ANAF Bantams reach Regional Silver Stick semi-finals, News (St. Marys Minor Hockey)

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ANAF Bantams reach Regional Silver Stick semi-finals
Submitted By Rachael Torrance on Monday, December 30, 2019
Team plays five games in Niagara area; three contests decided by a goal

By Pat Payton


The ANAF ‘BB’ Bantams played five games here at the Pelham Regional Silver Stick tournament this past weekend, and three of the contests were decided by one goal.
Unfortunately, their semi-final game Sunday morning went in favour of the Welland Tigers, who claimed a 3-2 decision over the Rock in Port Colborne. Scoring for St. Marys were Peyton Lobb and captain Ethan Brine. Kiefer MacNeil went the distance in net.
“Welland came out a lot harder than the first time we played them,” coach Dale Switzer told the Independent. “We kind of figured they would.”The Rock opened the scoring, but Tigers grabbed the lead with two quick goals. Welland then went up 3-1. “We pulled our goalie and got one with about a minute left,” Switzer said. “But I don’t think we got another shot after that.
“Our kids played well, but Welland’s a good team. They were just a little more puck hungry. They kept us hemmed in for parts of the game. They seemed to be more aggressive on the puck. Physically, Welland is a big team.”
Overall, coach Switzer was happy with his team’s performance at Silver Stick. Every game, expect one against Tillsonburg, was against an ‘A’ centre (with all second-year Major Bantams).
“I’m sure the kids are disappointed that we lost,” he said. “We were one goal shy of getting (to the final).
”Stratford Warriors defeated Welland 4-3 in Sunday afternoon’s final.

Erase early deficit in quarters
In the quarter-finals Saturday night against Tillsonburg, the ANAF crew skated to a 5-1 victory over the Tornadoes in Port Colborne. It was the first time the Rock had played Tillsonburg this season.
The Rock trailed 1-0 after the opening frame, but played well over the final two periods to earn the win, coach Switzer reported. Ian Boyd scored twice for St. Marys, while the singles came off the sticks of Owen Boyd, affiliate skater Lucas McCurdy and Peyton Lobb. Josh Ballantyne picked up the net win.
“Every team in our pool won a quarter-final game,” coach Switzer noted. “I’m sure Welland will be happy to get another shot at us. It will be a tough game.”

Go 2-1 in preliminary round
The ANAF Bantams started Silver Stick with a 2-1 win over Welland Tigers Friday morning in Port Colborne. Tigers out-shot the Rock 25-9, but coach Switzer felt his team had the better scoring chances.
“Welland is a good team,” he said. “If both teams would have buried their chances, we probably would have beat them 5-4. They out-shot us, but I think we out-chanced them. We were quite happy to get the win.
”Defenceman Ethan Brine gave St. Marys an early 1-0 lead. After Welland tied it early in the third, RJ Martin fired the winner with about five or six minutes left in the game. Switzer reported that goalie Kiefer MacNeil played “really well” for the ANAF crew.
The ANAF Bantams played Stratford Friday night in Pelham and improved to 2-0 with a 3-1 victory over the Warriors.
Ian Boyd’s second goal of the game, with just over a minute remaining, snapped a 1-1 tie. Finn Stewart sealed the win with an empty-netter. Boyd’s first goal came on a powerplay early in the opening period.
MacNeil had another strong game as the Rock were out-shot 19-7 by Stratford. “They out-played us,” coach Switzer admitted. “We survived it.”
In their third preliminary game Saturday afternoon, the ANAF Bantams met Burlington Eagles (2-0) who were also undefeated. Eagles claimed a 3-2 win in Port Colborne.
“We had a slow start,” Switzer reported. “We were doing a poor job of tying their players up in front of the net. They came out strong and we came out flat, but the last half of the game we played pretty well.”
Lucan Vernooy and Peyton Lobb scored for St. Marys. Josh Ballantyne got the start in net.

