Congratulations to the Paul Watson Esso U13 B Flames for capturing the Bell Capital Cup U13 AA Tournament title just before New Years. The championship game was played at the Canadian Tire Center, home to the Ottawa Senators and streamed live on NHL.com.
The Flames started off the tournament strong with a 7-1 victory over the Seaway Valley Rapids going 5 for 5 on the power play. Simon Chicoine and Owen Homick both had 2 goals and an assist, and Greyson Ward, Landen Froud and Brady Ridsdale added 1 goal each. Noah Homick and Carter Morrison contributed 3 assists a piece as the Flames opened the tournament in style.
The second game of the day would be far more challenging. The Flames faced off against the #11 ranked Upper Ottawa Valley Aces. To make things even more difficult, the Aces raced out to a 1-0 lead just 7 seconds into the game but the Flames responded with Carter Morrison bringing the Flames even and then Greyson Ward scoring twice before the end of the first to put the Flames up 3-1. The Aces and Flames traded 2nd period goals with Owen Homick restoring the 4-2 lead after the Aces had pulled to within 1. Noah Homick made it 5-2 before the Aces scored shorthanded to make it 5-3. Simon Chicoine rounded out the scoring deflecting home his 3rd of the tournament to salt it away, 6-2. Greyson Ward led the Flames with 2 goals and 2 assists.
Starting the day 2-0, the Flames had their eyes on first place in the round robin as they faced off with another strong HEO AA team - the Ottawa Valley Silver Seven. After a scoreless first period, Brady Ridsdale opened the scoring with his first of the tournament midway through the second. After Greyson Ward extended the lead to 2-0 early in the third, the Flames tried to put this one away but strong goaltending and a few goal posts kept the game tight into the final moments. With the net empty, the Silver Seven broke Spencer Graham's shut out bid and drew within a single goal of the flames. A late penalty put the Flames down a man and with the goalie pulled, the Silver Seven attacked 6 on 4 looking for the equalizer. Greyson Ward helped clear the puck and Noah Homick intercepted a neutral zone pass and put the puck into the empty net to seal the victory 3-1, setting up the round robin finale with Kanata for the top seed in the round robin.
Facing the #14 ranked Kanata Blazers, the Flames had their hands full with one of the top AA teams in the HEO. Carter Morrison once again opened the scoring for the Flames giving them a 1-0 lead after one period. Early in the second, Owen Homick was sprung on a breakaway by Carter Morrison and then just a few minutes later, Noah Homick was sent in all alone by Ray Dion and the Flames lead was extended to 3-0. In the third, Landen Froud danced his way through the Blazer defenders to make it 4-0. The Blazers potted 2 late goals to close to within 2 but would get no closer as the Flames finished the round robin 4-0 earning the top seed in the playoff round.
The semi-finals would be a rematch between the Flames and the Silver Seven, this time on the Sensplex Olympic sized hockey rink. The Flames started strong dominating the first shift of the game and coming extremely close to the first goal as Brody Quesnelle fired just wide. But penalty trouble would slow down the Flames and their PK needed to be solid to kill off consecutive penalties in the first to keep the score 0-0. Before the period was over, Noah Homick would score the lone goal of the frame, deflecting a Stuart Demunnik point shot past a fallen Silver Seven goalie to put the Flames up 1-0. The second period was a different story as the Flames passing and skating allowed them to take over. First, a Landen Froud power play marker put the Flames up 2-0 before an Owen Homick redirect of a Greyson Ward pass on a delayed penalty made it 3-0. Later in the period, Noah Homick finished off a 2-on-1 setup by Greyson Ward to make it 4-0. The Silver Seven scored 2 goals late to spoil Spencer Graham's shutout bid, but it was too little, too late and the Flames were on to the finals.
The finals would be played at the Canadian Tire Centre, home of the NHL's Ottawa Senators. The excitement of the kids was off the charts as they experienced the once in a lifetime opportunity to live out their dreams in an NHL rink and in an NHL dressing room. With many Flames supporters watching the livestream on NHL.com and dozens more inside the arena cheering their hearts out, the Flames readied themselves for battle with the Upper Ottawa Valley Aces and the chance to take home the Bell Capital Cup.
Early in the first period, Noah Homick deflected home a Boyd Gerow point shot to open the scoring for the Flames before the Aces scored on a rebound a few minutes later to tie things up at 1. A Flames 5-on-3 power play would result in another Noah Homick goal, this time a redirect off a Boyd Gerow pass. But once again, the Aces found the answer tying the game 2-2 just before the end of the first. Both teams playing their 6th game in 3 days meant for a bit sloppier game but the Flames dug deep and gave everything they had left. Midway through the second, the Aces goalie came out to play a puck to prevent a Greyson Ward breakaway and accidentally cleared it right to him. Greyson made no mistake and buried it to put the Flames back up 3-2. Things stayed that way until midway through the third when Brady Ridsdale corralled a loose puck from a scrum in front of the Aces net and slid it home to extend the lead to 4-2. KJ Dunn shut the door the rest of the way. The Aces pulled their goal to try for the equalizer but Brady Ridsdale added two empty netters to complete his hat trick and send the Flames to a 6-2 victory. Greyson Ward kicked in 3 assists to go along with his goal and as the buzzer rang, the Flames celebrated their incredible accomplishment with gloves and sticks flying through the air.
The Flames featured 6 players in the top 10 in scoring led by Noah Homick, Greyson Ward, Landen Froud, Brady Ridsdale, Owen Homick and Carter Morrison. Spencer Graham was the top goalie and KJ Dunn was third. The Flames D corps of Boyd Gerow, Stuart Demunnik, Simon Chicoine and Ray Dion kicked in 20 points across 6 games and Brody Quesnelle and Noah Robitaille rounded out the forwards battling hard every shift and never backing down despite being the only 11 year olds in the tournament.
Next up for the Flames is International Silver Stick in Forest, ON on January 20-22. Good luck Flames!