Barracudas set for title repeat

Fareed Hosein has a significant link to the Cayman sports scene through volleyball and the Special Olympics. One discipline where he has quietly risen the ranks is roller hockey.

Hosein has been lacing up his skates at the Logic arena of Kings Sports Centre the last four years. In that time he has been a referee and a player. His best showing has arguably been in the last 10 months where he has helped his Barracudas team win a championship and put them in position to win another.

Tuesday marks the start of the Logic Adult Roller Hockey League playoffs. Hosein’s top-ranked Barracudas are in action at 8pm against the fourth seed Cayman Destination Management Services Islanders. The Barracudas ended their regular season campaign with a 9-5 loss to the 3-7 Islanders last week but still ended up with the league’s best record at 7-3.

Hosein states this season has been fantastic and he’s looking forward to more glory.

“I’ve been a Barracuda since the roller hockey program started in Cayman after hurricane Ivan,” Hosein said. “This is definitely the most successful (regular) season we’ve had. We ended up in first for the first time ever. We used last year’s championship as a catalyst to play much better this time around.

“I actually won’t be here for the playoffs (due to work commitments). But I think we’ll be OK. We’ll definitely be challenging for the Cup and I feel we’ll defend it from last year.”

On the paper the Barracudas have a lot going for them. The side by far have the league’s best defence, allowing a league-low 47 goals. They sport one of the sport’s best net-minders in Jeremy Olynik who has a league-best 83.4 save percentage while making 265 saves (second-most in the competition). Offensively the side have not been too shabby with a pair of players in the top ten in scoring in Brad Galbraith (second) and Mark Thompson (fourth).

Hosein has posted decent numbers himself. Heading into the season finale he was 11th in scoring with 14 points and second in assists with 10 to Galbraith (who had 11).

The Canada native, who works as an accountant for KPMG, states all of those guys have had a hand in the team’s success though his contributions are average.

“Brad may be young but he knows the game. He’s a prolific scorer. As far as him being the team captain at 16, it’s fine with me. He’s doing a good job and I have no complaints. Jeremy is a very strong goalie for us and Jason Windsor is a strong player in all phases of the game. Together they help make our defence strong. Two of the unsung heroes on our team are Chris Anton and Eric Lacasse. Chris had a good season and is a consistent performer while Eric is in the top 15 in scoring in spite of missing a few games.

“Personally I’ve been a touch inconsistent. The stats are good but you have to remember I played defence most of the season. We lost one of our main players in Jeff Danter for most of the season. It has taken a lot to get adjusted to my new role but I’m OK.”

Tuesday’s contest with CDMS should be an interesting one. On paper the side has been below-average defensively as they have allowed 68 goals (second-most in the competition) and have seen an off-year from Nigel Windsor (71 percent save percentage, 125 saves). The real threat is the Islanders’ offensive potential. With three players in the top ten in points in Pete Holowchuk (fifth), Jean-Louis Beaudet (seventh) and Dave Champoux (10th) clearly scoring is not an issue.

Hosein is aware of CDMS’ strengths and is not taking them lightly.

“Are we nervous about facing CDMS? Not at all, especially after the season we’ve had. The player to watch is definitely Pete. We got to keep an eye on him as he’s their strongest player. Jean-Louis is another guy to watch and Rob (Rintoul) is another strong player that’s a very good offensive weapon. CDMS are not a fourth place team in any sense and we have our work cut out for us.”

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