Cement Midgets nipped by Devils
The Cement ‘BB’ Midgets started against Welland Friday afternoon in Port Colborne and dropped a 1-0 decision to the Tigers.
“It was a good back-and-forth game,” coach Brent Rae reported. “We were short-staffed, with two injured players, and we were down to nine players for the last half of the game.”
Rae noted that goalie Aaron Waugh was a standout for the Cement men, making a couple of big stops to keep his team in the contest. “He gave us a chance to win,” the coach said.
Ethan Froggett hit a goal post on a 2-on-1 break. “We had our chances,” Rae added. “For being shorthanded, I was pretty happy with the way we played. The boys played hard.
”In their second game Friday night in Pelham, the Cement Midgets lost 3-0 to the Caledonia Thunder. “We ran into penalty troubles, and we were shortstaffed again and that didn’t help,” coach Rae said. “A couple of their goals were tip-ins that weren’t Jake Bryans’ fault.”
In their final preliminary game Saturday afternoon in Port Colborne, the Cement men scored their first goal of the tournament and it gave them a 1-0 victory over the West Niagara Flying Aces.
Keegan Nethercott’s third-period breakaway goal stood up as the game winner. “He got hauled down, but he shovelled it with one hand and went five-hole,” Rae reported.
“We only had 10 players,” the coach added. “It was a back-and-forth game, and Aaron Waugh had another good game in net.”
With their 1-2 record, the St. Marys Midgets advanced to the quarter-finals Saturday night against Erin-Hillsburgh Devils in Pelham. In a hard-fought battle, Devils edged the Rock 4-3.
“We scored with a minute left to make it 4-3, but couldn’t get the tying goal,” coach Rae said. Nathan Reay, Keegan Nethercott and Ethan Froggett scored for St. Marys. Jake Bryans went the distance in net.
Rae was happy with his team’s performance at Silver Stick.
“It was probably the best hockey we played all season,” he said. “Having a short bench kind of hurt us. We were tired late in games. Playing two games a day is tough, especially when you only have nine skaters.
“I think if we would have had a full roster, it would have been a completely different story, but I was happy overall,” the coach added.
Caledonia nipped Welland 1-0 in Sunday’s final.

G&CC Atoms face strong opponents
The Golf and Country Club ‘BB’ Atoms started Silver Stick Friday morning with a 7-0 loss to the powerful Tillsonburg Tornadoes in Pelham. Tornadoes have apparently not lost a game all season.
“They rate teams in Ontario, and Tillsonburg is the No. 1-rated team in the province,” Rock coach Dan Murrell pointed out. “Quite frankly, we had one of our better efforts. We battled. We could play that team 100 times, and it might be the best score against them.”
The G&CC Atoms’ second game was Friday afternoon against Oakville Rangers Red in Port Colborne. St. Marys lost 4-1, after giving up two goals in the first minute of play. “We battled hard,” coach Murrell said.
With the score 3-1, and the Rock taking the play to Oakville late in the second period, a questionable call hurt the G&CC squad. A face-off should have been held in the neutral zone, but the officials took it back deep into the St. Marys end of the ice. On the ensuing face-off, the Rangers scored with 10 seconds left in the period.
“It kind of snuffed out any chance for a comeback,” coach Murrell said. “We were only down a couple of goals and we were taking it to them. That was deflating.”
Charlotte Richardson scored the St. Marys goal.
“It would be nice to win, for our kids,” Murrell said following the game. “Win or lose, we’ll have to play a pretty tough team in the quarter-finals. They seed you (after round-robin play) and everyone advances to the quarter-finals.”
In their third preliminary game Saturday morning, the G&CC Atoms lost 3-1 to Pelham Panthers,resulting in a quarter-final playoff date with Woodstock Jr. Navy-Vets in the afternoon. The weekend came to an end for the Rock when they lost 5-1 to Woodstock in Pelham.
Tillsonburg blanked Stoney Creek 7-0 in Sunday’s final.


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