St. Marys Rock ANAF Bantam BB Team Wins Regional Silver Stick
Now undefeated in their last 22 consecutive games, Brandon Boyd’s ANAF Bantam BB squad dug deep to defeat Burlington and then Welland in a pair of one-goal games to prevail at the recent Regional Silver Stick Tournament in Pelham. The following is a review of their memorable weekend:
Round Robin Game 1: St Marys 4, Burlington 1
In the tournament opener, Curtis Topp started the scoring from captain Owen Hartman and Ben Martens. Late in the first period, Matthew Payette potted another low shot from linemates Blake Boreham and Aiden Aarts. Drawing a power play in the second period, Payette snapped home a blister from Eric Taylor and George Hensel. With the score 3-1 entering the third period, the dominant play of the Martens, Topp and Nathan Reay line culminated in Reay roofing his shot in close to finish the game at 4-1. Alex Martens gathered the win in goal.
Round Robin Game 2: St Marys 9, Thorold 0
In the lopsided affair, the Rock didn’t waste much time in filling the score sheet. Forward Blake Boreham paced the scoring with a hat trick, Aidan Arts had two, and single goals came from Lake Taylor, Ben Martens, Owen Hartman and Curtis Topp. The setup men were Hartman with three, Matthew Payette with two, and singles from Connor Arts, Adam Deneve, and Scott McClelland. Jake Bryans recorded the shutout.
Round Robin Game 3: St Marys 3, Pelham 3
In a battle for 1st place in pool play, the Rock would need to play catch-up all game long to skate away with the tie. Down 1-0, Topp notched one of his signature slap shots to even things up. Soon down 2-1, forward Eric Taylor found Owen Hartman in the slot, who would backhand the puck in to make it 2-2. A thunderous hit on the Pelham Captain by Aidan Arts seemed to shift momentum towards St Marys, as they found themselves down in the 3rd frame. With five minutes to go, Topp rushed into the offensive zone, looped around the net and with great patience sent his shot top shelf to get the tie. Alex Martens was solid in goal, assuring 1st place for his team.
Semi-Final: St Marys 1, Burlington 0
After a blank first period, the Rock would tally on the power play in the second stanza when defenseman George Hensel wired a slap shot off the foot of Ben Martens, finding the back of the net. Late in the frame, goalie Bryans made a defiant breakaway stop to keep the Rock in the lead. After a scoreless third, the Rock gained the victory, which would be Bryans’ second shutout of the tournament.
Final: St Marys 2, Welland 1
It was only fitting the top teams of their respective pools would face off in the Championship final. Only a few minutes into play, speedy winger Aidan Arts put the Rock up 1-0 as he banged home the loose puck. Welland didn’t take long to counter as they capitalized on a breakaway opportunity. Both teams would continue to trade chances for the following two periods. Rock defenders were credited for clearing the small defensive zone of the Pelham arena. With just 90 seconds to play, power forward Curtis Topp banged home what would prove to be the winner, with Lake Taylor drawing the assist. Rock netminder Jake Bryans stood tall, as both St Marys goaltenders (Alex Martens) have done all season.
The Rock coaching staff commends the players’ work ethic, competitive nature, and compatibility as some of the keys to their success.
The ANAF Bantams head to Port Huron for International Silver Stick beginning January 19th. Opponents in their pool include Ann Arbour, New Jersey and Brantford.