Congratulations to the Asselin Insurance Atom Reps on becoming the first Penetang Atom B team in 21 years to make it to the finals at International Silver Stick this past weekend in Forest, ON.
It was an exciting weekend for the players, coaches and parents who watched or played in 6 phenomenal hockey games with the best Atom B teams in the province. In the end Penetang fell just short of the championship losing 2-1 to Mooretown in the finals. Regardless, this team should be incredibly proud of the effort they gave. Battling a flu bug that ravaged the team and knocked three players from the lineup at various points, the kids never quit and battled right to the final buzzer.
In the first game vs. the Listowel Cyclones, the Flames came out flying and did everything but score in the first period generating quality chances and drawing numerous penalties. Late in the second period, a Kathleen D. point shot ricocheted off Noah H.'s foot and into the net for the first goal of the tournament and a 1-0 lead. Landen F. potted a nifty insurance marker in the third and Nate M. closed the door for a 2-0 opening game shutout.
In the second game vs. the top ranked Mooretown Jr. Flags, the Flames came out strong again, building a 1-0 lead when Brady R. deflected a Stuart D. shot into the net. After the Flags tied it, Darcy Q. restored the 1 goal lead early in the second with a spinning wrist shot. Nate M and strong defence made sure things stayed that way until the Flags tied things with 18 seconds remaining in the third on an unlucky bounce off a skate from behind the net. The late goal meant OT and the Flames found their legs and took it to the Flags outshooting them 9-2 in the extra frame. A stingy Flags goalie kept things even though and the two teams headed to a shootout. Noah H went first for the Flames pulling off his favourite deke and easily sliding the puck into the gaping cage for a 1-0 lead. Next up, Nate M stopped the first Flags' shooter with a deft poke check to keep the Flames ahead heading to the next shooter. Lachlan L. put another great move on the Flags' keeper sliding the puck into a wide open net as the Flames went ahead 2-0 in the shootout. Nate M shut the door on the next shooter with another clutch stop and the Flames won the game 3-2 (2-0 SO).
On the second day, and with the flu bug hitting more team members, the Flames took on the 2nd ranked Kincardine Kinucks. Lachlan L. opened the scoring 30 seconds into the game with a top corner snipe and the Flames held that 1-0 lead into the third thanks to stellar goaltending from Nate and great team defence. Unfortunately, the Flames ran out of steam in the third and Kincardine potted 2 goals in 2 minutes to take a 2-1 lead. A late empty netter sealed the 3-1 win for Kincardine and dropped the Flames to 2-1 and into 2nd place.
The second game of the day saw the Flames flying through two periods against the South Huron Sabres outshooting them handily and building a 1-0 lead on a goal by Darcy Q. Once again though, fatigue and the flu bug got the best of the Flames and they couldn't hold the lead surrounding 2 goals to the Sabres to fall behind 2-1. The Flames weren't done though and great efforts from Simon C. and Lachlan L. nearly tied the game before the Sabres scored an insurance marker late in the game to make the final score 3-1.
With only 3 teams advancing out of the Round Robin stage, the Flames finished in a 3 way tie for 3rd place. On the strength the number of periods won or tied (the Flames led going into the 3rd period of every game in the round robin), the Flames won the tie-breaker and advanced to the semi-finals for a rematch with the Kincardine Kinucks.
The semi-final was just as closely contested as the round robin game but this time with a different result. Greyson W. potted his first of the tournament off a face-off win by Darcy Q in the second period and the Flames strong defence led by a Nate M, Brycen K, Kathleen D, Stuart D, and Boyd G made it stand up. The 1-0 win sent the Flames into the finals for the first time in 21 years to face the Mooretown Jr. Flags who had the morning off after a bye into the final.
Playing on just 2 hours rest, the Flames were still able to generate the best chances in the first period narrowly missing taking a 1-0 lead when the Flags' goalie got a toe on a Lachlan L backhand. The Flames hit the wall in the 2nd and the Flags took it to them outchancing them throughout the period with only Nate M (and a couple of goalposts) keeping things tied 0-0 into the third. The third period was much more even and 4 minutes into the final period, the Flags ended the scoreless tie with a goal off a centering pass from behind the net. A few minutes later, on a Flames power play, a point blank chance by Brady R. was turned aside by the Flags' netminder to keep his team ahead. Shortly after, and on a power play of their own, the Flags took a 2-0 lead on a one-timer from the slot. The Flames didn't waiver though and continued to battle to try to get back in the game. With 52 seconds left, Noah H. notched his second of the tournament to bring the Flames within 1, but that would be all they would get. The Flags shut the door the rest of the way to earn the International Silver Stick Atom B title.
The coaches and parents could not be more proud of the effort the Flames put in all weekend. Whether it was the flu-bitten kids battling through their illnesses or other players stepping up and playing more than usual, with less rest, or out of position, it was a complete team effort that earned the Flames the ISS Finalist banner and trophy.
Congratulations to Nate M., Kathleen D, Brycen K, Stuart D, Boyd G, Noah H, Darcy Q, Greyson W, Landen F, Ray D, Brady R, Owen H, Simon C, and Lachlan L! And way to go Kathleen D and Greyson W on being named to the tournament all-star team.