Dunny’s Atoms advance to semi-finals
By Pat Payton
NIAGARA – Three St. Marys minor hockey teams represented the association very well in International Silver Stick competitions last weekend.
The Frayne Custom Cabinets Bantams and Dunny’s Source for Sports Atoms combined to play 11 games at the annual Pelham International A-E event. Brent Rae’s Frayne Bantams advanced all the way to the Tier II championship game Sunday, while Sean Porter’s Dunny’s Atoms reached the Tier II semi-finals.
The third team to represent the SMMHA was the Golf and Country Club ‘BB’ Atoms. Dan Schiedel’s squad posted an impressive 4-1 record at the Sarnia International Silver Stick tourney. Their only loss–by a single goal–came in overtime in the semi-finals Sunday morning against the eventual division champions from Omaha. (See accompanying story).
Bantams catch fire in playoff round
In Niagara, the Frayne Custom Cabinets Bantams had to settle for second place after losing a tight 4-3 overtime decision to Fort Wayne PSM Force from Indiana in the Tier II championship final Sunday morning in St. Catharines. The PSM Force were the Fort Wayne Regional champions.
The Rock led 3-2 with seven minutes remaining in the third period. Fort Wayne tied the score with just 53 seconds left in regulation time, and then won it on a powerplay in OT after St. Marys picked up a too-many-men on the ice penalty.
Logan Hodkinson, Graham Thomson and Jake Pfaff scored for the Rock in the final.
“We had the momentum in overtime, with a couple of chances from the slot,” coach Rae reported. “I think if we played Fort Wayne again, it would be a different story. We were right there.
“It was a good weekend, and you can’t be upset with finalists at an International Silver Stick.”
The Frayne Bantams failed to win a game in round-robin action, but caught fire in the playoff round.
The SMMHA team started the weekend Thursday morning with a 1-1 draw against Aviator Hockey from Brooklyn, N.Y. In their second game Thursday afternoon, the Rock skated to a 2-2 tie against Collingwood Blackhawks. Kirk Boreham scored for St. Marys in both opening games.
Rae and company completed their round-robin schedule with a 3-1 loss to San Jose Jr. Sharks Friday morning.
“We should have won almost every round-robin game, but we didn’t get enough shots,” Rae reported.
The Frayne crew finally posted a win in a Tier 2 quarter-final playoff game Friday afternoon, skating to a 3-1 triumph over Merritton Bulldogs from the St. Catharines area. Kaleb Shalk had two goals in that game, including an empty-netter.
Early Saturday morning in a semi-final game, the Rock clinched a berth in Sunday’s final with a 6-1 victory over Colorado Jr. Eagles. Loghan Hodkinson and Alex Var paced the St. Marys offence, each with a goal and two assists. Shalk and Aaron Vernooy both added a goal and an assist.
“We started getting more pucks to the net in the playoff round,” coach Rae said. “The more shots, the better chance you have of scoring.”
Atoms involved in close games
The Dunny’s Source for Sports Atoms played a total of five games at International Silver Stick.
Sean Porter’s squad was eliminated in the Tier 2 semi-finals after losing 2-1 to Shamrock League rival Lambeth Lancers Saturday morning in Port Colborne. Lancers won the game with just 30 seconds remaining in regulation time.
Lambeth went on to win the division, skating to a 6-0 victory over Midland, Mich. Sunday morning. Lancers were an invited team after being finalists at the Ayr Regionals.
The Dunny’s Atoms opened the tournament with a 6-1 victory over Grand Rapids, Mich. early Thursday morning. In their second start Thursday afternoon, the Rock dropped a 5-0 decision to Evolution Hockey from Colorado.
The St. Marys Atoms were involved in one-goal decisions in each of their final three games.
The Dunny’s crew completed round-robin play Friday morning, losing a 1-0 nail-biter to Saugeen Shores Storm, the South Huron Regional champions.
In a Tier 2 quarter-final playoff game Friday afternoon, St. Marys edged Woodbridge Wolfpack from New Jersey, 2-1. Wolfpack were the Ashton, Pennsylvania Regional champs.