In International Silver Stick tournament in Niagara area on weekend
By Pat Payton
NIAGARA – Both St. Marys A-E teams lost just once in the 2020 International Silver Stick tournament, held here in the Niagara area this weekend.
However, the losses came in the quarter-finals, in the single-knockout playoffs, and eliminated the Home Building Centre Peewees and the Frayne Custom Cabinets Bantams.
There were 12 teams in both the Peewee A-E and Bantam A-E divisions. Both St. Marys teams went as Collingwood Regional Silver Stick champions.
Open with wins over U.S. opponents
The Home Building Centre Peewees started with a pair of wins over U.S. opponents last Thursday. In the morning, Reg Clinton’s squad opened with a 4-1 victory over the Gurnee Vipers from Illinois in Port Colborne. The Vipers qualified as Fort Wayne, Indiana Regional champions.
Scoring for St. Marys were Simon Greig, Finn Wright, Jonah Lariviere and defenceman Simon Taylor. Isaac Cousineau got the net win.
The HBC Peewees’ second game was Thursday afternoon in Port Colborne against Aviators Hockey, from Brooklyn, New York, the Regional finalists in Aston, Pennsylvania.
After the Rock jumped out to a 3-1 lead, Aviators battled back to tie it 3-3. A late surge by St. Marys resulted in a 6-4 win. The big shooter in this game was winger Jonah Lariviere, who fired four goals. Myles Clinton added the other two markers, and Trevor Aarts earned the net win.
“We kind of poured it on at the end,” coach Clinton said. “We had a full team engagement in both games,” he added.
The HBC Peewees’ third preliminary game was early Friday morning against the host Panthers in Pelham, starting at 7 o’clock. Kaleb Dingman and Simon Greig each scored twice in a 6-0 Rock victory. The singles went to Jonah Lariviere and Simon Taylor, on a powerplay, and Isaac Cousineau recorded the shutout.
“We played well, but Pelham weren’t as strong as the other teams we’ve played,” coach Clinton reported.
All second-year players on Bandits
The HBC Peewees then advanced to the quarter-finals later that day against the London Bandits in Port Colborne. The Bandits were the Regional finalists in Chatham. “It will be tough today,” Clinton said before the game.
The coach proved to be right as the Peewee Rock dropped a 3-2 decision to the London team, stocked with all second-year players. Scoring for St. Marys were captain Nathan Wolfkamp and Connor Wheeler. Trevor Aarts went the distance in net.
With the score tied 1-1 in the first period, the Bandits scored two quick goals to take a 3-1 advantage. “We controlled a lot of the play in the second and third periods,” coach Clinton noted. “But in the last three minutes of the third, we couldn’t generate much and get Trevor out (for a sixth attacker).”
In the final two periods, St. Marys hit two crossbars and two posts.
“We were 3-1 in the tournament, and the boys played really well,” Clinton summed up. “I think we had a great tournament and the boys learned a lot.”
The Orangeville Flyers were the No. 1-ranked Peewee team. The Flyers trounced the Bandits 9-1 in Sunday’s final.
Frayne Bantams go 3-0 in round-robin
The Frayne Cabinets Bantams opened with a 4-2 victory over the Halton Hills Thunder last Thursday morning in Niagara Falls. Halton Hills won the Ayr Regional Silver Stick qualifier.
Captain Lucas McCurdy powered the Rock offence by scoring all four of his team’s goals.
With St. Marys holding a 3-2 lead, goalie Josh Ballantyne stopped a Thunder penalty shot. Coach Gord Cookson described it as a “big-time” save. “We played all three periods; the kids played well,” he added.
The Frayne Bantams’ second game was Thursday afternoon in St. Catharines against Arrows Hockey from Long Island, New York, the Columbia, Maryland Regional champs. The Rock skated to a 6-0 win.
Centre Lucas McCurdy again led the way with a hat trick, while the singles came off the sticks of Wil Boreham, Jaxon Fifield and Jake Grant. Ezra Bender picked up the shutout.
“We had good puck possession and patience,” coach Cookson said. “We were passing the puck with purpose and not just throwing it away. The other team came at us hard at the beginning, but we kind of out-lasted them and took advantage of our opportunities.”
The Frayne Bantams’ third game Friday morning in Niagara Falls was against Aviator Hockey from Brooklyn, New York, the Regional finalists from Aston, Pennsylvania. The Rock emerged with a tight 2-1 victory and a 3-0 record.
Jake Grant deflected a Wil Boreham shot and snapped a 1-1 tie in the third period. James Buckland scored the other St. Marys goal. Josh Ballantyne played well in net for the Frayne crew, making a couple of huge timely saves, coach Cookson reported.
With the win, the Frayne Bantams advanced to the ‘A’ Division playoff bracket, and played the Centre-Wellington Fusion in the quarter-finals Friday afternoon in St. Catharines. The Fusion were Regional champs in Chatham. The end for the Rock came when they lost 6-0 to Centre-Wellington.
“They’re a very good team, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they win the tournament,” coach Cookson said. “They’ve only allowed one goal so far in the tournament.
“Like I said to the kids, ‘I’d rather lose in the ‘A’ Division to the champions than even go through and win the ‘B’ Division.’ We played the best and gave it a good go. We played right to the final whistle; we had no quit. Hopefully our tournament play can translate to the (OMHA) playoffs.”
The Sarnia Sting defeated the Mt. Brydges Cougars 5-3 in Sunday’s Bantam championship game.