Minor Bantam Lakers Dominate at Oshawa Tourney, News, Minor Bantam, 2007-08 (Huron-Perth Lakers AAA Minor Hockey Association)

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Minor Bantam Lakers Dominate at Oshawa Tourney
Submitted By Goetz on Monday, January 21, 2008

Submitted by Gerry Pieroni

The MB Lakers enjoyed a terrific weekend of hockey by going undefeated through six games to win the Rogers Fury tournament in Oshawa this past weekend. The Lakers were firing on all cylinders as they outscored the opposition 30 – 3, winning 5 games by shutout. The boys should remember this weekend for a long time as few teams can lay claim to this kind of success at any level of competition.

The Lakers started the tourney on Friday afternoon with a solid win over the Brampton Battalion 7 -3. The MB’s were not very polite with the host team on Friday night, playing in the tournament opening feature game the Lakers defeated Oshawa 6 – 0. The early morning games were challenging for both parents and the players, starting with the Saturday morning game against the West Seneca Wings. This was a physical match and the boys were struggling to find the scoring touch from the previous day, but the team prevailed over the visitors from the U.S., eventually winning 3 – 0. The Saturday afternoon game was a must win for the Lakers as Brampton had regrouped and was making a race of the division. Vaughan had previously defeated the West Seneca and Oshawa teams soundly so the boys were not expecting a cakewalk. But the Lakers had everything going for them, scoring early in the tilt, outskating and outshooting the Vaughan team thoroughly for an 8 – 0 victory.

The Lakers' record placed them in first overall and they faced the wildcard team, Toronto Jr. Red Wings in one of the Sunday morning semi-finals. The early morning bug bit again and combined with a gritty effort by the Toronto team, the game was much closer than it should have been, with the Lakers finally winning 1 -0 with a late goal.  An exciting finish in the other semi-final saw Ajax-Pickering Raiders beat out the Lambton Sting in a sudden death shoot-out.

The Minor Bantams had tied Ajax-Pickering in tournament play in London earlier in the season and were eager to test their progress over the season against a known equal. The Lakers came out flying, eager to get the jump on the Raiders. The boys scored early and jumped out to an early 2 – 0 lead and never looked back on the way to a convincing 5 – 0 win and the tournament title.

In his address during the awards ceremony, coach Neil McKeown highlighted the ultimate importance of the team trophy signifying the team’s accomplishment over the individual rings the boys were presented as tournament champions. Also of significance was the recognition of Ray Huether as Top Forward of the Tournament and captain, Braden Wiffen, as Tournament MVP.

Other highlights:
-      Goalies, Ben Nelson and Drew Reinhardt, were at their best all weekend, having long periods of inactivity sometimes and then having to come up with a big save at key points in a game to preserve the lead or the shutout – each recorded two shutouts.
-      Every forward scored a goal during the tournament, again a great accomplishment.  Each of the lines also would take their turn having a great game from one game to the next.
-      Certainly, 5 straight shutouts would not be accomplished without solid defensive play and the Lakers defense corp was superb throughout the weekend, contributing to the offense as well.

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