Bantam LL1 save their very best for the last games of the season, News, Bantam LL1, 2015-2016 (Paris Minor Hockey)

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Bantam LL1 save their very best for the last games of the season
Submitted By knoseworthy on Monday, April 4, 2016
The month of March proved to be a long, wait that tested the patience and endurance of our players before the start of our second and final tournament of the year for our Bantam LL1 team. 

Unfortunately, for many of our players, they didn’t see much ice time during March, on account, of March Break and the Easter weekend.  However, for those players who were available during March they were rewarded with personal training practices that increased their stamina and individual skill ability.  This was evident and later proved to be an asset in our weekend hockey tournament.

Our team started our hometown Syl Apps tournament off on Friday night with a game against East Lambton Eagles.  The 4pm game start meant our Paris players were able to attend school for the full day before coming to the arena, to their delight.  Upon arriving to the arena, I soon realized that there was a ringette tournament, simultaneously being played at our arena.  I figure I would have some April fools fun with this so as Jack entered the team’s dressing room, I confessed that I made a mistake and accidentally entered our team into the ringette and not the hockey tournament but I assured him that we can still play, we just needed to flip our hockey sticks upside down.  His dissatisfaction and response to my statement was enough to make Don Cherry blush, to say the least.

It was nice to see all of our players back from holidays and there was much catching up and laughter between players and coaching in the dressing room, so much so, that we lost track of time and we found ourselves rushing out to the tail end of our warm up.  Fortunately, the coaching staff had already planned out and delivered our key game plan messages in the dressing room, so this did not effect the start of our game.

Our first period was a great back to back game of hockey with both team’s looking for a goal to clench the lead, to no avail.  The second period made up for lost time as both teams netted a goal each, with East Lambton finding the first goal of the period with less than 40 seconds into the period.  Fortunately, their game lead was cut short as Paris bounced back with a tie game goal less than a minute later from Gavin that was assisted by our AP player Liam Gaukel.  Into the third period, Gavin scored his second goal with assists by Braden and Eli allowing Paris to take the lead for the first time in the game, which they held onto for a greater portion of the period until the Eagles soared in with a goal past Ethan with just a little over two minutes left in play.  With no option of a time out in round robin play, our coaching staff had to resort to shouting out instructions on the fly that worked out with Braden passing the puck to Evan Scott who fed a pass to Spencer who quickly backhanded a shot into the Eagles net scoring with 28 seconds remaining on the clock to seal a win for our team.  Returning to the dressing rooms the coaching staff were stumped as to who to offer the player of the game to, as all players stood out as being exceptional in their own right.  Our goalie, Ethan Crozier did play outstanding and was rewarded the player of the game.  Our team played hard and earned that win and gave them the much deserved confidence to continue the tournament and earn more success.

Saturday mornings second game of the tournament was against our familiar Ayr Flames 1 team whom we have faced three times earlier in the season, with results of one win and two losses for our team.  Our players arrived early to the arena and the coaching staff set out preparing them for what we knew would be an exhausting, challenging game but we reinforced their confidence and belief in a win, as long as they kept calm and did not retaliate to avoid penalties, at all costs.  Unlike our first game of the tournament, our second game had four goals recorded on the game sheet before the end of the first period, with both teams tied at the end of the period.  Great job by Owen, for putting Paris ahead with a goal, which was assisted by Braden and Gavin. The second goal for our team was an unassisted goal by Spencer. 

Our second period; although, was scoreless had a lot of good plays and great chances.

 Entering the third period Ayr managed to find the lead and hold on for a good portion of the game, until the last minute of play with our team finding their second wind and coming alive with Spencer setting up Gavin for a goal to tie up the game.  Do we settle on a tie or can we push ahead for a win and the big question do we pull our goalie to give our team a sixth skater, before I even voiced this option, Jack turned to me and said don’t even think about pulling Ethan.  With that said I had my answer courtesy a Jack!  With Ethan in net, we had one minute to make a difference in the game and our players kept the puck in their end and battled hard with a final pass by Braden to Gavin who made one last shot on net with .07 seconds left, seeing the puck creep past by their goaltender and gave Paris another win for the tournament.   Congratulations to Spencer for being chosen player of the game.

Our Wolfpack continued on with a 3rd win during our Saturday afternoon’s game vs. Minto with Ethan being awarded a medal for a shut out during the game, while Gavin continued with his consistent scoring of two goals for our team, single-handedly winning the game for our team with the end score of 2-0.   This outstanding playing, easily made Gavin the player of our 3rd game of the tournament.  This win secured our place in the semi-final game the next morning to be played against the Port Colborne – Sailors.

Our semi-final game, turned out to be a surprising wake up call, that no one seemed able to explain, with our team being handed out more penalties in this one game than all three tournament proceeding games.  The only players that didn’t see the penalty box was our goalie, both Evans and Jack ... wait a minute ... how is that even possible??? Lol  At one point looking across to the penalty box I thought I was no longer on the bench since half of my team was waving back at me.  I believe the only reason why not all players made it to the penalty box is ‘cause our game was cut short to 10-10-10 minute periods and there was running time near the end of the game.  With all that being said our team still managed to play a competitive game and finished off the season as a close, jovial group of players. Congratulations to Jack for being named player of the game by Liam McAlister who was sidelined for the tournament, due to an injury to his foot.

Many thanks, to Jason, Jennifer and Gavin Pakulis for hosting a great post-tournament party at their house for both players and parents to hang out and reminisce about the season.

A great season to all of my players: Ethan Crozier, Spencer Noseworthy, Jack Kraemer, Owen Novak, Gavin Pakulis, Austin Koehler, Eli Stowe, Evan Shipp, Braden Clarke, Evan Scott and Liam McAlister.   In addition, help from our AP players Liam Gaukel, Dante  Colaiacovo, Connor Hardie, Cameron Hussey, Eric Martin and Dallas McMahon.  You guys are the real deal and the main reason I enjoy coaching.

Big shout out to my coaching staff for your support and wisdom: Tyler Stowe, Terry Shipp, Don Crozier, Shawn Novak, Ray Koehler and Shelley Scott.  You made my job that much more easier, knowing you had my back.

To the parents I appreciate all of the support and time you invested in your child’s season, I am sure you will agree that your investment of time and funds this season was worth it ten times over ~ thank you.

Finally, a big thank you to the PMHA executive for their countless volunteer hours in making hockey available to our youth in Paris.

Stay tuned for our team's year end party at Cobblestones our team sponsor!

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