Abrupt end to Bantam LL 1 playoffs, News, Bantam LL1, 2015-2016 (Paris Minor Hockey)

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Abrupt end to Bantam LL 1 playoffs
Submitted By knoseworthy on Monday, February 29, 2016
Our team concluded our playoffs this weekend with two away games, the first on Saturday just up the road to our neighbouring Ayr Rivals and on Sunday with the Hespeler Shamrocks 2 in Cambridge.

Friday night’s practice was devoted to drills that focused on controlling the puck and shooting on the net since we have identified our team’s weakness that needed attention and support.

Hours before Saturday’s game time, I learned that Liam McAlister was ill and would not be able to join his team to play against the Flames in Ayr.  This was definitely going to hurt our team, since Liam has played his finest games recently over the last few games and has been instrumental with keeping the puck in our opponent’s zone and has had some fantastic, hard shots directly on net.

After a few quick phone calls I was able to call upon our loyal AP player, Liam Gaukel, minutes just after he got off the ice with his Pee Wee LL2 team in Wellesley.  He agreed to join us for our early evening game and came directly to Ayr to suit up to play for our Bantam team.

Before game time, our players were in their game routine, focused on the task at hand and ready to have some fun out on the ice and promised to play the best they can, which they delivered on, skating hard and using better passing and shooting methods. Although, the Flames scored first, this did not detract our players, instead they pushed on with even greater raw, attack with the result of the final goal of the first period delivered by Braden, tying the game before the 2nd period. 

Our second period was evenly played by both teams with only one lucky goal being made up by Ayr to offer them a slight lead. 

Into the 3rd period our team responded with a quick goal by Gavin to restore our team’s confidence and vigor that played out for the full game.  The Flames goalie seemed to play double time against our players barrage of shots on him, earning him, in our opinion, first star for his team.  Our own goalie, Ethan equally had a great game with two goals that he had no chance in saving, one deflected and bouncing into the net from the back of him and another goal that was a blur because of its high speed.

My only regret this game was on myself for not using our time out option and setting up a final strategy play before the end of the game with the attempt to tie the game.

Congratulations to our team on a great game, going again penalty free, interestingly, our team has had 6 penalty free games this season out of a total of 28 games, this is an impressive, respectful feat that not many teams, at this high level of play, can claim, that our team has earned in our season.

Our visit to Hespeler on Sunday was a much different scenario when we met up with our nemesis Shamrocks 2 for our final playoff game that proved to have a lot at stake for Hespeler, since our team stood in the path of their final placing in the playoffs.  If we won or tied the game they would end up in third spot, a win would allow them to tie for first place with St. George and Tavistock.  Even before I arrived home after this game I was receiving emails from Tavistock wanting to know the game results so they can learn where they stood in the standings versus Hespeler.

Although, I would like to report that our final game was an enjoyable, fair game, I can't, what I can say is that our players, in the circumstances they were given, performed to the best of their abilities and the situation, at hand.  This game, at times, was very intense and exciting but that quickly depleted, which was disappointing because this game showed signs of potentially being a fantastic, memorable experience.  

What I failed to do in our Saturday game I made up for in our Sunday game by using our time out in the 3rd period when our team were down in our opponent’s zone, allowing me to pull our goalie to put out an additional skater to put pressure and set up our team for an excellent, scoring opportunity.  For 2.5 minutes our team battled, hard in their zone, taking endless shots on net that only a rep goalie could have endured and saved.

After the dust had settled our team proudly skated directly off the ice, leaving any animosity behind them on the ice as true sportsmanlike players, they are.  A final ‘Player of the Game’ award was handed out Sunday to our AP player Liam Gaukel who gave up his entire weekend to be with our team for our ailing Liam McAlister.

Great effort, by all of our players, on an exciting season and playoff round.  Over the next month, our team will enjoy our Skills competition, exhibition game vs. Brantford House league team, an inner team, exhibition game between our 1st and 2nd line and practices leading up to our hometown Syl Apps memorial tournament, taking place from April 1-3/16.

See you at the rink!

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