NESS EMBRACING LEADERSHIP ROLE
“It’s an honor to wear an ‘A’ this season,” Ness said. “It’s something I really take pride in. I’m going to do the best I can to help lead this team this season, but there’s a lot of other really good guys in this room that can help me out there, too.”
Ness, 23, is a former second-round pick of the Islanders in 2010. He is also part of a highly touted and talented Sound Tigers defensive corps which includes Calvin de Haan, Scott Mayfield and Andrey Pedan. de Haan was an Islanders first-round pick in 2009, while Mayfield and Pedan were respectively selected in the second and third rounds in 2011.
Ness played nine games for the Islanders in 2011-12. He spent all of last season in Bridgeport and, back with this Sound Tigers again this year, logged the most ice time of any skater in Sunday’s 4-3 shootout win over the Norfolk Admirals. He was on the ice for more than 27 minutes and saw time on even strength, power play, and penalty kill.
“He’s a guy we’re going to ride,” Sound Tigers head coach Scott Pellerin said following Sunday’s game. “He’s shown the ability to play in any situation and he’s someone we can really trust back there. I thought he was very solid.”
Ness enjoys the challenge of playing a large chunk of the game and feels that it’s something that can only improve his game.
“I’m one of those guys that really likes to be into the game as much possible,” Ness said. “The more I’m on the ice, the more focused I am. So the minutes aren’t an issue for me and I like to be out there as much as I can.”
Ness earned the primary assist on a goal by Joey Diamond in the second period of Sunday’s win. With the Sound Tigers on the power play, he sent the puck out in front for Diamond to power it in for the goal. The Roseau, MN, native was happy with team’s effort in the shootout win and knows that nothing is going to come easy.”
“That happens in this game,” Ness said of Sunday’s back-and-forth battle. “We’ve got to go out every night and play a strong game. [Goaltender] Anders [Nilsson] played great in the shootout and it was good to get two points.”
Ness and the Sound Tigers will hit the ice again Saturday at 7 p.m. when they take on the Manchester Monarchs at Webster Bank Arena.