Minor Atom A Take Home GOLD!!!!, News (Oshawa Minor Hockey)

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2017-2018 Minor Atom A - Minor Atom A Take Home GOLD!!!!
Submitted By Atom AA Mgr on Sunday, January 14, 2018
The Minor Atom A Minor Generals, led by Head Coach Terry Rayner traveled up the 115 to Peterborough this past weekend to participate in the 60th annual Lift Lock Tournament.  The boys played five undefeated games over the course of the weekend and came away as Tournament Champions.

The weekend began in Peterborough where they first battled the East Gwillimbury Eagles.  After surrendering the first goal, Oshawa responded with three unanswered goals by Dylan Craven, Matteo DiLauro and Miko Dela Paz.  The Eagles made it close with a goal with just over two minutes to play, but goaltender Ewan Bennett shut the door in the final two minutes to preserve the win for the Minor Generals.

Fresh off Friday's win, the boys traveled to Bewdley on Saturday to face the Mississippi Thunder Kings in an early morning match-up.  After surrendering the first goal once again, the offense responded with six unanswered goals from Dela Paz (2), Jake Weatherbee, Craven and Kane Johnston (2).  Late in the game, Mississippi potted two of their own, but they were unable to recover from the onslaught of goals the Gens threw at them earlier in the game. 

After a wild brunch at Rhino's in Bewdley, the boys put that maple syrup to good use and headed back to the Bewdley arena to face the Gloucester Orleans Blues.  Needing a win or a tie to guarantee a berth in the semi-finals, the boys played this one out in dramatic fashion.  Once again, giving up the first goal, Oshawa responded with three of their own by Brady Cleary, Johnston and Dominic Gareau.  After Gloucester added one late in the first period, the teams went scoreless in the second and began the third with the Gens up 3-2.  Gloucester tied things up early, but Oshawa managed to respond eight seconds later with at key goal from Gareau.  Gloucester tied the game again just under mid-way through the third and neither team could manage to get that winning marker over the last six minutes of the game.  Win or tie, the outcome was the same; a first-place finish in the round robin.  These boys were heading home to get some rest in order to play on Championship Sunday.

Sunday morning, 815am in Peterborough saw a rematch of the Minor Gens and the Gloucester Blues.  After giving up the first goal yet again, the boys played out the story as they had all weekend.  We give you one and here's three of our own courtesy of Gareau (2) and Weatherbee.  Goaltender Jacob Pennington was flawless in the final 17 minutes of the game and Gareau added the empty netter with just over two minutes to play to seal the deal on the win and the elusive hat-trick.  A perfectly executed game by all 17 players earned these boys a spot in the Championship Final at the Memorial Centre.

The search began to refuel; on maple syrup.  So, with three hours to burn, most of the team headed to Cora's to grab a quick breakfast and then head to the Memorial Centre.  Our opponent?  None other than the hometown team and inter-divisional Lakeshore rivals, the Peterborough Pete's.  As the saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".  So, we didn't.  Another 1-0 deficit to start the game only fueled the fire in these boys and again they responded with three unanswered goals by Cleary, Kayle Rayner and Johnston.  The Pete's and the Gens traded goals (Gareau) midway through the third period to put the score at 4-2 Oshawa.  With just over five minutes to play, the Pete's tied the game up in the span of 30 seconds to draw this one even at four.  However, just over a minute later, with 4:08 to play, Dela Paz was left alone in front of the opposing goal and managed to shovel home the loose puck for the go-ahead goal.  For the last four minutes, the boys entered survival mode and defended their goal like soldiers in battle.  As the final buzzer rang, the sticks and gloves went flying in the air and the taste of victory showered down on the players, coaches and parents.

Going 4-0-1 in a tournament is something that is extremely hard to accomplish in any age and caliber.  Undefeated streaks simply cannot transpire without the entire team executing the team philosophy.  It was a total team effort and was not possible without the unselfish play of Sam Groeneveld with a team leading five assists and the stellar defensive work by our three pairings: Jake Sutton and Lucas Skagos, Ben Delaney and Vrain Rikhi, and Rowan Bates and Jace Imrie.  These six defensemen were fierce competitors all weekend long and came up huge for the team in pressure situations.

Congratulations to the Minor Atom A Minor Generals for making us all proud and bringing home the Championship at the 60th Annual Lift Lock Tournament.
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