Dec 12, 2021 | Dykstra | 679 views
U11 Rep Storm Make Semi-Finals in Local Silver Stick Tournament
The Saugeen Shores U11 Rep Storm, sponsored by UNIFOR, made it to the semi-final game in the Wingham Silver Stick Tournament.
The first game of round robin play was Monday evening against the South Huron Sabres. The Storm had a slow start to the game and South Huron opened the scoring early in the first period. Saugeen Shores had a 5 on 4 advantage several times in the first two periods, but were unable to organize an attack and gave up a short-handed goal early in the second. Collecting themselves, with four minutes left in the period, Mack Smith picked up a turnover in the neutral zone for a breakaway that put them on the scoreboard and gave the team some momentum. Three minutes later Greyson Wolfe found Gordie Brady to tie the game 2-2 at the end of the second period. The third period opened with South Huron taking a long shot from inside the blue line that found its way under the Storm goalie, giving South Huron the lead. Then the Sabres picked up a turnover and came down the ice for a breakaway goal to extend their lead to 4-2. The Storm didn’t give up despite being behind by two goals, and pressed hard in the Sabres' offensive zone, hitting two posts and missing an open net just over the crossbar before Radek Ebenstreit put in an unassisted goal bringing the Storm within one with 1:46 left to play. In an attempt to tie up the game, Saugeen Shores pulled their goalie and pressed hard in the Sabres' zone, but South Huron put in an empty net goal to take the first game of the tournament with a 5-3 victory. Saugeen Shores was back down to Wingham two days later for their second round robin game against the Mount Forest Rams. The game was scheduled so late in the evening that parents were concerned that the players might be asleep on the bench before the final whistle, but both teams put forward a solid performance for all three periods of play. The Storm opened the scoring early in the first period when Radek Ebenstreit scored his second goal in as many games, picking up a rebound off of a shot by Brock Harrison. The Storm kept the pressure on throughout the first period and into the second, but were matched by Mount Forest and couldn’t increase their lead. Then, near the end of the second period, with Mount Forest applying pressure in their zone, the Storm was unable to clear a loose puck and the Rams capitalized to tie up the game 1-1. Using the momentum of the tying goal, Mount Forest had the Storm on their heels for the rest of the second period. The third period found both teams digging deep as the night wore on, with penalties on both sides, goal scoring chances, and strong defending, but neither team was able to break through, and the game ended in a 1-1 tie. This result brought out the budding statisticians among the players, parents, and coaches analyzing the possible outcomes of round robin play and concluding that a game three win for the Storm on Saturday could still give them a chance at making the semi-final game. On Friday evening before Saturday’s final round robin game, the team app chatter lit up when a picture of Storm forward Kai Bailey wearing an arm cast was posted to the news feed. Early on Saturday morning the team received more bad news when a second forward informed coaches that a mild overnight fever would keep him out of the line-up. Undeterred, the Storm rallied and brought their best game to the ice when they faced the Listowel Cyclones on Saturday morning. The Storm got off to an early lead when a shot on goal by Mack Smith left a rebound out front for Gordie Brady to hammer home. The rest of the first period saw both teams trading off penalties, but neither team was able to capitalize with a 5 on 4 advantage. Saugeen Shores turned up the pressure in the second, controlling the play in the offensive zone for most of the period. Then Micah Alexander, playing forward this game to balance the lines, got his first goal of the season when he picked up a rebound in the slot from a shot by Radek Ebenstreit. With Kai Bailey on the bench to encourage his teammates, the Storm turned up the pressure putting Listowel on their heels in the third period. The next Storm goal came from a crossing play by Mack Smith that was deflected by a Listowel defender into their own net, taking the wind out of the Cyclone bench. The Storm continued to press in the offensive zone and ended the game with 24 shots on net, including Chase Cosgrove’s empty net goal in the last minute of play. Three periods of solid goaltending, blocking shots and controlling rebounds, earned Storm net minder Kaine Myers a shut-out in this final game of round robin play, all but guaranteeing the Storm a spot in the semi-final game.
A number of Storm players stuck around to watch the South Huron versus Mount Forest game, knowing that a lopsided Mount Forest win would put them out of the tournament. When South Huron came through with a narrow win, the boys headed home knowing that they would be back for play-off Sunday the following day. The next morning saw parents hit the road to Wingham for the fourth time that week with the players excited to take on the undefeated Kincardine Kinucks in the semi-final match at 10:15 am. The game opened with Micah Alexander taking a body checking penalty, followed shortly by a slashing penalty by Kincardine, giving the teams a chance to settle in with almost two minutes of 4 on 4 play. Despite Storm pressure, Kincardine scored the first goal on a puck scramble with two minutes left in the period. They followed that up with a second goal scored from the point ending the period 2-0 Kincardine. Saugeen Shores spent the first six minutes of the second period testing the Kinucks goaltender, but were unable to put the puck past him. Then Kincardine took advantage of a few defensive breakdowns and scored two more goals bringing the score to 4-0 at the end of the second. Ten seconds into the third period Chase Cosgrove scored an unassisted goal to put Saugeen Shores on the board. The Storm continued to put the puck on net, out-shooting the Kinucks 21 to 16 over the course of the game, but Kincardine scored two more goals in the third to end the game 6-1. Despite the numbers on the scoreboard, the Storm’s effort and improvement in the first six weeks of the season didn’t go unnoticed by the Kincardine bench, who knows they will have their hands full when the teams meet again in January for regular season play.