Team heading to Int. Silver Stick tournament in Niagara area in the New Year
By Pat Payton
Head coach Gord Cookson says his Frayne Custom Cabinets Additional-Entry Bantams have “all bought into” the system.
“It’s based on pressure and hard work,” Cookson explained before a recent Shamrock League game at the PRC. “It’s not always skill that wins hockey games; it’s about playing all three periods and working hard.”
The Frayne Bantams certainly used that successful formula at their Regional Silver Stick tournament in Collingwood last month. The Rock defeated the Elmvale Coyotes 4-1 in the division final to earn a berth in the 2020 International Silver Stick tournament, hosted by Pelham minor hockey, Jan. 9-12. In five games in Collingwood, Cookson’s squad posted a respectable 3-1-1 won-loss-tied record. They scored 14 goals and allowed only seven–including just three in the final four games of the tournament.
“Everyone was playing for each other that weekend,” Cookson recalled. “We got good goaltending and had possession of the puck, and we won those battles for loose pucks.”
Goalies Ezra Bender and Josh Ballantyne both recorded shutouts at Silver Stick. “Both of our goalies give us a chance to win,” Cookson noted.
The coach says his squad is looking forward to playing in the Int. Silver Stick tourney in the Niagara area early in the New Year. Division winners come from all over North America to compete in it. The Rock plays its first two games on Thursday, Jan. 9.
The Frayne Bantams don’t have a strong Shamrock League record, but the coach points out that it doesn’t paint a true picture of his team.
“Our record in Shamrock doesn’t reflect the kind of team that we are,” Cookson said. “We’re definitely a tournament team when it comes right down to it. We’ve had a lot of close games in league where we’ve lost in the last two minutes.”
The Frayne Bantams had a stiff test early last week from the Mt. Brydges Cougars (13-2), one of the top teams in their Shamrock division. A third-period goal was the difference as the first-place Cougars went home with a 2-1 victory.
Mt. Brydges had the majority of play, but could only get two pucks past goaltender Ballantayne, who kept his team in the game with spectacular save after spectacular save. The visitors held a 24-2 margin in shots after two periods. “I think Bally (Ballantyne) faced almost 40 shots,” Cookson said.
Emmett Doupe scored the lone St. Marys goal.
The Frayne Bantams play their SHL home games on Mondays at the PRC, starting at 8:30 p.m. The Rock hosts Wallaceburg Lakers on Dec. 16.
Three returning players
Cookson has three players back from last year’s Bantam A-E team — Lucas McCurdy, Jake Grant and Emmett Doupe. McCurdy is this year’s team captain, and Grant and Doupe are both assistants. Most of the 2019-20 team have moved up from the Peewee ranks.
Joining Gord Cookson on the bench, meanwhile, are forwards coach Kyle Spence, defence coach Brendan Near, and trainer Mathew Chambers.
Frayne Cabinets A-E Bantams’ 2019-20 team roster
Goalies Josh Ballantyne and Erza Bender, Emmett Doupe, captain Lucas McCurdy, Jake Grant, Michael Boonstra, Ethan Connolly, Jaxon Fifield, James Buckland, Braedon Roth, Bodi DeBoer, Wil Boreham, Isaac Zurbrigg and Jordan Wood.