto District league play and are currently ranked sixth overall by the Toronto Star for the GTA area. That includes 5-0-2 in league play and 18-4-3 including tournaments.

Getting here has been all about team chemistry, says defenceman Jamie Pileggi.

“We have a lot of returning Grade 12s, and that’s helped pump us up” Pileggi said.

Along with fellow defender David Sanguinetti and centre Alex Jules, Pileggi points to the chemistry among the senior veteran players as being key.

Coach John Lyttle also cites the number of returning players as a big reason for the team’s success so far.

“Most of these guys have been together for two or three years now, so they know how it works and what we expect,” Lyttle said.

But a cast of familiar faces isn’t the only factor.

“We have some kids moving up from junior hockey that have helped balance our scoring,” Lyttle said. “They mesh in really well with the older guys too.”

Sanguinetti admits “the younger players coming in are really good”.

The Gaels have a Tier Two team providing young talent for the senior club. They are all 14- and 15-year-olds playing against teams a year or two older, yet they sit in second place.

Mowat is the only school in Scarborough with two senior clubs.

“We’re doing really well” said Tier Two coach Bryan Lister. “The league is non-contact, but it’s also pretty competitive, and we’re certainly on par with the older kids.”

Lister also pointed out that a lot of his boys from last year are playing with Lyttle on the Tier One squad now.

With a group of seasoned veterans and talented rookies working well together, the Tier One Gales are looking towards the final month of their season with optimism.

“I want the guys to have the opportunity to play to their strengths,” Lyttle said. “I prefer a team that puts pressure on the puck, and we have the speed to do it.”

The Gaels are agile, quick to the puck and even quicker to the net. They also showcase some very impressive shooting.

Pileggi says they are “a team with skills, and we really like to show them off.”

Lyttle has been involved with the team since 1989. Looking back into the past he fondly recalls many years of success.

“Over time, we’ve built up a decent reputation in Toronto and around the province as a great hockey club,” he said. “Kids know what they’re getting when they join us.”

“We have a high standard of performance, and teams know what to expect when they play us.”

The Gaels begin their playoff run in the last week of February.