AMHERST – Last week was a productive one for Amherst hockey player Josh Pugsley.
The 16-year-old had one goal and two assists playing for Team Atlantic at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Victoriaville and Drummondville, Que., and then he scored a goal and two assists in the Ramblers 10-5 win over the Dieppe Commandos during Maritime Hockey League action Saturday night at Amherst Stadium.
“I got to the rink five minutes before warm up because I’d just gotten off the plane (from Quebec) at 4:30 p.m. in Halifax and I had to race to the rink to get ready,” said Pugsley.
Pugsley said the quick transition probably helped him on Saturday.
“You always want to play to the level you’re capable of, and the level I was playing the last 11 days or so carried over to that game (on Saturday).”
Pugsley had three points during the world tournament. He had one goal and one assist in Team Atlantic’s 4-1 win over Slovakia on Dec. 31, and one assist in their 8-2 loss to Finland on Jan. 3.
“It was a great experience,” said Pugsley. “You’re playing against the best 16-year-olds and it really opened my eyes. The skill and the speed was pretty crazy.”
Team Atlantic opened up against Quebec, losing 5-2 on Dec. 29, lost 6-3 to the U.S. Dec. 30, and then lost 11-1 to Ontario on Jan. 1.
“I helped kill power plays, I played on the power play and played a fair amount for being one of the less known guys,” said Pugsley. “It boosted my confidence for sure.”
Sweden won the tournament with a 7-5 win over Russia in the championship game.
Pugsley said team Atlantic played more physical than some of the other teams in the 10-team tournament.
“We played a more physical game and a team like Finland were more of a puck possession team, they never want to give up the puck.”
He believes the experience will make him a better hockey player.
“Everybody can improve on everything, and I just want to keep working hard to get better,” he said.
Although Team Atlantic finished 9th at the tournament, Pugsley said he had a great time with his Atlantic teammates.
“They were all nice guys and everybody hung out with everybody, so no guys were left out. They were all pretty cool.”
But he is happy to be back with his Ramblers teammates.
“It was nice seeing everybody. I missed them all,” he said. “They’re a great bunch of guys, and to get that first win after the Christmas break felt great.”