By the Youth All Ontario Cup
The first installment of the Youth All Ontario Cup (YAOC), the Youth Spring Teaser recently took place over two days (April 4-6) at BHi St. Catharines. Teams from around Ontario came out to compete for the chance to be crowned champions of the first preliminary YAOC tournament and earn an invite to the Elmer McMann Memorial Weekend of Champs Aug 8-10 hosted by BHi Brantford. Teams competed in the Peewee, Bantam, and Midget divisions throughout the weekend.
The round robin competition in the Peewee division included six teams vying for the division championship. Following the round robin, two teams were eliminated from the contention (Little Warriors 0-2-1 and Niagara Rampage 0-2-1). The resulting Sunday semi finals match-ups were the #1 seed Bardown Bandits vs the #4 seed Niagara Falls Canucks, and #2 seed Young Guns vs #3 Cherry Pickers.
The heavily favoured Bardown Bandits rode a strong four-goal second period to a championship game berth with a commanding 9-1 win over the Canucks. Meanwhile, the 2 vs 3 match-up between the Young Guns and the Cherry Pickers was a tightly fought game from the first drop of the ball until the final buzzer. The teams exchanged leads through the first period, resulting in a 2-2 score at the end of the period. The Young Guns took a lead in the second period and added an insurance goal in the third for a 4-2 lead. The Cherry Pickers were able to bring the score back to a 4-3 margin late in the third, but were unable break through the Young Guns stout defence, resulting in a Young Guns’ berth into the finals with a 4-3 win.
The Bardown Bandits and Young Guns was a rematch of the first game of the tournament (Bardown Bandits 6 – Young Guns 4). The Young Guns looked to come out strong and match the speed and skill that the Bandits possessed. However, a strong four-goal first period by the Bandits proved to be insurmountable for the Young Guns. The Bardown Bandits took the final game by a score of 7-1 to secure the Peewee Youth Spring Teaser Championship, and an invite to the Elmer McMann Weekend of Champions. The Young Guns have also received an invitation based on their second place finish.
Carson Edan (Bardown Bandits) 24 Carson Edan (Bardown Bandits) 15
Joey Colasurdo (Bardown Bandits) 16 Tanner McEachern (Bardown Bandits) 7
Alex Gaston (Bardown Bandits) 11 Joey Colasurdo (Bardown Bandits) 6
Niagara Falls Canucks
Dawson John (Cherry Pickers) 9 Alex Gaston (Bardown Bandits) 6
BHi London Little Warriors
Tanner McEachern (Bardown Bandits) 9 Austin Smith-Koopman (Young Guns) 6
Easton Pummell (Bardown Bandits) 8 Eric Arseneau (Bardown Bandits) 5
The round robin competition in the Bantam division saw seven (7) teams vying for the Youth Spring Teaser Bantam Championship. Friday and Saturday’s results led to a #6 seed Fonthill Falcons vs #7 seed Pelham Majors elimination game to determine who would earn the 6th and final spot in the playoff rounds on Sunday. Pelham was able to hold-off the hard charging Falcons for a majority of the first period, but at the 7:37 mark the Falcons were able to notch their first marker. Within the next 1:50 they were able to add two more goals for a 3-0 first period lead. In the end the Falcons continued their strong play for a 7-0 victory and a berth into the Quarterfinals on Sunday.
The #3 seed Pink Panthers were the Falcons next foes. This was a very tightly played game from the first ball drop to the final buzzer. The Falcons were able to take a first period lead with 0:19 seconds remaining in the period. The third period started with the Pink Panthers tying the game 35 seconds into the period. The tie lasted only briefly, as the Falcons were able to answer 28 seconds later to re-establish their one-goal lead. The remaining third period play was dominated by the Pink Panthers attempts to once again tie the game. However, in the end the Falcons were able to score an insurance goal with just under one-minute remaining, resulting in an upset victory, leading them into the semi finals where they would meet the #1 seed Welland Knights.
The second Quarterfinal match-up had the #4 seed Brantford Lions meet the #5 Thorold Chiefs. The Lions played a strong game, taking a 2-0 lead into the third period. The Chiefs found themselves in penalty trouble in the final frame which helped the Lions to build upon their lead, and take a final 5-0 victory to earn them an all Brantford match-up with the Cherry Pickers in the semi finals.
The #2 Cherry Pickers were a tired squad with a number of their players assisting their Midget Division and Peewee Division teams. The Lions came into the match-up with one thing on their minds: a victory to earn a berth into the finals. The Cherry Pickers were able to keep it tight in the first, with the Lions leading 4-2 after one period. Yet, from that point on, it was, all Lions. The Lions came out on top with a 14-2 victory.
The second semi final match-up saw the Welland Knights take-on the surprising Fonthill Falcons. Both teams found themselves in penalty trouble throughout the game. This slowed the pace of the game down, which took away from the Knights advantage in their speed and transition game. As a result the Falcons were able to keep it tight. In the end, the Knights were able to secure a 4-0 victory and a match-up with their Brantford rivals, the Lions, in the finals.
