Chapman's Ice Cream Minor PeeWees Advance To The OMHA Championship Tournament, News, Minor PeeWee, 2013-2014 (Grey-Bruce Highlanders AAA Minor Hockey Association)

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Chapman's Ice Cream Minor PeeWees Advance To The OMHA Championship Tournament
Submitted By David Black on Tuesday, March 11, 2014
What a weekend it was for the Minor PeeWees.   They packed their hard hats and game plan and traveled to St. Catherine's for what would turn out to be a very memorable weekend.  The boys would play their best hockey all year, and be rewarded for all the hard work they have put in over the course of the season.

Things got off to a shockingly fast start as the Highlanders took to the ice Friday afternoon against Hamilton. Both teams were anticipating a typical match up. Usually a hard fought battle that ends in a one goal game either way. Not this time. The Highlanders came out of the gate dominating in every aspect. They had the Bulldogs on the run, and controlling the game right from the opening whistle. These Highlanders were here to work. After a 5-0 first period, the boys went to the break holding a 7-1 lead. The third had the Bulldogs trying frantically to close the gap while the Highlanders got caught trying to coast this one home. Hamilton did enjoy a little success and drew within 2 with just over 2 minutes to go. However, the Highlanders sealed it with an empty netter and now would turn their focus to Southern Tier.

The Highlanders second match was against the Southern Tier Admirals. This was a very hard fought battle that had both teams playing a very tight checking, defense first, style of game. After falling behind 2-1, the Highlanders picked up there game and started to create most of the scoring chances. However, STA managed to hang on and capture the victory.

The Highlanders Returned to their hotel sporting a 1-1 record. Aware that they would likely need 3 wins to advance, they went to bed knowing they would need to win both games on Saturday. Also, one would need to come against Buffalo, a team that had their number all year.

Saturday morning, we were back at the rink to battle Burlington. This had to be the most bizarre game the Highlanders Played all year. This game was a steady parade to the penalty box for both teams. Penalties that, for the most part, had no business being called. To escalate the drama, Burlington was awarded the games first goal where it was clear the puck was not close to crossing the line. Once this call was made, both benches and the spectators held their breathe. Not sure what would be called next. The drama was ratcheted up to a stratospheric level as a frustrated fan thought it best the kids should be allowed to play. After conveying this message to the game official in a convincing manner. The official, unaware it was a fan, issued yet another penalty. This time a bench minor. By now, you could excuse the boys if they threw their hands up and surrendered the game. Instead, they bonded closer together. They knew they were in this battle together and you could see it on the ice. Suddenly, everyone was skating with a renewed sense of urgency. Forwards were determined to do what it took to help out in the Highlander end. Throwing their bodies in front of pucks, protecting the defense and going to battle for each other. This game would go down to the wire with the Highlanders clinging to a 4-3 lead. When the horn went, the whole team let out a collective sigh. They were still alive with one game to go.

Saturday night, the Highlanders returned to the rink with their whole season of hard work on the line. They were up against Buffalo, the leagues third place team. The winner of this game was going to advance, while the loser would be mapping out their summer activities. The boys knew the importance of this game and as a result, had to battle their nerves a little. This game was a tremendous game to watch. Despite the low score, it was probably the best game the boys have played all year. Trainer Ken commented how he has never seen the boys like this. Every one of them standing at the bench totally focused on what was happening on the ice. It was a game where I'm convinced the boys saw first hand what it means to be a "Team". It was solid end to end action for the full 45 minutes. Both teams not giving anything up, yet excellent scoring chances. 45 minutes of strong checking, yet only 3 minor penalties in the game. It was 45 minutes of truly entertaining hockey. Games like this, deserve to end in a tie. It is a shame a team has to lose. However, the Highlander boys didn't see it this way and managed to score the games only goal with just over two minutes to play. Again, it was great to see the jubilation on the ice as the buzzer went. The Highlanders had just played their way into the OMHA Championship Tournament.

After securing the OMHA spot, it was asking a lot for these boys to focus on Sunday Mornings game. They were up against Oakville in a semi-final game to determine the SCTA champion. The Highlanders would drop this one 4-1 in an uninspired effort. To them, this was a meaningless game as they all have there eye on the big prize.

Overall, a very successful, entertaining weekend, AND they get to do it all over again next weekend.

1st game is Friday, March 14th against Barrie at Seymour-Hannah 1.

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