Peewees, Bantams compete well against ‘A’ opponents, News (St. Marys Minor Hockey)

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Peewees, Bantams compete well against ‘A’ opponents
Submitted By Rachael Torrance on Monday, January 20, 2020
Both teams win twice at International Silver Stick tournament in Port Huron

By Pat Payton


The Firefighter Peewees and ANAF Bantams represented St. Marys minor hockey very well at the 2020 International Silver Stick tournament here this past weekend.
Both ‘BB’ teams showed they could play against top-ranked ‘A’ calibre opponents, and both SMMHA teams finished second in their respective pools.
There were 16 teams in both the Peewee ‘A’ and Bantam ‘A’ divisions.
The Firefighters won two games and tied another in round-robin action, giving Dwain Smith’s squad a total of five points in Pool ‘D’. In the three preliminary games, they scored eight goals and allowed only four.
In the quarter-finals late Saturday afternoon at Glacier Pointe arena, the Peewee Rock dropped a close 3-2 decision to the strong Quinte West Hawks from the Belleville area. Hawks (3-0) had finished first in Pool ‘C’. Unfortunately, Firefighters’ only loss of the weekend was enough to eliminate them from the tournament.
Quinte West opened up a 2-0 first-period lead, but St. Marys battled back to tie it 2-2 in the middle frame on a pair of goals by winger Oliver McHugh. Hawks scored what proved to be the winner in the first minute of the third.
“Quinte West were all second-year players,” manager Marty Thomson reported. “They were a big team, too. They were a good, solid team.”
Cyler Pickering went the distance in net for the Rock, who were out-shot 23-13 by the Hawks.
“We gave it a good run, and we’re very proud of the boys,” Thomson added. “We gave it a good shot, but we ran into a great team. They’re ‘A’ teams, with all second-year players.”
Toronto Eagles defeated Quinte West 4-2 in Sunday’s Peewee ‘A’ final.

Bantams lose to eventual champs
Dale Switzer’s ANAF Bantams also reached the quarter-finals. Again, in the single-knockout format, a 4-2 defeat to Barrie Colts Saturday night sent the Rock to the sidelines. Colts (3-0) finished finished in Pool ‘B’, while St. Marys placed second in Pool ‘A’ with a 2-1 record and four points.
At Glacier Pointe, Barrie led 1-0 after the first period and 3-1 after two. Peyton Lobb, who had a strong tournament, scored both Rock goals. Colts clinched the win with a late empty-net goal.
Coach Switzer said the Colts are a big, good-skating team.
“Barrie controlled a good chunk of the first two periods,” he reported. “In the third, we played with a lot more urgency and I would say we controlled the final period. Barrie has three solid lines; they don’t have any weaknesses.
“I would say their neutral-zone play won them the game.”
Barrie edged Halton Hills 2-1 in Sunday’s Bantam ‘A’ final.

Firefighters’ round-robin action
The Firefighter Peewees opened with a 4-1 win over the Bowling Green, Ohio Ice Cats early Friday morning at Glacier Pointe arena. After Ice Cats scored in the opening minute of play, the Rock answered with goals by Jayden Tipping, defenceman Trevor Richardson, Evan Ballantyne and Colton Henderson. The Ballantyne and Henderson goals were powerplay markers.
Julian Walsh posted the net win, with St. Marys out-shooting Bowling Green 30-9.
“The boys came out a little flat, and we put ourselves in a 1-0 hole,” coach Smith reported. “But in the second and third periods, we were on the attack. We took away their time and space. They had a couple of really good skaters, but we neutralized those fast skaters.”
In their second game Friday afternoon, Firefighters skated to a 2-2 tie with Toronto Eagles at Glacier Pointe.
Trailing 2-0 early, the Rock fought back with a goal by Colton Henderson before the end of the first period. Evan Ballantyne fired “a beauty” to tie it up in the middle frame. The third period was scoreless. Cyler Pickering went the distance in net for St. Marys.
“We got off to a slow start in the first period,” coach Smith reported. “After that, we started attacking. Toronto has a fast team and they were running and gunning early. Then, we tightened things up and I think we took them off their game. We put a lot of pressure on them in the third.”
Smith said his team still needs to play three full periods of hockey to be successful. “It’s about three games in a row now where we’ve had a slow start,” he noted. “We should be all right if we put three periods of hockey together. That’s the key right now.”
Firefighters’ third round-robin game was Saturday morning against Omaha Jr. Mavericks at McMorran Sports Centre. The Rock emerged with a 2-1 victory, giving them five points and securing second place in their pool with a 2-0-1 record.
“It was a hard-fought game,” coach Smith reported. Jayden Tipping’s goal, with about two minutes remaining, snapped a 1-1 tie. “He went in all alone, and fired it top shelf. It was a beautiful shot,” the coach said.
Earning the net win was Julian Walsh. “He played amazing; he was the reason we won the game,” Smith said. “He really shone today.” St. Marys out-shot Omaha 30-26.Defenceman Grayson Boreham scored the first Rock goal.

ANAF Bantams’ preliminary games
The ANAF Bantams opened the tournament with a 3-1 loss to Centre Wellington Fusion last Thursday night at Glacier Pointe arena. Fusion are the No. 1-ranked ‘A’ team in Ontario.
After Centre Wellington opened up a quick 2-0 lead, Peyton Lobb replied for St. Marys before the end of the first period. Fusion added an insurance goal in the middle frame.
“Centre Wellington didn’t play as well as they can, and we weren’t even close to playing as well as we can,” coach Switzer said. “We played nervous and uptight for some reason. They moved the puck well and beat us to a lot of loose pucks.
“It was frustrating; it’s a game we could have won,” he added.
The ANAF crew played better in their second game Friday night, skating to a 5-1 victory over the Port Huron Flags.
Captain Ethan Brine scored twice for St. Marys, while the singles went to Owen Boyd, RJ Martin and Finn Stewart. Kiefer MacNeil got the net win.
“We came out of the gate a lot better,” coach Switzer said. “We were a lot more aggressive on the puck, and getting to loose pucks. That was the difference. We were really on them about having a good start and it worked.”
Prior to the game, all teams were involved in the opening ceremonies at McMorran Sports Centre. The ceremonial first puck was dropped between Brine and the Port Huron captain.
The Bantams’ third game was late Saturday morning against Wawa Travellers at Glacier Pointe.
Two unanswered third-period goals by the Rock were the difference in this contest as they claimed a 4-2 win.
“We came out pretty well and got up 2-0,” coach Switzer reported. “But in the second period, we got lazy and they tied it 2-2. At the start of the third, we turned it up and popped two quick ones and then controlled the game after that. We didn’t play our best, but well enough to win.”
Peyton Lobb, with two, Ethan Brine and Gavin Muir scored for St. Marys. MacNeil was again the winning goaltender.

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