Andrew Antle racked up 57 points in 32 games to win the scoring championship in the provincial major midget hockey league in his final year with the Western Kings.
The Corner Brook native had adjusted nicely to life as a forward, becoming an offensive weapon after spending his first two years as a rushing defenceman.
The 18-year-old Corner Brook native has only three goals and one assist this season — his rookie campaign in the Maritime Junior Hockey League after being selected by the St. Stephen Aces with the first pick in the second round of the league’s 2017 entry draft.
Antle admits it’s disappointing when you’re capable of putting up big numbers and the puck isn’t going in like you want it to, but he knows he’s playing the role of a checking forward with his new team, so he’s being challenged once again to find his way on the ice.
He was expected to score goals in his final year with the Kings and he did quite well with 27 goals. But he said the goals didn’t come easy. He played a role and stuck with it and it all fell into place for him as he filled the net consistently.
He’s taking the same approach with the Aces. He will stick with it until things turn around. He has never entertained the thought of packing it in because he knows adjusting to a higher level of hockey is something that all rookies must go through at some point.
He’s willing to be patient in his desire to get back to a more offensive role, but he knows what really matters is that he continue to improve and become more responsible on the defensive side of the puck so he’s not just a one-way player.
He feels good about the way his game has progressed. He believes he’s better in both ends of the rink from playing a checking role, so his goal is to stay focused and try to earn his way to a more offensive role.
He would love to be a go-to guy for the Aces. He wants to get his game to a place where he is expected to be an offensive guy and he’s just going to do what he can to make the most of the opportunities presented to him by the coaching staff.
“You just got to bite the bullet and play the role they ask you play,” he said.
He is confident it’s only a matter of time before the goals start to come, because he knows the first year away from home is usually the toughest.
He did it before after a period of adjustment. He believes it’s something he can do again and plans on doing it in an Aces jersey.