Four SMMHA ‘BB’ teams advance as far as semi-finals
By Pat Payton
Special to the Independent
NIAGARA – St. Marys Golf and Country Club ‘BB’ Atoms punched their ticket to the 2018 International Silver Stick championship here last week.
Dan Schiedel’s squad won all six of their games to capture the Pelham Regional Silver Stick title. They capped an impressive week with a 5-1 final-game victory over Tillsonburg Tornadoes last Friday afternoon in Pelham. In their six games, the Atom Rock out-scored their opponents 26-4 and won three of the contests by shutouts.
“The guys played really well defensively,” coach Schiedel told the Independent. “We had some ups and downs, but at the end of the day we found a way to get it done.
“And both of our goalies, Cyler Pickering and Julian Walsh, played well.”
Schiedel says the coaching staff has been stressing team defence, and “minimizing scoring chances” and it’s been paying off. “If the other team gets an opportunity, we don’t want them to get the second and third chances.”
Overall, it was a great week for the five ‘BB’ teams from St. Marys minor hockey who competed in the Pelham Regionals Dec. 27-29. The ANAF Bantams also reached their division final, and the Firefighter Peewees and Finnbilt Novices advanced as far as the semi-finals.
The G&CC Atoms now advance to the International Silver Stick event in Sarnia, Jan. 12-14. St. Marys will compete in the ‘A’ division, along with 15 other teams from Ontario and the U.S.
In the Niagara area last week, the G&CC Atoms opened with a pair of wins Wednesday.
The Rock defeated Thorold Blackhawks 5-2 in the morning, and followed that up with a 4-1 victory over Niagara-on-the-Lake Wolves in the afternoon.
Winger Hayden Brintnell’s two third-period goals helped St. Marys clinch its win against Thorold in Welland. Jayden Tipping added a goal and two assists, while Oliver McHugh and Nate Schiedel had the other singles. Cyler Pickering posted the win for the Rock, who led 3-1 after two periods.
Three goals in the last three minutes lifted the G&CC Atoms to a hard-fought win over Niagara-on-the-Lake in Port Colborne.
Colton Henderson, Griffin McGregor and Oliver McHugh scored the three St. Marys goals late in the contest. Jayden Tipping scored in the first period, and the Rock carried a slim 1-0 advantage into the third. Wolves tied it early in the final frame. Julian Walsh earned the net win.
On Thursday morning in Port Colborne, the Atoms blanked Welland Tigers 3-0 to complete round-robin play with a 3-0 record.
Nate Schiedel’s first-period goal stood up as the winner. Defenceman Grayson Boreham and Callum McIntosh tacked on third-period tallies to help seal the victory. The shutout went to Julian Walsh.
In the quarter-finals Thursday afternoon in Port Colborne, the G&CC Atoms jumped out to an early 2-0 lead en route to a 3-0 win over Pelham Panthers.
First-period goals by Evan Ballantyne and Nate Schiedel provided all the offence St. Marys would need. Griffin McGregor added a third-period marker, and Cyler Pickering notched the shutout.
In the semi-finals Friday morning in Pelham, the Atom Rock skated to their third consecutive shutout victory–defeating Niagara-on-the-Lake 6-0.
Jayden Tipping fired a pair of goals, and Cyler Pickering picked up another shutout. The singles came off the sticks of Nate Schiedel, Colton Henderson, Callum McIntosh and George Payne.
In Friday afternoon’s final, Hayden Brintnell was the scoring star–clicking for three goals against Tillsonburg. He completed his hat trick with 3:01 remaining, giving St. Marys a 4-1 cushion.
The singles went to Colton Henderson and Griffin McGregor, while defenceman Trevor Richardson, Nate Schiedel and Jayden Tipping all contributed two assists.
Cyler Pickering was the winning netminder.
Leading 2-1 early in the third, Pickering made a couple of “key saves” to keep the Rock in front, coach Schiedel noted. “Right after that, we came down and scored, and it turned the momentum back in our favour.”
