In Strathroy and Mitchell, respectively, on the Nov. 9-11 weekend
By Pat Payton
STRATHROY – The ANAF ‘BB’ Bantams brought home the gold medals from the long-running Strathroy OIympics tournament here on the Nov. 9-11 weekend. The tourney has now been held for over 50 years–dating back to the late 1960s.
Brandon Boyd’s squad lost their opening game, 2-1 to the host Jr. Rockets, with Keegan Nethercott scoring for St. Marys. The Rock then reeled off four straight victories to claim first place.
The ANAF crew defeated Mitchell 7-2, Mt. Brydges 5-1, Tillsonburg 4-1, and Mitchell 2-0 in the final. Overall, the Rock out-scored their opposition 19-6 in their five games.
Against Mitchell, Nethercott clicked for a hat trick, while the singles went to Porter Aiken, Carter Reid, Kirk Boreham and Ben Richardson. The playmakers were defencemen Mason Boonstra with three assists and Ethan Brine with two.
In the Mt. Brydges win, Richardson led the way with two goals. Nethercott added a goal and two assists, while Schalk and Aaron Vernooy had the other singles.
Against Tillsonburg, Schalk fired a pair of goals, with Nethercott and Boonstra supplying the singles. Boreham contributed a pair of assists.
Schalk and Richardson scored for St. Marys in a hard-fought championship game against Mitchell, and goalie Nic Kiestra recorded the shutout and was named player-of-the-game.
“In pool play, we stumbled out of the gate against Strathroy against a goalie who seems to have our number,” coach Boyd reported. “After that, there was no looking back with convincing wins over Mitchell, Mt. Brydges and Tillsonburg, scoring a combined 16 goals in those three games.
“Defensive and neutral-zone passing have been inconsistent this year, but by the time we reached the Tillsonburg game, we played as a collective unit and was our best game of the tournament.
“The line of Boreham, Nethercott and Kiestra continues to pace the offence, and the dependability of rookie defenceman Ethan Brine continues to impress.”
Found a way to win final
In the final, coach Boyd said his Bantams found a way to win against Mitchell.
“In the final, which didn’t feature our best hockey, we found a way to win, in large part due to our goalie Nic Kiestra who played phenomenal all weekend–only allowing four goals in four games,” he said.
“The coaching staff was pleased with the progression throughout the tournament, and hope to use as a building block for bigger games to come.”
The ANAF squad have a busy Shamrock League schedule before heading to their Regional Silver Stick tournament in Pelham, Dec. 27-29.
Firefighters win all five games in Mitchell
The Firefighter ‘BB’ Peewees won all five of their games to capture the 63rd annual Mitchell Peewee tournament on the Nov. 9-11 weekend.
Dwain Smith’s Firefighters defeated Ilderton 2-1, Tillsonburg 4-1, BCH (Bayfield, Clinton, Hensall) 4-3, Mitchell 5-1 in the semi-finals, and Shamrock rival Dorchester Dragons 5-0 in the final.
Captain Ryan Hodkinson scored twice against Tillsonburg, while linemate Peyton Lobb clicked for two goals and an assist against BCH. Leading the way against Mitchell in the semis were Hodkinson, linemate Finn Stewart and Nate Schiedel. Stewart scored twice, centreman Hodkinson collected a goal and two assists, and Schiedel contributed a goal and an assist.
In the final, Peyton Lobb sparked the Rock offence against the Dragons with two goals and an assist, and Carter Froggett earned the shutout.
Coach Smith thinks his Peewee team handed Dorchester its first loss of the season.
Just seven goals against
Altogether, the Firefighters allowed only seven goals in their five tournament games.
“I think we were more happy with the boys’ performance than even the outcome,” Smith told the Independent. “They were listening in the dressing room and they started playing as a team. We told them what they needed to do to accomplish the job and the boys bought into it.”
The coach said a big key in Mitchell was aggressive forechecking.
“We just attacked,” he pointed out. “When you’re attacking, you’re not giving other teams time and space to come out of their zone cleanly . . . and we were capitalizing.
“We rolled three lines solid, and we got good goaltending from both Carter Froggett and Josh Ballantyne.”
Froggett was a standout in the final two games.
The previous weekend at the Dan Bell Memorial tournament in Gravenhurst/Bracebridge, the Firefighter Peewees reached the final before losing to Temiskaming. “We played well until the final, and then we took a day off,” coach Smith reported.
The Firefighters’ next tourney is the Tabacco Town tournament in Delhi on the weekend of Nov. 29-Dec. 2.