The championship game was one for the ages. The Welland Knights came out strong and took a 2-0 lead after the first. The Lions clamped down, understanding that they could not give up the third goal. Mid-way through the third the Lions answered the Knights’ lead with a Blackmore goal (2-1). The Knights took a 3-1 lead just over a minute later, only to have the Lions storm back with two quick goals (3-3). The third period saw the Knights come out flying to add two goals for a 5-3 lead with seven minutes remaining in the third. The Lions were throwing their entire arsenal at the Knights for the remaining third and brought the game to within one goal with 2:35 remaining. Chances looked bleak for the Lions to tie the game, but with seven seconds remaining Luciani from the Lions tied the game to send it to overtime.
The overtime period was dominated by the Knights who owned the offensive possession time, but were unable to beat Carson for the game winner. Many thought that this game was going to be decided by the looming shootout, but with 41 seconds remaining in the extra frame Riley Howe (Lions) was able to get a strong point shot off and it found its way through the crowd and ended the game when it found the back of the net. Both the Lions and the Welland Knights have earned invites to the Elmer McMann Weekend of Champs hosted by BHi Brantford in August.
Sean Lake (Brantford Lions) 16 Austin Grech (Brantford Lions) 10
Tristan Blackmore (Brantford Lions) 15 Sean Lake (Brantford Lions) 9
Austin Grech (Brantford Lions) 15 Tristan Blackmore (Brantford Lions) 8
Danial Legault (Welland Knights) 10 Shaun General (Cherry Pickers) 4
Niagara Pink Panthers
Nick Luciani (Brantford Lions) 8 Evan Horne (Brantford Lions) 4
Jonathon May (Brantford Lions) 8 Jordan Lunn (Brantford Lions) 4
The ten-team Midget division was tightly contested with a number of strong teams competing for the title. The round robin saw four teams go undefeated, resulting in a round robin standings of #1 Welland Tropics (3-0), #2 Niagara Selects (3-0), #3 Barrie (2-0-1), #4 London Jr Warriors (2-0-1), #5 Welland Kings (1-1-1), #6 Ozone Advantage Knights (1-2-0), #7 Raiders (0-2-1), #8 Cherry Pickers (0-2-1), with the #9 Welland Blazers (0-2-1) and #10 Niagara Knights (0-3-0) being eliminated after Saturday’s action.
Sunday’s playoff match-ups started with the #3 Barrie vs #6 Ozone Advantage Knights rematch from the round robin, which saw Barrie come out on top with a 4-2 victory. The Sunday QF match-up was almost a carbon copy, with the structured Barrie team coming out with a 4-1 victory to earn a berth in the semi finals.
The #4 JR Warriors vs the #5 Welland Kings was guaranteed to be a tightly contested game. The young JR Warriors needed to play a structured defensive game to keep the talented Kings at bay. Strong defensive play and goaltending (Parker) from the Warriors resulted in a 3-1 victory leading them into the semi finals.
In the third semi final match-up, the #1 seed Welland Tropics took on the #8 Cherry Pickers. The talented Tropics were too much for the Cherry Pickers and came away with a 7-2 victory. The Niagara Selects were set for a rematch from the round robin with the Raiders. The Raiders played the talented Selects strong from the start to the end of the game. However, the Selects overcame the strong play of the Raiders to secure a 5-0 QF victory.
The semi final match-ups were set. The #1 seed Welland Tropics versus the #4 seed JR Warriors. The Tropics were short benched for their semi final game, which helped balance the game for the JR Warriors. While the Tropics dominated the possession game, the JR Warriors were able to capitalize on their chances against the ever tiring Tropics. The JR Warriors played a structured defensive game which led to the upset 4-2 victory to earn a berth into the finals.
The second semi final match-up saw the #2 seed Niagara Selects take-on the #3 Barrie team. This game was one that many characterized as: “first team to score wins”. The score was 0-0 going into the third period. Perlic from the Selects broke the tie 1:18 into the third. The Selects were able to build-on their lead, adding two-more markers to win the match-up 3-0.
The talented Selects and the young JR Warriors met up in the finals vying for the 2014 Youth Spring Teaser title. Lewis gave the Selects a quick lead, with a snap shot goal 45 seconds into the first. The Selects kept up the pressure, but the collapsing defense of JR Warriors was able to hold them off. With 3:31 remaining in the first, Crosby of the Warriors let a big blast go which tied the game. The second period was all Selects, as they had the JR Warriors on their heels. The Selects were able to use their strong second period to take a 3-1 lead into the third. It was in the third that JR Warriors woke-up and started to take the game to the Selects. While the JR Warriors were able to dominate the possession game, the Selects defense committed to a strong shot blocking game, and the Warriors were unable to get any closer on the scoreboard.
The Selects finished the tournament with a 6-0-0 record, and Youth Spring Teaser Midget division championship. Both the Selects and the JR Warriors have now earned invites into the Elmer McMann Weekend of Champs in August at BHi Brantford.
Frankie Frank (Welland Tropics) 17
Jake Archambault (Niagara Selects) 10
BHi London JR Warriors
Jake MacDonald (Welland Tropics) 17 Frankie Frank (Welland Tropics) 9
Jake Archambault (Niagara Selects) 16 Nathan McDuff (Welland Kings) 7
Tristyn Lewis (Niagara Selects) 15 Dane Philip-Smith (Welland Kings) 7
Brendan Crosby (London Jr Warriors) 10 Jeremy D’Amico (Niagara Selects) 6
Ozone Advantage Kings
Noah Tooke (London Jr Warriors) 9 Jaden Kramer (London Jr Warriors) 6