The ANAF Bantams were another team which posted an impressive goals-against record at the Pelham Regionals.
Brandon Boyd’s squad allowed only nine goals against as they won their first five games. In Friday night’s final, the Rock dropped a 3-0 decision to Burlington Eagles.
The Bantams started round-robin play last Wednesday with a 3-2 win over Milton Winterhawks and a 5-2 victory over Pelham Panthers.
On Thursday afternoon, St. Marys clinched first place in their pool with a 4-2 win over Burlington Bulldogs. In the quarter-finals Thursday night, the Rock stayed unbeaten with a 4-2 victory over Tillsonburg Tornadoes.
The following morning, the ANAF crew earned a berth in the division final with a 2-1 win over Glanbrook Rangers.
“We were thrilled to go 5-0 before running out of steam against a strong Burlington team,” coach Boyd reported. “Balanced scoring from all three lines, stable defence led by Adam DeNeve and Scott McClelland, and rock solid goaltending. We can’t say enough about (goalie) Nolan Shackleton. He gives us a chance each and every game.
“Despite a slow start to the season, these boys have really rounded into form. Hopefully this gives us the confidence needed going into OMHA playoffs,” he added.
The Firefighter Peewees were on a roll until they ran into Burlington Bulldogs in the semi-finals. Dwain Smith’s squad won their first four games–including three by shutouts–and had allowed only two goals against.
In the semis Friday morning in Port Colborne, Firefighters dropped a 4-3 decision to Burlington and were eliminated. Ryan Hodkinson scored twice for St. Marys.
The Rock opened Silver Stick play on Wednesday with a 5-0 victory over Tillsonburg Tornadoes and a 3-0 win over Grimsby Peach Kings. Captain Jimmy Schiedel scored twice in both games.
St. Marys completed round-robin play with a 3-0 record after posting a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Welland Tigers Thursday morning in Welland. Jaden Shiell fired the winner with just over a minute to play, snapping a 2-2 tie.
Firefighters continued their fine defensive play with a 4-0 win over Thorold Blackhawks in the quarter-finals Thursday afternoon in Port Colborne.
On a positive note, the Rock gave up just six goals, while scoring 18 times in five games at the Regionals.
In the Peewee division final, Pelham defeated Burlington 4-1.
The Finnbilt Novices clawed their way to the semi-finals before being sidelined by Tillsonburg Tornadoes Friday morning in Port Colborne. Tillsonburg claimed a 4-1 decision and went on to win the Novice division.
Bill Scheuermann’s crew started round-robin action Wednesday with a 3-2 loss to Tillsonburg in the morning and a 1-1 tie against Grimsby Kings in the afternoon.
Thursday was a good day for the Novice Rock. They started the day with a 2-1 victory over Thorold Blackhawks in the morning in Port Colborne. It gave St. Marys a 1-1-1 record, moving them into a second-place tie in Pool ‘A’.
In the quarter-finals Thursday afternoon in Pelham, the Finnbilt squad defeated the home-town Panthers 4-2 to gain a berth in the semis Friday morning.
In the Novice final, Tillsonburg defeated Dorchester Dragons 5-1.
The Cement Midgets went winless at the Regionals.
On Wednesday, the Rock lost 6-1 to Tillsonburg Tornadoes and 9-1 to Pelham Panthers.
On Thursday, the Cement men completed round-robin play with a 4-0 loss to Glanbrook Rangers. Their tournament came to an end in the quarter-finals Thursday afternoon after dropping an 8-0 decision to Welland Tigers in Port Colborne.
Welland edged Glanbrook 4-3 in the Midget division final.
Silver Stick notes:
–Eight teams competed in all five age divisions last week in the Niagara area.
–Games were held in Pelham, and at double pads in Port Colborne and Welland.
–Pelham minor hockey is celebrating its 50th anniversary this season.