With playoffs ready to start in two weeks, the Major Atoms competed in the 50th Anniversary of the Preston International Hockey Tournament this past weekend (Jan. 18 – 20). The Coaching Staff felt this would be a great tune up for playoffs with 20 AAA teams entered in the tournament.
Game #1 the Lakers played Flint Icelanders, it was a great two way game with some excellent saves at both ends of the arena. The Flint team, being an American team, play without body contact throughout their league play so were familiar with the No Body rule for Atom tournaments. The Lakers played the game with only 2 lines due to illness and a suspension. In the final minute of the game Flint scored to win the game 1 – 0.
Game #2 was a must win if the Lakers wanted any chance of advancing to the Quarter Finals. The Lakers came out flying scoring 2 goals in the first 24 seconds of the game and went on to win 12 – 2 over Niagara Falls Thunder. This was a great game to develop team play as 7 different Lakers scored goals.
Game #3, the final round robin game, the Lakers wanted to continue elevating their team play which was a key goal of this team for the year. The Lakers knew this game vs. the Mississauga Senators was going to be a tough game as they defeated Flint earlier in the day. Mississauga scored early in the game and with the Lakers killing penalties it was tough to get the offence going, but the team managed to tie the game in the last minute of the 1st period. In the 2nd period, the Lakers found themselves killing penalties once again and were down 3 – 1 when the game turned and it was all Lakers to the end with a goal in the last 2 minutes of the 3rd period to capture a 4 – 3 win and advance the Lakers to the Quarter Finals.
In the Quarter Final game, all the Lakers players were back in uniform and ready to play the West Seneca Wings. As the game started it was evident that the Lakers had lost some of their intensity between games. West Seneca jumped out to a 2 goal lead and seemed to be controlling the game until the Lakers scored cutting the lead to one. The Lakers had some great offensive pressure in the 2nd period against West Seneca, but couldn’t get the puck past their goalie. West Seneca went on to win the game 4 – 1.
The Major Atoms are becoming very close as a team, making it easier to develop team play, which will be a key factor when playoffs start.