Tipping, Pickering shine on final day in Regional event at Watford
By Pat Payton
WATFORD – The Firefighter ‘BB’ Peewees are the third St. Marys minor hockey team this season to earn a spot in an International Silver Stick tournament in the New Year.
And Dwain Smith’s squad did it in dramatic fashion here on the Dec. 21-22 weekend at the Roy Caley Memorial Regional Silver Stick tourney.
In the championship final Sunday night, forward Jayden Tipping’s goal at 10:49 of 5-on-5, sudden-death overtime lifted the Firefighters to a 3-2 victory over Shamrock rival Strathroy Jr. Rockets. “He crashed the net and banged one home,” coach Dwain Smith reported.
With the win, the Peewee Rock punched their ticket to the 2020 International Silver Stick tournament in Port Huron, Mich., Jan. 16-19.
It was another tight game between St. Marys and Strathroy in Sunday’s final.
After Firefighters opened the scoring on a first-period goal by defenceman Grayson Boreham, the Jr. Rockets tied it 1-1 in the third. Then, with just 46 seconds remaining in regulation time, Tipping connected to put the Rock up 2-1. However, Strathroy forced overtime with a stunning goal with just five seconds left on the clock.
The coaching staff reported that Cyler Pickering was “stellar” in net. Firefighters had a 22-20 edge in shots, including OT.
“The whole team played well,” coach Smith said from Watford. “We stayed out of the box, moved the puck well, and I was pretty proud of them playing against ‘A’ centres (London and Essex).
“It was a good way to end the game; there wasn’t a shootout. It was 5-on-5 and we were going to play until it was over. It was pretty exciting. The boys have been really gelling the past six or seven games. We’re going in the right direction.”
Pickering gets shutout
In their semi-final game on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 22, outstanding goaltending by Cyler Pickering helped lift the Firefighter Peewees to a 2-0 victory over London Jr. Purple Mustangs.
Mustangs out-shot the Rock 16-13. “Cyler Pickering played fantastic in getting the shutout,” manager Marty Thomson reported.
Hayden Brintnell’s first-period powerplay goal stood up as the game winner. Oliver McHugh added an empty-netter late in the third to seal it.
Two each for Brintnell, Hawkins
The Firefighter Peewees opened Silver Stick in Watford with a convincing 6-2 victory over Shamrock rival Mt. Brydges Cougars on Saturday morning, Dec. 21.
Hayden Brintnell and Colton Hawkins each scored twice for St. Marys, while the singles went to Ty Wheeler and Oliver McHugh. Centre Colton Henderson was a playmaker, collecting three assists.
Julian Walsh earned the net win for the Rock, who built period leads of 3-0 and 4-1. Firefighters out-shot Mt. Brydges 22-13. “We played well,” manager Thomson said.
Essex ‘A’ centre
The Firefighters played Essex on the Saturday afternoon and dropped a 2-1 decision to the Ravens. Essex is an ‘A’ team with all second-year players.
“The boys are playing good hockey and I’m proud of the boys,” coach Dwain Smith said. “We didn’t get the result we wanted, but I’m happy with the team. We’re moving the puck, attacking well and getting lots of shots.”
Hayden Brintnell scored for St. Marys, and Cyler Pickering went the distance in net. “He played really well,” coach Smith noted. Overall, Essex out-shot St. Marys 22-11.
Silver Stick notes:
–In four Regional Silver Stick games in Watford, the Firefighter Peewees out-scored their opponents 12-6.
–Earlier this season, the Firefighters had a tie (2-2) and a loss (1-0) against Strathroy in league play.
–Two A-E teams from St. Marys minor hockey, the Frayne Cabinets Bantams and Home Building Centre Peewees, will be competing in the International Silver Stick tournament in the Niagara area, Jan. 9-12.