TAYLOR HALL CUP CHAMPIONS!!!, News, Minor Pee Wee (Grey-Bruce Highlanders AAA Minor Hockey Association)

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Submitted By Heidi Macpherson on Tuesday, January 14, 2020
The BMO Wealth Management Minor Peewees travelled to Kingston this past weekend for the highly coveted Taylor Hall Cup.  The team has been working hard on their individual skills as well as working toward making good decisions quickly.  A fast paced tournament against very good AAA competition was the best way for the players to make strategic decisions in game speed.

The tournament started out with a team that seems to have their number, Seaway Valley Rapids.  This team beat the Highlanders twice in the Rochester tournament earlier in the year, including in the finals.  In another close contest that could have gone either way, the boys played well, outchanced their opponents but came up short with a 3-2 loss.  In the second game of the day, the boys were up against Guelph, a team that they played four times last year and four times this season already.  Guelph knew they were in tough as the Highlanders have two wins and two ties against them in their last four.  However, this Gryphons team is laced with talent and dangerous players up and down the lineup.  The Minor Peewees came out flying and everything was clicking from start to finish and the team defense managed to slow down the high flying Gryphons.  In the end, it was a 6-3 win and the Highlanders were back in business.

On day two of the tournament, the Highlanders started the day with the 0-2 Syracuse Nationals.  This game was all Highlanders from start to finish, as the team outshot their opponents 36-5 and skated away with a 5-0 victory.  A win or tie in the final game of the round robin would guarantee a spot in the semifinals.  However, the fourth game was against Southern Tier, a good skating, hard working team who seems to have the Minor Peewees number in the past two years.  Again, the Highlanders came out flying, dominating every part of the game.  Strong goaltending in the Southern Tier net kept the game at 2-0 going into the third.  That third period, provided one of the most difficult five minutes for the Minor Peewee players this year.  Nerves getting the best of them, some uncharacteristic mistakes and a change in what makes them successful resulted in three third period goals for Southern Tier and a 3-2 loss for Grey Bruce.  The team now needed help to get into the semi finals.  A tie between Guelph and Seaway Valley in the evening game would eliminate the Highlanders.  Lucky for our boys, our friends from Guelph took care of business and beat Seaway Valley handily setting up a semi-final matchup between the Grey Bruce Highlanders and the Guelph Gryphons on Sunday.

With a friendly rivalry brewing between Grey Bruce and Guelph, the semi-final would prove to be an epic battle.  The Gryphons wanted this one and came out with excellent pressure and speed.  The Highlanders pushed back and created opportunities themselves.  The team took a 1-0 lead in the first period, playing a defense first type of game.  The game stayed at 1-0 for a long time until the boys scored late in the second period to earn a two goal cushion.  In between periods the team was reminded of the 2-0 lead they held against Southern Tier and given the steps to find success this time around.  Early in the third Guelph got on the board to get to within one.  A hard fought third with lots of individual battles made this game feel like a final instead of a semi-final.  The boys held onto the lead through some late pressure from Guelph with their goalie pulled and skated to the finals with a  2-1 win.

In the finals, the BMO Wealth Management Minor Peewees would play the Ottawa Valley Aces, a team they had not seen in the round robin.  With really solid goaltending, the Aces won their semi final 1-0 in overtime.  However, they had a few really dangerous players as well.  Once again the Highlanders got out to an early 2-0 lead and were clicking on all cylinders.  But, as has been the case too often this year, the team let down for 4 minutes and let the aces get back into the game with two quick goals.  Early in the second the Highlanders took control of the game again, scoring two quick goals and chasing the goalie for the second time in the game.  From that point the team’s confidence grew, their team defense was at a season best and the team completed the championship game with a 6-2 win.

This should be a confidence builder for the team as they head into the final stage of the regular season and attempt to get into the playoffs on the right note with a few more victories under their belt.  A great weekend and great play boys!!


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