Lakers Win Preston International Tournament, News, Major Atom, 2008-09 (Huron-Perth Lakers AAA Minor Hockey Association)

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Lakers Win Preston International Tournament
Submitted By lhrudka on Tuesday, January 20, 2009
After a weekend of stellar hockey, the Major Atom Lakers were the victors of the 51st Annual Preston International Hockey Tournament. The Lakers demonstrated outstanding effort, teamwork and determination to achieve this remarkable goal.

Game 1 vs. Whitby Wildcats
The first game of the tournament had the Lakers face the Whitby Wildcats. The Lakers had a slow start, perhaps dazzled by the open atmosphere of the Cambridge Mall arena. The Lakers found themselves down 2-0 after the first period.

The team picked up the pace for the second half of the game with Jared Nash opening the Laker scoring with a shorthanded goal on a pass from Jacob Hrudka. Chayse Herrfort added a goal with 4 minutes remaining in the third to tie the game at 2 a piece.

Game 2 vs. Vaughn Kings
The Major Atoms were very focused on this game as they knew a loss would end their hopes of moving on in this tournament. Playing one of the top teams in Ontario, the Lakers knew they had to limit their mistakes and play a very close checking game to limit the King’s opportunities.

The Lakers came out strong and scored twice during the first period. The first goal was scored by Herrfort, on a play by MacKinnon Hawkins and Justin McCarter. The second, a power play goal, by McCarter from Liam Melady and Luka Marinic. The Kings fought back hard and scored once in the second period but the rest of the game would remain scoreless. Three lines of hard-working forwards, 5 strong puck-moving defence and excellent goaltending contributed to this 2-1 win.

Game 3 vs. Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs
Playing a league rival, the Major Atoms knew it was either them or the Chiefs going home after this game. Again, this strong Lakers team played a good tight checking game, limiting the Chiefs' scoring opportunities and capitalizing when they had to.

Herrfort opened scoring for the game with an unassisted goal during the first. Herrfort again found the back of the net in the second on a pass from McCarter. But the Chiefs played hard and came back quickly with a goal. Grant McPherson scored unassisted in the third to secure a 3-1 victory and a place in the quarter-finals.

Game #4 vs. Cambridge Hawks
Facing the top team in their league for the quarter-final game, all three forward lines once again worked hard to play a fast paced, exciting hockey game.

With thrilling action at both ends of the ice, the game remained scoreless until 3:11 left in the game when Nick Jung came through for his team on a play from Melady. Fifty seconds later, the Hawks tied the game, and the third period ended with the teams tied with one each.

After 18 minutes and 18 seconds of heart-stopping, adrenaline-rushing overtime; Jared Nash earned the Lakers a position in the semi-finals on a great play from Herrfort

Game 5 vs. Mississauga Rebels
On Sunday morning, the Lakers challenged the Mississauga Rebels in the semi final match. Both teams showed tired legs after three games on Saturday, resulting in many penalty calls on both sides.  The Lakers demonstrated strong penalty killing and capitalized on two power play goals.

McPherson started the Lakers off with a goal in the first from Hawkins and Herrfort, with the first ending with a 1-1 tie. Cole McKee scored from Herrfort and Hawkins to end the second tied at 2-2. With 52 seconds remaining in the third period, Nash scored from McPherson to tie the game at 3-3 and sending the Lakers into a second sudden death overtime in as many days.

After 13 minutes and 16 seconds of fast, hard play from both teams; Justin McCarter beat the Rebels goalie on a play from Melady and Nash, securing a spot in the tournament final. 

Game 6 vs. Brantford 99’ers
The Lakers came ready to play in this championship game and had an excellent start to this game with a 2-0 lead at the end of the first. The first goal was earned by Herrfort from his line mates McCarter and Marinic. McCarter notched the second goal from Herrfort and Marinic. The Lakers controlled most of the play throughout the game and were it not for great Brantford goaltending, would have put this game easily out of reach . All three lines came to play and played hard, with everyone contributing. The Lakers celebrated a 2-1 victory over the 99’ers and were named champions of the tournament.

There were many factors that contributed to this successful weekend. Enough cannot be said for the outstanding goaltending by Wyatt Nicholson and Joab Egbers. There were many times they kept their team in the game and gave the Major Atoms the momentum and confidence to continue on for their victories.

The team’s defensive play was outstanding allowing only 9 goals over 6 games which is how good teams win games and ultimately tournaments. The Lakers offensive play created some great scoring opportunities; some capitalized on and some saved by good goaltending on the other side.

The coaching staff anticipates this victory will turn this Lakers team around and prepare them for the playoffs, providing the players with the confidence in themselves they were perhaps missing.

Coaches, parents and fans could not be more proud of this team’s accomplishment. WAY TO GO LAKERS!!!

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