Sports

Minerva is here to win with Cobourg Cougars

By Jeff Gard, Northumberland Today

Nick Minerva is grateful to have the chance to play for the RBC Cup-host Cobourg Cougars during his final junior hockey season.
JEFF GARD/Northumberland Today

Nick Minerva is grateful to have the chance to play for the RBC Cup-host Cobourg Cougars during his final junior hockey season. JEFF GARD/Northumberland Today

COBOURG - 

Message sent. Message received.

Following three straight overtime losses, the Cobourg Cougars got back in the win column Monday night with a 6-2 decision over the Kingston Voyageurs in Ontario Junior Hockey League action at the Cobourg Community Centre.

“Our management sent a message today...we had a meeting (about how) as a team we need to be better. Everyone as individuals we need to be more accountable and I think we answered really, really well,” said defenceman Nick Minerva, who scored twice in the victory.

Minerva wants to win and wants to do whatever he can to help his new club. He has seven points in 13 games since being acquired by the Cougars at the trade deadline in January. His two goals Monday gives him three markers in two games.

While he had previously played briefly with two of his new Cobourg teammates – Brennan Roy and Brenden Locke – while in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League a couple years ago, it was quite a transition for Minerva to make the move to Ontario at the trade deadline.

Minerva, who is from New Jersey, was acquired from the Surrey Eagles of the British Columbia Hockey League. He had seven goals and 18 assists in 40 games with the Eagles.

“I think I've finally found my groove in the past three or four games,” Minerva said. “I've gotten more confidence as the games have gone on.”

Minerva was highly sought after by the Cougars leading up to the deadline and a big addition to their blueline as they get set to host and compete in the RBC Cup national junior A championship.

This is Minerva's last shot at a national junior title.

“It's my 20-year-old year. I know at times I've proven to be able to put up points, but I just want to win a championship,” he said. “They brought me in for experience and I just want to contribute in any way, shape, form that they need me to just win. I'm here to win.”

With his desire to win at the forefront, Minerva feels fortunate to have been acquired by the RBC Cup host team.

“Coming from a team that probably wasn't going to make playoffs to a team that...plays for the championship, that's exciting. It's my last year and might be the last time I ever play for a championship this big,” he said.

“It's exciting and I'm really fortunate...I can thank (the Cougars) for bringing me in.”

Minerva played in two Dudley Hewitt Cup championships (Central Canadian tournament) while in the NOJHL, but never advanced to the RBC Cup. His Fort Frances Lakers team came close two seasons ago, he said.

More specifically, “one goal away,” Minerva added, vividly remembering it was a 3-2 loss to the Soo Thunderbirds in the championship game.

Minerva said he has enjoyed the towns of Cobourg and Port Hope, while acknowledged it's nice being close to Toronto as well. “It's a nice area to live in,” he said.

He's loves the Cougars fan base and is appreciative of his new teammates and the team staff.

Cobourg heads to Markham on Friday night to face the Royals at 7:30 p.m. The final home game of the regular season for the Cougars is Saturday, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. at the CCC.

The focus, especially as playoffs approach, is all about winning.

To be successful, Minerva believes you need to “have the mentality that every time you walk into this rink that you're the best team.”

Team cohesiveness is also very important as players become “a family.”

“When you get on that ice you've got to know that your brother has your back every time you touch that ice,” Minerva said.